Monday, December 15, 2008

I pity the fool

People have been asking for my thoughts on the latest controversy taking the web by storm (a la Malu Fernandez, though on a smaller scale), over an Atenean senior's blog post about her immersion experience. For the benefit of non-Ateneans, the immersion program under ADMU's Theology Department is a mandatory part of the ADMU core curriculum. Seniors taking Th141 spend a couple of days with families in different areas like farms, fishing villages, quarries, urban poor districts, etc. to get a taste of life in marginalized sectors of society. This particular Atenean who is now the subject of a lot of harsh criticism, blogged about her immersion in an Aeta community, and she pretty much had a miserable time. Her blog post reads like a Paris Hilton commentary (but a far more articulate, well-written one), and her bitching and bawling did not sit well with many people, hence the online backlash.

I have put off blogging about the student's inflammatory blog post for several reasons. First, I believe she is entitled to her opinions and feelings, no matter how repugnant they are. Second, her blog post was a locked/private entry and was meant only for her friends to read (which is also why I am refraining from posting a copy of her entry here, and why I am not naming her). Third, while I respect the objectives of and the spirit behind Ateneo's immersion program, let's face it, it is not as effectual as the Jesuits hope it to be, so we should not be surprised to come across the occasional student who did not appreciate or derive meaning from the experience. Heck, some students who DO have a positive immersion experience-- and some even rave about how it changed them-- eventually forget all about it upon returning to their comfortable lifestyles, switching off their "preferential option for the poor" and reverting to their social sinning ways. This hypocrisy is actually worse than the whining of this one girl, who was at least honest about her feelings, albeit brutally so.

In short, I don't think this student should be lambasted as extremely as she has been, and that is why I decided to finally write about it. The girl has gotten more flak than she deserves, and I'm taking up the cudgels for her. Admittedly, when I first read her blog post, my initial reaction was one of disgust and derision, but after mulling it over I realized she's been unfairly vilified (unlike the horrible Ms. Fernandez, who got what was coming to her for publishing her ugly elitist and matapobre views in a magazine). No, if this Atenean senior is guilty of anything, it's merely stupidity, for writing such insensitive and incendiary remarks in her blog, even if it was not a public post (what, she's never heard of the "print screen" key?). But I blame her careless mistake on the naivete of youth, for blindly trusting all her contacts to keep her thoughts private. Lesson learned the hard way.

I actually feel sorry for this girl. Not only has she been made the object of jeers and sneers in Internet forums, forwarded emails, and YM conversations, I bet she has had to suffer the staring, pointing and whispering of people around campus as well. Moreover, I'm sure she's agonizing over just who among her friends betrayed her by spreading the contents of her blog post. So let's stop casting stones and cut her some slack because I'm sure she feels even more miserable now than she was during her immersion.

2 Comments:

At Thursday, December 18, 2008, OpenID thechinadoll said...

She was my Hi165 professor's former student. We actually had a short discussion of her in class. I do pity her in that sense, her friend is such a traitor. Sorry for the bluntness.

 
At Friday, December 19, 2008, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

I've heard she hasn't been all that contrite about her blog post. Maybe she does deserve all the backlash after all. Haha.

 

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