‘Brother’

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


ONCE upon a time when I was freshman in the university at Diliman, I was enticed into joining a frat by some Cebuanos who were there ahead of me.

I was a semester late in enrolling because I did not have the money enough to travel to Manila, much less enroll and pay board and lodging. So, I was forced to try for a teaching job. I took a qualifying test for the district of Balamban that included Asturias town.

There was lack of teachers in 1949, so when a test for high school and secondary normal graduates was given in Tuburan, I took it. Luckily, I passed, together with a Normal School graduate from Asturias.

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I was made to teach English and elementary science for grades five and six. I saved my P100 monthly pay and enrolled in the University of the Philippines in Diliman the following semester. In those days, a one way plane ticket to Manila was only P27.

To be a frat member in those days was a big thing. It was a test of one’s social bravado and capacity to survive pain and violence. I was drawn to join the fraternity that Dodong Tony Almirante from Argao was already a member in.

I was enticed to join, but later when a frat member came to my dormitory room to fetch me and take me to a hazing session in downtown Quiapo, I couldn’t take his harsh approach on me.

He forced me to go with him and hurried me up roughly. Being new to the kind of rough treatment, I responded by lifting a chair and threatening to hit him with it if he did not leave. And that was the end of my attempt to be a frat member, a Betan.

I wish to point out, however, that it is difficult to understand how one could suffer frat violence and claim to be a good human being.

Recently, there was this report of someone who died during a frat hazing session. How one can truly develop social camaraderie or genuine human relationship after sessions of beatings and violence escapes me.

Could one truly become brothers in flesh and blood after having experienced such extreme violence in the hands of somebody one has just met?

For one who is just as human as you and I, what would be uppermost in one’s mind is to be able to hit back and have his sweet revenge of sort after having gotten such inhuman treatment. The revenge can be targeted at the same person who did it or to others who would like to become a frat neophyte.

That is how a fraternity is able to perpetuate its violence from one member to another. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

I think it is just fair and human for our lawmakers to pass a law that governs the exercise of hazing, if only to protect the family of frat neophytes who might suffer crippling hazing or death while trying to become a “brother.”

But I think that it is not a way to prove that one is man enough to stand up to pain.

Perhaps, there must be some other way to do it. Why not, say, go to some isolated, impoverished village, and serve the poor there for a week or two, to gain social experience and personal maturity?

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 09, 2014.

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