Saturday, February 03, 2007

Metamorphosis

She’s changed a lot. I never expected the transformation to be that fast. A couple of years ago, she was carefree and indifferent, subscribing only to what her peers believe in. Now she is assertive, has strong opinions about society and life in general, and is an active member of a militant youth group.
Her becoming a tibak is not unexpected. She enrolled in a course where almost every student is one. At first I thought she just became so because of her friends. I underestimated the depth of her sincerity and involvement, until recently, when I had the chance to spend a couple of hours of conversation with her. We covered a wide range of topics, from the recent approval of the system-wide tuition fee increase, the RGEP (Revitalized General Education Program), the 2007 elections, the continuing struggle of left-wing organizations, and social injustice. Albeit these are quite serious, her talk is peppered with tibak stories which are quite hilarious, I think.

I. Tibak 101
Bunso: Lahat naman sila (previous Philippine presidents) alipin ng mga MP.
Ako: What’s MP? Is that an acronym for something?
B: Imperyalista. Impe (stress on second syllable), pinaganda lang. Kapag pinagsama-sama lahat, IBP. Imperyalista, Burukrata, Pasista.
Ako: Hehe, parang Integrated Bar of the Philippines …

II. And the story of Tofi, the stray cat at their college building which their org baptized:
Orgmate 1: Pangalanan natin ng Tofi.
Orgmate 2: Negative yun e (TOFI stands for Tuition and Other Fee Increases).
Orgmate 1: E di bigyan natin ng apelyido. Tofi Ibagsak!

III. My confession
Ako: Dati gusto ko rin sumali sa ____ (activist org) kaya lang parang may sarili silang subculture. Nakaka-alienate.
Bunso: Oo nga e. Tapos dugyot pa karamihan. Na-award nga kami ng Dean namin e. Mukha daw kaming mabaho…
Ako: No offense ha, pero mukha nga, hehe.

Our parents and siblings don’t know anything about her extra-curricular activities. All they know is that she’s a junior Social Work major in cum laude standing and that her professors are giving her a hard time with all the academic requirements they burden her classes with (ranting is a favorite pastime of hers). My mom constantly reminds her not to join aktibistas; giving disparaging comments when news of protest actions come out on TV, comments which usually make us exchange knowing glances and sometimes cringe.

I don’t know why she entrusted her little secret to me. Perhaps she thinks I am more capable of understanding because I was a UP student too. Sometimes I feel guilty keeping everybody ignorant about it. But what can I do? We share the same belief – that apathy is the worst virus that can attack an individual – only she is more vocal about it.

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