the art of planking

Yen sends an SMS to Jim (the youngest brother) in the middle of her Child and Adolescent Development {CAD} class yesterday.  Jim’s a 2nd year BS Agriculture student in the University of the Philippines Los Banos in Laguna.

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Yen:  So, dong (lad), did you also do the planking yesterday? 🙂 – {of course, with a smile – I kinda knew what his reply would be)

Jim:  haha ‘saon.  Nako class yesterday. (haha Duh or what the heck [can’t find the literal translation to ‘saon].  I had a class yesterday)

Hmm…Interesting.  I had to check dictionary.com for the definition of planking since I know that it has a different meaning for this generation.  As expected, I didn’t find the modern definition in the site.  I only found its meaning in the urbandictionary.com site.

Just as fashion comes and goes and changes through time and historical context, the method of protests have changed too in keeping with the developments and changes in social media and the way we relate with each other.  My instructor in CAD yesterday said it was amazing how a single SMS could mobilize students from different UP campuses all over the country – from Luzon down to Mindanao.

As a history instructor, I am constantly amazed at how young people can mobilize different kinds of protests and complaints in so many creative ways.  If only they could channel that much energy to “stand up” or “plank down” for child trafficking, child pornography, social injustice and corruption in the government.  Think about that.

This is a favorite line of mine in my history class lectures.  Rizal and Bonifacio didn’t have Facebook pages but they changed a nation’s history.  They did not have Sun Unlimited Call and Text loads but they mobilized the Filipinos to stand up against the colonial masters.  Just imagine what a generation armed with Facebook, Twitter, Sun, Smart and Globe and countless blogs can do to stand up and fight against the giants our nation is up against.

But I think this will only happen if hearts and minds will be awakened by God to rise up and fight against the specters we’re fighting today.  There must be a Jesus revolution in our hearts and minds first.

*Also posted in my Philippine History wordpress site and STC History Facebook page

PLANKING from the urbandictionary.com

The art of planking is to lay horizontally across any object or the ground with their arms by their sides, aiming to occur in daring situations or a brotherly display of core-strength..
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broken thoughts

I just have to write this, to let it out. My heart is broken. I was in tears when I read the news in Yahoo Philippines after a co-teacher told me that Angelo Reyes had shot himself. No, I am not a fan of the guy. I even doubt his innocence but I’ll honor what my Dad often tells me when it comes to issues like this – “innocent until proven otherwise” in court. My heart broke for the Philippines. Tears came to my eyes (my co-teacher was looking at me, surprised) as I read about the generals’ houses and their wives’ travels.


I grieved because the evening before Reyes shot himself, I had lain awake deep into the night with the line playing in my mind like a song in Repeat mode: “What will it take to change this nation, Lord?” What will it take to awaken the Filipinos from their cynicism, hopelessness and acceptance of what’s in front of us? How long will we tolerate what’s in our land? So Reyes’ death was a shock for me. Even for someone who didn’t know him personally. The first thought that rushed to my mind was “he’s guilty or why would he kill himself?” The next one was “he didn’t even think of what this will do to his sons and daughters.” I don’t know. I don’t want to judge him because I have no right. Only God can do that. More than anger at the AFP corruption, my heart was broken at all these revelations. Jesus, help us. The Philippines really needs you at this time. I know that we are at the brink of a deep change in the land.

An abnormal normal

Waiting for my turn to vote last May 10, 2010 opened my eyes to the everyday circumstances that most of the Filipino schoolchildren face. While some of the more fortunate kids get to study inside airconditioned rooms, carpeted floors and newly-painted walls, the students in public schools still sit on the very desks that my parents sat on while they were in their elementary years.

I find it ironic that most of the Filipino populace flock to public schools every three or six years to choose a new batch of leaders who have vowed to serve the people but yet fail to act accordingly by coming up with programs to improve the public school system. Is it apathy or just the usual turning of the head to escape reality? Have we become callous and desensitized to the abnormalities of the public schools and have called them normal? It pains me to see that what should be called a horrible reality is a part of normal, everyday school life. Poverty, corruption and the political situation have all blinded us and allowed us to accept these worn, tired, rotting wooden desks inside shabby classrooms manned by tired and underpaid teachers.

There is a different reality out there for these Filipino kids. We must seek to see that change and reality take place in our generation today.