So you’re a freshman now. A high school kid, no longer a boy but not yet a man either. Your voice has cracked now. Your mom at first thought you have colds. Instead I hear the off key song of a young man full of confidence bordering on the bravado, optimism and vigor of what lies ahead of him. You are in full possession of youth. Your hormones are now bursting up. You are rearing to try it out there in the “real” world. Your parents are understandably nervous because we’re overprotective and wish you would just stay at home instead of explore the outside world little by little in the pretext of “playing” with computer games at the internet stands in the city.
I remember three days after you were born, a coup d’etat ravaged the country. I have slug it out among the throngs of panic buyers in the Cebu supermarkets filling the store carts with canned food for the adults but mostly your provisions of “special” infant milk bearing in mind your helplessness having been born slightly premature amidst the tug-of war of power going on outside your hospital walls.
While your tiny, lizard-like frame of just over 5 pounds struggled to breathe, rebel soldiers padlocked the capitol and city hall buildings, or so I heard. Bomb threats were hoised amidst petroleum depots while in Malacañang warplanes hovered above and all around Filipinos killed fellow Filipinos. Homo homini lupus, man became wolf to fellowman.
How ashamed am I to take you on “tour” to the “real” world out there. What is there but a jungle of convoluted
self-interests and agenda all seeking print in the limited publicity of national and regional headlines? What is there that our so-called “leaders” and politicians can offer to kids like you? Peace, peace is on everyone’s lips while each one’s hands are clenched and positioning for war. Yet I believe that man is still basically good in birth and “essence”. In his relaxed state he is even fun to be with. He can even pull in quite a few surprises of goodness and heroism. Man for instance is the only creature capable of jumping of top of an unpinned grenade rolled on a crowded street so that others lives may be spared. We hear that story of a boy plunging inside a burning house just to save a younger brother. But he is also the same man who when steeped with ambition (whether political, economic or for religious domination or hegemony) can be capable of extreme ruthlessness surpassing in cruelty and savagery the worst of beasts. Because only in man is hatred distended, calculated and precise.
Sorry, this letter has gloomy cloud linings. It is not a happy time to live in this country these days with bombs erupting in the key cities, shopping malls, movie houses, buses even comfort rooms are bombed. The peso has fled to the edges of 43 to a dollar. Yesterday it was reported in the papers that many schools are raising their tuition fees this year. In spite of this, we your parents still believe that education is your only key to well-being and sanity in this confused world. Not just intellectual education but correct education of character and spirit. We your parents have faith that though the
world today is in the throngs of self destruction, but that the process is more like that of painful childbirth giving life to a new world way of believing and looking at things. It is a belief, which regards mankind as members of one human family as “flowers of one garden” and “waves of one sea”.
It is an assurance from God Himself through His teachings that the whole world is “but one country” and mankind its “citizens”. That the foundation of all religions come from one source, that is all religions come from One Creator and that the essence all these religions teach good things. For one Golden Rule is found in the teachings of all the Holy Books of God. Rightly so for really all these religions trace their roots to one common spiritual source. It is, a case of “Eadem, Sed Aliter”, one and the same thing but expressed in different ways. That is the faith, which we want you to learn son, and not just learn, but from where you life’s outlooks will spread and grow and from where you must take your roots on. Good luck to you and enjoy your new phase of education. Like what my own father used to say to me, be a good boy always. Love Papa
(May 29- June 4, 2000)