Indeed, one’s gotta agree that “everything is political” as far as students of the University of the Philippines’ (UP) College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) are concerned. So political, in fact, that they’d politicise everything — including the Lantern Parade. As expected, mainstream media picked up their float (above all else) which merited a full feature on it in a 15th December “report” with the title “UP community takes stand vs. killings in Lantern Parade 2017”.
The title, however, is misleading. The term “UP community” implies most UP students. But can “activism” really be considered a general passion of the average UP student? (NB: This is where one would normally sound the “Fake News” alarm — if you are so inclined in that sissy way.) Perhaps it may be true that “everything is political” — when you are part of the CSSP student body, that is. The broader reality, however, is quite different. Most UP students come to school to study and learn stuff that is expected to be useful in their chosen fields of endeavour. “Activism” to most UP students is a merely quaint distraction — even an annoyance, specially for those with a full load of math and physics units to worry about.
Happily, the winner of this year’s Lantern Parade is, again, the UP College of Engineering which, it is important to point out, is the most politically-apathetic community of students in the university. Indeed, the College of Engineering is the biggest college in the university in terms of population and a perennial source of anxiety for “activists” who have consistently been frustrated by this apathy. As freshmen there, the first thing we were told was that, in UP, there are only two colleges: Engineering and all the rest. Not surprising, therefore, that Engineering is where student “activism” comes to die and gets buried under a mountain of derision — because the average “Eng’g” student really can’t be bothered to give a shit about the political views of “all the rest” of them.
More to the point, the fact that the College of Engineering won the Lantern Parade for the fourth time in a row says a lot about what the Lantern Parade is really all about.
The bigger point to be made here is that the habit of politicising everything is one of the biggest cancers afflicting Philippine society. Therefore, it is quite disturbing to note how students of the CSSP believe in the supremacy of politics above all else and in seeing themselves as evangelists of extreme politicisation of all they could point their megaphones at. It indicates that the root of the Philippines political dysfunction, perhaps, originates at the UP CSSP which, it seems, has become a cesspool in which moronic political views that hobble the Philippines’ march to prosperity breed.
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