Ang pagtatapos ay parang pag-ibig* ni Josephine Oshin V. Kitane
One of my most epic memories in UP happened during a date. There was this boy, but it wasn’t a romantic date—it was a requirement for a GE class. It was supposed to help us enrich our interpersonal communication skills. My date and I agreed that we would go on a most unconventional walking date. The task was to learn as much about your date as you can, and I am pleased to tell you that I fulfilled the task with flying colors because he did not stop talking about himself until the date was over. In fact, he only stopped talking when he started singing. Yes, he sang a song which he composed. You might think “Awww, how sweet!” but this song was about Halloween and he sang it at the top of his lungs while we were walking around UP. Habang kumakanta siya, nag-bblush ako, kasi iniisip ko “Jusko, sana walang makarinig!” (While he was singing, I was blushing because I was thinking “My God, I hope nobody hears!”) When he finished singing, he told me all about his fitness regimen and how he got to have ripped abs. Thankfully, he did not show me his abs, he just gave me an autographed picture of him—topless.
One of our professors once said that we’re in school primarily to learn, second, to fall in love, and third, to socialize. I think that day shut out any chances of falling in love because the next day, my crush at that time told me, “Hey I saw you with your boyfriend. You know, he looks like…Manny Pacquiao!”
I am sure that you also have an arsenal of unforgettable memories after your stay in UP, and most of the time, we strive to forget the unpleasant things that happened. Halimbawa, sinabihan ka ng nililigawan mo ng “I’m sorry, I don’t like you,” nagpakalat ka pa naman ng roses sa sunken garden (For example, the person you’re courting tells you “I’m sorry, I don’t like you,” when you scattered roses all over the sunken garden). O kaya yung panahon na nakita mo yung crush mo, ang gwapo…tapos may ka-holding hands, ang gwapo din (Or that time when you saw your crush, how handsome…then you see him holding hands with someone, who’s also handsome)! Well, Mass Comm. eh! “Queer is cool, dude.” We convince ourselves that if we move on and forget these memories, everything will be all right. Well, in the same way that closing your eyes right now would not make the person next to you disappear, forgetting will not make things any better. There are many things that the Filipinos have forgotten—oppressors get reelected into public office, traitors of public trust go unpunished, and the same mistakes are committed over and over. It is one thing to forgive but it is another thing to forget. Parang love. Hindi ko naman sinasabing magpaka-bitter ka at hanggang 62 years old ka na at nakita mo si Norman Riego, sabihin mo “Ikaw! Kinindatan mo ko sa may Batibot! Pinaasa mo ‘ko!”(I am not telling you to become “bitter” such that when you’re already 62 years old and you happen to run into Norman Riego, you’ll say “You! You winked at me while we were in Batibot! You lead me on!”)
Sa totoo lang, maraming pinagdaanan ang talumpating ito. Ang daming gustong magbago, magdagdag at kung anu-ano pa. Huwag daw masyadong nakakatawa, huwag daw masyadong seryoso. Sa prosesong iyon, naisip ko tuloy kung ano ang pinakamahalaga kong natutuhan sa UP. Kalayaan. Bilang mamamahayag, dapat pangalagaan natin ang kalayaan nating sabihin kung ano ang dapat nating sabihin. Huwag tayong masilaw sa kapangyarihan o estado dahil bilang mga alagad ng midya, tungkulin nating maging totoo sa bayan at sa ating mga sarili. (Honestly, this speech went through a lot—a lot of people wanted to change it, add to it, et cetera. Some said it shouldn’t be too funny or too serious. That process made me realize the most important lesson that UP taught me. Freedom. As journalists, we must safeguard our freedom to say what we have to say. Let us not be intimidated by power or stature because as disciples of the media, it is our duty to be true to our country and to ourselves.)
May nagtanong sa akin minsan “Bakit Mass Comm.? Sayang ang talino mo.” (Someone once asked me “Why Mass Comm[unication]? It’s a waste of your wits.”) I immediately understood that he was implying that I took the easier path—that we, Mass Comm. people, have easier requirements and lots of free time to party every night. The truth is, we do not party every night—we edit, write, shoot, survey, analyze, et cetera, et cetera. One time during an all-nighter, our video editor was sleeping when she suddenly rose up, eyes closed, and started typing ferociously, hands poised in mid-air and then fell flat on the bed again. That remains one of the weirdest effects of sleep loss I have seen. Of course we have all had solid sleepless nights. One word: THESIS. So, Congrats sa ating lahat. Sabi nga ng ilan sa atin, mas nakaka-kilig pang marinig ang mga salitang ‘FOR BINDING’ kaysa makita ang crush mo. Kasi pinag-hirapan mo talaga ‘yan, at ngayon, tapos na. Sabi nga ng isang kaibigan, ‘Kung nadadaan lang ang thesis sa alindog…” Kaya lang, hindi eh ‘di ba? (So congratulations to all of us. Like some of us say, the words ‘FOR BINDING’ elicits a giddier feeling than seeing your crush. You worked hard for it and now, it’s finished. A friend once said “If only good looks can get you through your thesis…” but they can’t, right?) There are no shortcuts in creating our academic masterpieces, so congratulations, all, for surviving thesis season without eyebags that you can flip on your shoulders. Congratulations because whether you graduated on time or not, you are living proof that there are no shortcuts to excellence.
As graduates of UP Maskom, no matter where we go, we should keep the ideals we learned from UP. Dito sa UP, natuto tayong maging kritikal at mag-isip ng malaya. Natutuhan nating tanggapin ang mga liberal na ideya tungkol sa mga usaping ayaw pag-usapan ng lipunan. Natutuhan nating wasakin ang mga kumbensyon, kwestyunin ang mga nakasanayan, at mahalin ang bayan. (Here in UP, we learned to be critical and to think freely. We learned to accept liberal ideas about issues which society refuses to talk about. We learned to shatter conventions, question things which we have gotten used to, and love the country.) With your indulgence, allow me to use my major, Broadcast Communication, or BC as an example.
In BC, we go through a phase where we get acquainted with communication theories, and start seeing the world with “brand new eyes.” Minsan maririnig mo habang kumakain ka ng Carbonara sa Long Island, may mga nag-uusap tungkol kina Marx at Roland Barthes habang nakatingin sa chicken o yogurt shake nila. Malamang, Broad Comm. students ‘yun. (Sometimes, while you’re eating Carbonara in Long Island, you’ll hear people talking about Marx or Roland Barthes while looking at their chicken or yogurt shake. Those people are most likely Broadcast Communication students.) This usually happens after taking BC 181, which is Criticism in Broadcasting. Suddenly you can apply theory to everything, even love. “The Political Economy of Love.” “Western Standards of Beauty and Why Kim Chiu is Thin.” You suddenly become aware that some of the ideas in your head are not your ideas but that of the ruling class. That you have been thinking in a frame of mind imposed by the dominant social structures. I remember how during a report in class, one group of BC friends debunked the notion of the “happy period” that most feminine pads advocate. You know that thing where the girl says “Have a happy period!” and she skips about like it’s the most awesome thing in the world. There’s no such thing as a happy period, it’s a myth. But how would advertisers earn if they showed women reeling in pain because of menstrual cramps? Such that their tag line would be “It’s not gonna be easy but at least we’ll take care of the mess.”
Theory isn’t boring, that I learned in my stay here. Theory is the bomb, man! In fact, on one boring afternoon my friends and I started to Google the famous theorists and we found out that Edward Said, who wrote Orientalism in 1978, has an uncanny resemblance with Richard Gere. It’s all about perspective.
Which leads me to my next point—no matter where you plan to go after college, always keep what you learned with you. To some of us it is a question of going mainstream or not, and to some it is a matter of going abroad or staying in the Philippines. Perhaps the most comforting fact is that no matter where we are, if we are sure of who we are, we will not find ourselves part of the same unjust and oppressive systems which we ranted about on Twitter, and lambasted in our papers and theses. I am confident that among us today are the future public servants, respected journalists, high-caliber researchers and multi-awarded film makers, but we have to be responsible.
Maybe some of us here are planning to work abroad. Hay naku, naalala ko tuloy, may isang umalis. Eh hindi na uso ang tumatakbo sa runway para magdrama. “Hello? Ang aga-aga, 5:30 A.M. ang flight? Umalis ka na lang.” Kung aalis kayo, isipin nyo naman ‘yung maiiwan ninyo. (Sigh, I remember someone who left. Chasing someone on the runway has gone out of fashion. “Hello, the flight is too early. 5:30 AM? Just leave.” If you were to leave, please think of those you’ll leave behind.)
But seriously, if by some twist of fate, we end up working abroad, let us remember our responsibility to our country. Let me share with you the words of Dr. Jose Rizal in El Filibusterismo. “Nasaan ang kabataang dapat mag-alay ng kanyang kasariwaan, ng kaniyang mga panaginip at sigasig ukol sa kabutihan ng kanyang Inang Bayan? Nasaan siya na dapat kusang-loob na magbuhos ng kaniyang dugo upang mahugasan ang napakaraming kahihiyan, ang napakaraming pagkakasala, ang napakaraming kasuklam-suklam? ” Ang pagkakasalin pong iyan ay mula kay Virgilio S. Almario, Pambansang Alagad ng Sining para sa Panitikan. (“Where are the youth who will consecrate their golden hours, their illusions, and their enthusiasm to the welfare of their native land? Where are the youth who will generously pour out their blood to wash away so much shame, so much crime, so much abomination?” )
Sa puntong ito, nais naming magpasalamat sa aming mga magulang, pamilya at mga kaibigan, sa inyong pagmamahal at suporta, mabuhay po kayong lahat! (At this point, we would like to offer our gratitude to our parents, families and friends for their love and support, long live all of you!) To our teachers, thank you for challenging us, scaring us sometimes, and setting our minds free. Salamat sa mga gurong nagturo sa aming lumipad, kumawala sa mga dominanteng kaisipan at magsimula ng pagbabago. Salamat sa pagbuhos ninyo ng panahon at pasensiya para matuto kaming maging mga kritikal na alagad ng midya. (Thank you to the teachers who taught us how to fly, break free from dominant mindsets and to start change. Thank you for the endless hours of patience to teach us to be critical media practitioners.) And of course, thank you to the administrative staff of Maskom for your patience and support. To our friends, this may be goodbye for some of us, but it has been an awesome ride.
To the Lord God Almighty, all glory is Yours, You alone can take the little that we have and turn it into something great. To the loved ones we have lost along the way, your memories will keep us strong until we meet again. To my Dad, the general who was like a loving bear, proof that stereotypes are total rubbish; this is my third graduation speech. It’s a regret you only heard the first, but like I always said, “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, SIR!” Thank you and Congratulations to all of us!
Josephine Oshin V. Kitane
Graduation Speech, UP CMC Batch 2012
April 22, 2012
*Ang titulo ay hinalaw sa talumpati ni Dean Roland Tolentino sa Pagtatapos ng CMC Batch 2012, Ika-22 ng Abril taong 2012.