Mar 20, 2002

Of Other Members of the J.N.C.L.F.*

Before anything else, I would like to direct followers of the "Nathan defense" to the following venues linked here. I feel they are more qualified to speak on Nathan's academic performance because they were contemporaries as students of the same course, BA English: Creative Writing.

Still, I think I can have part of the honor of vouching for his character. Or else what use would he have of once naming me his best friend?

*Joseph Nathan Cruz Liberation Front

Of the English Department and Block B-1

I figure that I have been guilty of some excesses in crafting my defense of Nathan Cruz. I may have overstated my bias against the Department of English and Comparative Literature (DECL).

It has produced some great characters (although, in my heart, I believe they came out good because they held fast to something else within themselves despite the department). Among them are friends of mine, Nathan, Jol, Astrid, and Jessel. Of course, my friends too from APS. I realize too that I have not counted some others who were never acquaintances of mine but were worthy children of UP in their own right.

I did not need to ask around to know that.

One of my best professors, present and crucial in my academic turning point, came from that department and taught me Humanities in a special course prioritizing students from the DECL. Yes, I was of that department in what seems now such a distant past.

Peach and I left for Philippine Studies, and both Araling Pilipino and the lady will figure largely in whatever future that will then arise for me. A significant "chip" of the block will leave DECL for slots in the College of Mass Communications, sensing some brighter future there maybe.

And among them of course, a lady leading her own path, sometime later to cross mine, never to leave again. And outside of DECL, I would name her Sanyata in a fashion all my own.

We weren't kicked out. The lot of us quit while we were ahead. I among them knew no great loss. I only regretted leaving my friends. But then, the block found means of keeping in touch. This electronic space is one such venue.

Still, there was something in that culture that I never grew to love. And I watched from my distance how it came for my friends and claimed their minds. Each would have to negotiate with it in their own way. Maybe I am still afflicted with it. That would not come off as such a big surprise. My bilingual blog, for example, could scarcely hide this internal dialectic. And though I hold on to this struggle because it drives both my understanding and expression, I despise its very existence.

DFPP and DECL - versus?

Most of my bias against the DECL and its internal squabbles (despite admirable people both in the faculty and its student body), I may owe to my "academic politicization" in my own department, Departmento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas (DFPP). We have great beef against the way some DECLers think and the policies that are approved by its bulk.

I know the necessity for this department and the validity of its existence and enterprise. Yet, I had always wished that it did not grow to be what it is now.

And I secretly desire, in the future, that even Comparative Literature would be under the DFPP, with Panitikan ng Pilipinas properly asserting its right on all that is Panitikan sa Pilipinas. But that great change would happen only when the dominant view of globalization in University and the College of Arts and Letters will undergo a radical change.

But of course, most are allergic to the word "radical," despite the fact that sometimes it is closer to what is (though not commonly known or acknowleged as) "right." And some are just sickened by the thought of paperwork (my, what a large ruckus that would be!).

Anyway, we don't have much of a translation industry to speak of. That is logically a prerequisite. That and some form of agreement on the form of "Filipino" we will use (and that is material for a whole new article).

Maybe I should be satisfied if Comparative Literature would just separate from the DECL. Though even that is wishful thinking!