Posted by: The Critic of Filipino Idiocy | 23 November 2006

Irony of Activism

screen1-1.jpgAs easily understandable as it may seem, I do not really know what Red Shirt Day means. Of course I know when they say RED SHIRT DAY, they ask students to be in red when they go to school on the said day. But why red? Maybe because it’s the color of violence. Or opposition. Or love. (Eeek.) EDIT: This just in. I’ve just read Bikoy’s current post on his blog and saw the embedded video of tonight’s local newcast on the issue. Supposedly, they were in red shirts as a sign of protest.

As I walked to one of the buildings to attend my class yesterday, I saw a huge banner in front of the building inviting students to wear a red shirt on Thursday, 23 November, and to boycott their classes. They were inviting their fellow students to join them in what I can only assume is a sort of demonstration. They are against the system-wide Tuition Fee Increase (TFI) to hit the premier state university in the Philippines next academic year. It’s an increase from the roughly 20-year rate of $6 per unit (or $18 per class) to $20 per unit (or $60 per class) and many say there’s no way on earth that they could possibly afford such a “STEEP” price. Note how I wrote steep. Oh, you noticed? Thank you.

Normally, I’d be fine with whatever they want to do with their lives. I mean, they are activists, and I do not confess myself to be an expert on the subject of [insert politically correct, intelligent-sounding adjective here] activism. But I still think what they were inviting their fellow students to is something so ironically stupid, I want to cry.

They say they value their money so much because they (together with their parents) don’t have much and they want to make the most out of it. They say they value their education and suggest that the government should, too [FYI: The government spend (yes, it is plural in this case) most of its budget on debt servicing and military crap]. They say the university cannot raise its fees because it would ruin so many people’s lives, so many people who want to get a decent education but cannot afford one.

Now I really want to cry.

These people keep whining about not being able to afford so many things that I can’t list them all BUT THEY HAVE THE GALL TO WALK OUT ON THEIR CLASSES FOR AN ENTIRE DAY. These people go on about how they want an inexpensive yet decent education for themselves and many others as well BUT THEY HAVE THE NERVE TO FAIL THEIR CLASSES, probably because of too much time spent in demonstrations and rallies, masked behind the concept of education beyond the classroom. They butcher the affluent, saying they shouldn’t even be going to college there because there are other equally intelligent entities who do not have the financial means to go to regular-priced colleges, BUT THEY HAVE THE INSOLENCE TO NOT GRADUATE ON TIME AND OVERSTAY, making the government spend more on them.

Tell me, how IRONIC is this? At this point I stopped wanting to cry.

I drafted my own message to forward to everyone who sent me that stupid RED SHIRT DAY text message earlier this week:


Photo courtesy of KidsOK.

Send me an SMS (text message) at +63.927.641.4328. Activists not allowed. Haters will be reported to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and will be arrested for harassment of private individuals.


  1. Okay. So I’m not allowed to text the famous critic. Sad. ^_^

    I agree that inviting our fellow students to boycott their classes is indeed an irony. Even I have thought about it many times before. But the cliché is that if they don’t stand up right now, they won’t be able to have any say about it in the future if the tuition fee increase will be implemented. Yes, the proposed TFI will not affect us already regular students, but think about the financially-unstable future “mga Iskolar ng Bayan” who have the brains and guts to get into UP. As for the professors’ wage being increased if TFI pushes through: kalokohan (Sorry, had to use the Filipino word). UP professors are government employees. The only time they can get a raise is when the government increases the education/social services budget.

    […] many say there’s no way on earth that they could possibly afford such a “STEEP” price.

    Not exactly. What we’re saying is that not all people will be able to afford UP education if the tuition fee increases. And please don’t generalize. Make the word “some” your friend. =) I may be one of the people whom you would love to hate (I won’t be able to graduate on time – in time, maybe, LOL – thanks to the pains of transferring my butt from UPB to UPD), but a lot of my comrades are excellent in time management. =)

    I’m an “activist” in some ways, but my friends know that I don’t agree with some (or maybe most) of their sentiments. There are some things I fight for, and some things I leave to them. And I actually disagree with the argument that affluent people shouldn’t study in UP “because there are other equally intelligent entities who do not have the financial means to go to regular-priced colleges.” UP is for the bright, given, but it isn’t exactly for the poor. The thing we have to keep in mind is the people who are equally or more bright, but poor.

  2. jim, there are too many more ways people are wasting government money in the millions and billions and you take it against sate university students who boycott their classes for one day just to have a chance at pressuring the BOR to decide against tuition increase.

    also, cutting classes, overstaying and not graduating are not exclusive to your much abhorred activists and i don’t see you howling over the others, even if they are even for much selfish reasons.

    you are making sweeping generalizations and anti tibak rhetorics and use them to demonize all activists. check your bias jim

  3. They’re wearing red, because it’s the color of *cough* communism. Period.

    I’m actually glad that activism is alive and well, because it means that our generation isn’t apathetic… but sometimes they go overboard.

  4. what i can say is that UP is supposed to be a state university and not a private one! it’s supposed to be offering very low tuition fees.

    i’m on a public computer right now. this is the same guy from

  5. Di ako sure kung seryoso ka o nang-aasar ka. First time ko kasi rito. Pero seryoso itong comment ko. 🙂

    Para sa mga karaniwang Pilipino, ang $60 (o P2940 sa palitang P49:$1) ay malaking pera na. I-multiply mo pa ito sa dami ng subjects mo, mas malaki na iyon. Maniwala ka, para sa mga probinsiyanong tulad ko na sinwerteng makapasa sa UP, malaking bagay iyon.

    Kung di ako nakakuha ng scholarship, at kung ‘di ako tinulungan ng mga kamag-anak ko, hindi ko alam kung paano ako makakapag-aral ng maayos.

    Yung sa boykot, minsan, kailangan mong gumawa ng ganoon para makapag-deliver ng message. Yun yung tinatawag ng mga tibak na “sama-samang pagkilos.” Yun yung ginawa natin (o namin?) sa People Power I at EDSA 2.

    By the way, sumasama ako sa mga rally at nakikitambay sa mga aktibista dati, pero nakapagtapos naman ako on time. 😉

  6. Shari: That’s why I used many. And I am under the impression that many is relative. I think there are many who [insert whatever it is we’re talking about]. And hey, I’m not the model student either. I do not follow my curriculum and take at most 6 classes per term so I can make it sure that I have enough time for my acads, showbiz, and national athleticism.

    You’d be suprised at how many of them asked me what the hell I was doing going to UP and told me to go to hell. Or AMDU or DLSU.

    Bikoy: I am already aware of my biases. I am not against activism. I am against people who pretend they know what they’re doing and tell everyone that they are activists.

    I also did not say overstaying is exclusive to them. But there are more valid reasons to overstay than missing classes because they were painting walls and blocking the road in front of AS or whatever.

    These may be considered generalizations by others, but this is what I see. I say there are many of them enough to say something that comes off as a generalization. Besides, this is my opinion. And although many visitors can read this article, I cannot possibly influence them to see things the way I see them. The Silver Bullet theory is long dead. I can only affect them so much, at most to the extent of making them think about these things I write about and being vocal about them, but never to that of totally steering them away from activism if they already have the inclination to it.

    ade: Yes, yes. The apathy argument. This is all I can say: If one exerts enough effort to know the issues and make a stand, he is not apathetic.

    christian: I am not for the TFI either. So I will not argue with you. I am just amazed how ironically they reacted to the issue.  Also, if the text message gives you the impression that I am for the TFI, it was just retort.  I wanted to let them know that I am not the person to whom they should be forwarding this sort of messages.

    Ederic: Since it’s your first time here I’ll cut you a bit of slack and let your non-English comment slip. But I will not translate it. It’s too long and I can’t rack my brains too much. To put a stopper in your wondering, let’s just say I am both. I am annoyingly serious. Some may find me seriously annoying, though.

  7. Another irony I see in UP, is that their students usually questions or rallies against the government while the government spends almost P20,000 per semester per student. Compare it to PNU students where we get an average of P10,000/year/student, and PUP with P10,000/semester/student, we usually get most of the crap. And yet, PNU raised its tuition fee by almost 300% from P250 up to P750, and its miscellaneous fees from P150 up to P500, just to accommodate what students needs.

    All I want to say is that UP/PNU/PUP and other SUC students should spend the government money wisely. Do not waste the taxpayers money for just rallying against the government.

  8. charleslemark: Can you back these figures up? I had the impression that UP students get about P60,000 ($1,200) pax per term.

  9. Nakakaintindi ka naman pala ng non-English comment, kaya di na ako mag-i-English. Saka tutal, may salitang “pinoy” sa domain name mo. 🙂

    Anu’t anuman, dahil blog mo ito, i-delete mo na rin lang. 🙂

  10. jim, im not taking your bias/personal generalization against you. im simply offering an opposing point of view in defense of activists. hehe

  11. PinoyStupid: Oof. “Many.” Sorry, didn’t see it. I guess my eyes were just too tired to read anything as is. And maybe I just know too many admirable activists that I completely disregarded those people you’re referring to. My apologies. 😀

    PS: I thought you were for TFI. I got the impression from somewhere. From Bikoy’s site, perhaps? Or maybe I was just dreaming. Nevermind.

  12. Ederic: Well it’s not that I hate the language, it’s just that I need as many people as possible to understand what we’re talking about here. And according to my site stats, Philippines is only a very far 5th (with 1991 hits) in the list of the top countries from where my readers come. Seeing as more than 80% of my visitors come from the US (57876 hits since 6 November), Australia, and Canada, I believe it would be best to stick to English.

    Bikoy: Noted. One less thing to do on Monday. Strangle Bikoy. LOL. I know it would be stupid to quarrel or get violent over some articles. I mean, this is just an outlet, and it’s not like readers are being forced to convert to whatever it is I’m preaching. So all is good. Or all is well. Ah, screw English.

    Shari: No prob. (Maybe it’s because of the HECK-I-JUST-WANT-TO-ANNOY-YOU text message I replied to them texters) Oh and you can text me anytime you want haha. There always is an exception to the rule. And yeah, I’m not for TFI because I really have no idea where the money’s going other than the admin’s fat pockets. I mean, the teachers are not going to get a raise any time soon. The facilities are not going to get upgraded and the buildings repaired any time soon. So what’s it for other than earning more from students?

  13. Boring, Boring, Boring!

    If your site stats show that 80% of your visitors are from somewhere else, then you should cater to their interests.

    So activism is alive and well in the Philippines. Great, but frankly, I don’t give a damn.

    So tuition’s been increased by 6,800,900,500%. Well, I never went to college myself, so I could care less.

    These are the not things that I want to read, “Jim”. What I want is satire; cutting, incisive commentary, with a little comedy thrown in. Not boring discussions about college life in the Philippines. That’s kids stuff.

  14. betol: You apathetic insurgent apolotical b*stard, you! LOL. Kidding.

    Anyway, I knew I wasn’t supposed to write about this stuff as I am not particularly adept at this area of boring seriousness. But I just had to write about it. I have been so sick of it since I don’t know when, and I’ve been bottling it since. I just needed to get it out of my system. Plus it makes it seem like I’m all concerned about what’s happening. Which I really am. Only it’s the trivial, mostly unnoticed things that interest me more.

    Another plus: It makes for a “dynamic” blog. These are what you call asides. It’s not the core content, but it’s the quick fix to that digital-age-old blogger’s block.

    Now I’m as funny as ever. Or not. LOL.

    Please do not call me Jim.  I think I’m gonna start calling Bikoy (the one who started it) Vik-tah in class next week.

  15. our taxes are paying for their education. im working my ass off, i pay taxes to keep their school afloat and all they do is complain. study , graduate and get rich just like me hehehehe

  16. wat i suggest s dat, ol students hu cant afford the TFI..stop whining, quit school, save your money, so u can put up ur own business. mag business na tayong lahat hahahaha para yumaman

  17. ederic: man, edsa 1 2 and all other EDSAs to come are all full of crap. nothings changed pare…damn all activists

  18. That’s more like it. Just a barrel of laughs!

    These “asides” are fine every once in awhile for your own sanity. I just didn’t want to see your blog degenerate into one of those things that you profess to abhor.

    NOTE: I used the impersonal, name in quotes – “Jim” – because I have no idea who you are. As you said, I picked it up from “Bikoy”. I have no idea who he is either.

  19. magaralNalangngMaBUTI: You be nice. We do not abhor activists. We abhor people who pretend they know what they’re doing and call themselves activists.

    betol: Not gonna happen. This blog began as a fun I-hate-idiots blog. It’s going to die that way. Not going to mutate into something so insipidly serious.

  20. PinoyStupid: Hah, nicely said. Just ask the UP Admin where they’re going to to spend the money. ^_^ And some UP students should stop assuming that they aren’t going to get affected with ToFi. That’s why it’s called ToFi, because in more ways than one, the admin’s also targeting our poor pockets.

    Off-topic: Okay, okay, sorry for saying that boxing is a sport. Geesh. And the “Champion” [thing] isn’t killing only you. And heck, what do you mean I do not get haters by writing that blog entry. Have you seen my site?! It’s been featured in and .com already, and hey, surprise, surprise! I’ve got haters all over the country commenting on my site and emailing me! LOL.

  21. Shari: Yeah, I just checked it out, you are definitely going to get haters. LOL. But it’s nice, you get your word out to more people. I wish my Champion of the Monkeys article were featured too so they’d clear your name and grant me the title: The One Who Called The Champion A Monkey.

    Always remember, the talented ones are always misunderstood. And hated. Jim Paredes told me last night.

  22. yes master Pinoystupid, I will be nice 😛

  23. Thank you. Hahaha.

  24. Pinoy Stupid: Rawr! That quip’s to die for, haha! I just wish people were smart enough to know the definition of the word opinion. =)

    BTW, sorry for taking the credit of calling Pacquiao a monkey from you. :p

  25. If there’s something haters do not know, it is opinion.

    About the Pacquiao is a monkey thing, it’s not a problem. I mean, everyone who can see the similarities can call him that. Haha.

  26. Agreed. And I keep wondering if SpyLolo is serious. LOL.

    Honestly, the word monkey doesn’t even begin to cut it. =) (Hope you don’t curse me for showing that to you)

  27. Activism in UP is not really activism but Communist-indoctrination masquerading as activism.Proof, just look at their motley crue of stupid ideas/personalities who are at it for the longest time, 36 years or so.Get over it already, Communism is dead like 16 years ago!!!

    If this is the kind of pinoy stupids that that university produces(not to mention the several scalawags in government too), then they deserve to pay their way to university!

    The irony with these activists kuno is that they use all the propaganda and “DRAMA” they can milk out of every possible controversial issue to get any mileage, but in a Communist regime, guess who gets mangled in a jiffy if you let loose a banner in your corner of the world?

    They will protest WITH just about any issue with the ultimate motive of overthrowing the government and installing a Communist one, then expect the very system of government they wanted ousted for them to give them a decent “cheap” education?!wtf~!

  28. Yes, the hypocrisy that is student activism in UP does not go unnoticed. My own theory is that after the toppling down of Marcos, they’ve become devoid of any meaning, trying to survive only by sensationalizing every issue they can find.

    The way they’re going, they’re making it so that they’re losing their relevance all the more.

  29. im for the tuition fee increase. ive read the report prepared by the school of economics. and everything is reasonable. im dissappointed with these disruptive communists (well, i call clueless activists disruptive communists). i mean, even if they smash or burn the chancellors car (which they did) or kidnap his family, it wouldnt change a thing. they would never influence how the board sees the fee adjustments. they just ruined the lantern parade, which was cancelled by the chancellor after the attacks. i was in up that friday night, and i saw kids wanting to see the parade, which didnt push through, cos of these disruptive communists. well at least the disruptive communists got what they wanted, not stopping the tuition fee increase, but ruining the lantern parade. selfish communists. i dont earn much, but i pay taxes, and i expect these students to study rather than go out in the streets and be unproductive. study, graduate and get a job.

  30. wizardofoz, you should be happy now. The increase has been approved by the BOR.

    Them activists stormed to UP Law and pinned a girl to a wall. I wonder what that was supposed to achieve. Certainly not scaring the BOR out of their wits.

  31. I never really got why activists think that whatever they’re doing can pressure anybody to bend to their will. If they really wanted to save money and wisely, they would start small. This already includes your suggestion that they actually stay in their classes, pass their subjects, study and not cheat their way through stuff (imagine, taxpayers are actually paying people to get a paper title rather than real qualifications), and not waste any money on buying red shirts!

    It’s like what Wolverine once said about being full of shit: if they really believed in what they cry out for, they should be the first ones to volunteer to teach for free at high schools.

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