Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I am hurt, Anton Dulce

News broke out about a 16-year-old University of the Philippines-Manila freshman who ended her life allegedly because she and her family were having financial troubles. For days following the death, leftist student activist groups from different schools all over the metropolis protested and blamed the tuition fee increase and “no late payment” policy of the university for her untimely demise.

The social media likewise became flooded with sentiments regarding the reason behind her death—many blamed the system, others blamed her parents, and a few even blamed the girl herself. I tried to just skip those kinds of posts as I go to Facebook and Twitter to take a break from the pressures of the daily grind.

I am very much acquainted with the “no late payment” policy for I, too, used to avail the institution’s student short-term loan program. I entered UP in 2007, the year they adapted TOFI, the 300 percent tuition fee increase. I remember crying on the eve of my 19th birthday because I had just received a rather threatening letter from the university saying that I cannot enroll the following semester if I do not settle my measly debt so reading the posts from angered students only brought back the all too familiar feeling of despair.

However, one rather lengthy note from a friend of a friend caught my eye. There, she explored the possible depression and “lack of will to live” that the young freshman suffered prior to her death. Of course, it was immediately panned by several and some even made a mockery of her “there are sad people who need hugs” line. But I liked it. It was a fresh and considerate take on the noticeably one-sided perspective on the hot topic. Upon reading the article, I instantly clicked the “Share” button.

Within a minute after it was posted on my timeline, Anton Dulce, National Vice-Chairman of Anakbayan, a “comprehensive, national democratic mass organization of the Filipino youth”, and UP College of Law freshman commented on it and I was not prepared for the onslaught he unleashed on me over the internet.
*"saang banda?" means "which part?" or "where exactly?"

At first, I tried to just brush him off but he threw daggers left and right for more than an hour—first about my blog being “stupid” then dropping a huge one with “Sad. But dont [sic] slash your wrists. With all that fat, you'd need a chainsaw to do the job. Don't forget to position your morbidly obese corpse near the compost heap, so at least you could contribute something to the environment.

It’s pretty insensitive of you to make fun of suicide. For crying out loud, a young girl’s suicide is the reason behind all the squabble! I call hypocrisy on this one.

Prior to this display of his true character, it had been months since we last talked but I do not recall us ever having fallouts so I was definitely taken aback by his slew of hurtful words.

I SHARED A NOTE. I shared a note, that’s it. Is that worth getting slapped across the face repeatedly with my own insecurities as your glove? I’m sorry, Mr. Dulce, but I believe that what you did was uncalled for.

I shared the note because it echoed my sentiments. I am fully aware of the issues that UP face and the consequent problems the students have to deal with but the freshman wasn’t some mechanical robot who just decided out of the blue to end her life because she had had it. No matter how short the leeway was, she still thought about it, cried about it and maybe, just maybe, a hug and listening ears were enough to convince her to do otherwise.

Anton, you are a leader—a leader of a group that respects and fights for the rights of the youth, of all things! And you are a law student. I think you should know better than to knowingly and willfully hurt a person.

I am not going to start a suicide prevention hotline or a fat people acceptance group because for 22 years, I have managed to build this wall around me for when insensitive jerks like you come around. Yes, I am hurt but it will pass. I am more concerned with the fact that a leader like you could even have the audacity to repeatedly poke and stab open wounds. You are supposed to usher in reform but you’re no better than the foul mouths you judge.

What were you trying to do, anyway? Convince me that you are right and that I am wrong? Well, insulting my person definitely worked. You are an excellent and powerful leader.

Perhaps too powerful for your own good. My dad always says, “Kapag sinabi mo sa pangit na pangit siya, parang pinatay mo na rin siya (You might as well have killed an ugly person if you say to them that they're ugly).” In this case, it is “fat loser ass.” Following your sentiments, if ever I do use that chainsaw to slit my wrists, it wouldn't be suicide. Much like the UPM student's case, it would be murder. Mr. Dulce, you should be ashamed of yourself.

I have not deleted the post. I just changed the setting so that only I can view it.

UPDATE: You may read his public apology here.

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