Category Archives: CULTURE
Speech @ SPVA Flag Ceremony
Yesterday, a friend, Kenji, came to me and asked, “what are your core values?”
I answered, “integrity, authenticity, family, faith/religion, wisdom/learning, and influence.”
That time, his mind was cluttered, therefore he further inquired, “how do you know these are your values?”
My simple reply was, “values are the things important to us.”
My dear friends, what are the things important to you? There are your values. Values are the ball-bearings of our actions. Our decisions are grounded in our values and belief systems. To put it simply, the choices we take and the decisions we make are propelled by our values.
As an example, if my value is honesty, I will never cheat in the exams because my values say, cheating is dishonest. If I value my family, I will never do anything to disobey and disrespect my parents – because after all, they are important to me.
So I say, we do what we do because it is propelled by our values.
Kenji’s inquiry didn’t stop there. He wanted to know how he can form his own value system.
There’s the rub. Students and friends, I have a good news – that is, values can be learned. Here, I want to show the connection between habits, values, and virtues.
Habits are formed through repetition of a similar act. Then these habits that are formed through the repetition of a similar act would reveal a deeper meaning aside from the act itself. That deeper meaning is what we call values. When one no longer sees the act itself but the reason and purpose behind its performance, then one has already placed a value on the specific act.
So, again, I ask you, “what are important to you?” Socrates said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Therefore today, I direct you to a contemplation – to an examination of your values.
Is discipline your value? Then you must be behaving in the class. Is honesty your value? Then you must be honest in the exams. Is obedience your value? Then you must obey your teachers and parents alike.
And finally, is the Eucharist, or the Mass, valuable to you?
If so, there must be a multitude of SPVA Students flocking in the church every Sunday knowing that it is not only an obligation as Catholics to celebrate the Mass but rather an understanding that it is a deeper encounter with the Lord Jesus Himself.
My wish for you all is that you make the Eucharist and all heavenly things a value in your life.
Thank you and have a wonderful day!
This beautiful poem which has a lot to say about human relations was featured at a best-selling book entitled “How to Win Friends and Influence People” written by Dale Carnegie in 1937.
Teachers, Parents, and other people and institutions who handle youth and children ought to read this fascinating piece of literature.
Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.
There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.
At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply,
“Hold your shoulders back!”
Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive‐and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!
Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped. You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither.
And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs. Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me?
The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding‐this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.
And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!
It is feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy‐a little boy!”
I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.
When I was preparing for my final demonstration teaching in college, I remembered a literary piece told to us by our teacher. It was letter of a father to his daughter who is planning to get married.
I decided to look for it over the internet but in vain. So I grabbed the book from our library and made the copy available online for future students’ benefit. I hope this copy gives you more convenience and a lot of comfort – so that my manual re-typing of the text from the book would be worth it.
The relationship the father and daughter was evident in the text as well as the father’s unprejudiced response. So here it is, “Letter to a Daughter” written by Arthur Gordon.
Letter To A Daughter
By Arthur Gordon
Your letter arrived this morning, and I wasn’t too surprised by it. Ever since you went back to boarding school I’ve had the feeling that you might tell your mother and me that you and Bob want to be married this summer, after graduation. And now you’ve said it.
You ask how I feel about it. Well, not as instantly and automatically negative as you probably expect. I’m pleased that you want my approval, or at least my opinion. Let’s take a long cool look at the pluses and minuses of teen-age marriages.
The biggest plus is that marriage is the best solution to that most ancient and urgent of problems: sex. Nobody should underestimate this, because sex without fear or guilt is about 10,000 times better than sex that is hung up on broken taboos and lacerated consciences. In our society marriage tends to be postponed, for economic or educational reasons, far beyond the time when it makes good biological sense.
A second great advantage in young marriages is flexibility. Your personalities are lithe. You and Bob can adapt to each other, to new environments, new problems. Your ideas aren’t fixed, your attitudes aren’t rigid. Also, you have optimism that assumes things are going to work out, or that even if they don’t, errors can be corrected, losses regained. This kind of exuberance often disappears as people grow up.
Another cheerful fact is that when you marry young, you are more likely to develop similar tastes – in friends, in entertainment, in political candidates. These similarities are the ball bearings in the mechanism of any marriage: the more of them, the better. As one grows older and more fixed in his ways, it is harder to find people whose tastes are similar. Another plus is that being young, you have tremendous physical energy, great vitality and good health.
Finally, you have a superabundance of romantic love. Cynics are always pointing out that isn’t enough, in the long run, to make a marriage go. Maybe they are right. But certainly nothing on earth is so exciting and mysterious and rewarding as this first almost unbearable sweet desire to escape from the prison of self and become part of another person. Whether the glow lasts or not, having it is something to be proud of and grateful for always.
When young lovers look up at the full moon in the night sky they don’t stop to think that it has a dark side. But it has. The presiding judge of a domestic-relations court in California listed five factors most likely to bring such marriages crashing down: 1. Money troubles; 2. immaturity; 3. cultural gap; 4. interfering in-laws; 5. pre-marital pregnancy.
Money troubles, the judge said, are the most frequent single cause of teen-age marriage failure. Often, teen-age husbands are jobless; those who work earn so little; this leaves no margin for error; no money for fun, for illness, or for a baby. Usually it means living with in-laws. It all adds up to trouble. Even if Bob gets a subsidy from his parents, it will mean that he is not really the head of the household – he will still be dependent. He might try borrowing from his Dad but debt is not a good springboard for marriage.
The second great hazard according to this judge is immaturity. This means self-centeredness, inability to compromise or see other points of view, or to rise above hurt feelings or postpone immediate pleasures in favor of future benefits, or to do unpleasant chores when they need to be done instead of putting them off. Trying to be mature is of course a lifetime job. “Love” someone said, “is the accurate estimate and fulfillment of another’s needs.”
The judge mentioned the “cultural gap” in our socially stratified society as another hazard. This means differences in food, in speech, in pastimes, in grooming, in dress, in the kind of people you are comfortable with. When teens with such different cultural backgrounds marry, he said, it is usually because the biological attraction is so strong that it blots all other considerations. He advises young people to try a 48-hour experiment: spend 24 hours in each other’s homes with no love-making at all. If boy and girl remain pleased with each other’s family and way of life, and if without any physical contact they are not bored with each other, then, there is hope for the future.
The fourth deadly factor is interfering in-laws. Where young marriages are concerned, the judge said, in-laws too, often become outlaws. They criticize, they meddle, they make demands. However, I don’t think your parents are much like that, or Bob’s parents either.
All this discussion brings me to a question that you will not like, but that needs to be asked: Why don’t you wait a while? Neither of you has had much exposure, romantically speaking, to other people. Neither of you has been in love before. Neither of you knows what the great big supermarket of the world has to offer because, to put it bluntly, you haven’t shopped around. A year from now, one of you might have a change of heart. In that interval, somebody else might come along who would make an even better life partner. Such waiting period would be a pretty solid test of the durability of your affection. Maybe you don’t owe any such test to your parents, but you owe it to each other.
Whether you take this advice or reject it, you may be sure of one thing: nothing is going to change the way I feel about you. People say that the generation gap is unbridgeable but I don’t believe it. Do you really think that parents forget how lonely and vulnerable being a teenager can be, how desperately you need someone to lean on sometimes?
I remember the stormy night you were born, almost 18 years ago. I was waiting by myself in the hospital room assigned to your mother. The hospital was very quiet. Then I heard a baby’s cry – the delivery room was far down the corridor, through two or three sets of doors. I should not have been able to hear anything at all. But I did hear that one sharp, poignant, far-off sound. Something in me knew it was you. Later I found out from the doctor that it was you.
I have always liked to think that no matter what happened or how many doors came between us, we would always be able to hear from each other.
What does the term Tradition really mean? Is it opposed to the Bible? The sola scriptura principle of the Protestant Reformation assumed it was — here we examine this assumption in the light of a few key scriptures.
One of the great battle cries of the Protestant Reformation was “sola scriptura!” Many thought that the Catholic Church had cluttered up the simple Christian faith by adding all sorts of practices, customs and doctrines over the centuries. They thought the Church in their day was guilty of exactly the same Pharisaical obsession with traditions condemned by Jesus in this Sunday’s gospel (Mark 7:1-23). The solution, it seemed, was simple. Let’s purify the Church by ditching all these traditions and keeping the Bible alone.
But if we read this portion of the Bible closely, the Lord is not telling us that tradition is a dirty word. His apostle Paul, in fact, tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 to “hold fast to the traditions you received from us, either by our word or by letter.”
“Tradition” simply means something that is handed or passed on from one person to another, one generation to another. One question to ask when examining any particular “tradition” is where it came from. Its value depends on its origin. Did it come from Jesus? His apostles? Some pious believers who lived centuries later? The traditions Paul passed down were divine (from the Lord) and apostolic traditions, like the meaning and importance of the Eucharist (1 Corinthians 11:23-34) or the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus (I Cor 15:3-11) and so were of the utmost importance.
The traditions of the Pharisees were quite a different matter. They were not of themselves evil. But they were pious customs of human origin passed down to support the living out of the law.Unfortunately, the Pharisees were incapable of distinguishing divine law from its human support system. Worse than that, they actually used pious customs as loopholes to help them get around the difficult demands of the Torah.
If you get your Bible out and read the full text of Mark chapter 7, you’ll get a clearer picture of this.Everyone knows that when God gave Moses and the Israelites the 10 commandments, he meant business. The fourth commandment, “honor your father and mother,” means not just that young kids ought to do what their parents tell them, but that adult children should provide for the financial needs of aging parents, assuring they live out their declining years in honor and dignity. But the Pharisees found a religious custom that absolved them from this weighty responsibility. They “dedicated” their money to God and thereby “sheltered” it, making it unavailable for parental support.
It’s not the tradition that’s the problem here, but the deviousness of the human heart that will use piety as an excuse to evade the obligations of true religion, which include, our second reading tells us, looking after orphans and widows and presumably elderly relatives in their distress (James 1:27).
And this is exactly Jesus’ point in this Sunday’s gospel. The kinds of foods we eat don’t make us spiritually impure. No, it is the foul things that come out of the deep recesses of the human heart, wounded by original sin, that separate us from God and each other and lead to all the misery in this world.
The Pharisees thought they’d purify Israel through dietary laws and religious customs.Protestant Reformers of the 16th century thought they could purify the church by leaving behind ecclesiastical traditions and customs. History has proven both endeavors to be futile.
The answer is simple. Let’s just commit ourselves to radical obedience to God’s Word. Let’s admit our need, our sinfulness, our tendency to make excuses, and humbly, genuinely lay open our lives and hearts before God’s word and listen. As Moses tells us in Deuteronomy (4:1-8) and James tells us in his letter, let’s do more than listen. Let’s really hear and obey. Let’s give ourselves no wiggle room, but act on God’s word, regardless of how much it may cost us.
♣ Same Sex Marriage in the World
“I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” U.S. President Barrack Obama tells Robin Roberts in an ABC News Exclusive Interview in May 9. The President expressed his support for same-sex marriage as he said he believes it’s important to “treat others the way you would want to be treated.”
Apparently, Obama’s view on marriage has changed throughout his political career. It is notable that he supported same-sex marriage before becoming president, but then changed that view when he ran for national office in 2006. He has always supported civil unions and opposed the recognition of some same-sex couple’s benefits. His view on the idea of marriage has evolved since taking office and he has now confirmed that he supports gay marriage.
♣ Same Sex Marriage in the Philippines
This issue in the U.S. made the legalization of same-sex marriage in the Philippines a hot topic of debates in the island. To put more wood on the fire, same sex unions have been officiated by the group Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in Baguio City since last year. As the same sex marriages were publicized, MCC’s Myke Sotero said more same sex couples have applied to be wed by the group.
In BPSU, I noticed that there are students who live up the saying “birds of the same feather flock together”. They are students who are involved in same sex relationship.
I took the courage and was given a chance to interview two of these couples – I called them couples for they live deliberately on the same house and the only thing that’s missing in them is marriage which is currently not allowed in the Philippines. Justin and Carl, not their real names have been living together for three years now.
I asked Justin how they manage to live at home and in the community they belong to, especially in BPSU. He said that their family accepts who they are including their same sex partners, and with that he is very thankful. Carl, Justin’s partner, added that when it comes to school, there are also others who are in relationships like them so they are not timid about it.
When asked what their view on same sex marriage is, they said that if only same sex marriage is legal in the Philippines, they would have been married already. This is the same answer I got from Mark and Alvin, their pseudo names, when I asked if they are in favor of same sex marriage. They further explained that if the community is able to accept their relationship, what more if it becomes legalized.
But despite of these clamor for its legalization, the Philippines seem to have closed its doors for same sex marriage. In an article from the Philippine Star last May 11 this year, Edwin Lacierda, a spokesman of President Benigno Aquino III said that “same sex marriage in the Philippines is legally impossible.” He added that “our laws are very clear on the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.”
♣ Same Sex Marriage in the Moral and Legal Standards
Lacierda said that the Philippines and the U.S. have a different “cultural milieu” when it comes to the topic. Apparently, Philippine law makers still uphold and consider the natural law as the source and standard of the laws they pass.
Before passing a law, legislators weigh the gravity its effect to the morale of the people. Here’s the rub. You may have already heard of the familiar saying “not all that is legal is moral, but what is moral is worth legalizing.” Simply stated, you can make something legal, but you can’t make it right. There is a difference between being legal and being moral. There were lots of things in the past that were legal but immoral. Apartheid was legal in South Africa, but it wasn’t moral. Among others, it was a violation of transcendent human rights and ought to have been abolished.
What is legal isn’t always moral. There is a legal right but it may be in violation of a transcendent right, and this is why we take exception. Same sex marriage may be legalized but it remains immoral as it is now.
The Archbishop of Glasgow, Mario Conti, warned politicians not to ignore “the wisdom that is handed down generation to generation in communities of faith” in seeking to give people equal rights.
Politicians seem ready to redefine marriage without any reference to children, or to the natural law written on the heart of mankind, putting the claim of ‘equality and diversity’ on a higher level than faith and reason, and ultimately asserting the moral equivalence between marriage and same-sex unions.
The more that those in government and the judiciary slip society’s moorings from the capstans of virtue, the more our society will descend further into ethical confusion and moral disintegration. Until now, the destiny of this curious case of same sex marriage in our country lies in the hands of its lawmakers, legislators, and politicians.
“The Crucible” [도가니], is a South Korean Movie (originally a Novel written Gong Ji-Young) based on a true story of deaf students at Gwangju Inhwa School who were sexually abused by the Head Masters and a teacher in the early 2000.
The children lost the case. However, the film has sparked public outcry over lenient court rulings, prompting police to reopen the case and lawmakers to introduce bills for the human rights of the vulnerable.
After watching the film, I was able to come up with this aphorism:
Some says that we should change the world. Still others, says that we should not change the world but our attitudes. But I say, “we should neither change the world nor our attitudes. we should just not let the world change us!”
I pray that all those who have the chance to watch it will be moved; that the people who were wronged be justified; and the people who were involved in this crime against the helpless and hopeless children be punished accordingly.
Below are some links to the film and to the original case.
Official trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3BUIreDAeY&feature=player_embedded
Just finished watching the final episode of Dong Yi [동이]..
What i learned about the life of the Royal Noble Consort Suk of the Choi clan [숙빈최씨] is that:
“a man will be bright/radiant, and successful when he has great intentions and great heart.”
I wasn’t aware that a text message I was reading is a song.
At first I thought that it was just another boring quotation on love.
However, when a friend told me that it was his favorite song, I immediately looked for it in the internet.
I found out that it is another amazing Filipino Song. I’m very particular when it comes to music. I have a discriminating taste that made me like Filipino Bands less. However, this one made an impact. It did not only catch my attention by its lyrics, the tune and harmony also made it unique and appealing!
We have heard and seen “women clamoring for equality to men.” Most women, if not all, would strongly agree and support this advocacy. Who will ever oppose that women can now do what men can do? Just the mere notion of it is indeed laudable. Equality is indeed good and visible.
However, in a seminar on Human Rights and Sexual harassment held in our school, Bataan Peninsula State University, Mrs. Magdalena A. Abella, Director of BPSU Center of Human Rights Education (CHRE) said and I quote, “Ang mga babaeng nanghihingi ng equality sa mga lalaki, TANGA!” (Women who asks for equality with men are stupid.) Her audience were obviously flabbergasted as she said this.
In our bewilderment, we asked her of her reason for making such statement. Mrs. Abella said, “why do I have to ask for equality wherein she is far more superior than men?”
Inspired by this thought, I strongly agree that women are in a sense far more superior than men because of several reasons. One of those reasons for example is that, when a woman/lady/girl rides a bus and there is no more seat available for her, men will offer their seats to the woman/lady/girl.
However, these times, when there is no more seats for you, some men would not even care to give you their seats. Why? Because you are now equal. So why would they bother to have you seated when you yourself have clamored for that equality!?
Another example is on courtship. In previous years, men buy flowers, chocolates, etc. to win a lady’s heart. But since these women ask for equality, let them be. Let them be the one to court us men! Isn’t it equality? We are now allowing women to court us. They can now do courting that is solely an effort made by men before. It’s fair enough and equal, isn’t it?
By writing this, I do not wish to intimidate women whosoever. For I am pretty surrounded by women precious in my heart. All four of my sisters and my mother were of course, obviously, women. Most of my friends are girls too. I love women and I respect them.
In light of this article, I like everybody to realize that men and women are like salt and pepper. They were created as complements and not as competitors. We may have differences in our ideals and aspirations, but let us just leave them the way they are.
Beloved women, men care for you and we love you. You don’t have to clamor for equality for we esteem you with high regard. You are our mothers, sisters, and friends, and we even regard you as more than our equals. By the thought itself of being a woman should bear in you a great pride.
I hope and pray that one day, I will no longer hear the clamor of women asking for equality with men. Rather, I want to hear women saying, “I am a woman. I am important, and I am loved. I do not ask or beg for equality with men. For in some instance, I have even been far more superior than men; and that from the beginning, I have been their equal and complement.”