There are so many things we should be grateful for …

Caveat: this post is only tangentially about anime. However, I thought that if I don’t write this down I may just forget it. And I don’t want that to happen.

As a person, I am quite introverted: I spend my time mostly alone, brooding about different ideas and thoughts. I rarely go out to shop or to gimmick: frankly, they only cost me money and time. I am not a materialistic person: the only time I bought something was because I wanted to help, and it turned out even that attempt was a failure (since what I bought was fake). I guess I am very simple as a person: I appreciate my blog, one of my outlets as well as a conduit for communication, being read. I love writing, and I love anime.

It can be observed that I don’t dabble too much on activities that involve more than myself. Watching anime can be enjoyed even if one watches it alone; writing is never done by pairs or threes. There are times, however, when the proclivity to solitude is dampened by the call to society. Today has been one of those times.

Two days ago, after a difficult surprise quiz, our teacher gave us the option to visit Sumilao farmers sojourning on our university to compensate for the generally low scores of the class. After our visit, we should make a reflection paper with regard to their plight as well as our reactions to their arrival.

The Sumilao farmers, to make a long story short, had their land taken from them because someone richer took interest in their ancestral land and took it from them. As an act of protest, they marched from Bukidnon to Manila, which is roughly 1700 kilometers apart. How can this be put into context?

Remember Gandhi’s Salt Satyagraha? That was a 400 kilometer journey. These farmers marched for two months, and it can be noted, more than four times as much also. This is all for a land that was already theirs.

I went to mass for the first time in my stay here in Manila today; it was celebrated for the Sumilao farmers in the hope of them attaining the land that was theirs all along. There was a program held for them, afterwards, and I got to talk with two of them. Understand that 1700 kilometers is no small deal in terms of walking distance, and with this in mind, I gave one of them some money (he wanted to call home, but had no load in his mobile phone). He gave me his headband which was not for sale, even for the support of their cause. I realized then and there that there is so much we should be grateful for.

I was complaining about being cheated of my money by obtaining a bootleg. I was complaining why generic male lead 1 did not end up with generic haremette 3. They complained because they had no land to till on. They complained because what was rightfully theirs was not bestowed upon them. They complained because they had nothing to eat. They still did more than anything I had ever done.

I am grateful I went there. What was initially for the grade turned out to be the quintessential Marcellian encounter I could never forget. I am not going to submit a paper tomorrow. It’s not that I am lazy, it’s just that if I did, it would undermine what I was there for. I was not there for the grade. I was there to help. Sometimes, that is enough.

11 Responses to “There are so many things we should be grateful for …”

  1. elvyse Says:

    That was quite a lesson in humility I guess, right? This is the thing about this world: no matter what you’ll always encounter someone that has it harder than you. Not that it should prevent you from being angry at what happens to you: you can’t just let everything slide just because others suffer. It wouldn’t be very sane. What happens in your world, and by world I mean your family / friends / colleagues your street / neighborhood / town your doubts / beliefs etc…, is important since after all this is a world of which you’re the center. But when your world encounters others’ worlds, it gives perspective. And sometimes a little perspective doesn’t hurt.

  2. Lupus Says:

    I think you should write the paper anyway. I think this article forms the basis for that perfectly. There is no reason to undermine your own future (in the form of your grades) when you can use the oppurtunity to share your sentiments with others. In fact, writing the paper won’t undermine what you’ve learnt; if anything, I feel it’s the other way round.

    Don’t write the paper for the grades. Write it for the farmers.

  3. Ryan A Says:

    Write it, you seem within the inspired moment. 🙂 Assignments feel apart from ourself because we usually cannot relate, but when it happens to affect our lives (or are able to involve ourselves), the threads become strong, and there is reason to strive. Essentially, it is saving two persons with one vest…. or something like that, birds and stones maybe?

    1700km is a very long march. When I imagine exhausted faces, I remember the faces from Diarios de Motocicleta. Something along the lines, even if one man cannot change the world, he can change himself.

    In hopes that their problems will be resolved one day…

  4. korosora Says:

    Haha, introverted? If we met in real life I’d be your best friend. I like talking to introverted people for some reason. I guess it’s because introverted people are usually more interesting…

    Anyways, I also thought about that. I’m so ridiculously spoiled. Otaku are spoiled (PVC little fantasy peoples for them to fap to? That’s like the pinnacle of the evils of capitalism). There are so many things in the world that are wrong and in terrible condition and yet here we are, on the internets, alt+tabbing through peoples blogs, irc channels, pr0n, MMO’s, and anime. (Yeah.)

    It astounded my at first, (this was during my sophmore year at high school) considering how noone seems to care. We ignore it. I want to bring up some stuff I learned in psychology and sociology (Both excellent courses.) but as I type this I am 4 hours away from a approx. 48 hour project is due.

    Taking a step back, and looking around your world that you live in is a nice thing to do.

  5. Duero Says:

    I must truly say that was really interesting to read. I really understand how you think there. I must say that I some time feel like the only thing we ppls that live well only complains. When there are others that has it worse but never complains they live there life’s. I hate my own country because it is full of whining assholes that all they can do is to complain. Swedish ppls are so selfish they cry when they shit. That’s I what I see haha. Some times I feel that the world is so unfair. But what shall you do ??

  6. Totali Says:

    That’s what the world is becoming. People’s lives are torn apart to feed others more money that they don’t need. We sit around enjoying ourselves while acknowledging these things, but really, how much can we do? Sad, sad world.

  7. Ryan A Says:

    Swedish ppls are so selfish they cry when they shit.

    lol, now that’s a sentence I don’t read everyday.

    For people that wish to make it their life to help, there is the Peace Corps., but it isn’t for everyone; not everyone is accepted I’m sure, and it still is an individual effort compared to the masses standing still. May be everyone is turned off because of those Pledge Your Call Now, informercials about staving children in Africa (how legit are they?), or at least here in N.America.

  8. Michael Says:

    To everyone:

    I’m not rich. I can’t purchase what most of you could, but I’m a wise spender: that is, I’m like Madarame. I save when it comes to food, and to whatever I don’t need, but I spend when it comes to anime merchandise (sometimes), or materials I feel I need.

    I gave money that time, though, because they needed it. I’m happy I did. It’s only sometimes that I feel that there remains warmth still in the world, and I felt it within me yesterday.

    I did not write the paper. I couldn’t bring myself to, despite all your support. I feel it’s just a dishonor for them, and since the deadline was past, I guess there will be another time.

    Thank you all for your replies. 🙂

  9. Kljigen Says:

    Well, I pretty much like you. I don’t really go out and shop unless i have something i want to buy. And my friends always tell me that i buy things quickly and not dilly dally. Most of the time, i prefer to be alone rather than hanging out with friends. I enjoy hanging out with friends only if they are close to me. I usually only entertain my friends that i have just met and doesn’t really enjoy being with them. Well, you can say that they are tools to get rid of my boredom.

  10. Michael Says:

    So that’s the reason why we agree a lot about many different things. I guess we disagree with regard to our preference in women: I like older ones, and it seems you prefer younger ones. 😉

    Seriously, however, I prefer to be alone most of the time and I feel comfortable being alone, just like you. Most of my activities are solitary in nature, so yeah … it seems we’re quite alike.

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