A message from Butch Dalisay, to all the people who have studied and are studying in the University of the Philippines
“You are in UP because you think and speak for yourselves by your own wits and YOUR OWN TWO FEET, and you can do so NO MATTER WHAT THE REST OF THE PEOPLE in the room may be thinking. You’re in UP because NO ONE CAN TELL YOU TO SHUT UP if you have something SENSIBLE and VITAL to say. You’re in UP because YOU DREAD NOT THE POVERTY OF MATERIAL comforts but the POVERTY OF THE MIND. You’re in UP because you care about something abstract and sometimes as treacherous as the idea of “nation” even if it kills you.”
A video of Professor Winnie Monsod’s Last Lecture: a speech she delivers to her Economics 101 students almost every semester. Watch it here.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE LINES FROM HER SPEECH
Whether you know it or not, or whether you realize it or not, you are leaders. I mean not just future leaders, you are leaders now! Why do I say that? First, because you are the intellectual elite. You are creme de la creme. You are admitted into the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Right? Which takes a lot of doing. And the University of the Philippines Diliman is the university that is the top university in the Philippines – bar none. So just YOU saying: I come from UP Diliman, or I graduated from UP Diliman gives you already stature which you do not realize you have. But people will look up to you not only because one, you come from the university, but two, because you come from the university, you have to have something up here (points head). It cannot be that you don’t. If you fail in this class, it’s not really our fault; it’s your fault: because you have what it takes to pass, and nobody’s trying to make you fail, right?
But excellence is not the only important thing that matters. Do you know what the university motto is? Who knows? HONOR AND EXCELLENCE. Honor first, before excellence. It’s not excellence and honor; it’s honor and excellence. And what is the fruit of honor and excellence? Is it not competence and integrity?
In other words, if you have lived up to your promise and your potential as a university student, you are in a position to be part of the solution of this country’s problems, not part of the problem.
And what does that mean? As far as I’m concerned, you’re a leader now. Can you assure me, that as a leader, you are going to, right now, until you finish your courses, are you going to act with honor? And integrity? Because I’m going to tell you class, you think cheating is something that is very unusual? It is very usual in the university and this is what bothers me so much. Because you do not have to cheat. And cheating in the small things is going to lead to cheating in the large things. And all these people that you have contempt for, because they are corrupt, because they are cheating, are people who may have in fact, been part of the university. As a matter of fact, if you think about it, I keep on telling this, because we are always so proud: UP TAYO, hah! Ok, I think six of the, I don’t know, the majority of the Presidents of the Philippines came from UP, the majority of the Supreme Court Chief Justices come from UP, the majority of the Speakers of the House come from UP. The majority of the Senate Presidents are UP. Eh saan tayo ngayon? (But where are we now?) If they were so good, why are we where we are now? And so you have to ask yourselves that. And part of the reason is because they have always looked at excellence, and not honor and integrity. And so I want you to pledge to me that, up to this, up to now, while you are in UP, please, do not cheat, because once you cheat, you are no longer part of the solution anymore; you are going to be very much a part of the problem.
So now, what is the next step? The next step of course is seeing to it that what you can do, you are going to do.
And that means, therefore, that if you are going to help this country, you’ve got to be IN the country. And if any of you have little ambitions of going abroad so that you can earn more, please disabuse yourself because by doing that, you are essentially betraying the people in the Philippines who trusted you and who invested their money in YOU, because your tuition, no matter how much you pay in UP, is still not enough to underwrite the costs of educating you FROM UP. And then of course there are the scholars: the ones who have the brains but unfortunately come from families whose incomes do not allow the university. Make sure that there is going to be opportunities for those, too. So if you turn your back on the country, if you turn your back on the Filipino people, what you are doing essentially, is you are exacerbating the problem, rather than helping in the solution. So if you insist in going abroad, at the very least, will you pay back THE ENTIRE COST of your education in UP? Plus interest. I mean it.
So here’s the deal: You’re gonna be as good and as honorable as you should be.
The Philippines needs you more than you would ever think. And if it is not you, who else would do it?
Honor and Excellence, my fellow peyups 🙂
Click THIS to listen to UP’s original anthem: UP NAMING MAHAL
and THIS to hear the newer version (I like the lyrics of this one more)
My fave lines from the new version:
Malayong lupain, di kailangang marating. Dito maglilingkod sa bayan natin.
Ating ipaglaban, laya ng diwa’t kaisipan. Humayo’t itanghal, giting, tapang at dangal.