“yes, with the pigs, william. with the pigs.”

foo showed me a valedictory address delivered by a 16-year old filipina who graduated the top of University of the Philippine’s 2007 graduating class, earning not only a degree in Physics but a 1.099 GPA as well.

i will give you exactly a minute to digest that. 16-years old. physics graduate. summa cum laude of the entire batch.

now, we move on.

my fascination of UPD students have long wavered; i still say the ones that came before them were the great ones. but time and time again, a couple or more of them stood out, reminding me that an insititution like UP Diliman does know where its roots came from.

an excerpt of her speech says:

“But, like the sidewalks and pavement, these paths take longer to traverse, just as individual successes do not always make for national progress. The unceasing critic could get elected, but not get the job done. The immigrant could get his visa, but disappear from our brainpower pool. The highly paid employee would be underutilized for his skills, and pine to get the job he truly wants, but is now out of his reach. And the country, and we, are poorer because of these. “

maturity does not come with age; no, it doesn’t. those words were spoken by a 16-year old girl (where girls her age would have been more concerned about their small allowance, their crushes, their curfews, and their unplanned pregnancy- she was inspiring crowds older than her).

she ended her speech with this:

“But talk is cheap, they say. And so I put my money where my mouth is. Today, I place myself in the service of the University, if it will have me. I would like to teach, to share knowledge, and perhaps to be an example to new UP students in thinking and striving beyond the limits of the possible. This may only be a small disturbance in the grass. But I hope you’ll come with me, and trample a new path.”

“she’s good.” i told foo after i read her address. she is good whether or not i think so. a 1.099 GPA average, for god’s sake, and aged 16! “i guess her parents never worry where they would get their next month’s budget from.” i added.

“if you are a genius, you get that kind of benefit.” foo said.

so, where would that put the average ones? the ones who cram on every exams. the ones who would have passed the certification board if there was just enough money to prepare and send her to it. the ones whose parents were eagerly waiting for the payback. the ones who were trying to stretch a one-week worth of allowance for two more weeks.

thinking about the message in her valedictory address, the people who left their families to work abroad, the doctors who went back to the university for a nursing degree, the senior managers in this country who went abroad for a supervisory’s jobs, i remember something.

i remember a line in a movie “a knight’s tale”. jocelyn, a royal figure, begged william, a commoner who took an identity of a dead royalty, to run away as he was about to be punished for disguising himself as a knight.

Jocelyn: Run and I will run with you.
William: I cannot run!
Jocelyn: Damn your pride, William. It is you and only you that will not see you run.
William: My pride is the only thing that they can’t take from me.
Jocelyn: They can take it away from you, they can and they will. Oh, they will. But love they cannot take.
William: Where will we live? In my hovel? With the pigs inside during the winter so they won’t freeze?
Jocelyn: Yes, William. With the pigs.
William: You speak of what you do not know!

ahh, yes, with the pigs.

i rest my case.


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