I like to read. I started off with reading Comics from the Sunday paper, then reading those captions underneath the photos in the newspapers. I liked how the writer would provide specific details on what was happening and getting to know who those people were. Having a highly imaginative brain, I would picture how the characters in whatever book I was reading would look like, how they wore their coat, sat down, smiled and even wondered if they had strange habits worth noting.
In elementary school, my mom would pack me two lunch bags. Bags, because that’s exactly what they were.
They looked kinda like the one pictured above, except that they were purple and had Dunkin’ Donuts plastered all over them. But they didn’t contain my lunch. One was filled with Hansel and Bingo biscuits and the other was filled with Zest-O juice packs. I listened to my mom when she’d give me instructions. I believed everything she said at that age. She told me that the Hansel and Bingo biscuits were worth 3 pesos per pack, and that the juice packs were 2.50 each. I have no idea how I sold my goods at school, but I went to school with a daily allowance of 10 pesos per day and came home with at least 35pesos to remit to my mother. I spent my daily allowance on a plastic bag of softdrinks and hotcakes.
For lunch, my parents would come by the school and bring us home for lunch. I sold my goods for a good few months till the PTA asked my mom to stop. Oh well.
People are often surprised when they find out about my religious beliefs. And when they do, I usually get bombarded with questions, which sometimes become a bit offensive. However, being offensive is not their intention. It’s just that they lack the understanding and just needs a little enlightenment. Since they have the good notion of asking the questions, might as well answer them to the best that I can.
In my environment, the number of non-Muslims that I personally know even exceeds the number of my family. I even grew up in a private Catholic school at a time when Muslims were a great minority. Some people might think that we were at a great disadvantage because of the numbers. On the contrary, as children, religious discrimination did not exist for us, nor did we care about our differences. We were children who grew up together, became friends, and were taught to respect each other.
We didn’t have social media in elementary school, but now that Facebook exists, I managed to get connected with my former classmates and I am so happy to know that most of them are doing well nowadays.
When I was getting interviewed for a job, my interviewer took a look at my CV and was actually interested with my educational background. Then he asked me if I knew so-and-so, who went to school at Cebu Technological University. I went to Cebu Institute of Technology (now with -University), which apparently to non-Cebuanos, was pretty much the same school.
“No, I’m sorry, but I don’t know him.” I said.
“Are you sure? He placed 4th in the exam.” He insisted.
“No, I really don’t know him.”
I’m not the type of person who actually cared about getting to know you for your accomplishments. Sure, placing 4th in an exam is admirable, for having worked so hard and you can have my respect, but I wasn’t the type of person to actually check the newspaper or any news sites just to find out who you were, unless of course if we have met. Then I’d be interested if you passed the exam or not.
I have been surrounded with people having placed in exams, but they were neither better or worse human beings. They weren’t anybody special. In my eyes, they were still my friends. A lot of them were book smart, but I guess to me, being book smart doesn’t mean you’re going to be a good human being or good at something else in life. I know plenty of non-placers who are actually doing a lot better than the placers.