when i heard about what happened at the U.P. Fair on Friday the 13th, i didn’t think it was anything extraordinary. i’ve been going to the u.p. fair since 1995, and what the blogosphere has labeled the “jologs” have always been part and parcel of the affair. even then, and everytime i’ve gone, an imagined mosh pit is expected, some minor scuffles might happen, and what i’ve learned to do is get out of the way. then and now, i’ve always called them the punks and nothing else. because that really is what they are. and because they paid for the same ticket to enter the Sunken Garden, there is never reason for me to insist that my space cannot be theirs.
and so when, via Manolo, i was treated to the blogosphere’s general agreement that the “jologs” who broke through the walls were the issue here, i was surprised. even more so when i realized that most other bloggers agreed as well with the Construct‘s assessment of the situation, which doesn’t only “condemn the jologs” but also quite clearly misunderstands the situation:
I believe it was a defining moment for the UP community. We have always regarded ourselves as the future leaders of the country, the advocates of democracy, and the protectors of our fellow Filipinos especially the masa. Last night was different though. It was clearly us versus them. The educated versus morons. The burgis versus the masa.
so many things are wrong about this, i’m surprised as well that no one has taken him to task, no one has spent the time and energy to explain what is wrong here, with this. so here i’ve made time and found energy to do so:
(1) to invoke the notions of “us versus them, the educated versus the morons” limns over the fact that the issue here is not who’s educated and who isn’t, it’s who paid for tickets but didn’t get into the venue. A comment to another anti-”jologs” entry, screams the truth about what was going on outside of the walls of the Sunken Garden — but no one seems to be listening. Thumbbook, as part of the “them” that Construct, well, constructs, recounts that after buying tickets, waiting in line for two hours, and finally deciding to watch the concert from outside, some things became clear to her:
Whoever organized the concert had obviously failed to consider that there will always be these young punk groups who will cause havoc. If you have the balls to call in the best rock groups, you have to be ready for a mini-summer slam in your hands. It was very disappointing. Everyone who had tickets and couldn’t get in were rooting for these punks! I hope next time, they organize rock concerts better. I feel bad for those who were hurt, but I put the blame on the organizers because they should have been responsible.
the truthfulness here is infallible, and in fact points a finger not at the punks (thank god, Thumbbook knows to call them what they are!), but at the organizers who sold tickets but didn’t want to let buyers in. if there should be an “us versus them” here, it should be the ticket buyers versus the show’s organizers. or is Construct saying that “them” from the outside, which of course includes those who cheered the punks on, were all uneducated? then that would just be wrong.
(2) to say that the morons = the masa, is to say that U.P. itself has ceased to accept the “masa” into its studentry, which is absolutely false. regardless of the demographics, U.P. remains as the only University in this country where the “masa” thrives, even with the P15,000-peso tuition fee. if Construct has yet to encounter his masa classmates, then it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. all he needs to do is start having conversations with people who aren’t part of his “us” and he might be enlightened. in truth, and i bet you, Construct’s “us the educated, us the burgis” who were inside the Sunken Garden, included the masa he so pinpoints as “them”.
and let’s say Construct can’t find a masa student to save his life, then there are all those manangs and manongs who keep the University’s wheels turnings: Ikot and Toki jeep drivers, mga manininda, mga staff, mga taga-Shopping Center, mga xerox boys and girls, mga janitor, i could go on and on. they are as much U.P. people as the U.P. student, and yes, they are all part of the masa he says don’t belong in the U.P. Fair.
(3) Construct insists that this was a “defining moment” because he had always considered himself as the “future leader of this country, the advocate of democracy, the protector of the masa”. not only is this the cliche that has rung false for many a U.P. graduate (hello GMA’s human rights abuses), it is also obviously misunderstood here.if true that Construct believes that this is what his U.P. education stands for, then he should be able to see that the punks — the “jologs” as he calls them — are his responsibility as well. that the goal must be to understand them, not condemn them. that yes, they endangered his life, but why did it come to that? what was going on here, other than the black and the white of theus and the them?
because it’s too easy to simply label them as the masses who are uneducated morons and link them to your assessment of EDSA 3. if there’s anything a U.P. education must teach you, it’s that there are many grays here, and that if you deem yourself the “most educated” then you are also in the best position to understand. to call people names does nothing but reveal your own social class. if this was a “defining moment”, it is only so for people like Construct, who were under the impression that they owned U.P., that they are the only ones who are worthy. Smoke gets it right:
One gets the sense of outrage from The Construct: HOW DARE THEY BITE THE HANDS OF THE PEOPLE WHO WILL ONE DAY LEAD THEM AND PROTECT THEM? KATY BAR THE DOOR! DON’T EVER LET THESE INGRATES IN! This, unfortunately, seems to be the subtext here.
a subtext that reeks of the most horrible case of classism, which the U.P. student — of all students — must have been cured of, if not made conscious of, by her mere presence in a University that includes the bigger community that surrounds it. Marocharim insists that the U.P. student brings into the university her own ideology. but you know, it would take apathy for any U.P. student not to be affected by the world that surrounds the campus, from which the campus lives, and within which the U.P. studentry is but another sector, not the whole deal. it is this as well that makes the whole consensus of exclusivity for the University problematic. to wall it up, as Smoke has discovered, is almost impossible. and yet this is what Construct ends with:
<…> This event, I think, will come under great scrutiny of the University officials. In the advent of crimes committed to members of the academic community by “outsiders” (the Veteran’s Bank robbery, the rapes, the thefts and robberies, etc…), I think that they will be considering “closing” the University and limiting its access to UP people. Sure, we’ll be like Ateneo or any other coño private campus, but check the demographics today. What’s the difference?
more than problematic though, the whole “close the university” conclusion is dangerous. because we are under a U.P. administration that has consistently been trying to make the University more exclusive to “U.P. people” that is, only U.P. students and employees: imposing a no-i.d.-no-entry policy, putting up gates and closing many of the university’s entrances and exits. and while we presume that this makes things safer for us who own cellphones laptops and mp3 players, it glosses over the fact that in the process, the members of the bigger U.P. community are being disenfranchised. if you are part of any of the communities (Krus na Ligas, Areas 1 2 and 3, the Hardins, among others), if you’ve been allowed to build businesses in this area (the talyers along many of the minor roads, the Bonsai Garden, for example), if you’ve lived here all your life but are not enrolled or employed by the University, why must you be disenfranchised from the spaces of U.P.? this is as much yours as it is theirs who hold I.D.’s and form 5′s.
truth to tell, the blogsphere’s classist consensus can and will be used by the University admin to continue its project of oppressing its own in the name of security. and in the end, all it will do is highlight difference among U.P.’s many sectors, and allow for the U.P.’s “educated”to deem their security as more important than the oppression of so many others who are part of the community.
this community is what makes U.P. different from Ateneo, demographics notwithstanding. it is this community that we learn to be mindful of, that we deal with everyday, that we do become dependent on. we live with them, we breathe the same air, we are in fact one and the same.
i don’t doubt that the punks could’ve started throwing stones at the people inside the Sunken Garden, and that they had the capacity to actually take down those walls. i do not question the truth that many of the people there — and i’m sure they weren’t ALL u.p. students — were scared shitless. but i also don’t doubt that this was the organizers’ fault as Thumbbook has said. Smoke goes so far as to mention the Wowowee incident in pointing a finger at whose fault this all is. all i invoke is command responsibility.
meanwhile, we have Construct, invoking the ideology of the “us and them, the educated and the morons, the burgis and the masses” which really does reveal more than just one blogger’s (and his supporters’) classist ideology. it reveals how careless we have become about invoking oppression.