Posted by: nastypen | March 22, 2007

Foot in Mouth Disease

Dear Senator Manny Villar,

I was watching the news last night and you were interviewed about your views on education. Of course, as a senate reelectionist, the precious sound bites on the nightly news make it seem to the electorate that one is doing something about the issues that hound the land.

You could have made your remark about a bigger budget allocation for education as opposed to pandering to the military. How about the obliteration of the pork barrel and allocate it to the dilapidated schools nationwide? How about he proposal to abolish the senate because nothing seems to happen there anyway, just reactive senate inquiries. You could help alleviate the public school teachers’ plight by suggesting better job benefits. Might I remind you that hunger is still present in most of the country and that poor nutrition means poor performance at school. Then there was that issue of the Marcos billions being used by some of the officials of the Dept. of Agrarian Reform to purchase mobile phone cards, whereas we cannot give public school teachers more incentives.

You should have said something proactive.

But no.

Watch and weep.

Perhaps it was the fault of the news’ editing, perhaps not. The only thing you said to the millions of viewers last night was that students should focus more on the “important” courses. By “important,” you mean what?

You suggested that there should be a system in place to “direct” the students to the courses “na importante” and “Kinakailangan natin.” (that are not important and needed by us [the nation]). I’m just curious to know what your criteria are for a course’s importance in society?

The chance for employment? The high salary? The high possibility that one becomes an OFW? What exactly?

What is important to our nation? That we produce nurses that almost all of them would want to leave the country and earn dollars thus depleting our already battered health sector? Remember that doctor who topped the boards only to be a nurse in America? He came from Basilan, one of the most blighted areas in the country, yet, he rescinded the fact that he is most needed there and can help out and would rather be taking rectal temperatures of obese Americans. Does this qualify as “important to our nation?”

I received quite a number of text messages the minute after you broadcast your views. There were rants and there were anger. One businessman friend of mine opined, “Well, there goes the already-scant support for the arts.” I could just imagine the thousands of students that are forced to take up courses the parents picked for them because they are lucrative and as what you called “important to the nation.”

Many child psychologists mention of the multiple intelligence in children. It is unfair to the child to force him/her to be an accountant when s/he is happiest playing the cello. The question of gain vs. passion is nonexistent in our hungry society. Because of the failure of the government to curb corruption thus making our economy slide into tension (despite what the publicists say that we are an “economic marvel.” That is the best joke of the week.), thus forcing the parents to tell the children to take the courses that are more lucrative than some. thus, this pattern has railroaded many a student’s aspirations because of societal pressure to make more money; thanks, again to the government’s failure to provide ample secure and stable jobs. Might I remind you, Manny Villar, that we are the only country on earth whose middle class wants to leave!

This is why when you mouthed off such careless idiocy, I am gladdened by a piece of news that a friend of mine just got a study grant for Oxford. (Maita, congratulations, dear, you deserve that. When you decide to run for office, I volunteer my services. We eat idiots for breakfast, right? there are lots in Philippine politics! We won’t be hungry!)

I mention Maita to cite an example on how blatantly ignorant your statement last night was. Maita, took up nursing because of the opportunity that this could be also a pre-Med course. It was the practical conduit for a medical career. She took it at UP Manila where nursing is a double quota so not ANYONE can just get in. This was in the early 90s. Her friends in nursing share their frustration about this course that was force-fed to them. Some of them were told this was a stable career. Most of the friends shifted. Maita left for a BS Psychology degree in Ateneo de Manila University. She graduated cum laude. She then finished her Juris Doctor Degree from the Ateneo School of Law. She was in the top 10 in her batch’s bar exams. She can get a lucrative job in any of the big law firms in the land that are mostly protecting the status quo. She got into the biggest law firm but she felt there is more to the legal profession.

So, she opted to teach and work at the Ateneo Human Rights Center. She is one of the smartest people I met and she can run this land if she chooses to (or, if cynicism permits, marry into money so that she can have a hefty financial machinery, isn’t that right, Manny Villar?) Maita has a big heart and that does not necessarily translate to a politcal career as history has proven.

Maita has given up a lucrative career in corporate law to pursue her passion for human rights. I have a friend who gave up earning the dollar cash flow of nursing to pursue writing and won a Palanca award. I know of a person who worked for a multinational company, gave that up and came up with a program to help out kids in farflung villages by giving them school supplies. I have a friend who consciously decided not to go and be an OFW, because he says he can be more productive for the country by staying here. I heard of someone who gave up a lucrative job to teach children in depressed areas. I met many people who made sacrifices because they followed their passions and still believe in their country.

The thing about what is important and needed for this country, Manny Villar, is beyond the course selection. It is the ability to answer the question, “What are you willing to give up for your country?”

So, Manny Villar, as a candidate for senate, I ask you this and to your fellow talking heads, what have you given up for your country?

Hugs, kisses and more discernment,

Sic N Tyrd / Constipated Diva

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Responses

  1. All I know is this: I am glad I’m not Manny Villar’s kid!!!

    But then Manny Villar may think that his kid can take an “unimportant” course because, heck, they sure as hell don’t need the money anymore.

    I’m speaking as the child of an OFW, a nurse, who went ahead and said, “I’m sorry, anak. Ditch that Nursing course and go do whatever you want. I wanted to be a writer or a teacher myself but I was told I won’t make much money doing either of those things.”

    My mom worked as a nurse for a government-run hospital for over 12 years. She had to leave and work in the US because otherwise my siblings and I would never have gone to college on our family income. You see, health workers get no respect in this country. They only get respect when they’re overseas earning in foreign currency. But, to this day, my father works as a doctor for a government-run hospital that’s falling apart.

    Yes, having a dollar-earning parent makes life a bit easy. Hey, I went to college without worrying about my tuition. But everyone in my family paid a price, too. For the past 17 years, I have spent maybe a total of 60 days with my mother. So, figure that one out, Manny Villar.

    Ordinary people like us make painful choices, Mr. Villar. Not all of us are as fortunate or as lucky as you. Never assume that we don’t have dreams like you. Hey, you dream of being President, right?

    As far as I know, libre pa naman mangarap, right? Surely, you can’t take that away from us. Not that I’m saying you are any of these things. I also hope that by your statement you didn’t imply that all we aspire for are material shit. Have a soul, man. Have a soul. Or at least get yourself an enema because it sounds like you’re full of shit. Oh, wait, nobody can give you a proper enema now that all our health workers are fleeing the country! Bummer for you.

    And if you think I’m just being angst-y about the whole situation, think again. I may work in a private entity now but I suffered a year as a government employee in a part-time capacity two years ago–where I was paid 500 pesos a week to edit articles for a state university that’s now run by a board of rich people who–it seems–don’t know the first thing about being middle class and struggling not to be poor. Yes, the 500 pesos I earned per week had tax. I did not complain about the paltry sum because I thought, “This is my way of helping the state university.”

    So, please, an enema should be on your agenda, Mr. Villar.

  2. im reall happy at na-discover ko tong blog mo…. it never fails me to be more optimist and happy even though i dont really like what’s happening in my life. You never fail to inspire me.

    Perhaps kaya medyu light ang aura ko dahil sa kakabasa ng blog mo??? dame nakakapansin.

    regarding manny villlar??? e anu pa ba i-eexpect mo sa mga crop of politicians natin??? Lahat kaya lightweight… hay

    btw… you know ang kapatiran… i wud definitely vote for them….

  3. Marmaduke- kareerin ang comment ba??? But agree ako sa iyo!!! Enema na dapat byuti ni villar.

    Bryz – salamat sa kind works. Naks…inspirational pla byuti koh? Para ka-liga ko na va si mother teresa??? Ching! but pramis salamat sa comment mo. keep on reading!

  4. Wow, seeing you write about how important it is to stay and help rebuild this country…. it’s almost OPTIMISTIC of you! are you feeling well, Jose? 😉

    People like the guy from Basilan are free to leave and pursue whatever dreams they have. But the idea that they go to State Universities that are funded by the taxes of the people, both rich AND poor…… doesnt sit well with me.

    I know it’ll never happen, but one change they should try to implement is that any student who plans to leave this country for greener pastures should declare it from the start and get said pastures to pay for their education instead, and let the State University teach a student that will actually help the, you know, STATE.


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