sanipriya's musings

"I am an instrument in the shape
of a WOMAN trying to translate pulsations
into images
for the relief of the body
and the reconstruction of the mind."

written by Adrienne Cecile Rich

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

PRSP Grand Prix Finalist!

i'm so excited! finals on sept. 9!

i'm happy that we made it this far, that our hard work paid off. it's enough for me to get to the finals, it's already a big deal for me, to be able to present our campaign in front of those judges and the other schools on sept. 9.

and it's sooo near my birthday. haha. what a nice birthday gift... finals! woohoo.

but that would mean sept 8 (my birthday) is prep time for 9, and i won't have enough time to celebrate since quantitative paper deadline is on sept 10.

i wish i can breath now. if only i can. everything's happening so fast.

i'm feeling better everyday, and getting less depressed (but frustrations still mount up sometimes).

my friend norries gave me the best piece of advice i've heard in a very long time: i have to learn forgiveness. forgive others who have hurt me, forgive myself for my shortcomings. there's no use in getting angry at so many people (including me) and at so many things.

i get depressed mostly because i let my frustrations get the best of me. i let my anger reside in my heart that peace can't settle in. that's my problem. i had to forgive, and to forget, past hurts.

he told me to ask the Lord to learn forgiveness. i had always asked for peace and for healing, but while i get less numb every day, i still need peace within. i had to put in action what i am asking for.

everyday i feel more and more blessed. so many times i have counted what i lost that i didn't count what i already have and will still get in the future. i am blessed, and what i don't have won't make me less of a person.

i may be less blessed or more blessed than other people, but that doesn't really matter. so many people care for me that it fills me up with happiness. i have so much to give and to share with people, that it doesn't matter how much i lost in the process. i have much more to gain than what i have lost anyway. and it's always good to be reminded that i have Someone who ultimately cares for me and loves me unconditionally, not matter how many mistakes i made.

it feels so good to be happy, simply because i'm living this life. i may be tired and weary of doing what i must do, but it's always for a purpose.

soldiers are always readied before battles. battles are won before wars. and wars need the best generals. i have the best General there is.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

education whatevers: my 101st post

it's my 101st post! yay! looking back, i didn't think i'd be able to fill up this blog, but i have. oh yeah. haha.

hmm. i feel the need to be academic today. i'm posting a report i did on mclaren. i've been inspired by what he said, so i'd like to put it here. i'm not sure if it will make sense to everyone else, but what the heck anyway. hehehe.


Peter McLaren, voice of critical pedagogy and the multicultural struggle for social transformation

Pedagogy – the process by which teachers and students negotiate and produce meaning, and how we represent ourselves, others, and the communities in which we choose to live. (1995: 34)

Critical pedagogy – underscores the partisan nature of learning and struggle; it provides a starting point for linking knowledge to power and a commitment to developing forms of community life that take seriously the struggle for democracy and social justice. (1995:34)

The ultimate goal of critical pedagogy is self empowerment and social transformation, such that it is voiced by the Hebrew symbol tikkun, meaning “to heal, repair, and transform the world, and all the rest is commentary.” (McLaren, 2003: 186).

But the culture we live in today is a predatory culture: a culture that esteems violence and the proliferation of violent acts (McLaren, 1995). According to McLaren, predatory culture “is a field of invisibility—of stalkers and victims—precisely because it is so obvious. Its obviousness immunizes its victims against a full disclosure of its menacing capabilities” (p. 2). Our identities are formed through capitalism and commodification, and often these identities are multiplied through mass media and new technologies. Life is fun in a predatory culture, and everything is based on image-value. Just look at our star-struck nation as an example.

Violence is commodified in a predatory culture (Leistyna, 1995). Violent acts are pitched and sold for the spectacle of entertainment (as illustrated by examples in sensationalism in television news, box-office films, and entertainment shows). But the most dangerous attribute of a predatory culture is when we are unaware of its dominance.

It “keeps youth stupid” (McLaren, 1995) and schooling takes part in this process, such that by not arming and empowering children with weapons they need in the struggle against hegemony of the supremacist culture, it legitimizes the culture.

The good news is that there is resistance, no matter how small, to this culture. What keeps these factions of resistance from succeeding, however, is that it is divided into identities, into what was then known as multi-ethnicity. Social transformation needs these different identities to unite in a struggle through multi-culturalism (McLaren, 1997).

Multiculturalism is not simply a class struggle: that it is a struggle of women, of the poor, of the marginalized ethnic groups. Nor is multiculturalism simply an appreciation of ethnic art, culture, language and history. It is a global struggle against white supremacy.

Appreciation of the attributes and products of a cultural group is not multiculturalism, but in fact, it is another form of hegemony, such that when the dominant “appreciates” subordinate cultures, it emphasizes that the subordinate is marginal.

For different cultures, McLaren points this out: "Can we use new ways of organizing subjectivity to create a self-reflexive social agent capable of dismantling capitalist exploitation and domination?" (1997:95). Negotiations must be made in the differences in class, race, age, gender. While different cultures have different subjectivities, this must not be a hindrance to the struggle; rather, it must be the thread that weaves the various cultures together.

Unless there is still a predatory culture that “keeps youth stupid”, critical pedagogy has still not fulfilled its purpose of emancipation.

A problem is faced in the goal of emancipation, that the current curriculum is selective in its empowerment of the people: it is biased towards the privileged. This must be changed by educators, but many are unwilling to do so, not so much in fear of opposing the dominant, but because they simply want to be neutral (Pruyn, 1999).

By schools and educators taking a neutral ground, they maintain the silence of the struggle. McLaren emphasizes the need to speak out, because there is no truly “neutral” stand. What neutrality does is only to maintain the predatory culture. Educators must take a stand in the struggle in providing an education that can transform the student’s self and the society.

The raison d’etre of critical pedagogy and schooling is best summarized thus: “liberation lived within solidarity where victims can overcome their oppression and where schooling is immersed in an emancipatory praxis where ‘the individual and personal is always situated in relation to the collective and communal’” (McLaren, 1995: 23; Soto, 1999).

McLaren gives so much weight on the role of the educator: such that the educator must be a channel of emancipation not just within the student, but of the larger culture and political society. So much is the demand from the educator that the educator is called to transform the schools into democratic spheres.

McLaren has this to say for educators:

“We need to teach dangerously, but to live with optimism. We need to be outrageous, but to temper our outrage with love and compassion. We need to be warriors for social justice, yes, but warriors whose ethical bearings and praxis are informed by the best that critical thought has to offer. Although the term “critical pedagogy” has admittedly become too vague, there are still crucial issues to be engaged in its vicinity. We need to remember that our students are not bodiless wraiths to be blown about the corridors by pedagogical rhetoric and sophistry; rather, students are complex historical agents and they need to be able to read the multiple texts of their own lives. That is, they need to read the languages and discourses in which they find themselves in order to reinvent themselves. Consequently, critical pedagogy must not become a “privileged space” for academics but must be forged amidst the daily struggle of the oppressed themselves.” (McLaren, 2003: 296).


Fischman, G. (1999). Peter McLaren: A call for multicultural revolution. Retrieved August 14, 2007 from

Leistyna, P. (1995). Abstract: Critical Pedagogy and Predatory Culture: Oppositional Politics in a Postmodern Era. Harvard Educational Review. Retrieved on August 14, 2007 from

McLaren, P. (2003). Life in Schools: An introduction to Critical Pedagogy in the Foundations of Education. USA: Pearson Education Inc.

McLaren, P. (1997). Revolutionary multiculturalism. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

McLaren, P. (1995). Critical Pedagogy and Predatory Culture: Oppositional Politics in a Postmodern Era. London: Routledge.

Pruyn, M. (1999). Revolutionarily Speaking: A Multiculturalism for Social Justice. Retrieved on August 14, 2007 from

Soto, L. D. (1999). Dissent, Identity, and Critical Pedagogy. Retrieved on August 14, 2007 from

i'm so relieved i'm finally finished with this report. it's one hurdle away from the end of the semester. but on one note, i found a piece about education in this postmodern era that i really liked when i read mclaren, so much i'm quoting it word-for-word:

"Yet many schools of education today offer little more than lukewarm courses on popular culture, watered-down versions of critical theory, or "lite" versions of modern theory as the calculable basis for pedagogical transgression. In my mind, the more conservative version of postmodern theory provide the gastric juices necessaryto make the world of capitalism exploitation easier to digest and to reduce dissent mainly to matters of style and taste. By wrapping transgression in the hot salsa of avant-gardism, postmodern theory challenges capitalist cultural formations through the dizzying experience of decentering representations that are presented to be ontologically secure, or by finding refuge in weird intersections of meaning or unexpected detours of syntax, or in the radical dislocation of sign systems. There is certainly nothing wrong with these challenges in themselves; but they offer little from which to mount the kind of struggle necessary to an end the rule of capital." [i forgot which page i got this, but it's from Life in Schools, 4th edition]

what we need is not watered-down education, but we should be offered true critical theory, one that brings about social transformation complemented by a revolutionary change in social structures. the attributes of postmodernity adds wood to the fire of capitalism and hoses down the struggle, because identities are finely situated in the postmodern thought.

i cannot be certain about many things in postmodern thought (as i am not postmodernist), but marxists surely will have difficulty continuing the struggle and the education of the people while we are in a postmodern era.

localizing this, it would be quite difficult for philippine educators to apply a critical pedagogy in schools, and especially create emancipation, because as it is, we revel in postmodern thought and a predatory culture, and identity politics divide us like we are divided into thousands of islands during high tide. i don't know if negotiations of otherness is possible in this country, because ours is not really a struggle of us against the "imperialists" or the "capitalists", rather, it's a struggle of us against you, of "we" being divided into more "we's".

[one day i'd like to take on the TOFI issue, but for fear i'd be ostracized for my opinions, i'm going to do heavy research first, if only to create a sound argument that could persuade even non-believers. haha.]


Friday, August 24, 2007

"Je vis de bonne soupe, et non de beau langage."

jean moliere said thus, that it is good food, not fine words, that keeps him alive.

i have read a quite a few fine words that have made me think and want life just so to walk on that quest for life-changing wisdom (well, not really life-changing, but still...).

it's not so much the material needs and wants that make me go on this life day by day, but it's simply the pleasure of knowing more and experiencing more than what i did the day before. it's not the carnal pleasures (although they help) that make me want to survive another grueling hour in this research-filled life, but the wisdom attained as i go on treading another thorny rose-bush path.

i love the fine words; they are the treasures of a seemingly poverty-stricken youth. i have so much to see and to know that it overwhelms me, somehow, to think that there is more to be known than what i already know: that the billions of people know something i don't. phenomenologically speaking, that is, their experience of the world cannot compare to mine.

the people's fine treasure chest of words. this is my drive. to fill the need of knowing what and how they know and sense what is to me the incomprehensible.

the good food may be my fuel for waking up each day and surviving every step, but it is the fine words that keep me wanting to move and work: it is the engine.

i don't wonder anymore why i'm still in research, haggard though as it is. what i wonder, really, is how i can still be alive, since i haven't really eaten since yesterday because i can't pull myself away from reading, writing, analyzing...

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

good morning manila!

rainy fridays and saturdays make me feel gloomy, but somehow, there's something about today and yesterday that made me feel, um, well, joyous. does that sound unreal?

lately i've been LSS-ing on this one song that keeps me happy, especially in the mornings. it goes: "oh oh oh, woke up today, feeling the way i always do. oh oh oh hungry for something that i can't eat, then i hear that beat. that rhythm of town starts calling me down. it's like a message from high above. oh oh oh pulling me out to the smiles and the streets that i love."

it's just so cheery and positive. yes, it may go on saying "good morning baltimore" throughout the whole song, but it makes me feel like i should greet "good morning manila" to this forlorn city.

i like this song. it makes my mornings feel wonderfully blessed. haha. btw, it's entitled "good morning baltimore" (like i haven't said that already) and it's from the broadway musical hairspray (which they made into a movie and it's showing next week).

i wish so many songs are like this. another song i like? manila by hotdogs (am i right? hotdogs?). gives me the feeling of loving the good ole metro, even with its faults, creases, pollution, crimes haha.


i wish everyday is as joyous as this morning. come to think of it, i'm humming the song even while i do this tedious content coding of a television news program.

i was humming yesterday morning and grinning so widely that manang men asked me if i was in love. ha. not really. it just simply is, hm, wonderful. i wish all mornings are like this: simple, happy, and blessed. and i hope everyone gets that kind of feeling in the morning too, no matter how gloomy the weather is.

*starts humming again...

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

oratio imperata. oh rain, rain!

i was devirginized today.

haha. not in the way many think.

na-rape si mariel ng baha.

it's my first time wading through floodwaters that was up to my waist, my first time riding a truck through floodwaters up to my chest. perstaym ni mariel umangkas sa likod ng trak kasabay ng mga kalalakihan at tumawid sa karagatang baha.

as what my brother mark said, it's free fare. libreng sakay, hindi na mamamasahe. kids have a really different way of looking at things. yep, i saved on both our fares. we didn't have to ride a jeepney.

but we had to wade through icky waters. mahirap pala iyon, lumakad sa baha, dahil malakas ang agos ng tubig. kaya ang lakad namin, sa likod ng mga sasakyan para nahahawi ang tubig. may paraan pala para maglakad sa baha: wag kalabanin ang agos ng tubig.

sabi ko kay mark, kung hindi ko siya talaga mahal, hindi ko siya susunduin sa school. note to self: tell my parents to move my brother to a school where it doesn't flood.

i really need to go to UP. but unless floodwaters go down, i can't. i really have to get my butt to UP. but even if i get there, classes are suspended. grabe naman. i don't know what to do. haha.

but even then, i'm thankful for the rain. it has to rain, save us from drought. hoo.


regulating my self-efficacy

i want to quit. i want to quit school, studying, doing all that junk that they call work. it makes me feel less the me that i want to be: my expectations from myself and the standards i set for me.

yet, it's not that. i'm in a system that would invariably spell out failure for my future when i flunk out of the role i'm given. it's not so much the hatred, the ergophobia, but the depression and the frustrations of wanting to do so much yet only doing what i can within my limits.

this system has set its standards way above what i can reach. should i follow these standards? or should i set my own?

i remember a quote taught in my socio class one day:

"a grade can only be regarded only as an inadequate report of an inaccurate judgment by a biased and variable judge of the extent to which a student has attained an undefined level of mastery of an unknown proportion of an indefinite amount of material."

so much for my wanting to attain standards set by this system, this school, and these professors.

in the end, it's still how i achieved my expectations and goals that matter. yes, expectations are high in this competitive system, but my success is only measurable with how i competed with my best self: if i had been better than the last.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

acads: in sickness and in health

i'd like to live one day without ever thinking of schoolwork. i've been missing my weekends. i wish i had weekends again.

i got sick the past week. the flu. at least that kept me in bed for a while, but not for long. so many things to accomplish. work floods in up to my neck. i need to devise a way to swim through these floods, or at least paddle my way through to a perch where i can rest.

it's so overwhelming, this academic life. just when i thought i have made it through a hell, there comes another semester. kind of reminds me of dante's inferno, that as he treads through hell, he gets deeper into the pit of the rings of inferno, with the punishments much worse than the last. well, it's a little consoling that dante reached heaven, but only after he tread the worst ring in hell.

it gets more difficult each month, but at least i have friends in our block who more or less know how it feels. may karamay sa pagsubok.

i keep telling my mother that i'm quitting, i'm quitting. but she won't let me. even john told me that he'll get mad at me if i quit now, after all that i've done.

hoo. i'm still waddling and paddling through waves.

on another note, when i got down from the jeepney this evening i almost kissed the ground in gratitude that i was still alive. i really loathe those kaskaserong drivers who think they're kings of the road, who race through traffic, through small spaces between vehicles, through potholes and mmda, as if time is at their heels. someone should give those drivers a knock on the noggin.

plus plus. it's 30 days to go before my birthday. yay! i wish my dad would stay for my birthday (i begged him to and i hope he'd delay his departure). i'm hoping that our paper would come out in the finals, and sept 9 would mark the grand prix. so that means, bawal ang inuman sa 8, that is, if our paper gets to the top 5. i hope so. that would be a grand birthday gift.

speaking of birthdays, it was joanne's birthday yesterday. i got her a kiss, which she didn't want to accept. so it went to mark our youngest, who hated the smooch although he enjoyed the attention.

i need to talk to someone! it's maddening not being able to pour out everything. waaah.

people keep telling me that i'm really getting thinner and i must eat to gain my weight back. yep, aside from my getting sick the past week, i [unintentionally] forget about meals whenever i'm busy. i sit in front of the computer and stay there until i finish my work, so to get me to eat, meals should be served in the library. haha.

i wish i could be as happy as ever, just like i used to be. i used to go on carefree, day by day, that even on my busiest days i was happy and blissful. i remember val told me once in elbi how weird i was because i was always smiling at people. i need myself back.

i'm sooper dooper excited for sunday to come. dad's coming home from germany (but he'll leave again for malta and then for india). i miss dad. i miss talking an earful to dad. haha.

ta-ta. blogged just to show i still exist.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


i'm already dead. grieving moments like these call for some sort of condolences.

i can't say why i'm dead. just that i am.

too many terrible things to happen in just a single year. can't it stop? no wonder i don't have peace.

i don't know what to do anymore. call me insane, but it just keeps on rolling, like a snowball down the mountain.

but what do i have to do? keep on going 'til it kills me? ultimately that'll mean killing myself. no, life killed me.

what a way to carve on my headstone: Mariel, died at age twenty. Life killed her. Bless her soul.


p.s. this reminds me of a thought we students had some time ago.

what does war and UP life have in common?

both can kill you. if you survive it, you can survive anything.

p.p.s. and again i'm reminded of a text message sent to me by bevs.

it's not nosebleed in UP.

it's bloodshed.



Saturn's precious star
the elder sister
a squirrel under the oak
never early
Venus' healing herb
la luna de la noche
a girl of wishes
pride inside
pretending to be smart
nicely tucked in
a lady not poised
the talahiranya

Location: San Juan, Philippines

Notes and scribbles of a wayward child

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