DAMAYAN-BULUSEÑO GAZETTE ONLINE EDITION

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YOUTH FORUM

by Abraham G. Tan

An April Fool’s Day

 It was the first of April.  My classmates and I finally had to say good-bye to our alma mater – the Bulusan Central School. The day began with the usual thanksgiving mass at the town’s parish church. In the afternoon, we proceeded to our Poctol campus for the promotional exercises.

Everything seemed typical, but there was definitely one thing different with this graduating batch of 1991.  For one, we wouldn’t be using the town’s cultural & sports complex for the occasion, which was by the way, the original school site.  We had to make use of the present school’s open auditorium.  Thankfully, it’s summer that even a drizzle was highly unlikely. 

The ceremonies went through without a hitch – speeches were delivered, diplomas were distributed, ribbons and medals were awarded, we even got to sing our two graduation songs.  The day’s activities ended just in time as it was already dark, and not even a single light bulb illuminated the stage, save for the occasional flashes of the camera.

That there had been some sort of cost cutting was very obvious.  Apparently, a meeting was conducted beforehand as to how to go through the graduation activities without spending too much.  Why this anxiety over the costs? 

It all started in August 1990 with the advent of the Persian Gulf War.  The continued military attacks and the uncertainty of the situation took its toll on almost every nation’s economy.  Of course we were so young then, unmindful of the fact that the ongoing crisis was causing not only the price increase of oil products but of basic commodities as well. We even had the time to joke about the Patriot and Scud missiles of the two warring parties, while sympathizing with others who had loved ones working in the Middle East.

A ceasefire was eventually called at the end of February 1991 but it was not enough to revive our country’s economy.  Our graduation theme then, “Peace and Self-Reliance through Productivity” was indeed very timely, as it was a call to action to people emerging from the remnants of war.

Today, with the planned US attack on Iraq, people from all over the world are campaigning for the reconsideration of peace talks.  The UN arms inspectors had already destroyed a number of elements of mass destruction and we could just hope for more.

Our country is facing enough crises as it is.  It is just to be hoped and prayed that all this will come to an end and that true peace reign.  We can’t let history repeat itself. Not another April Fool’s Day. (bulusanon@hotmail.com)

 

Vol. XV No. 6 (January-February 2003)

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