The tragedy of fraternity hazing seen through a former ditz’s eyes

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So I read today that some members of a San Beda College fraternity that goes by the name Lex Leonum Fraternitas were expelled after they were linked by that school’s disciplinary committee to the death of neophyte Marc Andre Marcos allegedly from injuries he sustained while participating in that fraternity’s initiation or “hazing” rights. According to an Inquirer news report, “Marcos, 21, a native of Ramos, Tarlac province, succumbed to severe injuries while being treated at De La Salle University Medical Center on July 30, a day after the fraternity rites.” San Beda’s disciplinary committee ruled…

“Undeniably, Lex Leonum employs physical violence during its initiation rites,” it said, pointing out that this is prohibited under the school’s code of conduct. “San Beda College has no choice but to impose the maximum administrative sanction when the moral depravity of the student concerned is so grave as to be beyond redemption,” it added.

What a tragic waste — to die for one’s fraternity. But I find it even more bizarre that people would inflict such harm in the name of one’s frat not just during hazing but in these idiotic rumbles that happen every now and then in campuses all over the Philippines. What’s the matter with these people??

I had a boyfriend in college who was a fratman. He was a member of one of the more prominent frats in our campus — a frat, it seemed to me, geared mainly for lawyers. What is it with frats and lawyers anyway? Why is being in a frat so important to the lawyering profession?? Strangely, that boyfriend wasn’t in a pre-law course so I surmise, he didn’t have plans to be a lawyer at the time (and, as it turned out, he is not a lawyer today). Me being the ditz that I was back then, it didn’t occur to me to ask these questions.

Anyway, I kinda worked out about a couple of weeks into our being ‘on’ that girlfriends of fratmen were expected to make tambay (hang out) in the frat tambayan (hang out place) in between classes. Note, as an aside, that unlike in the US, there were no frat houses in our campus, only tambayans that consisted of, well, a bench (or a bunch of them) where one sits. The better-endowed of organizations and frats in our campus furnished their tambayans with a table or two as well.

So I found myself spending free time time parking my bum in this frat tambayan alongside those of the other fratmens’ trophy girlfriends. We were all armed with one form of pamaypay or another which we frantically flapped to keep our flowing Palmolive shampooed hair from getting matted against our sweaty napes — as if our short skirts didn’t leave enough skin acreage for excess muggy heat to radiate out of our anatomies. It is well worth noting that most coeds in our college wore jeans to class. Fratmens’ squeezes (or at least those in my then boyfriend’s frat) wore skirts. Short ones.

Needless to say, I got over all that pretty quickly. I look back and see that epiphany on my part on the pretentiousness of the whole setup as a milestone in my beginning emergence from ditzhood (which, as I recall, began in my sophomore year). I went on to another 6-8 months of being ‘on’ with that frat guy before I ran out of excuses to avoid the ditzy company in the frat tambayan and, well, wearing a skirt most days of the week.

My point being, if that’s the sort of world (albeit seen through the female eyes of a former ditz) that would-be neophytes are planning to risk their young lives to be a part of, perhaps they should think again. And as to their future brods’ supposedly mandated loyalty to one another, well, consider that I can’t recall my former boyfriend’s brods in the tambayan being brotherly enough to avoid trying to sneak a look down the blouses or up the skirts of their brods’ girlfriends whenever they could.

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31 Comments on “The tragedy of fraternity hazing seen through a former ditz’s eyes”

  1. just one reason why philippine universities are ranked so low, but thankfully filipinos dont make it to oxford (surprise,surprise) – apart from the odd one doing theology on a freebie.
    better to keep the thugs all together away from civilised society.

    1. Philippine universities are ranked low because they are increasingly turning out inarticulate cretins who are ill-prepared to deal with the requirements of the workplace and life in general. It’s a malaise of the education system and society in general that does nothing to ready the individual for the world we live in. You ask any product of our schools and you’ll hardly find anyone who can say what they stand for. And in the end that’s the one thing you really want our universities to do for us.

      1. Agree
        As an MBA and ICT lecturer in the uk, i was appalled here by the poor standard of lecturers, nearly all of whom have never run international businesses (or any business), nor obtained their degrees from prestigious universities.

        I was also surprised that they do not want guest lecturers (even gratis) since they clearly want to operate a ‘closed shop’, but end up producing closed minds, with individual ideas, innovative thought and problem solving all alien concepts.

        If the supposed ‘best of the best’ have such low standards, then it is hardly surprising that the country will remain at the bottom of the economic league for a long time to come.

        You reap what you sow

  2. Hahahahahaha, Kate, you are the best. Back in the day I was Alpha Eta Rho (Aviation Fraternity). We did some pretty crappy stuff to pledges, but nothing violent. There was too much at stake. We didn’t have much time for girlfriends. We were either flying or hitting the books. No time for playing games cause a mistake could cost you dearly, or cost one of your Frat brods dearly. Lewis-Lockport College, Plainfield, Illinois 1967

  3. “What a tragic waste — to die for one’s fraternity. But I find it even more bizarre that people would inflict such harm in the name of one’s frat not just during hazing but in these idiotic rumbles that happen every now and then in campuses all over the Philippines. What’s the matter with these people??”

    You’re supposed to give up your life for an ideal, a concept that supersedes not just your life but of everyone else who shares that ideal. You die for your country, your faith, etc.

    It’s just freakin STUPID to die for a run-down bench. In a stinking corner of some institution that was last painted in the 1950’s.

    Ultimately it was probably the need of some schmuck to be part of something bigger than him — some ideal — that leads to this endless cycle of violence. And the benefits that guy hopes to get later in life as a member of the frat. I mean, look at how many politicians in power now used to be members of UP Sigma Rho. They’re scattered throughout the House and Senate. This frat is hardly the staid, upstanding organization that its lawyers would like the public to remember. Its been involved in riots and running gun battles within the UP campus.

    Apart from the links to political power, there’s hardly anything that distinguishes them from bandits in the hinterlands.

    1. Frats and leftist groups. They’re the biggest campus predators that prey on young idealistic but naive kids looking to be “part of something bigger” and rearin’ to be fighting for “some ideal”.

      1. Hands down the leftists are the worst.

        Freakin HYPOCRITES! These unwashed bastards will profess to be better than the frats. They assert that they hold themselves to a higher standard than traditional politicians. In the end they’re about grabbing power and dominating the rest of society. And they will be more willing to sacrifice the stupid fool that goes on the march with them while they hide behind when the police come down on the protesters with batons.

        And still people get drawn to pricks like Teddy Casino.

  4. Looks like your good friend Jonas extended his trolling skills in the FB page of GRP. You have to admire that guy’s tenacity. Or dedication to his work.=)

  5. It’s within man’s nature to seek power in numbers, specially when one’s ability is lacking. This is the root behind the proliferation of Kanto fraternities, which unfortunately also found its way to our academic institutions.

    1. Oh, and as for the question, “what is it with frats and lawyers?”

      There are actually a lot of benefits. Real, purpose driven, values oriented frats provide free books, consultations, professional network growth and so much more. These, to some people are worth pain.

      1. Frats are supposed to be the support group for the students. If you need study materials, the frat may help provide them. If you just graduated, fellow fratmen may help find a job for you. Problem is, some frats make physical injury and maiming a price for all this.

        But why the “need” for physical injury as an initiation rite? Is it similar to the reason the Mandan Indians do it (look that one up)? One needs to wonder: where did all start? And how was it maintained throughout fraternities? What makes this harmful subculture so attractive?

        1. I asked my friend, who, despite my obvious objections, decided to join a fraternity, and he said that the physical aspect is just to test the body which hosts the mind. They want to filter those who really want to be there, versus those who simply want to say they belong in a Frat.

          Personally, i think it’s just ego tripping, but that’s just me 😀

        2. It gets really ridiculous. Filter out who want to be there? There’s one simple way to do that: if they don’t show up, then they’re filtered out. Common sense is lacking in these frat idiots.

      2. “There are actually a lot of benefits. Real, purpose driven, values oriented frats provide free books, consultations, professional network growth and so much more. These, to some people are worth pain.”

        That’s a ludicrous notion. You can organize a free legal clinic without having to be beaten within an inch of your life. You can provide free legal consultation if you are civic minded. There are message boards that provide legal advice here and abroad. Doubt it requires a concussion or a fractured femur to put one up. What drives people to serve is a desire and commitment to serve. The only conditions under which I’d subject myself to torture is if I expected at some point to be kidnapped by rabid pirates and/or Muslim terrorists.

        It doesn’t build character. It doesn’t break an individual down to build him up as part of a group. It only serves to create a bunch of sadistic assholes whose next immediate ambition as part of the group is to be involved in beating next year’s recruits.

        For the most part, the individuals I’ve met who experience later participate in the torture of pledges involve themselves in the frat primarily to have some big group back them up in case they want to start something (especially something violent). It’s cowardly and pathetic.

        1. “You can organize a free legal clinic without having to be beaten within an inch of your life.”

          But then, who you would be your first patients?

          /s

    2. “…the physical aspect is just to test the body which hosts the mind. They want to filter those who really want to be there, versus those who simply want to say they belong in a Frat.”

      Tell the moron to train in the triathlon if he really wants to condition the body and mind. Better yet, if he really wants to serve — quit school and join the special forces. We need people to hunt down and kill a whole segment of society that need killing.

  6. It is sad and tragic; that a young man with many potentials, die in fraternity hazing. Some of those who do hazing are “sadist”. They just want to hurt people. I don’t believe in fraternities. I was never a member of any fraternity, when I was in the University. However, I turned up good in my career.

  7. When Tailhook abuses were exposed(no death) some US Navy Admirals had some explaining to do. To prevent this from happening again, the Dept of the Navy had severely punished them and disbanded Tailhook. It is a fraternity of Junior officers.

    The cognizant authority had done swiftly what has to be done.

    In the Philippines, fraternity hazing is under DepEd. Has DepEd done anything at all to prevent these tragic losses of innocent, young, and promising students?

    Guess not. We could sue DepEd for dereliction of duty.

  8. Err, last time I checked, Red Cross doesn’t require its volunteers to get beaten up.

    Same goes with our local library.

    Same goes to those who access MIT opencourseware and Khan Academy.

  9. I was with the military brotherhood a long time ago in the 70’s and 80’s. I still recall one leadership principle: “Know your men and look after their welfare.” Because of this principle, I decided to move against hazing. It had no military and/or command value. 14 upperclassmen were kicked out after they refused to obey the Commandant’s order to cease and desist from hazing. Beating up your own men is setting an evil example. It is also against the principle of looking after their welfare. I stood against hazing and weathered the storm of death threats and ridicule. The incident even reached the PMA where it had a ripple effect. This started the ball rolling for anti-hazing. Higher ups supported me and protected me. Yes, I am a member of two fraternities. The Philippine Army Cross Rifle (infantry) fraternity and the Sandugo military fraternity. I believe more in developing men through physical training(PT) like the Army dozen and road runs. I have taken ranger wine and even light punches to the abdomen. Hazing destroys men, morale, esprit de corps and unit cohesion. There is no honor in dying for it. I urge all those out there to walk away from hazing. The other alternative is to make a proud and principled stand against it.

    1. I’ll say it again: If you expect to encounter even the possibility of torture because the enemy you face (Muslim terrorists in particular) has no respect for the dignity of their opponents, preparing yourself in Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape is a no-brainer. Otherwise its a crime.

  10. Hazing frats and the like are ((At Least in America)) a way to vet the next leaders of the ‘world’….hazing rituals ensure mutual blackmailing material later on in life and careers, and fraternity brotherhoods create a lifelong network of bros and homies to mingle with/benefit mutually from.

    example…one of your bros becomes an influential judge, one becomes president, one becomes a high profile tax man, five become police chiefs, two become bank managers, and BOOM, your little brotherhood controls quite a lot of influence over and in the country.

    If one of you suddenly doesn’t like something, go to the press with incriminating evidence of a ‘secret past’ full of cocaine, homosexuality, alcoholism, rape, whatever you did during your stupid university frat days.

    It holds quite a lot of weight in America…..check up on the Skull & Bones frat.

  11. I joined a very prominent Frat during my freshman years in the late seventies..
    up to now we are still a strong organization doing community works..
    we were once one if not the the most notorious of them but thru the years we managed to change the image of our fraternity into a beneficial organization..
    about the hazing??…
    well we are still together loyal and active in our frat after almost 40 years

    1. But you were physically beaten. Which could have resulted in someone dying. It’s still homicide. It’s still criminally negligent. It should still be prosecuted. And the organisation that created the potentially deadly situation should still be held accountable.

  12. I would rather join and die for JOVITO CORLEONE family than to join and die for any of these #@$?#!)!#’+;*;#;#?#!##?);!!!!. That would make me a real badass.

  13. 1st step of BRAINWASHING is Hazing whereby operator inflicts mental/physical pain & stress against his victim. It solidifies control & bond w/in the fraternity/group and make people willing to obey what is instructed of them and perform acts that are ordered of them.

    http://www.drlwilson.com/Articles/BRAINWASH.htm

    Game of Throne
    Theon Greyjoy lands in the hands of the sadistic Ramsay Snow, who after prolonged torturing, mutilation and deception turns him into “Reek” his loyal slave.

    People (majority LAW student) allow themselves to be brutally abused (hazed) bcoz of desire to be a part of a group, thinking that they will be stronger (job, wealth & power) after abuse is Dumb/Stupid. Maybe one reason why Philippines is an AMPAW Republic since ruling profession are Lawyer

    In a Goon Society like the Philippines – people will simply group together to gain majority, to rule over minority and abuse that power. Thus, people (including Leaders) form/join Group for protection, to be stronger and be spoiled in many ways = lazy & idle mind. The Goon concept applies to our Religion, Politics, Government, Media, Showbiz, Sports, public or private sectors. And conflicts will happen if the common interest of a certain group clashes with another group

    http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/video/209234/stateofthenation/estudyanteng-nasawi-dahil-sa-hazing-matinding-bugbog-ang-naranasan

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