Thursday, March 27, 2014

Last Day

Ang panget ng drawing ni Precious eh, mukhang tsong-go!” I tried not to laugh, I really did but I can’t help asking myself how a child this young can say something so unpleasant. I mean, if it was an adult who said it, meh, big deal. You’re an adult, act like one, you immature prick. But it was a kid, and kids aren’t supposed to say such things. I was obedient as a child but if my memory serves me correct, I do recall some of my pre-school classmates to be restive and difficult to control. Either way, I found the situation hilarious so I went on and just laughed about it.

I was getting comfortable with the kids, but unfortunately, today would be my last time to teach them art. Today, it was all about “Dioramas” and even without Kath, I was able to give the kids the instructions about what they needed to do. I got Bob to help; he was there to assist, same as with Vincent and Ed (thank you guys for dropping by!)

I could tell how much they enjoyed making the diorama. From a flat piece of paper, we were able to make their drawings stand up and make a somewhat close impression of their little community inside a shoebox with some cutouts of houses, the GK School, trees, some really big flowers, a sleeping dog, and something that’s supposed to resemble a tricycle.

From my experience, I learned that like adults, children have their own personalities. Mix those personalities to the environment that they are growing up in, as well as their upbringing, and you get yourself an interesting character. Some of their actions may seem senseless to us adults but to them, it makes perfect sense and it is the right thing to do. Like I have said, they are just kids being kids.

I like kids now, and I would like to think that I understand them a bit better.

It will be their graduation the following week, I wish them all the best, and may all of them have a bright future ahead.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Little People

Today, I am going to teach the kids about “Cities”… or the concept of communities. I asked the kids to try and recall what they see around them on their way to school and to draw it on paper. 

Marwell, the rowdiest of the bunch, was trying to remember his neighbor’s name, and for some reason, had the urge to shout the name out loud after he remembered it. Teacher Grace shushed him but he won’t stop talking, even purposely forgetting to say “po”. Ramsey, another kid (who I think is the brightest) shouted at Marwell “Hoy, ang bastos mo, wala kang galang!” Marwell, feeling humiliated, smirked and quieted down to continue with his artwork. I can only guess what other interesting things happen inside the classroom during the days when I’m not there.

Moving on, it was a fun activity for most of the kids. But for JM, he doesn’t quite feel like doing the task. He seemed bored; as if his thoughts were wandering away to some fantasy land where kids can do anything they want and eat all the sweets to their heart’s content--that or according to teacher Grace, maybe JM wasn’t feeling too well.

I gave them all something to eat after class and they were all ecstatic. I’m finally getting used to being around the kids. :)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

So it begins

I have to admit I never really liked children. They’re noisy, whiny and most of the time, annoying. That’s why I was quite nervous when the dreaded day to teach art to a small class of eight children finally came.

It was “Foam Art Day.” Before the session started, all I can think about was “I did not sign up for this, I was supposed to be planting trees somewhere or having a fierce gunfight against illegal loggers or animal poachers or something something whatever.”

I was lucky to have Kath as my teaching partner. She brought pre-made styrofoam cutouts of all shapes and sizes for the kids to use. The problem was, the poster paint won’t stick to its smooth surface, so we tried thinking of something that would work. Luckily, we were able to find scrubbing sponges in one of the many sari-sari stores near GK (Gawad Kalinga). We used that and we’re finally ready to begin.

I was anxious to meet the children. But, of course, silly thoughts kept running through my head. “What if they won’t listen to us? Oh yeah, I’ll just let Kath do all the talking. But, what if they become too disorderly for us to handle? Hmm, about that… Teacher Grace, the class adviser would be there to guide us.” Okay, great, let’s start!

It wasn’t so bad after all! Although the kids can get a bit unruly at times, it was expected. I mean, they’re just kids being kids. Right from the beginning, I can tell that each of them has a different personality. Rico, another classmate who taught the same class a week earlier, told me to remember the name “Marwell” and boy, was he right.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Of Mediums and Perspectives

I started drawing at an early age and I still vividly remember doodling my very first concept of a house on a piece of paper. It was an amazing feeling to see a simple sketch of lines and shapes turn into something detailed right before my very eyes which my mind has perceived beforehand. I even remember being one of the few in my elementary school to get chosen and join drawing competitions.

I never really understood then why we have to portray the Filipino concept of bayanihan--saving Mother Nature, recycling, or doing acts of goodwill towards others in our drawings instead of fighting robots, funny cartoon characters, or carnage and gore (I was a kid). I enjoyed the challenge, though, because it made me ponder and look at the things that really matter in the world. Never would I have thought that what I was doing was a form of social artistry.

According to Pauline Salvana-Bautista, a professor at the UP college of music, she defined the term social artistry as “the process of becoming aware of one’s goals and potentials, expressing these in ways that can be experienced by the senses, and defining values and habits to animate these experienced goals and potentials, in the context of improving self, community and environment.”  In short, art can be used as a medium that can convey an idea that is both relative and subjective. It can be easily and openly interpreted making it the perfect language to capture the curiosity of a person for whatever purpose. In our case, this means opening self-awareness towards the improvement of society.

But then again, before one can start using art to help the society, one must learn first its 7 key concepts to pinpoint its problems.

(1) Society
(2) Values
(3) Poverty
(4) Human Rights
(5) Good Leadership
(6) Contribution of Teachers and Parents to Nation Building
(7) and Sustainable Human Development.

I don’t know about you, but I would enjoy reading a comic strip or watching an interpretative dance about saving the planet and helping other people. Heck, I even took pleasure listening to Smokey Mountain’s "Paraiso" as a kid.

Ayala, Joey et al. SINING-BAYAN: ART OF NATION BUILDING: Social Artistry Fieldbook
to Promote Good Citizenship Values for Prosperity and Integrity. (2009). "SOCIAL ARTISTRY IN CIVIC WELFARE TRAINING SERVICE, Building the Self to Extend to Others (p 189-196). 

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Seven Months Ago Today

I was sitting alone on a bus that gloomy Monday morning. I tried my best to sleep but the chilly atmosphere kept me awake. The air con was humming full blast mercilessly. I figured the driver wasn’t too sympathetic towards his passengers either. Peering outside, looking at the endless road made me forget the cold atmosphere and it was even enough to put me in a daze to make my mind wander.
Seven months ago today, was a life-changing moment of realization. I wasn’t happy with my everyday routine of sitting my ass off for a six-hour travel just to sit for another eight, doing a mind-numbing job behind a desk. Don’t get me wrong though, despite a highly competitive job market, I was thankful to even have one. I remembered myself ecstatic at first. I thought I could easily get used to the pressure, the competition, the long commutes, conflict among colleagues, the racist boss, the drunkenly wasted Friday (or Monday) nights; not to mention the impossible goals and quotas we need to achieve. Reaching the end, it eventually burned me down. Working for the man has its toll. Sooner or later, I was bound to realize that I was the cog running the capitalist machine. I suddenly pictured myself as a mule, pulling a cart that won’t budge because it’s loaded with heavy stones. It’s just pointless, impossible, and never-ending--and I didn’t like it one bit. The futility and idea itself made me lose my significance and question my fulfillment. “There must be something more to life, there should be.” I mumbled to myself.

Seven months ago today, was a moment of pure clarity. I’m back and full of purpose, studying in the country’s top University, no less. I am trying to set my priorities straight because someday, it is my duty and obligation as a citizen to give back to my country no matter how big or small. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Communitarian Model of Citizenship

The trustor-trustee relationship in a social contract gives us an idea why societies need a form of government. The social contract is put in place to ensure the society’s stability, order, and progress. Looking at the other side of the coin, the individuals in a society has an equal role to perform alongside its chosen system of rule to fulfill the success of a social contract.

By definition, the communitarian model of citizenship argues that “society is made up of groups and communities and only works effectively when individuals feel part of such communities.” (Leydet 2011, Zalta 2011) It is in Man’s innate nature to seek for the meaning of his existence which he may validate through self-fulfillment. The communitarian view gives an individual a sense of purpose as a citizen with duties and obligations for the good of his community. This also gives him the satisfaction and feeling of giving something in return in exchange for his rights as a citizen. Under these circumstances, the aim of an individual in the communitarian perspective to validate his self- fulfillment is to do his duties and obligations as a citizen for the good and success of his group or community.

In a nutshell, if I were an individual with a communitarian perspective, it is my duty to give back to my community because it is in my belief that I can only be a full-fledged citizen and be allowed my rights by doing so.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Back to School

So we're required to write a blog for our CWTS1 class. I have decided to use my little corner of the internet to air out my thoughts.

It was my second time last night to attend an online class. We used Yahoo Messenger as the primary medium of communication for another subject just a few years ago. We experienced a lot of technical difficulties making it less enjoyable then. I'm glad to say that today, technology-wise, computers have more-than-enough hardware specs and the ISPs can provide higher bandwidth capacities which are more stable and faster. Not to mention that there are a lot of great online teaching tools the instructors may use and choose from.

The discussion last night was about citizenship. There were a lot of ideas and each of my eager classmates had a lot of thought-provoking insights to share (specially when it comes to politics.) The scroll speed of the chatbox was nothing short of insane. I hope Prof. V. didn't have a hard time catching up (to think she was also feeling a bit under the weather.) I thought she discussed the topic pretty well and I was able to understand most of it.

I think the gist of citizenship is that we have our responsibilities (following the law) to ensure our "needs" are met from a fully-working society. At the same time, what we "want" in life (e.g., success) will give us the fulfillment in which only a successful society can provide.

See you all again in class.