Breaking bubbles of idealism

A little over a week ago @dgotia, a brother of a high school friend who I haven’t seen in more than 4 years tweeted this:

@senorica Last time we spoke, you were saving the country…you still doing that? ;)

This is what @senorica tweeted afterwards:

Despite the disillusionment of growing up, I like how more than 4 years later my ideals are still relatively in tact and maybe even stronger than ever #Dreamer #Idealist

Who is this “idealist” and what are these so-called “ideals”? Coincidentally, @senorica actually wrote an essay about it when she was a teen.

This weekend while finally sifting through my “crap,” a term my mom uses to make me fix my pile of papers and memorabilia I have lying in my room, I found an old essay about fighting for diplomacy. It was my application  for an international relations program abroad.  Albeit my still underdeveloped writing style, I could definitely sense that tone of idealism my seventeen year old self had. Today, at twenty one, I’m still young and idealistic but my perspective has significantly changed.

While I was fortunate enough to graduate from an international school the impression that outsiders have is that we live in our own little bubble, especially the privileged Filipinos who can afford the education. But as a Filipino scholar who came from an entirely different financial background, I thought I was different. My taste of reality was more bitter-sweet, double-dipped in both opportunity and hardship thus giving my drive a flavor of what I like to call realistic idealism. Up until reading my essay again I thought that was enough to give me a sense of reality. But now I know that isn’t the only bubble that needs breaking.

Today I spent the afternoon watching a couple of documentaries on Youtube, especially the one by BBC entitled “Toughest Place to be a Bus Driver,” referring to the third-world megacity of Manila. For ten days Josh West,  a London bus driver, tried to make sense of our chaotic streets of poverty. Although I live in the Philippines and I’m used to seeing that reality everyday, it was like I was watching the video through Josh’s eyes. It’s crazy how that reality can still feel so foreign to me, a fellow Filipino.

Honestly, that’s  one reason why I’ve been feeling so frustrated lately. As an aspiring journalist there are many things that I want to voice and write my opinion about. With the recent political tension over GMA and the dwindling hope about our economy, government, and the world in general, a part of me feels called to speak up. However, I do not want to make assertions about realities I have not yet experienced or claim to know about. From the masses to the elite, society is already dictated by so much ignorance and I’m caught in fear of naivety.

With graduation looming ahead, there are many important questions to be asked: At twenty one, how realistic is my sense of idealism? Am I disillusioned by notions of grandeur? Or is that pushing me to know more, to learn more, to experience more about the world so I can speak and write about it with grandeur.  How realistic can my idealism be now and ten years from now?  Breaking bubbles is the only way to find out.

———-

The delegate of Cuba in the Special Conference on Gender Equality. BEIMUN 2006 in Beijing, China

The Assistant President of the Security Council. BEIMUN 2007 in Beijing, China

The delegate of India, Disarmament Committee outside the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. (We debated inside too!)THIMUN 2008 in the Hague, Netherlands

Below is the essay I wrote for the international relations program I referred to above. If I remember correctly, the application question had to do with writing about something of global significance.

Why do we fight?

By Rica S. Facundo

I was in my Theory of Knowledge (TOK) class one Monday morning when my teacher asked us: Why do we fight? It was such a simple question yet it left our class unsure of how to respond. After 80 minutes of discussion, the bell rang signaling the end of the period. But even afterwards, as I walked to my next class I couldn’t help but wonder why I would.

I believe that we are always fighting for ‘something’ whether we are conscious that we are doing it or not. As students we fight to be heard by the administration. As teenagers we fight to be recognized by our peers. And as children we fight for freedom from our parents. These are all causes that at one point in our lives we can identify with and perhaps can prepare us to fight for something that we believe in the future. But for me, as a dedicated and passionate delegate of Model United Nations (MUN) for three years, I fight for diplomacy.

Diplomacy shows that it is possible for people who are different, people with different skin colors and who come from different cultures to set aside their differences and work together for a common goal. It is an act that serves as an example; a model of character that I believe can transcend feelings of hate, disagreement and tension. However, despite the fact that we have organizations such as the United Nations that try to uphold the meaning of diplomacy, there’s still a lack of it worldwide.

We need diplomacy to be practiced by the heads of state because it is an undeniable fact that we are living in a world that is continuously being shaped by war. We need diplomacy to intervene because we see the pages of our history books come to life in the news. Palestinian refugees clash with Israeli forces in the battle for a Promised Land; American soldiers and Islamic insurgents combat in Baghdad; and political giants fight a military dictator for control over 170,000,000 people in Pakistan.

Even in the Philippines I believe we need diplomacy to enable open communication with the government and the factions and minority groups that continuously try to be heard. When voices cannot be heard, then they resort to using force instead. It’s a consequence that can possibly affect the lives of thousands of Filipinos, including myself, when bombs explode in shopping malls that my friends and I visit or when coups take over buildings within my community.

For years we have been fighting with our fists and guns rather than with our ability to communicate with our voices. Everyone deserves the right to be heard but if achieved through violence then great casualties will result. This can be prevented through the principle of diplomacy. It is an issue of global significance because in a world filled with conflict, diplomacy is what is needed to overcome it together. This is why I fight. I fight for diplomacy.

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7 thoughts on “Breaking bubbles of idealism

  1. Dear Rica,

    I know that we haven’t spoken since graduation (or bora?), but I wanted to take the time to comment on how nice it was to read this post. I’ve become a hardened cynic over the course of my undergraduate years, so much so that I often wonder how I became this way. This was a truly refreshing post and I enjoyed it immensely!

    I hope that you continue to write!

    Sincerely,
    Cak

    • Calvin! Wow, what a nice surprise! Yeah, it has been a long time! Ironically Clark is the university that the essay was for haha. I still remember talking about it with you back in high school! I really wanted to study there. Anyways, thank you for you comment and support! A bit of cynicism isn’t so bad because it keeps your grounded in reality. From time to time you just need to remind yourself of all the reasons why you should still believe. I’m glad that I could help!

      When are you visiting Manila? I would definitely love a catch up! Can you believe its been 4 years already? How time flies!

  2. We fight because we have conflicts. Conflict arises from differences. It occurs whenever people disagree over their values, motivations, perceptions, ideas, or desires. Sometimes these differences look trivial, but when a conflict triggers strong feelings, a deep personal need is at the core of the problem, such as a need to feel safe and secure, a need to feel respected and valued, or a need for greater closeness and intimacy.
    Conflict is a normal and necessary part of healthy relationships. After all, two people can’t be expected to agree on everything at all times. Therefore, learning how to deal with conflict—rather than avoiding it—is crucial.
    When conflict is mismanaged, it can harm the relationship. But when handled in a respectful and positive way, conflict provides an opportunity for growth, ultimately strengthening the bond between two people. By learning the skills you need for successful conflict resolution, you can face disagreements with confidence and keep your personal and professional relationships strong and growing.

    • Thanks for you comment! I agree — conflict is natural. Since we can’t avoid it, we must ensure that it is dealt with in such a way that it does not further escalate the problem. Like any other tool, conflict can become one if only it was harnessed properly. Given how much conflict there is in the world, imagine how much potential there is for better understanding and growth if people could learn how to see beyond their personal agendas and zoom out afterwards.

      • you article lights me up, i thought i am alone… kidding! galing mo… i’ll visit Ur blog from this day forth… mauhay ka, mabuhay ang Pinas… :D

  3. You’re so sweet! That made my day. It’s awesome to know that we’re not alone! If you can, share with others too. The more insights the better! Maraming salamat :)

    • ツ U are always welcome miss… ツ
      yesterday my classmate from Ghana Africa delivered his report in our Rural Development course… he concluded by telling a story of how a child made a great impact to one man’s life just by putting back a small fish back to the ocean when it got out of water… It maybe is just another bed time story for children but the moral could be applied in real life. In our life, we sometimes dont know how much we make a difference in someone else’s life with just a small act we do. Pondering on that, I guess I’d start by blogging… :D

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