Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Of Activism and Leadership

I once asked a freshman student a few months ago about the role of the University Student Council in our university (UP Min). She frankly replied, "Kuya, medyo naiintimidate ako sa USC natin this year eh. Rally ng rally. Minsan, natatakot ako sa kanila."

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against with student activists who keep on rallying either inside the campus or in the busy streets of Downtown Davao about issues in privatization of the state universities, the never-ending budget cut dilemma and the 'ibagsak si (COPY-PASTE NAME OF AN OFFICIAL)' scheme. I respect their ideologies. I used to be a USC Officer (College Representative) last year and I just noticed that they only have one parallel goal, that is to fight for their rights as a student no matter what happens.

I admire their courage. It's not that easy to shout about the current (and dying) situations of our beloved university on the streets. It hurts when no one gives a fuck about what you're fighting (or shouting) for. I've been there. We cannot really invite all people to join the rallies. We cannot force people to join our pakikibaka para sa bayan, tungo sa kaunlaran. And most of all, we cannot really change people's perspectives and ideas about handling social issues.

The problem lies with the way they find solutions about these underlying issues of our country. They try to solve the national quandaries first before the issues inside the campus. I don't know, but there are more issues that need to be resolved inside the campus. Let's face it. No matter how hard we try to shout our concerns in the public, the officials would not really listen to it. Yes, hearing and listening are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. They hear our pleas, but do they give their time to listen, even for just a minute or two?

My point is, if we really want to help our nation, let us start addressing the smallest issues first. How about helping those flood victims in nearby towns? Or, how about proposing some ideas to the administration about promoting solid waste management and rain-water catchment system? Or how about conducting some outreach programs to nearby communities?

I believe that there are OTHER WAYS to SERVE our COUNTRY. It is not necessary to create placards and write national issues to it. It is not necessary to rally in the streets.

But then again, what matters most is respect.