PAMPANGA

Viray: Hazing is deadly

1971. University of the East Campus.

Meet Johnny.

He is sophomore law student, full of hopes and dreams. He is proud to be included in the dean's list. The student is inclined to campus politics so he analyzes the winning chances of would-be candidates. He discovers that almost all previous officers of the UE Law Federation are fraternity members. He wants to win so he intends to join the fraternity.

He is recruited by a classmate who becomes is sponsor-master. He is a neophyte. He undergoes initiation. The first phase consists of interviews -- personal likes and dislikes. The second phase revolves around personal errands and stripping of false pride. Sending roses and chocolates to master's sweetheart in the dormitory is routinary. Doing research work for the masters is not exactly enjoyable.

Then the indignities began. One neophyte is made to direct traffic in briefs before he public view. This was made possible thru a request to a cooperative cop.

A 10 centavo coin is dropped to the concrete ground. It is to be moved from one end to the other -- about 100 meters with the use of the nose. The sophomore law student, having a history of nose bleeding becomes apprehensive. He was assured by the initiators that moving a coin thru his nose is peanuts. The neophyte began to question -- what is the relation of this act to joining a fraternity whose noble objective is brotherhood? It was meant to test his fortitude and determination, came the answer.

The following night, he together with other neophytes were blind-folded. At first, candies were placed in their mouths. Soothing! He was given water. Refreshing! "This is brotherhood," he thought. Then it came. Pepper (Siling labuyo) is placed in his tongue. His taste buds revolted. The blind-fold was removed. He was shown wiggling creatures in cans-earthworms. "You are to eat these creatures. They are nutritious," the master barked grinning as he held one earthworm in his hand. The neophytes were again blindfolded. Two masters held his jaw and his tongue felt a wiggling creature. Yuck!!! He threw up. He vomited. While vomiting, his supposed brothers to be were boisterously laughing -- it turns out what they placed noodles (pansit) not the wiggling creature in his mouth. No matter, his stomach was still revolting.

Whap! A paddler hits the neophyte. "Ouch," he shouted. About five masters hit him at least once using the paddle. He was paralyzed by pain and fever. He was beaten black and blue.

That night, the neophyte could not sleep. "What am I doing?" The next day, he did not show up in the initiation rites anymore. His schoolmate-fraternity members jeered at him -- "Quitter, Quitter." He entertained a sense of guilt. Batch of '71 were inducted as masters. Some of the successful candidates were absent from classes for several days for body pains.

The cycle continues. The death toll continues from Leonard Villa to Atio Castillo and now, Dexter Dormitorio.

Let us all put to stop -- hazing.

Who is Johnny? I happen to be Johnny.


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