Privacy and Fallacy over Social Media

This essay is inspired by The Learning Network’s prompt, Are You the Same Person on Social Media as You Are in Real Life? and from Clara Dollar’s essay My So-Called (Instagram) Life.

Unlike Dollar’s experience with social media, I’m not one to make a persona. I treat social media as a mirror of myself and not a mask. If people want to get to know me, all they have to do is look through my social media. You could say that my social media accounts, including this website, are me.

I hide nothing from people (except for deep family matters, passwords, and security details). Other than that, I’m an open book. But then people might see that as a problem. When is sharing too much of my personal life too much? When do I feel like I have no sense of privacy?

There was a point in my life where I used social media to get attention from people. I wanted people to see me and having this website is probably one way getting that attention. I’m in it for the glory, and Wil Dasovic has a similar mindset when it comes to showing parts of his life.

Dasovic is a Filipino vlogger. He’s a very positive person and super outgoing. In one of his latest videos (linked below), he talks about why he vlogs. He wanted to inspire people to be productive by showing how productive he was. As for me, I think it’s similar. I want to inspire people to do their best by showing that I’m doing my best even with my blunders.

Do you have a persona for your social media? Tell me about it in the comments below! I’d like to hear about it!

The Almost Dropout

This essay is inspired by The Learning Network’s prompt Do Other People Care Too Much About Your Post-High School Plans? and the Opinion piece by Elisabeth Egan titled Stop Asking About My Kid’s College Plans.

I’m pretty sure I posted about my homeschool on my blog some years back, but just in case no one can find that post (I certainly can’t), I’ll talk about it again.

Egan talks about her and her daughter’s stress from graduating high school and going to college. One major difference between Egan’s experience and mine is that kids in America are pushed to leave home after high school. The major problem as Egan explains:

Both conversations — college and driving — are stand-ins for the real subject that’s keeping us up at night: Our kids are leaving home in a year. No more books all over the table, no more late-night cups of tea. I don’t want to spend our remaining time obsessing about where my daughter is going to college. Except for the tuition (deep breath), the destination is beyond my control.

Most Filipino families have their kids live with them probably until the kids get married or if they go work overseas (which is what I’m hoping for). There’s only one reason why Filipinos stay with their parents: salaries are too low. I don’t want to talk about low salaries since that would be another essay. I’m just explaining why kids don’t leave their parents after high school.

In my case, my high school experience was completely different. For one thing, I was in a homeschooling program. I still reported to a school. The only difference is that I was handed piles of modules and had to teach myself the lessons then take the tests in school. The other thing is that my family was in shambles (arguably it still is), so I didn’t care much about my studies. I didn’t have much support coming from my parents especially my father. No emotional support. My mother’s support is lacking as always. I mean, I’ve always wanted my family to be better, but I can’t do anything about it. I didn’t care about anything. I felt numb. Thinking about it now, I was depressed. My parents did this to me.

I was so close to dropping out and just calling it quits, permanently. There was nothing that could have inspired me to push forward. Then one day, it came. I was handed the large green envelope from De La Salle University-Manila. I got in a university. Seeing that envelope was like a spotlight washing out the darkness that shrouded over me.

I immediately made a tally of the subjects that I haven’t finished: 2 subjects from my junior year and all subjects in my senior year. I basically had to compress my entire senior year in four months. Yes, that includes P.E. and thesis. That was one of the most stressful times in my life.

I got into DLSU, and I thought it would be smooth sailing from there. O! How I was wrong! I was very wrong.

What Is It like to Grow up in the Philippines?

Before you get into this entry, let me eradicate your expectation. This isn’t some puff piece of how I felt growing up here in the Philippines (if you really want to read something like that, you can read one of my entries). This is about what it’s like growing up under President Duterte. When I came up with this idea, I didn’t want this to become a political piece. I also don’t want to use theories and ideas from Political Science since this is not what this site is for. Of course, I won’t spurt out baseless ideas without facts.

This essay was inspired by The Learning Network’s prompt: Is It Harder to Grow Up in the 21st Century Than It Was in the Past? There is also an Opinion piece written by David Brooks titled A Generation Emerging From the Wreckage. You should give that a read as well since that helped me frame my mind for this entry. And if you don’t know about President Duterte, the Philippine Daily Inquirer published The Duterte Administration: Year in Review. It’s not a complete picture, but it’s a great place to start.

All things I say are purely my opinions and my observations, but I will never make assumptions based on nothing. So to answer the title, it’s very frustrating and extremely disappointing to be growing up in this regime. When people vote for a person, they place trust in that person and the institution to lift people’s standard of living (in my personal opinion, the standard of living is what all governments of the world should focus on improving). However, I don’t see that happening with Duterte’s administration. When he was still running for president, I was actually still hopeful of the change he promised. He’s definitely known for wielding an iron fist, but I thought that discipline could be a good wakeup call for all politicians. In fact, I even wrote a paper on it.

One of the earliest blunders of Duterte was the campaign of War On Drugs (read the latest article* from the Inquirer and Rappler). This campaign was supposed to “clean” the Philippines of drugs, but it has set a veil of fear over the population. No one knows who’s going to die next. It could be someone we know like a friend or a neighbour. Small-time drug dealers and unfortunate innocents get shot without prejudice, yet alleged big game drug lords are getting some form of special treatment (read the articles from Inquirer, CNN Philippines, and Rappler).

So there’s a state of fear, anger, uncertainty, mistrust, and disappointment. But I think what’s most frustrating is that people are now afraid to speak out since there’s a possibility of being shot. Last year, Ateneo de Manila University had a rally outside the campus calling to stop the extrajudicial killing, but they were met with a police car with no license plate (read the article on The Guidon and The Inquirer).

One paragraph of Brooks’ essay actually does ring true to the young generation of the Philippines:

The students spent a lot of time debating how you organize an effective movement. One pointed out that today’s successful movements, like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, don’t have famous figureheads or centralized structures. Some students embraced these dispersed, ground-up and spontaneous organizations. If they flame out after a few months, so what? They did their job. Others thought that, no, social movements have to grow institutional structures if they are going to last, and they have to get into politics if they are going to produce any serious change.

In my previous post, I talked about why I had low political participation, but I guess I forgot to mention the dangerous environment where free speech could be seen as a weapon against the government. But there are young individuals like Sarah Elago who has gotten into politics, and I can’t wait to see what kind of change she can bring. I guess I should add ‘being hopeful’ as one of the answers to my main question.

Why I Don’t Talk About Politics

So a couple of days ago Android Authority released a video essay titled The Truth Behind The Facebook Privacy Scandal – The Real World Matrix, and this got me thinking about my inaction of political participation. I asked myself, “why am I not as vocal as my other friends who took political science?” Sure, I share news on my FB, but I really don’t make an effort to comment or to start a discussion on what I shared. I couldn’t think of a reason why my political participation was so low until I read Rappler’s piece titled Sarah Elago on why being young and being a dissenter matters.

Ms. Elago is a perfect example of an anti-thesis to me (or maybe I’m an anti-thesis to her). So another question would be, why am I not like her? Why am I not trying to create an arena of discourse in order to find this elusive paradigm shift? Then I remembered the advice that my boss told me. “What are you going to sacrifice in order for you to achieve your goal?”

And for new readers here, my goal has always personal growth and the pursuit of happiness. I think that’s why I don’t post about politics. What I mostly post are positive reinforcements and my progress in self-improvement. I feel like I’ve made more strides in improving myself than trying to make a cohesive arena for discourse. Obviously, trying to change the political landscape is harder than changing a single person. But think of it this way. How can I help others if I can’t help myself? If I want to help people become better people, then I should be a better person.

My Appreciation for Food

This entry is inspired by Caroline Crosson Gilpin’s article in The Learning Network titled Have You Ever Experienced Food Insecurity? This entry is a part of my daily writing challenge; the mechanics of which you can read here.

After reading Gilpin’s essay on poor students’ struggles on getting food during spring break, it reminded me of how my father changed my attitude towards the food I was eating.

We all had that spiel that our parents told us about finishing our food. My parents would always guilt-trip me into finishing my food which of course was a terrible way of appreciating food. But when my father did some bad decisionmaking on investments, we were immediately in a tight spot. I remember one day when I was eating lunch with my mother, and I cleaned my plate of everything. No grain of rice, no sauce, nothing was left on my plate. I realised what I did, and that brought me back to a time when I would just leave food on my plate.

Times were really hard back then that I only ate once-a-day. During a term in my undergrad, I only had 100Php ($2) in my pocket each day. I could only spend 20Php ($0.40) for food because I had to use the rest for my commute. The only thing I could eat was siopao (Chinese pork bun) that I bought in a stall at the train station each day. That was a rough four months for me.

Now, I truly appreciate food and never complain about the kind of food I eat. Well, except for coffee. I’m willing to pay a premium for that.