Wednesday, April 7, 2010

White hair chronicles XXIV

Two weeks ago, more than thirty years after my elementary graduation, I was invited to the recognition day of my beloved San Juan Elementary School, a public school. I was asked to speak before excellent kids from Grade 1 to Grade 6. When they were told the year of my graduation, a teacher was heard to remark he wasn't born yet at that time.

Indeed, it was a long time ago. I have gone full circle. I remember having received some of those awards myself. Anyway, I told them the usual blah-blahs. I told them that their time spent in those classrooms will serve them in good stead later in life. That being a long time San Juan residents, my father, my siblings and I all graduated from the school.

I also told them that my even if my batch went on to different schools, we all had an easy time not just because of the lessons learned but also because of the discipline acquired. I told them I had the chance to work abroad and I observed Filipinos to have the ability to adapt to any situation. We are also persevering - matiyaga. That is why there are many Filipinos able to find work everywhere. Those traits – perseverance, discipline, adaptability - I learned at SJES.

It was also a nostalgic trip for me. The gym where the program was held is the same grounds where we played running games. In hindsight, there are many things I failed to say to the kids and their parents. I would have wanted to tell them that the '70s were difficult times. It was a time when one man tried to stay in power forever. It was also Erap's first term as mayor. And his family has controlled San Juan politics since then. We are still in difficult times today. Today we still have one person who wants to stay in power forever. Times have not changed much.

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