I heard the news! The Ateneo high school is going coed! Well, actually it’s now effective only for what they call “senior high school” or Grades 11 and 12 (what used to be 3rd and 4th Year high school in the old days). That’s gonna be quite a treat for a bunch of oversexed students from the once boys-only Jesuit school. Imagine, after ten years of being isolated in the middle of the Ateneo’s sprawling campus in Loyola Heights bordered by a cemetery and a squatter area on one side, Katipunan Road on the other and a border with Miriam school and La Vista on the other, our young Atenistas will finally be getting their own chicks to ogle!I recall the times we went on “field trips” to the Ateneo High School (AHS) as a student in an all-girls Catholic high school to watch plays at the Dulaang Sibol, the AHS’s student theater company. Across a small grass field from the theater is an entire freshman wing of the AHS. On some times that we’d be lined up to enter the theater we could hear wolf whistles, cat calls, and an assortment of whoops and ape-like sounds coming from that wing. I think it happens when we happen to be there during one of those “five minute breaks” AHS boys enjoy in between classes when no teachers have showed up yet. And, yeah, back then this sort of behavior, though supposedly not tolerated by the AHS, usually just attracted a harmless “hey, knock it off boys!” sort of admonition from most teachers then.
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My point is, these were high school “first year students” (Grade 9, in today’s new parlance), mostly 13- to 14-year-olds. Imagine that. Just turned teenager and already such horny toads! What the future holds for the incoming crop of AHS girls in the coming school year!
Poor 11th and 12th Grade girls coming into the AHS then. They won’t see nor hear the end of it. They’ll have to put up with what is likely to be a lot of schmoozing from their male classmates and lots of ogling coming from the lowerclassmen. I mean, as some female friends of mine have attested to after coming out of teaching stints at the AHS, it can be a bit challenging getting boys who have been in sword fights with one another for years to see the ladies as anything but an object of conquest.
Come to think of it, I think this goes a long way towards explaining why the guys and gals from the Colegio San Agustin (CSA) which is the only other A-List private school I know a bit about that originally had a coed system seemed to have been a lot more well-adjusted when we first entered what to me at the time came across as the Wild Wild West of college life in UP Diliman.
The trouble is with some parents naman kasi is that they expose their kids to all the intriga about having boyfriends and girlfriends at an early age. Well, to be fair, it’s probably because most Pinoy kids in “good” homes often get left to the devices of their yayas and house help for extended periods everyday at such young ages. Ayan tuloy rather than see having friends of the opposite sex as being such a wholly natural and platonic thing, there is already so much sexual tension at an early age what with all the uuuyyyy sila na and may girlfriend ka na ba? grilling you get from aunts and uncles at family reunions. I mean, come on, can’t we hang out with boys without having to deal with all that tsismis from our own relatives??
My GRP fellow contributor ChinoF even once went as far as posing the question Does Filipino Society treat Children Poorly? Poorly, that is, in the sense that by being made into the objects of their parents’ own sexual frustrations, they, in the process, themselves get damaged for life…
Even within families, children are used for adults’ pleasure. At parties, they are sometimes made to dance the Ocho-Ocho, Spaghetti Dance or other funny dances just to make the adults laugh. I find that rather unkind. Adults like these only treat children as a source of entertainment, and not as the future. Thus, the disrespect that media shows in children may or may not be a reflection of treatment in the family.
This distasteful approach to raising Filipino kids could even be the root cause of what we called the Philippines’ culture of kabadingan and kalaswaan. It makes sense though. If kids are exposed to worldy stuff at an early age in a way that makes such things look like they are the really “important” stuff in life — the whole point of it even — it’s not surprising that many Filipino boys grow up to be such oversexed buffoons who take pleasure in baldly ogling and making boso the girls. Small wonder then that this uuuyyyy attitude that kicks in whenever a girl and a boy are seen together is what Kris Aquino now applies to her own brother, no less than the President of the Phillippines. Politics in the Philippines certainly reflects the character of the society that puts up with it.
Perhaps the passing of a Reproductive Health bill may have been a great development that puts the Philippines on the right track to long-overdue modernization. But there’s still a lot of work to do getting the society itself up to scratch to deal with “modern” stuff. And one of the really important things, I think, is getting Filipinos to have a healthier regard for sexuality. The ironic thing here is that for the larger population who study in the coed public schools of the Philippines, they may already have what their richer compatriots in gated communities whose children get chauffeured to their fortified private schools don’t: a nonchalant attitude towards learning stuff in mix-gendered classrooms.
Frustrated artist doing geek for a living.