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Thesis, chances, and Faith

sleepless-nights-for-thesis

Sleepless nights with my siblings at my brother’s rented space. I never knew that my brother took this photo back then.

 

I have not written for so long on my WordPress blog due to my Law studies. What I have written today for my first blog post since my last is an #FBThrowback of what happened FOUR years ago.

April 2013. I was struggling with my Undergrad thesis then. It was just few days and sleepless nights before the Graduation Day. I was already prepared that I would “sablay” literally (instead of getting the UP “Sablay” – a symbolic sash worn during Commencement Exercises in the University of the Philippines), that is, not graduating with my batchmates that year. Notwithstanding, I still continued working on my thesis, sensing some hope that GOD gave me those times. Though I did not ask for help (because I grew up doing most of my works independently), still, my entire family came to the rescue. My brother offered his rented space where my sisters and I could work on my thesis. My mother filed a leave of absence from her work and came to Cebu to lend any assistance she could lend. But, since a Computer Science thesis/special problem/capstone is too technical for them, all they could do was to proofread my manuscript, help me pop the ideas out of the corners of my brain, print my manuscript, and have it bound while I continued refining the software that I developed for my thesis. My father also helped in editing my manuscript over e-mail. As I have highlighted in the Acknowledgment section of my thesis, it was all a collective effort. (Read Undergrad Thesis Acknowledgment here: https://www.facebook.com/100000053506248/posts/605367546141690/)

Fast forward: my adviser told me that the UP Cebu University Council, during their deliberation of official candidates for graduation that year, gave me one last chance to have my thesis finalized. I did. We did. Eventually, I graduated that year with my batchmates and officially conferred with a BS Computer Science degree with Latin honor.

Such was a learning experience for me, and the lessons I got from my mistakes back then — I applied them when I was doing my Juris Doctor thesis last year, i.e., four years thereafter. I made a Gannt chart — one thing I learned from my Undergrad days — and tried very much to stick to it. The constant monitoring of our Thesis Committee also helped a lot. Consequently, I finished my Juris Doctor thesis on time, without having to pass through the hell of cramming I once passed through four years ago. Then, my Juris Doctor thesis was awarded Best Thesis together with the thesis of my classmate. But then again, it was another product of a collective effort. (Read Juris Doctor (Law) Thesis Acknowledgment: https://www.facebook.com/100000053506248/posts/1493430364002066/)

Indeed, a photo like this one speaks a thousand words, a story even. Mine is a long story to tell but I had to cut it short here lest everyone be bored. But, I would really love to thank all the persons who gave me chances and trusted me that I would rise from my mistakes. Had my Undergrad adviser and the UP Cebu University Council been stricter and not allow me to graduate that year, I would have not come this far to where I am today. To date, I did not know how the deliberation during that memorable day went — Was the decision of giving me a chance unanimous? Or if it weren’t, who were the persons who vouched for me? — but to the teachers who supported me, I am forever grateful. And of course, to my family, I am more grateful.

And to all of those who are struggling right now, I am telling you to soldier on, to finish what you have started, and to keep the Faith no matter what lies ahead. That is better than quitting at once and do nothing at all. “But, there’s no more hope. Graduation is just few days away.” Well, four years ago, I held onto what GOD reminded me through the Scriptures, “[w]ith man this is impossible, but with GOD all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).”

 

PS: Currently, I am having my review for the Bar Examinations this November 2017. Since the Bar Examinations have not yet been regionalized, we, law students from provinces, will still have to spend around P100,000 to P200,000 for the duration of the review until the examination proper. In this regard, I would like to take this opportunity to knock on your kind hearts for some financial assistance. Any amount will do. I will really cherish your help.

 


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Sinulog 2013: Socialism vs. Christianity?

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

The priest who celebrated the mass that I attended this morning started his homily by emphasizing the relevance of Sto. Niño (Child Jesus) as the whole province is celebrating Sinulog (Feast of Sto. Niño). He explained why God chose to become human and undergo childhood, so on and so forth, until he came to what has become the focal point of his entire homily. He began by saying that there are two conflicting ideologies in the society today. First, he pointed out Socialism and defined it as a socio-political system (that started in French Revolution) based on égalité (equality), fraternité (fraternity) and the other principle, liberté (liberty), that he admitted he forgot.

His first statements were affirmative as he said that there is no objection to Socialism’s equality. He went further by emphasizing that the concept of equality is derived, actually, from Christianity which came first than Socialism. However, he stressed that there is a problem with Socialism’s equality, i.e., a person will keep on asserting his/her rights without considering the rights of others because he/she is pre-occupied in making sure that he/she is equally treated. Socialism lacks the concept of social responsibility which, on the other hand, Christianity (the other ideology he referred to in his premise) upholds. Unlike Christianity, he said, Socialism does not include caring for and defending the weakest among men and women. Christianity promotes preferential option for the poor, he added. He, then, concluded that Socialism is a selfish kind.

However, looking at his arguments, it seemed he was referring to Capitalism which is another social system that emphasizes individual rights. This social system, which became a global system at present, is the ultimate cause why there is a great gap between the rich and the poor, why only few own the lands and riches of the earth, why prices are high without regulation despite its promise of low prices due to competition, why people need to pay much for basic social services such as education and health, and why most people strive only for themselves, competing with one another for survival in this money-driven system.

But the priest forgot Socialism’s other principle that he mentioned which could have saved him from misinterpreting Socialism – fraternity. This principle is what makes Socialism different from other social system. In Capitalism, there is also liberty; it’s just that it is a blind liberty. It also asserts people’s rights but focuses much on individual rights. But with fraternity, Socialism does not limit every person to just asserting his/her individual rights, welfare and liberty but the rights, welfare and liberty of others, as well. With fraternity, Socialism inculcates in the mind of every person the concept of collective – that we are brothers and sisters who shall work together for progress, who shall protect one another and who shall look after the weakest among us as we aim for collective progress, liberty and equality. Unlike Capitalism where individualism and self-centeredness reigns brought by competition, in Socialism, there is unity. This principle is actually the same with what he said Socialism lacks.

In the middle of the priest’s homily, I thought of walking-out like what Carlos Celdran did but I did not have the courage. Also, why would I let a priest’s misleading homily ruin my purpose of attending the mass which was communing with Christ? If only that mass was like the synagogues around 2000 years ago where Jesus Christ would entertain questions and comments from His listeners, I would have raised all the points I wrote here and asked the priest and the church-goers in the end, “So, is Socialism really a selfish kind of social system? Is it really conflicting with Christianity on the matter of its basic principles?” Because for me, it is not. The priest, with all due respect, was just barking at the wrong tree.

First published at: http://www.facebook.com/notes/kristian-jacob-casas-abad-lora/sinulog-2013-socialism-vs-christianity/10151265476814794