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On Mother’s Day, I was struck by Mary’s experience of motherhood. The Father loved Mary very much that He gave her the gift of choice. She, of course, with complete surrender accepted the motherhood proposal. I wish for our females to go into motherhood with the same love and freedom.

I remembered, too, Hillary Clinton’s “It Takes a Village.” We are all praises and appreciation for mothers. But we flood mothers with most, if not all, of the responsibilities of nurturing children. At times we readily blame them when we are scandalized about the state of their children. We are quick to judge that they have been neglectful. Shouldn’t we, all of us, take part in mothering, parenting? We share in the accountability!

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The launching of Simeon Dumdum’s “If I Write You This Poem, Will You Make It Fly?” gave me a high. Poetry readings of the daughter, wife and friends of the couple gave us a taste of the book. The collection has really many dimensions. Of course, it is an encounter with birds, but not only that! Then it is education on poetic forms, such as Nonet, Tetratys, Gamlestev, Minnelied, Rubaiyat and many others. On page 79, Concrete Poetry is defined: “In concrete poetry, pattern poetry, shape poetry or visual poetry, the words are arranged to form a figure or a picture, which adds to the effect of the poem.” The poem “Gray Wagtail” was printed in the shape of the bird. Beautiful illustrations in blue are also in this compact volume, very comfortable to hold. I am very sure there is still much, much more to explore in this book. Like here is this haiku:

Blue-Breasted Quail

The Blue-breasted Quail

Flies from my feet, and I see

That I have no shoes

The launching gave me so much satisfaction; I was very happy as I took home with me such a treasure that I could share to dear ones.

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When Prof. Feliza Uy-Etemadi presented “People’s Notion of Well-being: Beneficiaries of Selected Programs in Cebu” in the conference Multidisciplinary Perspectives in the Social Sciences, many points really struck me.

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Initially she stressed: “Human well-being is the purpose, the end of development.” So she asserted the need to go beyond the common economic indicators and focus on the human experience, hence her sharing of the sense of well-being of the beneficiaries of Selected Programs in Cebu so she declared: The Gross National Happiness concept encourages a rethinking of what is important in people’s lives: should the success of a nation be judged by its ability to produce or consume? Or should it be based on the quality of life in that country, the happiness of its people however difficult that might be to measure in practice?

I liked it when she brings us directly to the people with quotes like:

nalipay ko nga ang akong kanding nagmabdos na

nalipay ko kay akong baka nanganak laki

dili na palahubog ang bana / dili na kaayo moinom ang bana

nalipay nga nadala ang mga bata sa Jollibee

And showing us how “being trendy and having gadgets such as cell phones, laptops, iPods, mp3s” make young people happy. She also clarifies that governance has a lot to do with the people’s happiness, sense of well-being—like the solution of the drug problem, the regulation of Internet cafes, having consultations with the people and maintenance of peace and order are concerns people related to people’s sense of well-being, which they expect leaders to effectively manage.

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In the conference there was demythologizing and iconoclasm mostly because of the discussion on post modernism. What will geographers do with the death of distance?

Prof. Henry Francis Espiritu gave an impassioned presentation on Postmodern Approach to Ethics in “The Good Beyond Reason.” He opened the discussion by saying that “Ethical systems are established as guidelines for responsible actions, to make us responsible persons. Ethics gives us a framework of wholeness and integrity in our life.” He then explained that in traditional classical ethics there are predictable moral resolutions and universally normative principles. Postmodern ethics is “a system of restoration when we feel that the dignity and integrity of the human person has been breached.”

Prof. Espiritu shared Levinas’ ethics that “to be infinitely responsible and response-able is to face the challenge of human existence in its relations to the other—ultimately it is the feeling of human sensitivity to the manifestation of the “other that makes a person ethical.” Levinas is for ethical particularism because “reality is not sameness” and this to him is “being human and humane.” It is “altruism par excellence. It is based on the emotive virtue of empathy, compassion, and unconditional love.”

No dogmatism; instead total acceptance, openness, and sensitivity to the other who is different and in different circumstances.

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TAGS: Governance, Poetry
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