Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time, there was a child with a big, new kite. It was a gift from his parents. His father wanted to teach him how to fly the kite but he refused. Believing himself to be grown up, he headed to the park alone. Seeing his kite, three big boys went up to him and said that they would teach him how to fly it. Since it was his first time to the park, and his first time to fly a kite, he agreed to the bigger boys’ idea. One of them tied the string of the kite to the little boy’s wrist. Then he made the little boy stand on top of a hill. “Why is the string tied to my arm? And why do I have to stand on this hill?”, asked the little boy. “So you can see the flight of the kite better. Trust me, little brother. This is how we do it. This is how it works”, said the first big boy. And even though the wind blew hard and strong, pulling the kite’s string left and right, the little boy did not complain. Then it started raining, and the big boys ran away, leaving him alone. When he realized that he was left behind, the little boy cried a little and went home. The next day was sunny and the boy went to the park again to practice flying his kite. The three big boys went up to him once more and volunteered to help him. The little boy, thinking that it was only the rain that made them go away yesterday agreed once more. So there went the string around his wrist, and up he went on the hill. Then they asked him to take off his shoes. “Why? My shoes protect my feet. My mom said so.”, answered the little boy. “So you can run after the kite better if it blows away. It’s easier to climb a tree if it’s stuck when you’re barefoot. Trust me, little brother. This is how we do it. This is how it works”, the second boy said. So the little took off his shoes and gave it to one of the big boys to keep. And the wind blew strong and hard again, worse than yesterday. The little boy could feel the string cutting into his wrist but he dared not complain. He was part of the big boys now. And even though they kept calling him little brother, at least they took the time to play with him. Then the wind died, leaving his kite stuck up in a tree. He climbed, cheered on by the big boys, not knowing that the trees’ branches had thorns. But he but he dared not complain because was part of the big boys’ group now. When he finally got his kite and himself unstuck from the tree, the big boys were nowhere to be found. So he went home again, sad but still determined to learn how to fly his kite. The next day started out a bit more gloomier, but this did not stop the little boy from going to the park once more. This time, he walked slowly. He went up the hill and, took off his shoes, tied the string around his wrist and began practicing to fly his kite. The sky was dark but the wind blew good and strong. It had started to drizzle when the big boys arrived. Seeing them, the little boy said, “Can you help me with the kite? The wind is too strong.” “You can do it little brother. If you can last until the rain stops, you will be a part of the group forever. Trust me, little brother. This is how we do it. This is how it works”, said the third big boy. And this time they did not leave. The three boys watched as the little boy struggled as his kite flew higher. Thunder began to clap from afar but nobody said a word. Then, came the lighting. Flashes coming neared to that part of town. The little boy’s knees shook with cold and fright but he held on to his kite. Another flash. Then all that was left was smoke on a hill and three big boys wet from the rain who went home smiling at their tricky little brother.
Recent news has shown us another victim of hazing. The press has been silent for several months regarding this topic, as the daily news is flooded with stories of corruption, violence and tragedy that riddle our beloved cities. What does it gives us? Gone is another promising youth with a supposedly bright future ahead of him. Someone who survived the tragedies that life has offered, except this one. The story is always the same. Years have passed since the first victims of hazing has appeared, then disappeared from the public eye. And despite numerous promises of those balding or white haired school officials that they are going to end hazing now, another one of the youth has died.
And the blame game starts anew. This solves nothing and does not deserve merit nor mention. But…
E sige na, kawawa na siya. Namatay siya sa bayolenteng paraan. Malayo sa kanyang pamilya. At sige, hindi siya namatay, pintay siya. Pero, isipin din natin ang dahilan kung bakit napunta siya sa ganoong sitwasyon. Hindi ba choice din naman niya na sumali doon? Naka-graduate siya ng college. Nakapasa sa isa sa pinakamalaking unibersidad para sa law school. Baka naman sa puntong ito e meron na siyang sariling isip at personalidad. Kaya na niyang magdesisyon para sa sarili niya. Nasa tamang edad na siya. Hindi naman siya batang walang muwang na nakikipag-usap sa hindi niya kakilala. Kung wala naman kasing magpapaloko, wala ring maloloko. Ang point ko, walang isang taong pwedeng sisihin sa pangyayaring ito. Lahat ng nadamay ay may pagkakamaling nagawa.
Para sa mga unibersidad, imbis na iparada ninyo kung gaano hindi ninyo kayang kontrolin ang mga mag-aaral na nagmimiyembro sa fraternities, sororities at iba pang grupo o kaya ang ka-kontian ng ganitong uri ng organisasyon sa inyong paaralan, bakit hindi na lang kayo magsanib upang tuluyan ng mapuksa ito? Bilang institusyon ng pagkatuto, dapat lamang na sila ang nangunguna sa pagpapaliwanag sa isipan ng mga mag-aaral na tinatanggap nila. Whether it is with your approval or not, we cannot deny that the root of these organizations has sprouted from within your grounds. Recruit and meetings more or less occur inside the campus. Idikdik sa isip ng bawat isa na may maganda mang naidudulot ang ilang mga grupo, hindi naman dapat sumasali dito. Magpalaganap sila ng mga organisasyon na tutugon sa interes ng bawat isa.
For the students, please do not be stupid. Everyone has his or her own level of intellect and reasoning. But it is impossible that anyone is impervious to pain. Looking at the pictures of the latest hazing victims are enough for me to decide, right here and now, that I would never join such an organization. We are the stewards of our own lives, our own bodies. At this day and age, we have come to the point when we can no longer be controlled by our parents’ wishes. We want to be free, independent and powerful. What sort of freedom, independence or power do we hope to gain by joining these groups? We all go to college looking for improvements, a new life. You gain no knowledge by being a slave to whims of others. Beware of the people with golden tongues, of promises for change and the future. Change begins within you. Although it is said that no man can live alone, it is also true that many men have died by the arms of other men.
No words of warning can ever be enough.