Monday, September 28, 2009

What Ondoy taught on us

I woke up at around 7 am last Saturday, September 26. Mom said never to travel that far for it’s raining and the news said that it’s been raining since Friday night. The typhoon was named Ondoy. I thought this will just one of those typhoons. After all, I’ve seen Storm that reached until Signal no. 3. In fact, years ago, I experienced to be stranded in Pangasinan for a day or two because the place was declared “under the state of calamity”. I also experienced to be stuck in Sta. Mesa (where I used to stay while “on exile” because of some people) because of another Storm Signal no. 3 storm. Ondoy is said to be Signal no. 1. I was wrong. The rains continue pouring. The result? Flood in Metro Manila. When I hear CAMANAVA being flooded, it doesn’t surprise me. Until I saw Tandang Sora Market (Visayas Avenue-Tandang Sora intersection) flooded about knee deep. I saw that around 10 or 11 in the morning (sources said that around afternoon, the flood water levels went up – waist deep. Take Note: Tandang Sora Market is not a flood prone area. Even when it floods, within two hours, it will surely go down). I tried to call some of the friends living in the Quezon City area. Only one responded – a colleague in the nearby college where I am teaching. There are many possible reasons. Either they’re too preoccupied because floodwaters entered their house, or they’re busy patching things up, or there is no mobile phone coverage because of the storm, but this I don’t like (and I hope this one’s not true): they just don’t like me calling them (hehehehehe, at the middle of the storm they can still dislike specific people like that. If that is true , what a human being! heheheheheh). I called one of my former youth members to see if she’s okay. She’s alright. A former youth member text and said that the floodwaters reached unto and it’s knee-deep. I am talking about Quezon City, not CAMANAVA, and it’s not even Tatalon.

Power line was cut to avoid electrecution. It was returned around 8 in the evening in our place. When we watched the evening news, Metro Manila was declared “under the state of calamity”. I don’t know if I’m ignorant, but it’s the first time in my life (29 years) that I heard that Metro Manila was declared as such. A friend in business school said that she lived in Pasig for 25 years, and she never saw that kind of flood. Yes, Pasig is flood prone. Yes, Metro Manila is really flood prone because it’s plain, and it’s near Pasig River. Manila is where Manila Bay is located. However, having a knee deep flood in a place called Tandang Sora Market is an anomaly of data. The province of Rizal, especially Cainta and Antipolo, Marikina City was hit by flood big time. Even celebrities were so helpless.

National Disaster Coordinating Council was tapped in rescue situation, but even they are short hand. Even Bayani Fernando of MMDA is helpless when his daughter was stranded in Cainta, where she’s managing their family business.

The typhoon revealed characters, as some began finger pointing. I myself was not spared. I began blaming the politicians. Why? Because if they are not corrupt big time, we might have better equipments for forecasting, not predicting the weather. We could have bought new choppers, the ones with night vision, and we could have budget for the fuel of those choppers. We could have bought numerous rubber boats. The flood waters would not have been as worse as this if not for bad waste management. The decades of throwing garbage here and there have contributed also.
Still, at the end of the day, pointing fingers will not give the affected people comfort. Metro Manila was wasted. We don’t need blamers. We don’t need hate. We don’t need indifference. Let’s set aside any differences. What believers must do is pray for the affected families. If you’re able enough, give your immediate relatives a temporary shelter. If you’re able enough, donate on your areas nearby, either in cash or in kind.

Typhoon Ondoy, just like any tragedies, should be a learning experience for all of us. It should humble us because what we have earned, will just be swept just like that. It should remind us not to hate your fellow men, especially fellow brethren. It should remind us that we must not be too proud by saying that your problem is bigger than others. After all, the Typhoon Ondoy passed by EVERYONE in MTERO MANILA, RIZAL, and otehr areas, both rich and small. It shows how our problems are just the right one for us (your problem is not bigger than I am). It should remind us to try having peaceful coexistence with your neighbor. After all, when the going gets tough, they might help one way or the other.

I don’t know what comfort I can give to the affected people (all of us in Metro Manila are affected, one way or the other), but let me tell you this: I have prayed for you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Please do comment and suggest regarding this one

Last time, I wrote in this post that a student of mine died of pneumonia.

I WAS VERY WRONG.

If you’re reading my last post, you’ll see that one commented that it can be treated with antibiotics. She’s right. However, because of the declaration of the school, I didn’t dig deeper. Back then, students begin telling things, like it is injury related.

kay, as a backgrounder, let me share this: it all started when our school was preparing for the Sport Fest (which is officially opened yesterday, September 16). Of course, students are preparing for events like basketball, volleyball, cheer dancing. This particular group of students practiced their cheer dance outside the school. During one practice (September 7), that student was said to be injured. It was said that she fell “face flat”. I don’t know the details, but she was rushed to a government hospital. That hospital told them that it’s okay to send her home. That Monday night (September 7), she begins to feel so not well she needs to be rushed to the hospital. Few days, the school administration announced that she is pronounced DOA (dead on arrival). After all, it’s the alleged declaration of the doctor on duty. However, her mother said that she’s 60-40 (if you know what I mean) when she arrived at the hospital. She’s still alive when they arrived at the hospital.

Just today (immediately after 12mn), we went to the funeral. It was at that time that the student’s parents said they never said that their daughter died of pneumonia. Besides, few days back, the doctors/professors under the College of Nursing of that school are not convinced that it’s pneumonia.

The students are insured when they enrolled in that school in situations like this, provided that the cause of death is not by illness. The insurance covers only accident related deaths. In the student’s case, the accident happened OUTSIDE school (but said to be a school property, whatever that means). Following the trail, the student’s parents never received anything regarding this one.
Well, if the student’s insurance was paid, why was the school not giving it? Why not dig deeper on the cause of death, instead of declaring it pneumonia? There even arises a question if the student’s insurance is updated or not, DESPITE OF THE STUDENT PAYING THE SCHOOL CONSISTENTLY (I can attest to this: I signed her test permit. Test permits are given only to those who are paid). Why not give to the student what is due her? Why declare it pneumonia when even independent doctors said that the symptoms are indicators of internal hemorrhage (injury-related because of the practice)?

My stand on this one? The doctor/s who declared the student DOA and the school administration must be held accountable on whatever accountabilities deemed appropriate for them. The insurance covering the student must also create an independent investigation (which they usually do anyway). However, more often than not, the insurance will find any loopholes surrounding her death, just to avoid additional costs on their part (it’s business anyway).

This afternoon, the student will be buried. However, before the burial, it was said that an investigating team (SOCO) investigated on this one.

Still, at the end of the day, I hope and pray that the truth will eventually come out piercing to people accountable on this. I can’t help but think of other issues connected to this. I hope and pray that the student’s death be given the appropriate justice. We can’t bring the person back to life. The least that we can do is give her parents that the thing they deserve on this.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Learning on death

A student of mine died recently. Pneumonia is the caused of death. I was supposed to conduct a film showing for the class for the application of Probability. However, because of the situation, I decided to postpone it.

Death reminds me that is an appointment you can never refuse. It was clearly stated in Hebrews 9:27. We can make excuses to turn down appointments, but death? No. In addition, death, just like God, is no respecter of persons. It will surely happen to everyone, be it rich or poor, small or great, tall or short, pretty or not-that-pretty. Being a Baptist and a person who grew up in the Baptist setting, I can’t help but think if the person is truly saved or not. Death is quick, thus the phrase “the quick and the dead”.

However, one of the more significant things that enters my head when someone dies is the word “forgiveness”. This is one of the good reasons why disagreements need to be settled as soon as possible. Why? We don’t know when will be the last time you’ll talk to that person. Honestly, I’m sad when I see a person not forgiving another person, especially if the mistake is not that much of a big deal.

Another one that enters my head is if I do something good or bad to that person before he or she dies. Honestly, I don’t talk that much to the student. Maybe because she’s not talking too much in my class. However, that student struck me as a nice person, not a snob. She’s not friendly, but she’s nice. Even in my bad days, I greet and smile when I see my students, including her. Good thing one of the last things that I did to her is smile (I always smile in the class).

This is the very reason why we must not be much of a snob to a person, even if we woke up at the wrong side of the bed. You’ll never know when is the last time you’ll see her or him alive. This is the very reason why friends should not have long term hatred to each other. If it is possible, they should try to forgive before the day ends. After all, are you so sure that by tomorrow morning, he or she is still there for you? This is the very reason why we should show our appreciation to our parents while they’re here. We should give them flowers, or a hug, or a smile, or a simple I LOVE YOU. You’ll never know when is the last time you’ll see her or him alive. It’s a good thing that Kris Aquino have reconciled with her Mom (Former President Cory Aquino) long before she got cancer. I can still remember my former chairperson. Because of some misunderstanding, she never speaks to me in a light manner. She always finds fault on me after that. When I didn’t renew my contract to teach in that school, every time I visit the school, I’ll greet her, even if she’s FORCED to greet me. After one year (2005), she said that she have forgiven me. The good thing? She also said “I’m sorry”. It is such a good thing. I can still remember that what made her forgive and ask forgiveness to me at the same time is because I still greet her even if I know that she hates me. Then, just this year, she died of cancer. Honestly, when she died, I have no feeling of regret. After all, we settle it long before she died.

However, after all of this lengthy post, here’s the most significant thing that enters my head: is she saved? Death is an appointment you can never refuse. There only two destinations: heaven or hell. The Only Way to Heaven? Jesus Christ. How? By asking forgiveness for your sins and being repentant. Then, accept Him as your Lord and Savior. Sounds preachy? It never hurts to try, my friend.

Death indeed is also a learning experience.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Proud to be Humble

Humanly speaking, there are traits that we can be proud of, be it physical or personality-wise. We can proudly say that you’re a graduate of one of the finest schools in the Philippines. After all, your transcript of records says so. It may still depend on the beholder, but generally speaking, you can proudly say that you’re handsome or beautiful. You can proudly say that you’re intelligent. Your IQ test may say so that you’re a Mensan or a member of Mysterium, etc. You can be proud that you have a business empire. After all, if you reallyhave a business empire, people know your company. You can be proud that you’re street smart. In fact, street smart people often belittle the academic geniuses. Yeah, those sentences are open for opinion.

There is one that you can never be proud: being humble. The moment that you said that “you’re humble”, your so-called humility ends. If you grew up inside a church, you know the concept of pride and humility. I can still remember a comical sketch about a guy. He usually says, “In this church, I AM THE MOST HUMBLE.” Obviously, people will laugh, not only because of the style of delivery, but because of the irony of the statement.

Speaking of being proud and being humble, it is a fact that the church has no room for the proud, but gives praise to the humble. After all, there are many Bible verses that discourages being proud. There are Bible verses that give high regard and favor to the humble. If you’re a Bible reader, the previous sentences are not questionable (unless you love twisting someone else’s head with questions). Thus, whether a Christian admits or not, he will aspire to avoid being called PROUD. The proverbial anatomy of being humble is common. However, the proverbial anatomy of being proud is quite subjective. Yes, maybe someone will say that we have the Bible as the guideline: Lucifer (now Satan). Still, especially Christians, because of our old sin nature, we tend to be subjective on the proverbial anatomy of being proud.

Let me give an example. A person will go out of his car, oozing with confidence, putting his shades on because it’s noon time and it’s summer. More often than not, if the people around him don’t like him, he’ll be called proud or boastful. More often than not, we tend to call the people that we don’t like “proud” when we see that he’s confident, JUST TO RATIONALIZE OUR DISLIKE TO THE PERSON. If that is the case, we tend to be narrow and shallow just by doing that. No, I’ll correct that: we are narrow and shallow just by doing that. It’s like a girl calls the guy that she doesn’t like “immature”, ask the girl how she defines the word “mature”. She may give a witty lines, but still NO CONCRETE definition. Bottom line? She just doesn’t like the guy, and anything that comes after the word “because” are just rationalizations. WORST, those are just lame excuses.

The point is this: only God knows if the person is proud or not. The seemingly proud gestures are just syptoms, but even doctors will agree that syptoms can mean anything. After all, “the Lord trieth the hearts”.