Friday, September 27, 2013

5 Points!

Back in first year high school we had a pretty world-weary disillusioned guy for a history teacher. Our ideas, fresh from elementary graduation, bursting with idealism and the notion that every conflict can be resolved by flowery words, would always be shot down with a dose of realism like a pail of cold water at 6 in the morning. After taking one of his quarterly examinations he proceeded to discuss our answers to his essay question to be answered in 5 sentences (5 points): How would you resolve the conflicts in Mindanao?

He asked us to recite what we answered in the exam. All our eager hands shot up, some with wriggling action for more demonstration of eagerness. Most of the answers went like this, with more commas and semi-commas to stretch the 5-sentence limit:

We will sit the leaders down and discuss our differences in a peaceful and diplomatic approach. We will list down our differences point by point and try to discuss and resolve them one by one. We will tell them that religion should not divide us but rather keep us together, because our beliefs might be different but what matters is that we both have faith--faith that the people will survive these trials and tribulations and conflicts and afflictions and that we could rise post-obstacle more defined more grateful, we would heal be involved, and be unstoppable.... etc. 

I distinctly remember that whenever somebody (most of us, including myself), would give him that sort of answer he put on some sort of weird facial expression that we couldn't understand then. Now that I'm old, I now know that it is the face of someone trying hard to be diplomatic and nice to these young, innocent idealists/idiots, the face of someone who is one threat of unemployment short from screaming: YOU FUCKING LOSERS!

He had that face on, until one of us finally told him the answer he was looking for, the curt answer that put our flowery faux-discourse to shame, the answer which i now believe is the right one, the answer that gave this one classmate the perfect 5 out of 5 points. Her answer:

I will give them money. Lots of it. I will give them the land that they want. 

As the mighty Alanis said in her song 1998 song Thank U: Thank you, disillusionment!

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