The interrupted speech of Krisel Mallari

The reason why I do not subscribe to the general perception that Ms. Mallari should be praised for her speech is that the details surrounding the incident I have seen and read about just do not support the parameters of what I believe to be traits accorded to bravery and/or integrity—the rallying cry and slogan of netizens who heaped praises on what she did.

I always believed that bravery is doing what should be done, not because you want to, but because it needs to be done despite every terrified bone of your body telling you to just bail out and forget about it and be safe. That you push through despite the overwhelming risks of losing everything should the outcome of the act you’re about to do results in failure. Risks like, say, not getting any academic recognition or worse, not graduating at all.

krisel_mallariI believe Ms. Mallari was in a very safe position when she did what she did. I mean what could the school do to her at that point? Expel her? Retract the award they gave already gave her after she practiced her right to free speech? Done in bad taste, maybe. But bad taste isn’t a crime.

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What I saw on the video did not look like a student doing what she did for justice and fair treatment. It was more like a vengeful harpy showing everyone what it’s like to cross her when the school did not give in to her demands. Guess it’s more like the long-time debate over justice and revenge.

It was similar to the case of a recently-resigned employee in a company that he hated for years for bypassing him for promotion several times in favor of less competent idiots. And finally giving it the finger after he got all his back pay and miscellaneous compensation, with the rest still stuck inside cheering him on, vicariously living through his experience wishing they can do what he can but they can’t—not without the threat of losing their jobs.

At worst, the outcome of that little stunt only pulled out armchair analysts like me who can’t actually do any harm by simply voicing out my opinion. And it even gave her leverage in terms of popularity—which trumps everything else (Even academic honors, I daresay. Just take a look at the scholastic credentials of our elected officials.) in our present culture.

And of course it took guts. She’s a gutsy kid, no doubt about it. To go against tradition always takes guts. But unfortunately blind anger and pride can also counterfeit guts and righteous crusades, especially when coupled with an eloquent speech. As with all other speeches, their main function is to appeal to the emotional sensibilities of the listeners and this was no doubt what made her popular in the media and the web. Netizens, once again, in that predictable knee-jerk reaction when something like this trends on Twitter, were quick to jump in and praised her short of actually nominating her for canonization.

To be fair, they might be right. But then again they might not be. But the thing about things like these is that people automatically accept one side by default. Especially stories about seeming underdogs fighting an evil organization with improvised techniques available because all other avenues available were blocked by said “powerful” organization. Or so they say. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from observing similar things like this over the years, is that the bigger story is the one not readily seen in the spotlight.

I’m actually surprised no one seemed to have come to the valedictorian’s defense. Everyone just seemed to swallow the direct implication in the speech that the person who received the top honors was a cheater. Here you have a person demanding justice, equality and transparency at the same time she’s pointing an accusing finger on someone not proven to have done something yet. On an important event like high school graduation, no less. Imagine the humiliation of being caught off-guard like that in a supposed celebration and milestone in your life. The irony just flew over everyone’s heads.

Of course I’m just opining, but I suspect Ms Mallari (or most likely her dad) is just one of the many who can’t seem to accept that favoritism is part and, unfortunately permanent facet of everyday human interaction. For all the lofty ideals and talks about objectivity, impartiality and equality, the reality is such a letdown. How many times have we heard people rant about “undeserving” candidates posted in some position they’re “not qualified” to do?

A brilliant comment from a news site covering the story summed it up best:

If you think favoritism in school is bad, wait till you join the workforce.”

If only someone would post a related video about annual employee appraisals.

Now that would be something.

11 Replies to “The interrupted speech of Krisel Mallari”

  1. In our school, the principal called the parents, candidate for honors, even the stakeholders such as PTA and Brgy Officials to attend the deliberation of honors. It was very transparent. 70% is the percentage for the academics, and 30% is the percentage for the extra curicular activities. Every point given to the 30% can be seen and heard by everyone because it’s in PPT. Any clarification is being done right then and there.

    I don’t know how the deliberation of honors was done in Ms. Mallari’s school. But as far as I know, any question about the ranking of honors should be done in writing.

  2. I’m actually surprised no one seemed to have come to the valedictorian’s defense. Everyone just seemed to swallow the direct implication in the speech that the person who received the top honors was a cheater.”said this writer.

    I posted the following piece in my FB Wall yesterday though this can not classify as a defense to the valedictorian in its entirety. Besides, who am I anyway to come to her/his defense. Nevertheless, I take the privilege in posting it again as added comments in your article. Here it is:

    The case of a High School Salutatorian Speech

    I read the speech. Seemingly, it was not a “welcome speech” the school administration said should have been. At first, I was puzzled what Krisel was trying to convey. Being salutatorian, she is only second from top, sorry for trying to say the obvious. It was unfair for the guy who garnered the first honor. I pity her/him. She/he was already portrayed as cheat or the beneficiary of the cheating Krisel would have her audience and us in whose wall her speech appeared, believed.
    The school administration already issued statement. From their statement, it appeared Krisel was griping. Obviously, it has something to do with honors or class standing. This was not the first time Krisel and her family manifested complaint, so said the school administration. She was shown her school records and the procedure by which grades were computed and arrived at. Without saying I tend to believe the story of the school administration, but why would they want records of the other guy be shown to them? Isn’t it inappropriate? I can not blame Krisel. She may have just been looking for an outlet of her gripes and the welcome address she was to deliver was an opportunity she couldn’t let go.
    Not trying to side with anybody, it would be fair to all if the public are more discerning.

  3. Favoritism will always be in any organization , and company. Ms. Mallari has the Right to speak what is in her mind.

    Ms. Mallari represents the next generation. The next generation must not be push overs, docile like sheep, clueless, etc…
    They must be Wiser than Us, the present generation. So that, the Aquinos, the Roxases, the Drillons, the Lito Lapids, the Binays, the Estradas, etc…all the incompetent leaders and politicians will be just histories…

    1. let’s see…freedom of speech…check…freedom to slander..check…wait, where the hell did i see that i am free to slander anyone..

  4. Ang salutatorian namin sa high school, nasa Malakanyang na ngayon. Doon siya nagtatrabaho. Sa buong batch namin, siya lang ang nakatungtong ng Malakanyang. Taob niya kaming lahat na mga ka-batch niya, pati na ang valedictorian namin at iba pang honor students. Sa canteen ng Malakanyang siya nagtatrabaho. Tagahugas ng pinggan doon.

  5. dapat ginawa nya reklamo nung i announce ung list of honors. sna nag file agad xia ng complain. freedom of speech naroon n tayo, eh tinignan nyo b naramdaman ng valedictorian….gumawa xia ng welcome remarks message at ipina approved nya un tapos on the spot babaguhin mu para iparinig sa iba ang iyong hinaing sa buhay… naniniwala aqoh sa kasabihan n hindi lahat ng nsa itaas ay magaling, pero hindi lahat ng nsa baba ay may karapatan n para siraan ang iba para kaw ang maging bida….

  6. Deja vu. It happened to me some 43 years ago.Even worse – I landed on a 3rd rank, when everyone expected I would get the first. Of course it was devastating at the time; but at the end of the day, it was easy to move on because in everyone’s mind in my batch I was their Valedictorian. School grades will not define one’s success in life. It is the faith, self-discipline, foresight and common sense that you develop as you go through life that will lead you to where you deserve to be. I am now an internationally-published scientist from an ivy league university abroad, and raised a a daughter who is a practicing Medical Specialist in Doctors Without Borders. Yes, I cried; but chose not to complain of the injustice done to me; nor will I ever complain of what I turned out to be.

  7. Playing favorites is one of the most damaging problems in any group of people.

    In order to not show blatant favoritism, I must take into consideration individual needs and do my best to treat everyone the right way. This means NOT treating everyone the same way.

    But then, won’t I appear to be playing favorites to some outside observers.

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