Too many trends are consistently characterizing the University of the Philippines- Manila student elections, and consequently these trends are giving birth to a spectrum of advocacies and offers to the students. In the context of society’s chronic crisis especially in our basic social services however it seems to serve as a distraction. ASAP-Katipunan (AK), Bigkis and Jamie Balgos as the independent candidate for USC chair paint the picture of a continuing struggle for identity and relevance and the university, an identity that has endured the test of time thanks to ideals that AK still holds. Conversely we must note how both Bigkis and Balgos fit into university politics as an unnecessary product of a certain period.
The Balding of Britney
Like many trends, Bigkis will eventually fade away. Combining the advocacies of environment and misplaced reform they take flight from popular worldwide political fads of trying to find different solutions to the same problems. Foreign monopolies still influence the general economy and politics particularly education, the forced detachment of Bigkis from these truths puts them in a position of attempting at a “change” that is too “multi”-directional that it goes nowhere. In short, they are not out to fight for our rights, they focus on particular things that try to be unconventional when there is no need to be. In effect their choice of action is either extremely localized or non-existent, the latter being the usual. Like the anti-nuclear movements, luddites, certain advocacies last for only a period of time and never seem to transcend those periods; and as exemplified by the decreasing visibility in the university it’s very probable for Bigkis to follow the same pattern. Besides the general perception of the campus community of the organization of being elitist and exclusive the organization prides itself on having “new” answers for student participation. However, alternative for the sake of alternative fails and is ultimately absorbed into the status quo and the reactionary ideas that follow, unless of course inaction gets a hold of them first. I can’t remember anything they actually did, besides a couple of statements, time is showing that they are running out of ideas to present themselves and are sinking into being irrelevant in the university. Bigkis will not survive history.
If you do not stand for something, you’ll fall for anything
Balgos’ existence hardly strays from the inconsequential doom that surrounds Bigkis. She differs though from Bigkis in the sense that she is trying to adapt to the call of the times. The times have resounded education for all, with the strike almost all candidates and especially Balgos are trying to ride the progressive wave sweeping UPM without actually participating in it. Her independent status may imply sincerity but in truth it makes her fickle and vacillating character more apparent, something she takes full advantage of by adapting to the political tone of the university. This adaptation is somewhat more dangerous, unlike Bigkis, she clings to her relevance whilst her actions are clearly “independent” from the interests of the students. Out of all candidates she is the most akin to a traditional politician, generating credit from what is popular in the content of her campaign yet on the surface having the pretense of not having any ideological disposition. Moreover the excessive emphasis on herself as a complete “energy” and achiever type is analyzed precisely by CONTEND UPM in saying “this excessive fetishism on academic excellence exhibits an egoistic itch for adulation and personal validation.” It’s combining her extreme individual emphasis while gasping for significance in adjusting herself in accordance to perception of progressive politics without action that differentiates her from Bigkis.
Year of the Boomerang
ASAP-Katipunan is permanence. Through the years it has been unwavering in upholding the students and people’s rights. Many political parties have come and go, presented different platforms, following popular trends and advocacies but never equaling what AK has achieved in terms of uniting and mobilizing the broadest number in the university. To be honest whenever the university has shown its best in catering to the interests of the majority, AK was involved, especially in the recent years. AK will always produce student leaders that have these qualities, leaders who believe most importantly that all critical moments of the progressive strength of the university the students and people have been decisive, that is what makes leaders effective. This is a year to repeat everything we have achieved, an endeavor to better define the continuing change and a year to once again prove that permanence has existed precisely because of a struggle that is timeless.