Poetry
| 2008 | 2007 |

 

2008
Rite of Passage (Jose Pamittan)
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam! (Jose Camacho Jr.)
I Just Want To Be Loved (Nika Zenia Nasser)
Mga Dakilang Pagpapanggap (Emily Antonio)
Ang Mga Bagong DICTs (Benedict San Jose)
Untitled (Nova Navo)

 


Rite of Passage by Jose Pamitan

Honored guests, esteemed Professors, fellow graduates, friends ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

It is my distinct honor and privilege to speak before you on the last occasion when we the members of batch 2007 are together in the same room about to receive our diplomas - which symbolizes our trials, tribulations and triumphs during our 2 years or more of studies in our Ritsumeikan University.

Today I wish to dwell on the term “rite of passage” which was coined by a German anthropologist named Arnold van Gennep. The rite of passage according to him means a ritual or ceremony that marks a passage from one stage of a person’s life to another. Gennep believed that passage rituals have three phases or stages, namely; 1) separation from society, 2) transformation or inculcation, and 3) incorporation or return to society in a new status.

Our graduation ceremony today marks our “rite of passage” to the third phase. But before we arrived to the third stage where we are about to return to society with a new status following our rite of passage – our graduation ceremony, we all had to pass through phases 1 and 2.

Phase 1 – Separation from Society
Indeed we all experienced different forms of separation from society. To some this meant restricting personal and social lives. For most of us especially the JDS Fellows it meant leaving our family, loved ones, friends and country while we pursued academic advancement. It is fitting therefore at this point, in behalf of my fellow graduates, to acknowledge our family, loved ones, friends and supporters. Our heartfelt gratitude to you for your words of encouragement, understanding and the support you have afforded us through the years so we can maintain our separation as needed to accomplish our goals. Whatever our separation proved to be, it has certainly ushered us to the doorsteps of our Ritsumeikan University to enter phase 2 of our rite of passage.

Phase 2 – Transformation or inculcation
Within the hallowed halls of Ritsumeikan we were transformed through a process of inculcation. To inculcate means to impress something upon the mind of another by frequent instruction or repetition. Ourprofessors here at Ritsumeikan have painstakingly and successfully undertaken this for over two years. We were inculcated not only in the discipline of our respective fields but also to various disciplines such as human interaction as part of our transformation here in Japan and in Ritsumeikan in particular. Surely the rigors of writing papers, making presentations, delivering reports in classrooms, research seminars and most of all writing our masters thesis have all been tough venues in our inculcation process. However tough they may have been, we were able to ford through because of the unceasing guidance and support of our amiable professors and academic advisers. I am sure my fellow graduates would want me to relay to you, our professors, our deepest gratitude for the time, effort, knowledge and patience you gave in helping us find ourselves academically and otherwise. In fact some you have given more than 100% of yourselves, for that, we thank you from bottom of our hearts.

Personally at this point, I wish to recognize and offer my salute to my academic advisers Professors Shuzo Nakamura, Katsuki Takao, and Hidehiko Kanegae for without their brilliant inputs, unwavering support and magnanimity; I wouldn’t be here on this stage delivering this speech. Lest I forget to acknowledge also the administration, personnel and staff of Ritsumeikan for making sure that this day would come into fruition for all of us graduates. I believe that our triumphs are not ours alone but we share to all these unsung heroes in our lives.

Of course our transformation process here in Japan would not be complete without mentioning the countless “nomikais”, “international parties and gatherings”, hanamis, snow watching, karaoke breaks, infrequent trips to some of the shrines especially Kinkaku-ji and Kiyomizu dera, and even our regular visit to the flea markets.

All these invaluable knowledge, trainings, and experiences shall serve as our armory as we enter the third phase of our rite of passage – our return to society in our new status.

Phase 3 – Return to society in our new status
Today we are going to receive our diplomas which are not there for decorative purpose; in fact they hold a deep significance in our rite of passage. It symbolizes our new status as degreed individuals who are about to go back to our respective countries to face the challenges of contributing towards her development – a goal we especially JDS fellows are aware of when we first set our foot here in Japan. It is also for all and sundry to know that we have been transformed, molded and well equipped ready to face the challenges in our lives as we try to dispose of our responsibilities and achieve the expectations that has now been conferred upon us.

Certainly the true test of our rite of passage lies on the third phase. It poses an enormous challenge to us but I am pretty sure that we wouldn’t want to fail the expectations of our Ritsumeikan and especially our professors in us. Let us then be catalysts of development in our society and especially in our country.

To end this short speech, I wish you my fellow graduates to ponder on these words of Hellen Keller when she said “The world is moved not only by the mighty stories of heroes or superheroes but also by the tiny little pushes of every honest laborer.”

Congratulations to all of us. Ja minna-san ganbarimashou! Thank you very much!

back to top


Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam! by Jose Camacho Jr.

Salamat sa Diyos, ako ay nakarating na maluwalhati sa Pilipinas sa kabila ng puyat, pagod at sama ng loob. Pero ang lahat ng ito ay napawi ng masaya at madamdaming pagsalubong ng asawa at buong pamilya ko. Ang laki na ng mga anak ko. Nandoon pa rin ang pagka-inosente nila sa kabila ng pagiging bibo at madaldal. Hindi ko maipipinta ang kagalakan nila ng makita ako. (Although halos sabay nilang nasabi na sana hindi na raw ako mamalo o magalit…At mas mabait na raw sila ngayon. Ngunit sa ilang sandali dahil sa asaran at harutan, ayun, nagkahampasan at nagkaiyakan…Hay buhay…Bigla ko tuloy naalala ang KAPS).

Ngayon, back to reality ika nga, from family to church and university life; from being family driver, hatid-sundo, to endless meetings, kulitan and follow-up of documents and papers. Tawag doon, tawag dito...

Labis-labis ang pasasalamat ko at nagkrus ang ating mga landas sa Kyoto. Ang isa o dalawang taon o kahit ilang buwan man lang na pagsasama at pakikisalamuha, pakikipaghalakhakan, mga tsikahan at puyatan, kainan at asaran ay katumbas ng isang habang-buhay na punong-puno ng ala-ala, tamis at ligaya na nakaukit sa aking puso. Hinding-hindi ko ito malilimutan.

Salamat sa suporta na iniukol ninyo sa akin, sa pamilya ko (noong nandyan sila sa Kyoto), sa KAPS, at sa mga kapwa iskolar at Pinoy. Mas naging madali ang buhay ko sa Kyoto dahil sa tulong mo. Ang mga hamon at problema ay naging magaan dahil sa suporta na iniukol mo. Ipinagmamalaki kita bilang isang totoong tao na may puso at bilang isang Pilipino. Sa mga naging pagkukulang ko at kamalian, hinihingi ko ang iyong kapatawaran at habag. Kung hindi ako naging isang magandang halimbawa ng samahan dahil sa mga kabulastugan at kamunduhan ko, ipagpaumanhin mo. Hindi sana ito umukit sa iyong isipan at higit sa lahat maging kasukatan at pagkahusga ng buo kong pagkatao.

Isa kang haligi ng samahang Pinoy at higit sa lahat ng KAPS. Ang KAPS ay sama-sama nating binuo upang maging dambana ng ating pakikipagtulungan, pakikipag-kapwa sa mga katulad nating Pinoy iskolar sa Kyoto at sa buong Japan. Ang KAPS ay nagpapatunay ng kagalingan ng Pinoy, na kaya pala ng mga Pinoy ang magkaisa sa kabila ng gusot at pasakit ng buhay - na kung saan iwinawaksi ang pagkakanya-kanya at pagiging makasarili. Ang KAPS ay nabuo upang ipagmalaki ang mga pagpapahalaga, magandang tradisyon at kulturang Pinoy. Naging inspirasyon ko ang KAPS upang isipin na may pag-asa pa ang mga Pinoy at ang bansang Pilipinas sa kabila ng kahirapan at kawalang pag-asa sa sariling bansa. Dalangin ko na sa susunod pang mga araw, buwan at taon, ang KAPS ay mananatiling nakaukit sa ating mga puso at isipan, at ang pagpasa ng mga adhikain nito sa susunod pang mga Pinoy
iskolar sa Kyoto. Dahil dito nasa iyo ang susi upang maipagpatuloy at yumabong pa ito. Mas maipagpapatuloy pa ito kung may tulungan, pagpapakumbaba at pagkakaisa, kung tayo ay hindi tumitingin sa kamalian at pansariling interes, bagkus maisulong ang potensyal, talento at kagalingan ng bawat kasapi. Ituloy niyo ang mga magandang bagay na nasimulan natin.

Kung makauwi ka sa susunod na pagkakataon, tawag o email ka lang. Balitaan mo ako. Tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang mga kwentuhan natin. Update mo ako...(whether good or bad, not so good or not so bad news).

Muli, maraming-maraming salamat sa mga sandali ng samahan at pagiging kaibigan. Hontoni, iroiro arigato gozaimasu.

Mata, aimasho. Paalam…sa muli nating pagkikita, dito sa Pilipinas, sa Japan, o saan mang bahagi ng mundo (o kahit sa kabilang buhay pa...)

back to top


I Just Want To Be Loved by Nika Zenia Nasser*

His name’s Thusitha, Sri Lankan. District Engineer in Colombo. He’s about my father’s age. Haha. I’m exaggerating. Point is he’s way older.

We met at the bus. We were both on our way to the train station- I, to Kyoto and him to Namba or was it Tambabashi?

I don’t remember exactly. Writing a month later and many significant events in between, I forgot what business I had in Kyoto then.

I moved to Osaka eighteen days prior to my scheduled return to the Philippines. With the little time I had left in Japan, I wanted to attend all the parties and whatever happy happenings there were in the city I spent two years in. Ah, yeah. Maybe that’s what it was: I was to attend a party in Kyoto with the Pinoy Community.

He’s got companions. But I guess the novelty of my company brokered an irresistible charm. Haha. But I was not the least flattered. Like I said, he’s older- maybe three decades my senior. Nonetheless, I gave him a bright, broad beam. I felt obliged to indulge him in a chat: like a host to a guest, an entertainer to a patron.

I could not recall what we talked about. But I remember being polite. I had no choice. In the land of the rising sun, everyone is. (I might have encountered some crude or cranky creatures in Japan but it was so infrequent and, insignificant.)

If I were a decade younger I would have given him the sneer or if I felt being nice, a simper. But I’ve changed.

Was it the new environment?

Maybe. It was my first time to leave the country and the new experience must have altered my person.

When I was a child, I thought like a child: My world was confined to my clique. Anyone who didn’t belong didn’t belong. When I went to college and I was exposed to all these issues related to social stratification and its ramifications, I expanded my circle to everyone of my class. When I stepped out into a new territory where a visa was required, I realized the need to be more cosmopolitan.

I do not intend to forget everything I was. But I recognized my desire- necessity- to grow.

In the country I was born in I have family, relatives, friends, classmates, officemates, acquaintances, neighbors, community. Figuratively speaking, my entire world was my country. All my history happened in my country and although I never restricted myself to all that’s Pinoy, I never thought that my future would be far different from my past and my present. I could not believe that my forethought did not reach this other world called Japan.

My world used to be confined to issues and campaigns against tuition fees, dorm fees, library fees, and all other school fee increases; state universities and colleges clamoring for bigger education budget; jeepney drivers protesting against incessant oil price hike; the maninindas (vendors) fighting for their stalls when they were being evicted by university officials; the farmers holding demonstrations calling for genuine agrarian reform; intensification of militarization resulting to countless human rights violations; the workers demanding for wage hike. I joined countless street marches and made deafening outcries to end injustice and exploitation.

Then came Japan. Where the kids are protected, given genuinely free elementary and high school education; and the quality of education one gets does not depend on the depth of one’s pocket. Where farming is productive, mechanized and the farmers are protected, not exploited. Where salary from one job suffices to cover family expenses. Where some of my classmates, after a month or so of part-time job could afford travels abroad. Where there’s much free time to engage on sports and other productive personal endeavors. Where the citizens are respected, not violated. Where street marches are a rarity, the government serves its people. The citizens take pride in what the past generation has accomplished and will be bestowing them. And the citizens take pride in their efficient bureaucracy. The subjects respect the crown. The throne is in perpetual threat of being overthrown. There is order. Prosperity is enjoyed by the general public. Where the people are polite, life is beautiful and everything seems charming and lovely. I exposed myself for two years to that strange world, long enough for me to easily justify my reformed thinking.

This I must emphasize, though. Resistance was not absent. After all, clinging to everything familiar, the things we are accustomed to, is but normal. But we all mature. Rationality reigns. Change is irresistible. So, when I came home, I brought home with me the strange Japanese way. The conviviality: like a host to a guest, an entertainer to a patron. The politeness. The new perspective: life is beautiful and everything seems charming and lovely. That was the new attitude in the first few days.

It’s been more than a month now since I came back to the Philippines. Whenever I was asked how coming home felt, I would always retort, “It’s strange.”

I beamed when I landed at the NAIA because I could read all the signage and I understood the conversations I overhear. It’s wonderful to be reunited with family, relatives, friends, classmates, officemates, acquaintances, neighbors, community- the only place I used to call home.

Yet I can’t help but long for that place where the people are polite, life is beautiful and everything seems charming and lovely.

This morning I read the news about Luisito Bustamante, 22 years old. He was arrested in Davao City by the military on October 27 while distributing campaign materials for the barangay elections. Bustamante, confessed of being beaten black and blue while blindfolded. It was reported that in one of those beatings, he defecated in his own pants because of the pain (and the fear of more pain) and was made to swallow his own feces.

The other week I read in the papers the report about this young girl who died of suicide because of depression. She lost all hope that her family will ever get out of poverty so she ended her life by hanging herself.

The week before that it was reported that the president knew about the bribe being offered to her economic planning secretary by a high-ranking election officer so the former would approve a billiondollar project which was extremely overpriced and her husband was alleged to benefit from.

But that was only in the second front page of the dailies since a bigger news went out on the same day that a former president who did not complete his term because he was ousted from office and was by the way convicted by the country’s anti-graft court of charges of plunder was pardoned by the current president involved in a number of scams.

This country I call home. I love it dearly. But my ardor is unrequited. I can not manage to be convivial anymore.

Two years hence, poverty, injustice, exploitation remains.

My family, relatives, friends, classmates, officemates, acquaintances, neighbors, community- they all want to leave.

I wonder where’s Thusitha now.

*pseudonym

back to top


Mga Dakilang Pagpapanggap by Emily Antonio

Lunes na naman. Pasok sa zemi (seminar) room, tatlong minuto bago alas tres ng hapon. Kuha ng hand-out, hanap ng upuan sa likod ng silid at greet sa mga kakilalang Japanese students. Pag dumating na ang mga sensei (teachers), wala nang tawa-tawa, seryoso na ang lahat. Ang assigned moderator ay magsasalita na – ipapakilala nya ang mga presentor sa araw na iyon. Ang unang presentor ay pupunta na agad sa gitna at magsisimula ng i-explain ang research paper nya o published paper ng ibang researcher sa pamamagitan ng powerpoint. Nakakatuwa dahil ang original paper minsan na isinulat sa English ay tinatranslate sa Nihongo. Halos lahat ay Nihongo na, ibig sabihin ay nakasulat na ito sa kanji, hiragana at katakana! Kahit nga description ng mga tables at figures, kanji na rin! Buti na lang at hindi ginagalaw ang abstract (buod) ng study, at yon lang ang binabasa ko ng paulit-ulit.

Ang hindi ko maintindihan ay kung bakit nagiging pare-pareho ang mga boses nila kung sila ay nagpe-present ng paper. Nagiging mahina ang boses at hindi nag-iiba ang intonasyon ng mga salita. Kaya nagiging monotonous at napaka-boring talaga!

Ang ginagawa ko sa mga panahong ganito para hindi makatulog sa aking upuan ay ganito; pagkatapos kong maintindihan ang abstract, nilalagyan ko ng hiragana ang mga kanji na naalala ko. Magandang review sa kanji vocabulary ko. Pagkatapos ay kinukurot ko ang aking sarili o di kaya ay dinidiin ko ang aking palad sa kabila kong palad hanggang sa ito’y mamula. Ito din kasi ang ginagawa ko noon sa boring kong klase noong ako’y nasa kolehiyo pa. At nakikita ko ding ginagawa ng mga estudyante ko sa boring kong klase noong ako’y nagtuturo na! Hehehe… Ito nga siguro ang sinasabing “cycle of life.”

Akala ko noon ako lang ang bored sa zemi dahil nga hindi ko maiintindihan. Aba! Ang mga Hapong estudyante rin pala, at mas malala pa! Ang parating sa harapan ko ay isang estudyanteng pagtitingnan mo akala mo ay nagbabasa ng hand-out dahil nakatitig pababa sa papel at hindi gumagalaw ang kanyang maliliit na mata. Ay naku! Yon pala, nakapikit at natutulog na ang loko! At pag naririnig nyang nagpapalit na ng page sa hand-out, dalidali din nyang pinapalitan ang page ng hand-out nya…. tapos pikit uli. Hmmm… Mapagpanggap!

Meron ding klarex talagang natutulog! Nakapikit, gumagalaw ang ulo – front, back, right, left, pero hindi humihilik. Nakakabilib, ayaw ng magpanggap!

Nakakatuwa din yung nakahawak sa kanyang kanyang nakayukong ulo. Seryosong-seryoso, halos magsing-abot na ang mga kilay. Pagkatapos ng presentasyon, akala mo ay marami syang tanong dahil mukha talagang interesado sya sa pagbabasa ng hand-out at pakikinig sa nagsasalita. Hay naku! Ni isang beses hindi ko pa syang naririnig na magtanong o magbigay ng kuro-kuro! Hindi ko matantya kung naiintindihan nga nya lahat kaya wala syang masabi o kagaya ko ring nagpapanggap!

Ang aking paboritong katabi ay nakakapag-Inggles ng kaunti, kaya gusto kong maupo sa tabi nya dahil pag may tanong ako, walang sawa nya itong sinasagot sa pamamagitan ng pagsulat sa likod ng handout ko, kahit na halatang nahihirapan sya. Nakakatuwa rin sya dahil sulat sya ng sulat sa hand-out nya. Kunting pahinga, sulat ulit. Kunting tingin sa presentasyon, sulat ulit. Alam nyo bang rainbow colors pa ang ginagamit nyang ballpen. Ibig sabihin may color-coding pa sya sa pagte-take note! Napakacolorful ng kanyang pagpapanggap.

May isa ring estudyante na gustong-gusto kong tingnan, hindi lang dahil gwapo sya, kundi dahil nakakakuha talaga ng pansin ang malimit na pagtango nya habang may nagpe-present. Ang pagtango ay senyales na ang nakikinig ay nakakaintindi sa pinag-uusapan. Pero ang isang ito ay sobra naman ang pagtango, mga 20 na tango sa isang minuto! Baka palaging masakit ang leeg nya o paraan nya yon para manatiling gising. Magaling na pagpapanggap.

Kabaliktaran naman ang isa kong katabi. Akala mo ay hindi nakikinig dahil paminsan-minsan lang tumitingin sa presentasyon o sa hand-out. Kadalasan ay nakatitig sa mesa, sa dingding o sa sahig. Pero sa oras ng tanungan, aba napakarami nyang tanong na sa palagay ko ay halos may-sense naman dahil tumatango ang mge sensei pag nagtatanong sya… O baka nagpapanggap din ang mga sensei?

Oo nga. Ngayon ang mga sensei naman. Tatlong sensei ang palaging umuupo sa zemi. Ang pinakamatanda ay palaging natutulog, minsan lang nagtatanong. Pinapabayaan na lang kasi malapit na daw mag-retire. Ang dalawang nakababatang propesor naman ay napaka-aktibo na halos silang dalawa lang ang nagtatanong. Minsan nga ang tanong ng isa ay sinasagot din ng isa! Kaya parang silang dalawa lang ang nag-uusap sa loob ng kalahating oras. Nakalimutan ata nila ang nag-present!

Sa palagay ko, ang pagkakaroon ng zemi ay nakakatulong ng malaki sa mga studyanteng hapon. Bakit? 1.) Nakapagbibigay oportunidad sa mga studyante na malaman ang iba’t-ibang pag-aaral sa buong mundo, lalo na’t napakaraming journals sa library at napakabilis ang internet. 2.) Natututo silang magcritique ng mga pag-aaral ng ibang researchers na experto na sa field na ito. 3.) Napa-practice ang kanilang pag-intindi sa engles kapag tinatranslate nila ang English article sa nihongo. 4.) Nagkakaroon sila ng mga bagong ideya na pwede nilang gamitin sa sarili nilang research. 5.) Magandang training din ito sa paggamit ng iba’t-ibang softwares sa computer gaya ng powerpoint, illustrator, photoshop, excel, at iba pa. 6.) Nagde-develop din ang self confidence ng mga studyante (pero minsan nasusubrahan nga lang) kapag sila ay nagpe-present sa harap ng kapwa studyante at propesor. 7.) At ang pinakagusto ko ay ang pagkatapos ng zemi, wala na ang mga sensei sa late tea time (6pm), nag-a-update ang bawat isa sa kanilang sariling research at nagkakaroon ng constructive criticism sa bawat isa.

Nakakatuwa sila di ba? Pwedeng-pwede palang gawing tagalog o bisaya o iloggo o ilokano ang mga seminars/klase sa Pilipinas. Hindi ko maintindihan kung bakit pinapa-attend ako ng aking sensei sa zemi na ito, e alam naman nyang wala akong naiintindihan sa loob ng tatlong oras! Feeling ko nasasayang lang ang oras ko dito. Di bale, natutuwa naman akong pagmasdan ang mga katabi ko. At dahil wala akong mapagsabihan nito, sinusulat ko na lang sa likod ng dala kong notebook. Akala nila nagte-take note ako. Nagsusulat pala ng storya tungkol sa kanila. Ito ay isang masayang paraan ng pagpapanggap, di ba?

back to top


Ang Mga Bagong DICTs by Benedict San Jose

Kitang-kita nga naman sa wika ng mga Filipino ang pagiging malikhain nya. At kahit dito sa Japan, meron din mga bagong mga salita ang nagawa galing sa wikang Pilipino at Hapon. Aming inilista ang iilang mga salita sa Tahonggo (Tagalog at Nihonggo) Dictionary, Kyoto-ben edition.

Sorrymasen
Sorry + Sumimasen
e.g., (Nautot sa tren) “Minnasama Sorimasen, ne!

Chotto Minute
Chotto matte + Wait a minute
e.g.
A: “Hoy maglaba ka na!”
B: “Chotto Minute at tatapusin ko muna itong sinaing

Arigathanks
Arigatou + Thanks
e.g.
A: “Ito na yung polvoron mo”
B: “Arigathanks!

Pwedesu
Puwede + desu
e.g.
1. (Sa Fushimi Youth Center) “Uy! Ok yung chinuchurva na Chinese ni Jon. Pwedesu!
2. “Anata no shashin o toritai desu kedo, pwedesu ka?”

Taranashou
Tara na + mashou
e.g., (Sa loob ng Karaoke Room) “Oi! 10 mins overtime na tayo. Taranashou!

Watashi pa
Watashi + Ako pa
e.g.
A: “Ready kana sa exam natin bukas?”
B: “Oo naman, Watashi pa!

other forms:
Anata pa
e.g., “Syempre malakas ka sa akin, Anata pa!

Watashi tachi pa
e.g. “Sisiw lang yang Philippine day na yan, watashitachi pa

Kainashou
Kain na + deshou
e.g., (Sa Shakey’s Sanjo) “Galit-galit muna, Kainashou!

Ayokomasen
Ayaw ko + masen
e.g.
A: “Nood tayo sine”
B: “Ayokomasen, mahal eh

Tabite Kudasai
Tabi (te form) + kudasai
e.g., (May dumadaang bisikleta sa sidewalk) “May dadaan, tabite kudasai

back to top


Untitled by Nova Navo
09 November 2006

We were 15 in class, only 5 were women. We used to be 16, but one man chickened-out. He was a sit-in, a Linguistics Major. He said he didn’t know anything about International Governance and Democracy and just wanted to satisfy his curiosity. He was probably drowned by the flood of information. We might have touched on a lot of things on the first day. Maybe he was yet catching his breath. Haha! Well, what did he expect, it was an intensive course. What should be discussed in 15 sessions was squeezed in a week.

I can’t blame the drop out. I must admit theprofessor was a bit demanding. His readings were voluminous and exacting-definitely not for beginners, though I must say I was impressed by the lecturer’s selection of materials. He wanted to cover a vast scope of topics which reflected his extent of knowledge. His texts were meaty. I could see that he liked brushing elbows with the great thinkers in his field. His name was imprinted on the title of some of the essential readings, either as co-author or sighted for his comments. He must have a reputation at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

For some reason I found myself a bit jumpy in his class. Maybe I was intimidated by him. I mean, he seem so young (and mighty good-looking, too, if I may add.) I think he was only in his thirties then, and already he has been publishing theoretical books on international relations and political economy. He said he’s into this ambitious research-I think it’s about cosmopolitan democracy or the legitimacy of international organizations or something in that line.

His English wasn’t perfect. It’s his third language. He’s half German, half Italian. He explained the IR theories as if he was imparting to the class how his day went-boring as usual. Haha. His indifference was charming. Maybe it was just me but I found it quite interesting how one perceives globalization as a myth when I, in contrast, can sense it everywhere.

First day was all his. That was four and a half hours of him talking-with only a few interruptions whenever some smart aleck pops in some mind-boggling contradiction in the theory he’s expounding on.

I am pleased with my peers-they all seem mature and informed. I got a lot from their inputs. It’s amazing how diverse minds from different worlds produce varied perspectives.

The multi-cultural class composition truly enriched the exchange in viewpoints. My classmatescame from various regions in the globe: a state intranstition from the former USSR, from a European Union-member country, from an African state, from China, Japan and Indonesia. (I feel the need to specifically mention these three Asian countries. I do not subscribe to the delusion that ‘All Asians look the same.’)

Everyone valued everyone else’s opinion. In the forum, a fellow from a developing country has as much right to speak as the fellow from a super-power. Hegemony is abhorred. Openness and tolerance guide the argumentation and debate that followed every presentation.

Grievances from neighboring Indonesia against imperial Japan were frequent. China and Uzbekistan, though not really in collision, weren’t also in harmony. Hungary and South Africa fit in satisfactorily in the persona of a dual citizen. A German married to a Japanese was most concerned about sovereignty issues. (How times has changed!) In such an atmosphere, one is forced to consider things in a broader perspective.

Therein, I was as much a voice from the tiny Philippine archipelago as I was a citizen of the world.

back to top


 
© 2006 - 2009 Kyoto Association of Pinoy Scholars