Pablo Neruda’s “Walking Around” Poem Analysis

I am reblogging thisss! beautiful take on a quite unconventional poem by Neruda.

zeojagada

Pablo Neruda’s poem “Walking Around” displays an abhorrent perspective at society from a struggling class side in a communist/socialist (not entirely sure) light. In lines 1-4, the Pablo is saying that he is tired of his world-weary body. Repetition helps create a dark feeling inside the speaker’s head, similar to the constant depressing lines present throughput the poem. The speaker feels sickened by the human race’s destruction of the world and morality. He feels that the government has destined his life to be their pawn and his desire not to be pulls him through each day. Thoughts of overcoming these obstacles are tightly pressed for he sees himself as just one man. Neruda concludes his character trudging on in reality; with hope that one day he will be more than just one man and they can overcome barriers created by their government.

From Pablo Neruda, the speaker tries to be…

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Facing Giants

Gandaaaaaa!

I am who I am

Don Quixote revolves around the adventures of its eponymous character, whose real name is Alonso Quixano, a gentleman living in La Mancha.  Coming off from reading tons of books on chivalry, he becomes insane and decides to roam the land and fight injustice as the knight-errant “Don Quixote de la Mancha.”  After forcing an innkeeper to anoint him as a knight, he employs a farmer named Sancho Panza to serve as his “squire”, and proceeds to live out his delusions.

When I first started reading Don Quixote, I had a hard time connecting my life to a ridiculous story about a crazy old man.  I was at loss what to write.  But after pondering for a while, an idea came to me. What if I see the story through Don Quixote’s point of view?  In his perspective, his adventures were real.  That got the gears in my head turning.

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The Heart of Loving

bohol-1I DON’T always buy newspaper. Maybe in a year, the number might reach just 20. But browsing through the pile of back issues of the Inquirer, one would find that most of them are Sunday issues. So it is not a surprise that I bought one today, which is a Sunday. Of course, news on Sundays is pretty much the same as those of any day of the week. That goes without saying I do not read news as often as may be required of a journalism teacher. My favorite part is Sunday’s opinion section, where I get to read Fr. Jerry Orbos’ column called Moments. I admire him because his homilies are full of wit and humor,  leaving us, both the mass goers and TV viewers in meditation. In the same manner, his column is worth any reader’s time.

In his column today, Father Orbos delved on the heart of loving. He began with a story of a husband who from church one evening and embraced and lifted his wife. Surprised, the wife asked why he did that; the husband said: “The priest told us…to embrace our cross and lift up our cross to the Lord!” The wife couldn’t be outshone, so the next day, she told her husband to come with her to the church meeting. The husband asked why, and his wife replied: “The priest told us to bring any useless thing in the home….”

The story sounds funny but makes sense to me. The two, in conclusion, may be loving each other but cannot accept each other wholeheartedly.

Another part of the column says: “A lot of us would claim that we have taken the road of love in this world…. The question is how far would we go on this road?” My take: I am one of the “a lot of us” and I cannot answer the question right now.

But what hit me the most is this: “It is not just a question of loving enough; it is also a question of loving truly. Here we fail more because often we love with a lot of conditions and with a lot of selfish agenda. Often we love with so much pride and with a lot of anger. We all need to learn more about true and sustained loving.”

That passage melted my heart. The truth is that I am too scared to love this time. And trying to love again is something I find difficult doing. I tried, twice, I think (I am not even sure about it), but I only ended up going away, too scared that even before it could even bloom, I was quick to shut the door.

The passage could be right to say that I love with a lot of conditions. With my two attempts or so, I wished things would be the way I expected them to be. If there were a law for love, I could be the earnest advocate to dictate people to do what it says, if only to make me feel I am loved and to make me love any one back.

Nevertheless, I can say that I am not stone-hearted. If there has been “inactivity”, then it is only about one aspect of sustained loving, with which I am being cautious. The other aspects have just been the same. They are my strength and I love them without conditions, anger, and pride.

Chalk Talk

mission

TODAY, we started our five-day training at the National Institute of Education at the huge Nangyan Technological University in Singapore, and I would like to share some interesting insights from today’s equally interesting lecture of Ma’am Veronica, a principal of a secondary school.

  • Knowledge and skills are to be given equal weight; that means teachers must endeavor to provide balance to both components in the teaching and learning process, and not focus primarily on content teaching. It must be noted that content teaching is not complete teaching–teaching should focus on practical skills. The “teacher” who does everything for the class is not a teacher, and given that style, learning does not really take place.
  • In teaching, soft skills must also be given special focus. The heart should not be left out in the performance of a teacher’s duty. By giving importance to the soft skills, teachers commit to developing positive self-concept in their learners. Therefore, a teacher should always find time for direct interaction between him/her and the students, and this doesn’t have to be their contact time in class. This interaction goes beyond that “expected” duty. Therefore, teachers can never be replaced by technology–a teacher’s physical presence is already an amazing experience for the students.
  • We have to get rid of recognizing students who top in class, in the batch, in the subject. Now this is a bit contradictory to what we have been practicing back home. There are awards ceremonies for students who did exceptionally well. Some experts discourage this practice, because it only leaves out those who are “believed to have performed poorly” just because their marks are not impressive. I want to believe that this bold move would be hard to embrace. But like what our speaker said, everyone wants to be recognized for his/her efforts so that person may develop confidence. And to make this possible, the teacher should be able to set targets for each student, and whatever accomplishment the student makes should be duly commended. This is quite tiring to do, but considering that everyone in class actually performs, then there’s no reason for the teacher to focus on rewarding achievements only of those who “topped the class”. This is a wonderful idea; it is highly applicable to our school setting. Personally, I believe that grades do not really measure everything. Short leaps and lower jumps should be rewarded.
  • Shifts in system should be done carefully. Our speaker gave us the acronym KISS, and I think it’s worth considering by curriculum and policy makers. What does KISS mean?

K–What should we K E E P ? Well, the system we are replacing is not a bad system after all. It would not have been implemented if it did not have good points. So in our attempt to change it, we should keep the good points. Everyone wants to do them, after all. Keep them, because they yielded good results.

I–What should we I N I T I A T E ? That we always find loopholes in existing systems is a biting reality. Remember that we want to keep our students’ future secure, so investing in what may be considered novel yet beneficial must be the concern of every person involved in effecting change in schools. The world constantly changes, and to stick to old school is a crime.

S–What should we S H A R P E N ? The old system may be defective, but there is no perfect system. There are weak points, but they may not be entirely weak. They may only need strengthening. Someone said do not simply throw away something because you think it does not favor you. Looking at it more seriously, you should be able to identify which aspects of the system need emphasis. Who knows we may not change it at all!

S–What should we S T O P ? Now this one has got to be the most amazing in the curriculum. Whatever is undesirable in the system should be totally eliminated. It may only add up to wastage. Get rid of it and move on!

  • And because I really abhor teachers who resist changes, I want to emphasize this last point: Do not resist all the time, because when you resist changes aimed at improving what we do in schools, then you are being unfair to your students. Resisting means sticking to old practice and directly violating what experts try to advance in the world of teaching. Instead of frowning over what your superiors want you to perform (and because they are also following orders, IYKWIM), reflect on why there has to be change. Suspend your judgment, and remember, be fair to your students!

I will share more insights as the training progresses! I am off to dinner!

The World Where We Are

Note: I wrote this nine years ago, and it is not meant to last in my memory, I guess, because I can no longer remember the subject of this post. It wasn’t meant to be, that is.

I NEVER really knew I set out on a journey to this world.  I get to be here only when dreaming, yes, when asleep. Yes, I am a dreamer, and dreaming brings me to a different dimension, but hearing the noise outside my room and feeling the sun’s heat mildly touching my pallid skin are enough to bring me back to my real world. Right now, however, I am perfectly awake, and I stand in wonder as to how I got here.

Is this just a form of escape?  Or have I become so accustomed to the practice that I think being here has already become something normal?  I don’t really know. I have been here for a month now, and since then, I’ve been enjoying both the thrill of discovering the facets of this world and the pain of being with people, with real people whom I cannot really see. Yes, I actually met someone who is as real as the ones I see every day. He has shown me love in a different way. I bumped into him on one of those warm summer nights, when sleep wouldn’t come and I had the chance to go beyond my cradle.  And how was it that we were on the same track?

He cares about me–I know that. He understands me–that’s something most people I know hardly do. He looks for me–or that is the same as saying he misses me.  He gets mad at me–that’s when I cannot give him time and attention. He tells me everything–including those I don’t really want to know. He comforts me–the words are as sweet as the sweetest scent. He lifts me up when I am down, brings a smile to my face, and makes sure I am always fine. Does he love me? He says he does.

I care about him–he knows that.  I understand him, too, and he loves that I do.  I look for him; I miss him like the way I miss him right now.  He angers me when he gets impatient over something trivial. I tell him everything, too; it’s because I trust him as he does trust me. And in my best effort, I comfort him; and I make sure he is well and good. Do I love him? I tell him I do.

The world where we are is an entrapment where the fear of getting wounded or killed doesn’t engulf our senses. This is the only world where we can be really together, do what people in the real world do, and enjoy life however hard it is.  Yes, it is a nearly perfect world.  Nevertheless, we still have wishes, including going back to reality where we will remain the way we are now.

Keynote Address

Guest SpeakerThis is the full text of my speech during Malabog National High School’s First Junior High School Completion Rites on March 17, 2016. I am an alumnus of that school.

Thank you, Ma’am Celma, for the kind introduction!

The scene: very much like this, the difference is that it was dark. People were quietly seated, eager to know and to see what the silver screen would show. A rumbling sound was heard, a sign that the movie was now going to start. The rumbling was then understood as the coming of 322 fresh-from-grade-school youngsters into the school known as Malabog National High School. The marching came in varying forms—some were willing, some were hesitant, some surprised, but there was that small push that literally brought them toward the gate. The gate was still closed, but when it was opened, what appeared to them was a completely different world, waiting to be discovered, explored, and eventually to be enjoyed.

The next scenes came fast-paced, showing these 322 individuals savoring the kind of life only this matchless world could offer them, their faces revealing hints of sorrow, pain, failure, tiredness, strength, determination, joy, and fulfillment. And as they were about to reap the fruits of their hard labor, the flick just stopped, and the screen showed a big question mark, leaving the audience in total surprise.

The fresh-from-grade school youngsters in the anecdote are no other than you, dear students. And that bizarre world where that short tale is set is your school, Malabog National High School. That’s something highly obvious, but what I—and the rest of the guests to your important occasion—cannot take is that all of you will come out of this school with that unnerving question mark.

To our respected school principal, Mrs. Celma Miraran, distinguished guests, members of the faculty and staff, to my former teachers, members of the barangay council, our beloved parents, guardians, and the students who are soon to become junior high school completers, good afternoon.

I am honestly pleased to have been invited to address the completion rites of the first batch of junior high school in my alma mater, Malabog National High School. I can remember being told by my fourth year adviser Mrs. Hannah Escobedo that I would have my turn to address students in a similar ceremony, but I didn’t think it would be this soon. Two weeks ago, Madam Vivian Pangan sent me a message on Facebook to tell me I had been unanimously chosen by the faculty to deliver this message to Class 2018, for which I am deeply honored.

It was 24 years ago when I stood on a stage in this school to deliver my salutation before my 300 plus batchmates, the class of 1992. I was wearing a white toga and spoke on the theme “Bayan Muna Bago ang Sarili”, the speech I wrote myself, with these parting words: “In thought, in word, and in deed.”

I should seek forgiveness from my teachers because I barely knew what I meant that afternoon of April 3, 1992. I stood on that stage because I felt compelled to deliver a speech as it was part of the rites, coupled with the pressure that I needed to represent the whole batch in paying the highest of respects to everyone in the audience including our parents, including my mother. When I went back to my seat, I felt relieved that it was over. The feeling was probably due to the fact that while it was a moment to rejoice over the completion of my four years in high school, I thought that there was that unnerving question mark as to where I was going. I thought that one wrong move would have meant one big failure.

But there’s no point in soaking myself in the uncertainty of things. A question mark represents doubts, worries, and indecision, which are parents of that big hounding crap called failure. A quote says, “Time doesn’t wait. Indecision will only let opportunities slip by. Pick a path and walk confidently with your heart behind every step.”

A lot of you will agree with me that studying is difficult. You worry not only about your homework, evaluation tools, and projects, but also about how you would suffice your needs. I am sure too that some parents here almost wanted to give up sending you to school, because what good will doing so bring them if you had nothing to eat when you come home? What if the next day you won’t be able to come back to school anymore because you had no money at least for transportation—never mind that you didn’t have anything to buy yourself some crackers or a glass of synthetic juice?

I take pride in having experienced that. My siblings and I would come to school with barely anything to keep us alive the whole day; but mother or anyone she could request to bring us food to school on midday saved us from fainting due to hunger. My pair of shoes in fourth year was a donation from a family friend who said that I deserved them for studying hard—and harder. During a Christmas party, I was in school uniform while everyone was wearing their best, and it felt really bad that I rendered a song number while some classmates laughed at what I was wearing. The list is long—it’s probably pretty much the same if you try to list all your troubles to the point of forgetting your blessings.

Of course, everyone in this ornate hall knows that I didn’t give up. I would not have been here right now. I actually wanted to be a nurse because the whiteness of their uniform intrigued me, and because I looked after my dying lolo during my junior year so I thought I had enough inspiration to become one. I also wanted to be a journalist because I thought that my school paper experience was a strong foundation. But I became a teacher, and the simple joys teaching brings—like some random student comes up to me to tell me she finally understands sentence patterns or thanks me because I gave him a good advice on being an illegitimate child—translate to fulfillment.

And so partly, I was able to get rid of that question mark.

That’s the same question mark which the screen displayed in that movie house in the anecdote, and it suggests the reservations that have bothered you for the last four years because of the big change in the educational setup in the country. I know, too, that even your parents had some objections to the curriculum shift, as two more years means additional burdens to them.

It’s actually a mutual understanding between families and the Department of Education in terms of burdens. A budget of Php 411.58B for 2016, higher by 28% than the 2015 budget is now being utilized to hire additional teachers, fund school feeding programs, construct 47,553 classrooms and technical-vocational laboratories, and train teachers to equip them appropriately so they can handle senior high school classes.

I want to tell you about a world literature character who is a personal favorite. Let’s call him Don Quixote. Don Quixote is a commoner in a village, and he is so fond of reading books about ladies, squires, knights, and chivalry that one day he decides to become a knight, but let us set him apart from the Knights of the Round Table because our protagonist isn’t even a knight. He wears a helmet made up of basin, he carries a very brittle sword, he has a horse that looks weak and sick, and he has a squire named Sancho, who only goes with him because of food.

Because knights are supposed to perform exploits, Don Quixote, one day, sets out on a journey and finds himself gaping at giants that he draws out his sword, rides on his horse, and attacks the giants with all his might, only to fall on the ground and to be told that what he was trying to fight were not giants but only windmills. When he recovers from the fall, he sets out on another journey with his horse and squire to continue living his fantasy that he is a knight. And he repeats the cycle continually, because he has a formidable spirit. He doesn’t really care about what happens to him in the process for as long as he is willing to help anyone in need and earn pogi points from his lady love called Dulcinea, who is also an imaginary character.

For the reader who does not know how to see things in a different perspective, Don Quixote is just another character who lost his sanity. He is just someone worthy of a good laugh for mistaking windmills for giants, friars for evil magicians, and a herd of sheep for an army. He is funny for trying to free prisoners on a march to the galleys. He is a crazy old man who is consumed by his fantasy that he is a knight.

But for someone who sees people with meaning, Don Quixote represents any one of us in this crowd. He is one who tries to fight the odds that come upon him. He fashions adventures and exploits and he fights his enemies. And as a social antagonist, he endeavors to make his voice heard in an ocean of powerful people.

Believe me, but each of us nurtures a Don Quixote in us. Every day we actually get to meet windmills, evil magicians, an army, and they come in the form of temptations, laziness, corruption, environmental problems, indifference, cruelty, and ignorance. But these should not cripple us. Just like the venerable don, we are expected to charge these enemies with all our might.

Kabataang Mula K to 12, Tagapagdala ng Kaunlaran sa Bansang Pilipinas—that’s this year’s completion rites theme. Now I want to ask you, what do you plan to contribute to the Philippines? You can only answer this question if you reflect on how you have prepared yourself for the greater endeavor, which goes beyond the realms of the self. You might have constantly heard your teachers to study well and serve the country when you can.Yes, it goes beyond the self—for what would your success mean if you won’t give back.

But for now, think of the many options you are presented with. I learned that MNHS is going to offer several strands for the senior high school program, and I am fervent the school has taken initial steps to help you choose the strand that suits your needs, your personality, and your interests. If until now you still haven’t made that crucial choice, then you really need some pat on the back. Because you cannot succeed with indecision hovering at you. You have to find your niche, and when you’re at it, seize the day, do your best, and succeed.

That sounds easy, doesn’t it? But let me share Dodinsky’s words in his book, “In the Garden of Thoughts.” He says, “Do not plant your dreams in the field of indecision, where nothing ever grows but the what-ifs.”

What if you never really entered high school—then you wouldn’t have met all your wonderful classmates and teachers each of them has a role to play in your present and few others in your future.

What if you didn’t come to school regularly—then you wouldn’t have experienced the fun of learning and doing it with people whose dreams and ambitions resemble yours.

What if you never really listened to your parents when they gave you that little push—then you wouldn’t have realized that they were right after all, for how can they go wrong when it comes to your welfare?

And what if you never really believed you could push yourself even more—then you would never have realized your full potentials as a person, that you can do more, that you can be more.

In the process, as you go through your senior high school experience, you will meet more what ifs, but seek the wisdom of your parents and teachers. They know what’s best for you. They will help you find the answers, they will help you finish that movie which suddenly stopped with that bothering question mark. And for that, give them a resounding applause.

And speaking of thanks, allow me to express sincerest thanks to my loving mentors who helped me in more ways than one.

My English teachers—Madam Ida Alamares, now the principal at Ponso NHS in Polangui, for being my school paper adviser and for the crispy English that wowed me the first time I heard her speak in class; the late Madam Judith Pagador, whom I clearly remember for her very moving “After this our exile” explanation.

My Math teachers—Madam Lourdes Marjalino in statistics, Sir Leonardo Nasol in geometry and trigonometry, and the petite yet really powerful woman Madam Emma Morasa in advance algebra—for helping me love formulas, square roots, cosine, and standard deviation.

My araling panlipunan teacher, Madam Carmen Brigola, who was really strict and organized that she would always start her new lesson with PAKSA so we would be guided as we went about it.

My ever jolly Filipino teacher—Madam Virginia Loria, who made me enjoy Noli and El Fili by her unique way of pointing out truths and lessons and those relatable discussions and debates on love, people, and society.

My PEHM teacher, the gorgeous Madam Eva Cortezano, who made all of us sing in music class and who was really beautiful even if she was pregnant that year, and who has remained beautiful like Dawn Zulueta who doesn’t age.

My CAT teacher Sir Hilario Revilla, who allowed me to teach my fellow classmates on discipline and respect instead of marching under the big blue sky with that wooden rifle.
My English elective teachers—Madam Mercy Baldon and Florian Lomibao, for their impeccable grammar skills, and Madam Conchita Ferwelo, for teaching us how to present ourselves in public.

My class advisers—the late Madam Herminia Esporlas, who was also my practical arts teacher for two years and who would let me do the marketing for the day’s snacks at the canteen so I would have free meals and who tried to engender in me some green thumb to grow daisies and roses on the plots which used to sprawl across this quadrangle; and Madam Hannah Escobedo, at the same time my chemistry and physics teacher, who unconditionally loved my classmates and me, who supported me in my endeavors as a busy student (even coaching me for an oratorical contest in Tabaco NHS), and who until now has not stopped encouraging me.

And to the other teachers, the non-teaching staff, our principal then, Dr. Leticia Gonzales, and those I might have forgotten to mention. I cannot thank you enough.

And to everyone in this meaningful occasion, the teaching and non-teaching staffs, the guests, the parents, and of course, the students, thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity. I am humbled.

Congratulations and God speed!

The Almighty Sacrifice

And yet another outstanding post on “Inferno”. Thanks CN for your inspiring ideas which I believe may well be appreciated by others seeking enlightenment on what others point out as entities.

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Cross_on_Observation_Hill,_McMurdo_Station

I grew up loving bible stories, almost all my family members would tell a story from time to time. From Abraham to David to Jesus, nothing was left out. I also read on my own of course, I l was fascinated by the stories of the Old Testament. Every time the Israelites did some foolish thing, God never ceased to forgive them, no matter how insulting it was to him and despite the fact they committed sins again and again. God’s unconditional love for us was finally proven in the New Testament, when Jesus, a pure and sinless man, suffered and died for us unworthy souls supposed to be damned to Hell for all eternity. This really inspired me and strengthened my belief in God, that he would love us no matter what, which true love really is about.

Fast forward about a decade, and I was introduced to another…

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The Juan: A Justification of Means

This is the most interesting post on Machiavelli’s principles. I thought the word vomit was going to be something unpleasant. Thank you, Nica, for this beautiful piece!

golden tragedies

Trigger Warning: Word vomit.

While many people think that only by morally good means will we achieve good ends, our old friend Niccolo Machiavelli begs to differ. To Nick (as I would like to call him because Niccolo is too pretentious and also slightly confusing to spell), nothing is more important than the stability of the state and so there is no need to care about what’s good or moral as the Prince – as he so fondly calls a ruler – keeps his state steady.

Lying, cheating, stealing, killing? They are all deemed acceptable if it’s for the good of the state.

I personally agree with his principle. Why? Let me introduce you to a few of my beloved countrymen and you’ll know why.

Corrupt leader Juan sits comfortably in his golden throne of lies, feasts on the most deluxe food, dines on his silver platter and indulges in…

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Fear: The Educational Tool

Something to think about–for teachers.

The Blueberry Detective

Teacher-Forces-Right-Hand

Photo from: http://www.scarymommy.com

“Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? One should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved,” said Niccolo Machiavelli.

The classroom is like a mini country. We have the good citizens, the outlaws, the influential people, and the person who leads this country, the teacher. Teachers are pictured as role models to their students and a symbol of learning. They are the second parents of every student. They should be loved right? With my definition of a teacher, you’d start to think that maybe teachers should be better off feared than loved.

A teacher is a person whose goal is to maximize the learning and output of every student. How is this supposed to make me think that teachers should be…

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The Princess to The Prince

I am reblogging this because of the interesting angle my student took.

The Comfort Zone

Behind every successful man is a great woman.

– Unknown

There is an essay entitled “Did Women Have a Renaissance?” written by Joan Kelly in 1977 where she tackled the questions concerning gender roles in the Renaissance period. There are many online and published resources stating that women in this period were denied of political rights and are objectified. Nothing more is expected from them but to follow the standards and jobs that men created for them. It’s an ironic freedom for women, when they are free to speak but must keep their tongues tied.

Out of the pieces of information I have acquired from Niccolo Machiavelli’s truly astounding work ‘The Prince,’ I noticed how he had little to no input on the roles of queens (let’s call them princesses for the sake of parallelism.) In his book, he made it very clear that he saw the Medici family as the only…

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