The road less traveled-A A +A
As It Is
Friday, August 30, 2013
IT WAS glaring malevolently at me like a cat daring me to lunge at it. The letters were swimming in my eyes. My palms were sweating and my knees were shaking. I licked my lips. It was just a few inches from me, quietly, seductively calling to me.
The temptation to give in was overwhelming. You will regret this someday, the angel on my shoulder said. How you can say no to this is beyond me, said the devil. It was too easy…
It was our Biology test and I was suffering from the typical excuse of mental block. Urostyle… pelvis… Postzygapophytes… Tympanic membrane… Eustachian tube openings… Sacral vertebrae… And the only way out of that predicament was my classmate’s test paper winking at me from where it was.
Academic dishonesty has become a cliché. That is a bitter truth that our generation is condoning. It is easier to cheat on a test rather than burn the midnight candle and cram the anatomy of a frog in one’s head. To cheat is the norm. And to be otherwise makes you the weirdo who is the puppet of the teacher.
We’ve all seen the posters and heard the jingles. We’ve all memorized the horror stories. And we all know what the drug does. Cheating is the world’s universal shout-out to success. Adam and Eve cheated on God and humanity. Their children cheated on God and mankind. Their children’s children cheated until it became a survival instinct to forge a shortcut out of falsifications. And when we cheat in school and someday become Chief Justice of the Philippines, we cheated on God and our country.
People and books often tell us to take the road less traveled by and it will make all the difference. Over time, I have come to realize that Robert Frost was, unfortunately, most probably hinting at a road where plagiarizers are not elected in public office, dishonest men are not pardoned, liars are not given the opportunity to flee from justice, and scammers are not given special treatment. The road less travelled is still under construction.
Dishonesty is much too often belittled. “Cheat today and you die a cheater,” they say. It is interesting to note that the school clinic is a refuge for unprepared examinees the same way St. Luke’s Medical Center is a safe house for criminals like PGMA, Bolante and Corona.
Does this best exemplify how our experiences in school shape our future? Will cheating on one’s Accounting exam in high school reflect how one will cheat on his or her SALN? Will cheating on one’s friends mirror how one will scam on an entire country of legit taxpayers? Where are we headed with cheating?
And where is our government headed with cheating on the people? They are put in a seat of power, a throne atop the middle-class and the marginalized, because they have carried the potential to lead. Instead, they ruled. And ruling is a crime in these 7,107 islands because we practice a democracy. And in this democracy, you are given the liberty of paying taxes, spitting on beggars, ranting on social media, and cheating your way to the top of the food chain.
Academic dishonesty has become a cliché. That is a bitter truth that our country is tolerating. And in this process, we cheat on ourselves. In this route, we cheat on our nation. On that highway to hell, we are puppets of a mass of cheaters conspiring to burn this world to the ground. But on that road less traveled, we are not.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 31, 2013.