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Crimson Crux

Pseudo-techblog where the Corsarius gets serious. Visit blog.corsarius.net for his alter ego.

University of Red Tape

Tuesday, May 31, 2005 at 1:50 AM

[Not qute a serious post, I believe.]

For three years, I've been spared the sordid fate of being the victim of UP's inefficient, failure-prone bureaucracy. All my grades have been faithfully transcribed into the College's records, and all my units have been properly accounted for. I'm in the right path towards a hassle-free graduation. Thank heavens for that.

Or so I thought.

I recently applied (er, paid) for a true copy of grades (TCG), a requirement by some of the companies present in the the Engineering Job Fair a few months back. It was nothing important, really; the paper would just serve to confirm my first and only stint as a College Scholar a few sems back (let me see that personal-best 1.68 GWA!). Of course, I unabashedly proclaimed the said 'achievement' on my resume, and I needed the TCG to back it up.

But disappointment of disappointments, I wasn't a College Scholar! The TCG sneered so. Mistakenly.

The reason? I had a 5.0 in CWTS 1, of all the subjects in the University. And what's more painful is that I practically didn't take the damn course!

I did finish a CWTS class, but it was CWTS 1 and 2, the one offered by the College of Business Administration. I got a passing mark on that (no numeric grades there, just P or F), the product of me and my groupmate's welfare work and fund-raising for Boystown Manila. That subject was also faithfully reflected in the TCG, all right, but alongside my supposedly 'flunked' CWTS 1 subject!

The latter was the "rappeling" course offered by the College of Engineering and Kampo Uno, of which I was an original enrollee. But after being enticed by the CBA's CWTS 1 and 2, I applied for a change of matriculation (change-mat). It was of course promptly completed, signed and authorized by both the Eng'g and BA parties. So, after all the hoopla, I was OFFICIALLY dropped from the Engg CWTS and OFFICIALLY enrolled in the BA CWTS.

According to the TCG, the last half of that last line is correct, but the first is NOT.

So, what was the purpose of me going through that systematic application for an OFFICIAL change-mat, if in the end it was still going to be screwed up?

The College has advised me to dutifully approach both of my teachers in the Eng'g and BA CWTS classes, and dutifully obtain the confirmation that I had dropped the former and passed the latter, so that I can dutifully pay for another OFFICIAL true copy of grades, this time with the right grades. I was also advised to believe in the excuse* that it was the CRS' fault, for it was the source of the TCG.

I am dutifully rendered exhausted.

Was it my fault in the first place?

*Computerized Registration System

[UPDATE: This article was reprinted in UPAlumni.tk. Thanks for the honor, guys.]

The Graveyard of Dreams

Sunday, May 22, 2005 at 6:30 PM

Dr. Jose Rizal’s letter to Father Vicente Garcia in 1891 is both applicable for his times and ours, making it prophetic in nature.

In his words, “...our talented men have died...bequeathing to us nothing more than the fame of their name...all that these men have studied, learned, and discovered will die with them and end in them, and we shall go back to recommence the study of life.” This is true even in our modern society that is purportedly conducive to the free flow of information. If all the knowledge acquired by every Filipino since the time of the Spaniards — whether layman or scientist — was passed onto the next generation and not taken to the grave, one could imagine the vast ‘savings’ we could have had in scientific progress, in terms of time and labor.

Rizal also wrote in his letter, “Here you have the individual as the only one who improves and not the race.” Sad, but true. No one is more disgusting than a Filipino who hoards knowledge and refuses to share it with others — consciously or unconsciously, it matters not. Every country needs the full potential of its citizens in order to conquer whatever quagmire, stagnation, or downward-spiral it finds itself in, and it needs its people to function as one united intellect if it is to transcend its usual and expected bounds for national growth, especially in terms of scientific advancement.

By ‘one united intellect’, I did not mean people acting inhumanly as an uncreative collective in the nature of the supposed “hive mind” of ants and bees. ‘One united intellect’ means that even though citizens may pursue different branches of learning, the diverse knowledge they possess is made available for everybody; whether or not people would actually choose not to absorb some parts of that knowledge is irrelevant. What’s important is that the information is there, open for perusal and improvement, and not tucked inside one and only one brain.

Let me end by (mis)quoting a line I first read from a computer game — “He who denies you access to information dreams himself your master.” An axiom to be followed by despots and monarchs, but to be loathed by the democratic many. A Filipino who buries with himself a lifetime’s worth of knowledge denies the nation even the most minor of advancements, and thus subconsciously wallows in the delusion that he is a master over his countrymen, while in truth he is slave to his gross imperfections.

Commence the Hostilities

Saturday, May 21, 2005 at 2:02 AM

It was December last year when I began blogging, mainly to hone my writing and for stress management. The journal, Slip of the Pen, has since then drawn a somewhat decent number of visitors to the sometimes angsty, sometimes comical, and mostly personal stories of its blogmaster, yours truly, the Corsarius.

This month marks another milestone for this blogger, as I unveil my second blog — Crimson Crux. This weblog will be the repository of my recent and upcoming pieces of (hopefully) serious tone. Topics? I can't put a finger on them yet, but they might include computer science, information and communication technology, Philippine societal concerns, commentaries on UP, and even the occasional memes. The most relevant of my school paper editorials will also be published here.

While I admit that Crimson Crux will be playing second fiddle to Slip of the Pen, it doesn't mean that the potency and quality of this blog will be diminished. Slip of the Pen is the apple of my eye chiefly because it is about me; Crimson Crux is about the world as I see it through eyes which unfortunately distort it to one which is acquiescent to my opinions. I believe that even before I can pen something about others, I must pen something about myself. Why? Two things:

1) Before you prattle about other humans and their cosmic and likewise puny handiwork (a paradox), you must keep in touch with your own humanity; otherwise, you’ll not be in a state of life, you’ll not even be in a state of death (I am pretty sure you still have a pulse), you’ll just be in a state of unlife; and

2) After all, I am the microcosm of society, and society is the macrocosm of the Corsarius.

There. Enough idle chatter. The rest of my posts will speak for me.

My friends, the Crimson Crux is now officially open for your perusal.