and then that terrifying question emerges:
are you supposed to be trying to change this world, or are you supposed to be making peace with it?
And darling I will be loving you ‘til we’re 70
And baby my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ‘bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Oh me I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am
because years from now, this is what i’ll remember about my 23rd birthday :)
my husband, ladies and gentlemen
today the school celebrated teacher’s day - there was a surprise program, we were blindfolded, made to walk a red carpet (complete with screaming, adoring “fans” aka students) and treated to a variety show. afterwards, some of my homeroom parents held a simple salu-salo for me. i am writing about this because last year, this was one of my big firsts at sto cristo: my first teacher’s day, first time to hang with and talk to a lot of the faculty (we held daily practices then for our cheer contest), first time to receive an overabundance of gifts and love from my kids and parents. and now i realize that today, a year later from that big first, marks the start of our lasts. this is my last teacher’s day at sto. cristo.
and i know it’s still too early to be saying sentimental things like this, but -
i have no idea how i am going to say goodbye to this place.
it’s pretty hard to explain how important of a symbol that rainbow flag is to me, and what it has meant in my life - especially because i am straight. fun fact: i have one hanging in my room, over my sister’s old desk. :) i’m not gay, but that doesn’t mean i can’t stand alongside my loved ones in their fight for equality.
so gosh, that feeling of seeing that flag all over twitter, being used as a symbol of my school, and watching it being passed around the stadium… wow.
i only hope the people sharing those images and carrying that flag take the time to understand what it means- what it really really really means - to struggle for gender (and racial and social) equality. because that fight is so much more real than just a cheerdance competition routine.
In a sense, Leslie Espinosa was living the American dream. As a hairstylist and makeup artist for film and theater, her job took her from San Diego to Los Angeles, and finally to New York City, where she worked on popular Broadway shows.
Leslie was one of the five Fil Am fellows. She quit right before the second year. It was abrupt but we were happy. Just for clarity, she and none of us are or were “volunteer teachers.”
Unless in Leslie’s case, if by “volunteer teacher” you mean a teacher who was absent once a week, didn’t fill out any of her forms, left most of her administrative work to her coworkers (who themselves were drowning in their own requirements), didn’t bother learning Filipino to a degree suitable for the job, made no effort to connect with her students, coworkers, or community, and personified everything I cannot stand about Filipino American activism.
"Leslie decided to take up a volunteer teaching program in the Philippines and ended up exchanging New York City for Quezon City or, to be more precise, a public school in the district of Balintawak: “The area itself was dirty, smelly, dark and unsafe. I was soon hospitalized because of dengue fever, but even then I did not want to leave this country, because I was here to discover myself.”"
This is everything that is wrong with our community, that we can highlight this without fact-checking it, that blithe optmism is more important than hard work and follow-through, that “well she’s working harder than the locals ever have” might pardon “but if the work was poorly accomplished was it really better than not doing anything?”
For one, I’m sure Balintawak is nothing like New York but I’ll bet its citizens are hardworking industrious folk who find beauty in what they do have. I love how, just like you did, this article simply throws its citizens away and acts like GK is the end-all when at the end of the day, Balintawak, as “dirty, smelly, dark and unsafe” as you claim it to be, will STILL BE THERE, with all its people, struggling, working, and loving one another to get through tough times. I can’t judge you for admitting you couldn’t endure it another year but I have every right to take umbrage at you painting the barangay as some incorrigible source of disgust when a) your other co-teachers seem to be doing just fine there and b) such a fucked-up belief is the obvious work of your Westernized closed-minded world view. Do you really advocate for the Philippines? If so, what gives you the right to construct the barangay as such? A monkey in a silk suit is still a monkey. At the end of the day, whether in a condo or in a makeshift home, we are Filipino and we’re all the victims of colonial and imperial phenomena, which you would know if you ever opened your fucking eyes and ears.
But I guess none of this matters because you’re pretty. PR really is your speciality. It’s too bad I’m part-White so nobody assumes I’m here on your good intentions.
I don’t apologize for this anymore. I have endured too many ass-backwards people questioning my right to be here when people like you are able to sell your story and maximize it to the point where nobody cares that you did way more harm than good. To think I fucking CRIED on the second-to-last day of school because I was convinced I hadn’t done enough as a teacher, that I had spent a whole year messing it all up, when you were busy doing more self-promotion than education.
To think people back home are painting you as some sort of social justice warrior when you taxi-ed into school every day from your CONDO in Ortigas. I’m sure life was very rough.
Come at me if you really want to. You’re only one and I’ve got 48 other teachers who have no interest in associating with you or any part of your facetious agenda. The only positive to this is that you remind me of why I actually am here, NOT why people THINK I’m here, NOT to begin an illustrious show business career or achieve some charity-related feels, NOT to “discover myself” at the price of Filipino children and their education, but to actually do the job expected of me and TEACH.
You are Fil Am but you are not my kasama. Seriously, who is giving you all this press?
If anyone wants to hear a more informed perspective, don’t hesitate to contact me, the other two Fil Ams who didn’t quit, or literally everybody else who is a part of my work.
Reblog away. I can’t even with this. Peace.
because i’ve seen these about 500 times -
The Dangerous Lives of the Altar Boys
The Dark Knight
V for Vendetta
Celeste and Jesse Forever
white oleander by janet fitch
everything beautiful began after by simon van booy
one hundred years of solitude by gabriel garcia marquez
wasteland by francesca lia block
middlesex by jeffrey eugenides
the unbearable lightness of being by milan kundera
a natural history of the senses by diane ackerman
poor economics by abhijit banerjee and esthler duflo
the motorcycle diaries by che guevara
confessions by saint augustine
fish-hair woman by merlinda bobis
because i still can’t believe how many of my friends and acquaintances continue to share that god-awful blogpost. because years later, i am still so angry, so ashamed, and so insulted -
it is laughable that anyone would defend their right to be rich and privileged.
look outside your car window, at the crippled man with the cup in his hand. read the news. talk to the child begging for alms at the street. listen to the plea of the scholars of your so-called equal opportunity university, those who can barely afford to pay their tuition, and have to work two jobs in order to do so.
soak that all in for a second and think about where your anger and impassioned speech should be directed.
at people who only wish to be afforded the same opportunities you were? really? fucking REALLY?
it isn’t your fault you were born rich, boo hoo, i know. believe me, i know. i mean - look at me. the twang in my voice, the car i drive, my impeccable english. all telltale signs of what kind of spoon was stuffed into my mouth since birth. but the difference between you and me, is that i would never cry foul at someone who looked at me and saw reflected in my obvious upbringing, the kind of injustice and imbalance that they have to consciously live with everyday.
you ask not to be defined by your social class. they would too, if that was an option.
but to be oppressed means precisely that - that you are defined by class, gender, sexuality, race, etc whether you like it or not. you are defined by your social class if your stfap (now STP) bracket, whether you like it or not, prevents you from enrolling because you cannot pay tuition. you are defined by your social class if, whether you like it or not, your parents’ income means you need to work while in school. you are defined by your social class if your everyday choices, whether you like it or not - where to eat, what to wear, how to spend your free time - are so limited by what little money you have that those choices - whether you like it or not, are nearly non-existent.
you ask not to be defined by your social class. please understand that that is a luxury few people can afford. that the choices you nonchalantly make everyday without a thought, are not readily available to those less privileged than you. you ask not to be defined by your social class when so many people, whether they like it or not, simple are. can you blame them for being angry?
it isn’t your fault you were born rich. but is it their fault, that the system is so completely flawed that simply because they were not born as you were, all odds are stacked against them? is it their fault that this reality is reflected in YOUR speech, clothes, mannerisms?
you are angry because you say their anger is misdirected. maybe it is. but so what?
the injustice that persists in this society is so pervasive that i cannot blame them if their anger is too great to contain that it spills over into an insult thrown your way, into this so-called “reverse elitism” you cry foul over.
"reverse elitism" exists because elitism exists.
you are angry because they are angry.
but you are the privileged one. use your privilege to educate yourself, to rid yourself of such ignorance.
there is a quiet war happening, and if you could only see the monsters the rest of this less privileged word was fighting, maybe you would understand how silly your little reverse-elitist battle sounds.
maybe you could all wake up for a second and see what all the fuss is really about.