When I first entered U.P. decades ago (I don't mind that my age is showing, with ageing gracefully, hopefully comes wisdom), I was taught to observe, to ask questions, to be vigilant, and to say what needed saying. I learned that in the classrooms, in FGDs, and in rallies. I learned it well, and as I lived my life I found that that could be a blessing...or a curse.
At a blind date in a bar in EDSA Shangri-La mall, there was a promo for condoms (I forgot which brand). These pretty girls dressed in skimpy clothing gave the guys in my table condoms. When I asked, "What about me?" The girl answered, "Oh, it's only for the boys." And I replied (years of conditioning and working at a very progressive foundation), "You should give the girls, too." She looked at me like I was crazy. By this time, my blind date was turning apoplectic with embarassent at my audacity, I presume. I looked him in the eye and tried to explain myself. "Women should have that choice. It is after all, our bodies." He stared at me like he has never seen a thinking female before and said, "U.P. ka nga!" It sounded like a curse when he said it. He was obviously from "the other university" and needless to say, I never saw him again. Now, that, was a blessing. LOL.
At work, I earned the ire of some my officemates when I didn't agree to something they wanted to do, because I was following office policy. Sure, I have been known to bend policy now and then, but not when it meant the destruction of the foundation's and my core values as a human being. Those who didn't get that are still not talking to me now. That could be a curse or a blessing, depending on your point of view. Because I continued to work with them for a time, it was a curse pretending that everything was honky-dory.
At a social event with GMA, when my daughter Kahlo, loudly asked, "Mama, where is the President?" GMA, graciously bowed down in front of her, and said, "I am the president." I had to bite my lip to refrain from saying "Not for looong..." (This happened at a time when there were many rallies against her.) My eyes met my husband's and I knew from the quirk of his mouth that he was thinking the same thing. U.P. din siya. Hehehe.
So what is my point? Well, I guess I'm just saying that it's second-nature to me to ask questions and demand answers...until I'm satisfied. The words that toppled a dictatorship still run through the back of my mind everytime. "Kung hindi tayo kikibo, sino ang kikibo? Kung hindi tayo kikilos, sino ang kikilos? Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?" That is why I live my life in constant danger...Of being booted out of parties. Hahaha. So sa mga nakukulitan na sa akin, pasensiya na. U.P. kasi ako, eh. LOL.
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