POWER can frighten and corrupt individuals.

Watching politicians up close can be a very tiring exercise—a train of bodyguards, a long line of secretaries, consultants, beneficiaries, and sponsors trailing them. The scene becomes an excerpt from a modern rigodon where the performers move in an endless circular fashion. Sometimes, I wonder, do they ever get anywhere with all the rigodon they are doing? Probably not.

Even with such power, politicians cannot fully deliver. They are locked up in the protocol of a traditional dance which is really evil. They could not do more because that would mean changing the whole system. This would not be possible if you were alone.

Politicians ask help for their campaigns and projects. They automatically indebted to those who provide the assistance. The donation is exchanged for the politician’s protection and favor. But where does this leave the masa? They are left in the dumps. Caught in an age-old trap, politicians are willing to sacrifice the welfare of the common tao for a “pound of silver.”

This is exactly the reason no matter how frequently we change presidents and no matter how righteous each president is, he or she cannot do much because. Because of the political culture.

It is very unfortunate that it has to be this way. Power should benefit the people but because of certain deeply-rooted causes, it cannot be the case. It is sad that with the power politicians posses they can do so much to improve the lives of millions of people, but because of that same power, they also cannot do anything.

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It is really frustrating that we have no choice but to be dependent on these politicians. Yes, we do have the chance and the right to bring them down from their thrones, but I do not think many people would want to change themselves simply because of the comforts engendered by bad habits.

* * *

Being simple is liberating. To be without power, prestige, and money is freedom. Without these things, there is nothing to exchange and nothing that people would want to take from you. You are free from worry.

If there are people who deserve our envy, they are those who are not part of the circle of power. In a world where everything has a price, these people enjoy all the things that are free in life. But we continue thinking we can buy everything, even our own happiness.

* * *

In life, there is no one we can fall back on except ourselves. We call the shots. When we’re having problems, friends, though they are there to act as shock absorbers and free-advice providers, can never do anything to solve the dilemma. We fight to survive. We rely on our own instincts and learn the ropes of life. There is, indeed, so much freedom and independence in life that we can even say that we can do anything we choose to.

However, there comes a time when we lose sight of our goals, of the real rewards in life. We start fumbling and shaking. We lose our ground and breakdown. The saddest thing about this is that we’re no longer fighting with things that are outside us, but ourselves.

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The violence in our life brings out both the best and the worst in us. Sometimes we take violence as a means to create life and our completeness. But sometimes, we just want to create havoc with our rage for our incompleteness. With this in mind, we go on with the fight without thinking that if what we’re doing is right or if it’s already wrong.

The violence in our nature is a double-edged sword that slices through our relations with others and ourselves. We hurt people in the process and we also inflict pain on ourselves that we cannot help but be afraid of ourselves. We are our worst enemies.

* * *

The bare necessities of life are not those things that can be held, seen, nor heard. These are the things that are felt, the little things, which mean the world to us. In death, we let go of the physical presence of the one who died. But we do not let go of his value as a person. It is the same with goodbye. The imprints left by those people we leave behind will stay with us forever. The legacies and the memories will be alive in our hearts long after we leave.

There are many lessons I learned in my three-year stint in the Varsitarian. And I feel it is time that I want to impart to some of the special people I will be leaving behind, these nuggets of wisdom for which I will forever be grateful for in the V.

To TL, less talk, more work. To Marisse, have the courage to stand up for what you believe in and listen to yourself. To Billy, you can always be surprised with what you can live through, be strong. To Marlon, be patient and do not allow your temper to get the better of you. To Eldric, instead of thinking of your failures, drink Coke; you just might realize that you’re not so bad. And to Dumy, be happy.

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It is not my intention to have a very dramatic column but I guess, the passion that has ruled me through my three-year stay in the publication, always has and always will get the better of me. I am grateful to the Varsitarian, and ultimately to the University for molding me into someone I have never dreamed of becoming, but will always be proud of being. I am a Thomasian and a Varsitarian staffer, by word and deed, in mind and in heart.

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