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Lights Out

Armed with a pen, a notepad, and a tape recorder, I thought I was ready for battle. But Meralco had other plans for me and the book launch on Mula Tore Hanggang Palengke.

A forum was supposed to have paved the way for the book launch by setting the context of the book and the problems it tackles. The forum was supposed to start at 1:00, but as the organizers were getting ready for it, lights went out.

Surprised as most of the audience was, I wondered what may have caused the power interruption. I thought, 'hey, can this be sabotage?'. Their Tuition and Other Fee Increase (ToFI), after all, is proof of neoliberalism in the Philippine Education system. It was paranoia or even sheer disgust towards the UP Administration that made me think so.

Thirty minutes after the lights went out, the organizers decided to push through with the program with a few changes in the master plan. Instead of starting with the forum, it was reserved for the latter part in the hope that the power interruption will not last long.

What caught my attention was not the event itself, but the people who attended the event. I admire those who were patient enough to listen to the whole thing, it was something that not everyone was able to do. There were some who were sleeping, others were leaving, and some others were just not listening anymore.

Then I remembered one word -- apathy. The cause of apathy is lack of information. When you're left in the dark about an issue, you tend to be apathetic. You don't care simply because you don't know. The power interruption and its effects was a physical, and literal, manifestation of such. Some members of the audience just didn't care about the forum anymore because they cannot hear or see what was happening. Their choice then, was to leave.

Power shortage is just one of the things we have to live with. Living with it, though, doens't mean letting it take over anything. Much less should it be a cause for our apathy. Loghts out doesn't mean numbing your senses and accepting whatever it is you are faced with. It should, rather, heighten your almost numbed sensibilities.




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