As I am writing this, our university’s wellness break is nearly done. Echoing the clamors of students who were stuck at home for their online classes, and imitating those institutions who went on and gave the precious time of rest for their students, my university offered one week of rest for studying: no classes for both synchronous and asynchronous sessions, no assignments or projects, no advance readings or anything.
Unfortunately, this week was just like the other weeks I had since I started school this year due to other commitments. But I do admit that it was an eye-opener: I was able to explore more things around me and was made aware of some places that are quite new here in our city. However, I admit that taking a rest from all the study materials allowed me to enjoy mundane activities, especially catching up on my Netflix list and cozying up next to my wife.
I can attest to the stress and worry that online students have been flooding social media platforms about their classes on the internet. Yes, there is less hassle and less interaction with others (one thing that I enjoyed), but it is hard asking questions when things are not clear. Additionally, the recent typhoons that ravaged the Philippines, paired with the harrowing images of destructed houses and helpless people, may have added to the anxiety that has been brewing since classes started in September/October.
I, for one, have previously relayed my frustration and anxiety because of this pandemic. Having this wellness break is something that I really value.
Besides my university, other schools have also followed and set some form of a break, calling it from reading breaks to class breaks, emphasizing students’ need to free up their minds for some rest. Most of those in Luzon were given in response to the damaging effects of the area’s typhoons.
Some groups are actually asking to prioritize the students’ conditions in this pandemic and instead call for halting all classes as soon as solutions to the growing problems in the country loom. Some netizens support this call, yet others consider this as insensitive and unideal. Whatever your opinion on this matter, we should all know to point out some facts.
Online Classes are Necessary to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
Nobody wanted COVID-19 to happen, especially for the people here in the Philippines. While the government is repeating its interest in prioritizing waiting for the vaccine to arrive before calling the pandemic a solved issue, avoiding crowds, wearing face masks, and washing hands remain the easiest protection that people need to avoid disease.
Zhou et al. (2020) have seen how online classes in China have helped prevent the pandemic. As much as we would like to see students interact with each other, online classes are the only ideal solution today.
Teaching Online is a Challenge for Those Who are Not Used to It
Even though this post presents the plight of the students first, it is undeniable that teachers are another set of people greatly affected by the shift in the mode of instruction. Teachers can be interactive in their approach, and having online classes could remove the connection they want to have with their students.
While interaction may occur in synchronous classes, asynchronous ones, or those recorded before the classes’ schedule, are even worse. They can be watched at other times and eventually be forgotten by the student.
It has been more than four months since the quarantine brought by COVID-19 ravaged the world, and most of us may have this cabin fever. It’s more than a fever, I admit, and one could only wish to travel the world.
While we are sheltered and comforted in our homes, reading and watching blog posts or websites that remind us of how free we were before really takes the steam off and makes our feelings better.
That is why I really think hard about going on a cruise as soon as this pandemic ends (and my wallet balloons!) to get rid of all the blues that the quarantine gave. I wish I could finish all the Top 10 cruise lines listed here.
How about you? What’s your plan after all of this is over?
My interest in Roman Catholic theology started in my years in public elementary school, where catechism classes. I attended all lectures and even took exams even though I initially informed catechists that I am not a Roman Catholic and that my dad is a Protestant pastor. They would tell me that it is okay to stay at the canteen during these classes, but I would always choose to stay and hear about Bible stories, lives of saints, and basic doctrines that they taught.
I would always marvel at the similarities and the differences in our doctrines, especially the divisive belief in purgatory. But I was more fascinated with the limbo concept, which, as championed by my numerous catechism teachers, is the place where unbaptized infants who die are waiting for their fate in eternity.
Searching for more information, I ran across a commentary that showed two limbos: the limbus patrum or limbo of the patriarchs where the faithful of the Old Testament waited for Christ’s redemption and the limbus infantium, which was for those unbaptized children.
Around high school, a (secular) teacher cheerfully announced how Pope Benedict XVI “opened up” limbo and declaring it as no longer existing, implying that all unbaptized babies for all time are now given salvation. I was surprised to find out later that the limbus infantium was not a doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church and that the Pope only reiterated its historic stand on the topic.
In college, limbo became a nuanced definition of what my life had become. Day in and day out, different things came to challenge me, making me more attached to the concept of limbo.
When I entered our campus paper, “in limbo” was a clichéd phrase to define any uncertainty attributed to a plan or a program. As per definition, limbo is “an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition.”
These past few months, I realized some things in my life, and I discovered how I am still living like I am, or better yet, we are in limbo. Is limbo associated with depression, darkness, anxiety, and the like? I do think so, as unbaptized babies are often thought to be yearning for salvation. Does being in limbo mean that no one loves you? Not necessarily as unbaptized babies may also have parents or relatives that care for them and love them.
Every day I’m waking up in limbo: not knowing if we would still have money for the rest of the week, not sure if our supplies will last, not certain if I will still have some work to do for my living. This is what the pandemic made me.
Every day I’m waking up in limbo: not knowing if my medicines will work, not sure if I would still enjoy the rest of the day, not certain if I get another shot for a healthy life. This is what my body made me.
Every day I’m waking up in limbo: not knowing all the basic stuff in medical school, not sure if I can still make it when I get back, not certain if I will still have the courage to go on. This is what my failures made me.
I thought about this sense of uncertainty that differs from limbo because I can call on others for help. I have my wife. I have my friends. I have some others to help. But this does not diminish the fact: I’m still in limbo.
Here’s to wishing for better days ahead and for heaven to replace this limbo very soon.
Warning: Long read ahead! Did not mean to write it this long but here it goes.
While everyone was in community quarantine (a cliche for the past few months, I admit) and members of the middle and high class were drowning themselves in Netflix and other streaming websites, this tweet came and rocked the interwebs:
The daily top ten most viewed on #Netflix shows us how our movies and tv are doomed in the future. K-drama galore. Faux cinderella stories with belofied actors whiter than white. And it’s all about love in the midst of this pandemic. 掠
It was the great Filipino director, Erik Matti, ranting about how the top ten movies and shows on Netflix Philippines are dominated by Korean dramas. This was just a fact but he added a comment on how these were “Faux cinderella stories with belofied actors” reflecting how Korean stars are often flawless embedded in love stories that could be too good to be true.
Of course, I am writing this piece perhaps 16 days late but I purposely did so after pondering on the issue that has enraged Filipinos for almost a week followed by a barrage of Korean drama and movie recommendations for the director. While I do not abhor the Korean entertainment industry and Hallyu as a whole (I follow it, too!), I do realize where Direk Matti is coming from and empathize with him very well.
I have not studied film and media but I have a lifelong experience of watching movies and television. So, for the past 16 days, I thought about the tweet and the truths behind it.
The Filipino Film Industry
For this post, I merged television and movie into the film industry to analyze both streams of entertainment. I was born into a family that was so into films and television and before I became aware, I always thought that my myopic eyes resulted from overwatching TV.
While I was enamored with American cartoons, I will also be “forced” to watch Filipino movies at home. I began to enjoy them at least during my elementary years. I enjoyed the dancing in between movies and never found it corny. It all changed when I started prioritizing English films starting with the Harry Potter series. Of course, I watched other English movies in between but I think the fantasy series was my initiation towards my movie preference.
But every time I remember Filipino films I would think of FPJ and Eddie Garcia, TVJ, Bistek, Vilma and Nora, and many more. I remember my grandmother crying alongside Claudine Barreto and Judy Ann Santos when I took my vacations in Negros. I will always remember the awe I felt while watching Jose Javier Reyes’ Hiling.
My mom would always buy entertainment magazines for her patients who wait for their turn at her clinic. I remember a Darna anniversary special where I lavished on old photos of the heroine portrayed by different actresses. The same issue tackled the rich history of Philippine cinema and television with excellent cabaret and theater actors crossing over to then-innovative media.
Around the same time, I saw coverage of the Optical Media Board offering a mass for the Filipino entertainment industry due to the rise of piracy. Eddie Garcia was holding a film reel to symbolize the film business in the country. The mass also became a protest of actors and workers behind the scenes against this illegal act.
You see, I do think that this is the time when Filipinos started to lose interest with locally-made products. In the early 2000s, bootleg copies of movies taken with shaky cameras hidden in cinemas started spreading. Most were made in China and the government became active in trying to suppress this illegal trade.
People would only need to wait for about two weeks before they can have their copy of a movie albeit having shadows and coughs or applauses with it. And Filipino movies were caught up in this, too.
I remember my dad lamenting that there are no longer releases of locally-made action movies. So, we resorted to American or European ones through VCDs and DVDs. More so, foreign films became available especially in bootleg 12-in-1 and 25-in-1 packages. Then, you compare the cinematography, the plot, and the actors of these foreign films to local ones. Is it really hard to think about the difference?
Hallyu sa Pinas
The 1990s saw the rise of Latin American telenovela being dubbed in Filipino inspiring the pattern and design, and even the moniker, of local TV series. Who can forget about Marimar or Rosalinda? These shows featured hypersexed characters which were the image of beauty then to the Filipinos.
But then, ABS-CBN changed the game in 2002 and imported Meteor Garden from Taiwan which started an Asian craze in the local scene. Soon, GMA released My MVP Valentine, also from Taiwan, which tightened the competition. Eventually, the K-drama family of shows came starting with Lovers in Paris, Jewel in the Palace, so on and so forth.
It was as if overnight, Filipinos changed their idea of beauty from dark, muscular men and voluptuous women to porcelain-quality skin of tall and chinky-eyed next-door boys and girls which enamored the nation. Even though the Taiwanese did start this “Asianovela” craze, the Koreans had it better and took hold of the Philippines since then. The rising popularity of the internet also gave Hallyu a headstart. The term, which is thought to be Chinese in origin and literally meant “Korean wave,” described the rising popularity of the Korean entertainment industry abroad encompassing dramas, movies, and music. More than just an exchange of media, it is a cultural invasion even supported by the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Again, through explicit piracy, Filipinos were bombarded with thousands of Hallyu materials like the My Wife is a Gangster series. This made high-rated Korean movies more available in the country and people fell for the nearly flawless handsome and beautiful Korean stars with their untouchable image. Perhaps to counter this, local distribution of Korean movies became available, most notably, My Sassy Girl, whose soundtrack was locally interpreted by Jimmy Bondoc and remains famous up to this day.
Adding to this craze is Sandara Park, now a Korean star and a former member of girl group 2NE1, who lived in the Philippines won first runner-up in a local star discovery reality show. She hosted a show which introduced famous Korean dramas in daytime hours. Soon, almost everything in the media needed to have a Korean twist. It was often done in comedy movies with local actors sporting Korean hairstyles.
I consider this a consequence of the inevitable globalization which has been spreading for many decades now. It just so happened that the Korean industry was aggressive in its approach. It must also be noted that the Philippines is not alone in this being swept away by this “wave.”
Using simple logic, one would realize that local companies could save more with importing movies compared to producing local films (I have no proof and data; correct me if I am wrong please) and because local production companies do not have the technology and the budget like that of other countries, the aesthetics of local films would often be considered subpar compared to others.
Erik Matti’s Reaction
When I read about the ramblings of my social media connections about Erik Matti’s tweet, I immediately remembered a showbiz column I read back when Meteor Garden was still airing. The writer lambasted the rise of these Asian flicks and, though excessively racist, called the “cockroach-bitten eyed” actors as ineffective and having no talent. I wish I could have a link for that writeup but that was in 2003. So, I think the bitterness towards these invading Asian dramas and movies remain.
While I do not agree with Direk Matti’s generalization of how these Korean flicks often revolve around love, I do understand how he was wary of Philippine film and TV being doomed. Even though the Philippines still boasts of a 23% poverty rate, about 44% of the population has internet access and may have had availed of any form of streaming service, legal or otherwise. Surely, the top ten most-watched titles on Netflix would reveal how Filipinos behaved during the quarantine.
Aside from the real effect of the Korean wave, I do think that one reason that Filipinos do not watch Filipino films is that there is a lack of titles in streaming sites. Even if all locally-produced films or dramas will be acquired by these websites, these would still be overcome by the foreign titles. If you ask me why I think it is because few movies are being produced in the country nowadays!
With around a dozen being released for the annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), plus another dozen shown during the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, there could only be around 30-35 mainstream films released in the country every year. Others are mostly independently-produced with limited showing in limited movie houses. Plus, these local flicks would need to compete with foreign films who would be given more time and more slots in cinemas especially if with big productions behind them.
Many people argued that Matti was at fault for airing his sentiments and that the reason people choose Korean-made dramas is that locally-produced ones lack substance, story, or talent.
The Public’s Response and My Musings
Netizens, especially those that are fans of the Korean flicks, were quick to lambast Direk Matti and his words which seemed to attack the said works directly. But hey, the man has the right to talk about what he thinks and it is valid in his standpoint. But people began resurrecting the memes which showed the sorry state of the local entertainment industry and even pointed out Erik Matt’s own contribution, Gagamboy, starring Vhong Navarro as the main character.
However, I think that it is unfair to pull down our showbusiness just because we disagree with one man. Most of the memes were taken out of context and those that are true do not represent everything. People argued that local movies and dramas lacked substance and innovation. Unfortunately, I do think that people are just too invested in these Korean flicks and their personal bias took over them. Among my friend list, those who immediately said ill against Matti were those who defended local productions in the past.
Remember Pangako Sa’yo which became a hit to many countries to which it was exported, even having local versions of the series? How about Himala, a movie that propelled Nora Aunor as one of the best actors in the world? Why am I giving old movies and dramas as examples? Because it represents where we came from, where we are, and where we are going.
GMA was very courageous to show My Husband’s Lover which, despite being cautiously done having a married couple as the center of the story, introduced a serious boy’s love relationship on primetime. ABS-CBN is known for its large productions, especially for fantasy dramas. And who will forget the best MMFF ever, MMFF 2016, which had the best titles in one mainstream movie festival?
I saw some replies defending the top ten Korean movies and dramas to not only showcase a story but reflected social issues, highlight beauty and positivity, and even promote peace and hope. Some people do not realize that all movies or dramas reflect these topics even though some just brush the surface or are subtle at the very least.
Remember the scene where Ryza Cenon was pointing a toy gun at Sunshine Dizon in Ika-6 na Utos? It showed how a simple altercation could become big if the cause is considered a sin in society. Those wrong tubings in various dramas across different stations? It reflects how little most people know about healthcare that they did not care if what is depicted is accurate. That Gagamboy backstory? It was super sad as hell and its device of parodying superhero movies was acclaimed by people abroad.
My point is that it is unfair to ridicule the work done by other people just because you disagree with someone’s opinion. Do you know how many writers write the “lame” shows on TV? Do you know the struggles that they had, together with the talents, just to shoot the episodes in time every week? Did you even realize that some of them are as disappointed as you of their final product?
The Sad State of the Local Film Industry
Most of the films in the Philippines are shot in Metro Manila so I cannot provide the correct insights on this but when I learned about how Eddie Garcia died on set, I remembered his face holding that film reel for that OMB mass against piracy. I remembered his interview, just weeks before he died, how he wanted to act as long as he lived and this was seconded by his partner’s interview how he was jolly the morning he died, eating his breakfast early, and looking forward to his day. It was just fitting that he died doing what he loved the most.
While it seemed that I totally defended Erik Matti in the previous part of this post, I do think that the concerns of the netizens are valid. It is just sad that the reasons for the problems in the industry needed to have a martyr before they were realized.
It was clear that for that production, they had limited equipment as they had to repeat the shots that Garcia was in. It was obvious that the talents and staff are not given the right precautions for their work. The pay, which I do not personally know, could have been unjust, too.
As Congress tries to understand all these, it is clear now that the reason why these subpar productions and unfit state could be due to the companies that finance and back them. They are forced to adapt to the short formats (of course, except Ang Probinsyano) akin to Korean dramas. Movies need to provide fan service to the people as the titles could experience losses if the people would not like them. And I think that the latter is due to the companies’ understanding that the common Filipino is not intelligent enough to understand shows and movies with concrete plots and ideas.
This is one of my longest posts on this blog but I think I am quite satisfied with it. Do not get me wrong, I love Korean movies and dramas. I adored Jeon Ji-hyun for so long, watching her movies. I definitely liked the Kingdom series on Netflix. Parasite was a masterpiece. Who would not love Crash Landing On You? I am gearing up for The King and Itaewon Class. But I do understand Erik Matti and his sentiments.
Thanks to the quarantine (or not), local productions have been making their movies available online for free. Let us refresh our minds about how great the Philippine film industry is. Let’s wish Direk Matti the best and enjoy dramas and movies as art forms, falling in love with them, and embracing the hope they give in these trying times.
P.S. Here are some links to the local films available online for free! Enjoy!
Hi there! It has been a while since my last post and I just had control of my website. After nearly three years in hiatus, many things happened and much has changed but I still need a channel to keep my mind sane amidst the various things happening around the world.
Just like almost everyone in the world, I am also under the limitations of the community quarantine and writing has been a refuge. I hope my brain spillage still makes sense to you, dear reader.
For a medicine student, Facebook is a nice place to explore other people’s ideas and to connect with other students and doctors who share tidbits of their experiences and opinions online. I chanced upon an article shared by a friend about Tu Youyou, the awardee for the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2015.
Tu was the recipient of half of that year’s prize for her contributions in discovering a novel therapy for malaria. It was reported that she took on this research upon orders from Mao Zedong himself. Tu said that she did not want to be famous for her work, saying, “I do not want fame. In our day, no essay was published under the author’s byline.”
However, in contrast to what Tu Youyou has managed to have, our culture sometimes depend on patronizing people to prove their worth, and medicine is not indifferent to this. People flock to the clinics of famous doctors because they are proven to make miracles happen. We are sometimes required to claim our practice as ours, to treat ‘medicine’ as our own.
Here at Roxas Hall, we are taught to be cautious and generous to our future patients. Since day one, we are constantly reminded that medicine is not a means to become rich. We are even challenged that if our goal to become doctors someday is to be rich. We must stop this journey once and for all.
‘Trip to Mars’
We were taught that rational prescriptions to patients might even mean prescribing no medicines for them. Of course, we are told not to follow what some doctors do, where they overprescribe medicines whether the patient needs them or not, either broad-spectrum antibiotics for simple infections or a range of medications from one company.
I have heard about a doctor that would require all laboratory tests and prescribe a third-generation antibiotic together with other medicines manufactured by a certain pharmaceutical company whenever a patient comes for a checkup. I would always hear gossips about doctors who avail of “trips to Mars” every year because of exceeding quota for a prescription.
It is sometimes disheartening that people would look at doctors like predators who about themselves first. While we know that these instances exist, it can sometimes demoralize us since we’re taught to be total opposites of these doctors.
‘Laway lang ang Puhunan’
Even though social media websites can inform the learned, they may also become avenues for bullying and false accusations toward health practitioners. Some of these reports are unfair and may even be false; patients tend to think that they are masters to be served and not patients to be cared for. However, there are some cases where patients’ accusations were true.
Aside from the “loyalty prescription” happening, physicians tend to be the subject of ire from patients because of expensive consultation fees. They would always say that doctors can charge any amount and only have their saliva as an investment, as they burden patients with numerous laboratory tests and high fees.
Even those in government hospitals are being accused of taking advantage of patients. We can’t deny that these things are happening as the advent of faster information exchange continues to hound us with these stories.
Rich Doctor, Poor Doctor
We can’t also deny that people see doctors as those from the upper social strata levels. Most doctors would drive cars, live in big houses, and wear expensive clothes. Because of this, people see medicine as a good money-making profession, offering the best future for everyone.
Meanwhile, doctors who are not extravagant in their appearance would sometimes be called ineffective, with the absence of their wealth a proof that they do not do their jobs well. As a student, I become astounded by this narrow-minded comparison but cannot help as this is what society has shaped our fellowmen’s attitude.
Again, we can’t deny that medicine has become a vanity desired by people for personal gains. But does this qualify as a necessity in this journey?
Giving our ‘Medicine’ to the People
In 2014, the Department of Health (DOH) debunked the notion that the country lacks doctors. Officials were quick to retort that the Philippines has enough doctors. They said that there was just maldistribution due to low compensation for those willing to serve the people.
However, after two years, former DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial said that we still need 15,000 doctors. Our doctor-to-patient ratio is stuck at 1 doctor for 33,000 patients, especially to far-flung areas. This led the country to devise schemes that encourage doctors to choose service even just for some years of practice. But this must not prevent us from striving to be effective healthcare providers for our sick countrymen.
Aside from learning to be effective physicians someday, we must also strive to change doctors’ views. I hope that our graduates will be like beacons set apart and show compassion to people, letting them know that we have nothing more but service to offer. Our ‘medicine’ should be for people who need it.
I’m glad that Roxas Hall has been constant in reminding us to be humble and serve the Filipino people, asking us to define who we offer this dedication to become doctors. How about you? For whom is your ‘medicine’ for?
I started involving myself with campus journalism back in high school when I was appointed to join a campus journalism seminar. Unlike my classmates, that was my very first exposure to the craft and have fallen in love with it ever since. It also served as my entry to our campus paper.
Through circumstances I still cannot understand, I became the chief editor of our campus pub but halted my involvement when I entered college. I never had the chance to write for it even though I was a member of my first college’s student pub.
When I transferred to my current university to finish my undergraduate degree, I was privileged to be accepted to our university student publication. Through it, I was able to be exposed to the woes of the people, be involved with social issues, and be informed of what my environment is really up to.
Upon graduation, I never imagined myself writing again for a school publication. Then Medicine happened.
Writing was a Refuge
I transferred schools after enduring endless troubles in my academic path. I thought I would never survive college with all its challenges and demands. College was not hard. The hard thing was maintaining my sanity because of previous blunders I had.
The moment I saw the recruitment poster for my paper, I felt a slight nudge in my chest telling me to apply. But if not for my girlfriend’s coercion (haha), I would not have applied. I was accepted and it was awesome.
I enjoyed all the tasks given to me. I savored every interview I did, loved all the events to cover and visit, and adored all the precepts of campus journalism. I just recently realized that writing became I way for me to unload some baggage. I was really into writing.
Writing must be for the People
But I felt something lacking in my craft. I desired more. Then I was exposed to the idea that writing is a way to serve the people. And with campus journalism’s rich history in the Philippines, the focus must be realigned to the people.
I began to write about people’s woes and their situation. Because of my research for my articles, my mind was opened to what really is happening in the world. It is my hope that the things I wrote would have inspired others to see the way I saw things.
In the Philippines, campus publications are the only student organization to have its own law through Republic Act No. 7079 or the Campus Journalism Act of 1991. This should have given more freedom to the campus papers but it still insufficient. I am one with those who still dream that legislation can be passed to provide more opportunities to campus writers and that all suppression of the campus press be gone.
Writing is also Healing
We were asked for the interview before entering medical school if what we would want to be if we will not become a doctor. I told the interviewers that I would want to be a journalist since the things that journalists do are just like those that are done by medical doctors. And that’s because of my background in campus publication.
Journalists diagnose society. They write about the people’s condition and offer remedies to these woes. They subject society to various tests to fully inform the people of their situation and offer solutions to their problems.
Journalists serve the people. Medical doctors serve them, too. I am just blessed that I happen to tread both paths in my lifetime.
So, for this school year, I applied for our college’s campus publication which is quite surprising for a medical school to have. People would not associate those two but our school publication, Vital Signs, has proven its worth to my fellow students.
This was just an update but I hope you wish me luck on this!
I’ll try to post my write-ups here (to save me from my writer’s block!)
Since I started watching Doctor Who a few years ago, Christmas became more exciting. Of course, Christmas in itself is special for me especially its religious context. You will find various articles about Christmas on this blog.
Doctor Who, a family sci-fi series from the UK, would have Christmas specials since it came back in 2005. Doctor Who added spice to the festivities and with the story revolving around the First Doctor meeting his thirteenth incarnation (but he’s the Twelfth), I feel more than excited for this year’s Christmas special!
Here is the latest trailer for the special:
Peter Capaldi, the current Doctor, has been a long-time fan of the show since it first aired when he was still a boy. The First Doctor, played by William Hartnell, was his first Doctor! It’s nice watching him interact with his childhood hero although a new actor is playing the character.
David Bradley, famous for playing Argus Filch and Walder Frey, is playing as the First Doctor. He previously acted as William Hartnell for a biopic of the latter’s life. He is the third person to play the character.
He was interviewed early this year and was asked if he will be playing the First Doctor as per rumors. He replied with a chuckle, “Who knows?” Well, Who knows because now he is Who, too!
Too bad Doctor Who is not shown here in the Philippines. I am yet to finish Peter Capaldi’s second season on a DVD my girlfriend bought for me.
And this would be Peter’s last episode before leaving the show. He has given the series a great run, as with all actors, giving it his personal take. I will remember his wits and his fatherly image. But I am also excited for Jodi Whittaker next year who will be the first female Doctor in history!
I wish Doctor Who will be syndicated here. Online streaming providers don’t have the complete collection.
I tried to give this post with the title “Pursuing Happiness” but that would be too cliché. I was planning a post series about happiness which I started here but my schedule prevented me from doing so. For now, I felt an internal nudge telling me to write about this.
Too often we would hear people say that man’s ultimate goal is to be happy. I have struggled with the idea as long as I can remember. Growing up as a church minister’s son, I have concluded early in my life that happiness is not paramount. Of course for a Christian, it is living according to God’s precepts. But a person’s goal must be something so rewarding and must always start with something unreachable.
I always wanted to be like my dad. His duties as a pastor of our local church were attractive. Even though I grew up as a shy kid, I will always wonder how my dad interacts with people treating even strangers like old-time friends. By the time I graduated in elementary, I told myself that I would be a computer engineer, whatever that profession means. I would never follow any of those two since after graduating from high school, I took up business administration. Now, I am pursuing the life of a medical doctor.
The evolution of my attitudinal change flashed in my mind when I was working with my adopted family for our community work. They were telling me about what they were doing to remedy their sickness including their medical experiences for the last few months. They told me about people who tried to dupe them into buying expensive food supplements and about the drug they are keeping as an emergency pill that was clearly not related to the ailments that they have.
I planned to make my visit short and just record their vital signs and verify some information that I took months before. However, my visit went on for an hour where mostly I debunked their misconceptions and answered their questions to the extent of my knowledge. I admit I was thankful that their questions were not too technical but I loved the feeling of exchanging ideas with them, seeing their interested and satisfied faces, and the total exercise of the event that was happening before my eyes.
It culminated when I notice the firstborn in the family looking eagerly at my nameplate, at my stethoscope, and at my notes. His face was serious and I feel like he was trying to say something. Before I left I asked him if he, too, wants to be a doctor someday. He smiled and answered yes.
His parents were quick to tell him that they may not afford medical education or that now is not the time to decide about it. I dispelled their fears by telling how many doctors are needed by the Philippines and that there is still hope for free medical education someday. They both looked at their son and agreed.
I can’t believe I would be inspired by that scenario. I realized that man functions to follow his need to be happy. He wants to satisfy the longing in his heart that would ultimately make his heart smile.
We are often obsessed with the difference between joy and happiness. Often, joy is something that dwells in our hearts and may persist no matter what the circumstance is. Happiness is the feeling that we feel due to something that happened. I agree that the preceding definitions are correct.
However, the dictionary would tell a different story. For Merriam-Webster, joy is “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires,” and happiness is “a state of well-being and contentment.” By the looks of it, they seem to be similar. We have joy in our hearts but we still try to seek happiness and that is never wrong.
Religions and self-help programs would guide people to achieve happiness. Because of its English etymology (using blood to consecrate something), we associate the word “blessed” with the act of making something holy. We forget that in the religious context, it also means someone who is happy.
The most famous sermon of Jesus Christ is His Beatitudes which are beautiful in meaning and structure. We call it beatitudes because it has sentences that start with the word beati which means “happiness or blessedness.” This sermon sums up some of the values that He taught and it says that the person who follows them will be happy.
To make yourself happy is not even contradicting to a Christian. The mere fact that believers live their lives to give God happiness is reason enough to say that pursuing happiness is a holy act if done the right way. Belivers disregard that God’s happiness would result to their own happiness.
As long as we do not hurt others, we can chase anything that would make us happy. I think I have a newfound outlook on my life and would now try to seek my happiness.