For the past few days, I got the chance to visit Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila for a couple of reasons. As an employment requirement, I have to get my Transcript of Records from the University Registrar. And I also volunteered as a facilitator for a Student Summit co-organized by our resident members from the Bukluran Student Alliance.
Regarding my academic documents that our HR Department requires me to submit, I was, at first, bad trip for having to go through the hassle of not enjoying a rest day. Just the mere idea of commuting from Quezon City to downtown Manila is discouraging enough especially these hot days of summer.
But when I landed in the place that housed my scholarly, activist and fraternity activities for a few years, I never thought that it’ll nurse some sentimentalism and inject enjoyment in this tiring world.
The offices that I need to visit gave me the chance to reminisce some scenes especially of arguments with the PLM powers-that-be, learn of some new people in some old positions (a few are even contemporaries during my PLM days) and get long lost friends’ contacts (as two employees as moms of former orgmates— which I have to admit somehow hastened the usually tedious process of getting a clearance… hehe).
One of the best scenes, albeit trivial, was the part when I saw English Professor Adil (not to be confused with Opposition Spokesperson and PLM President Adel Tamano ;p) at the Celso Carunungan Library. The story of a friend that submitted I Will Survive lyrics in prose style to Prof. Adil as an essay assignment almost made Conan D’ Librarian (yes, that mood-swinging librarian is still there) mad at me. What’s worse is that my friend’s “essay” got an uno!? Dumb Adil. The same dumb Adil, I must say, as she still looks clueless on what she should do. She is actually standing in front of a table looking around the library the whole time that such a wacky scene is flashing in my mind.
The second part of my “homecoming” is more political than the first; a student summit entitled Youth Challenge. But as we’re enjoying the intermission by folk singer Noel Cabangon, another scene flashed cerebrally that if I remember it right, it seems that it was decade since a nationally-relevant activity was held at the Justo Albert Auditorium. I think it is due to Manila Mayor Lito Atienza’s Pro-Gloria politics and his cohort former PLM President Tayabas’ conservatism.
I can still remember that then Anakbayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes was one of the speakers then together with Senator Raul Roco. Imagine that Nato is now the spokesperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan! That reveals my age. Hehe. The same activity actually persuaded me to go find another activist group other than LFS (Anakbayan failed to establish a chapter in PLM until this day) because Reyes can’t answer simple questions straightly then, way far from his eloquence in his present TV interviews.
Back to the summit, the chance of being one of the facilitators also led me to the conclusion that there is still no radicalization among the students. Yes (to my and a lot of people’s dismay), that is even after the NBN-Lozada-bubukol po ito-probinsyanong intsik-soap opera.
Some of the students are still sharp and intelligent though, I must say. I can’t even dare assert that they are passive as attending a political summit while their friends may be enjoying Boracay or Puerto Galera is being active in itself, or actively curious at least.
Well, at least, it is better than the time of ebb. Student leaders and social movements, in PLM and in other schools, should capture the youth’s imagination for them to be aroused into progressive action for social change.
If they can’t do it, they might as well go back to school and assess what made them act when they’re much younger or mere students before.