THIS graduation business, it’s a rip-off, isn't it? All to do with making a buck; absolutely nothing to do with academic excellence. And have you ever seen anything so absurd as a lad of seven of eight years done up in a white toga and mortar board? Or his tiny tot partner, rouged, powdered and pomaded, looking like an apprentice tart?

The process of rising from one grade to the next in junior or high schools is inevitable. It's like a bus queue. The front moves on and the rest of the queue shuffles forward. Why such an ordinary, routine progression should be attended with dressing up, garlands and hotels offering 'specials' is beyond me.

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In my day at high school on the last day of the Summer semester, we'd simply go home, looking forward to a long break. There were no rites, no assembly, not a parent in sight and nine weeks later, we'd return, moving up a 'year' to a new classroom and new teacher. Even on our final day at school, we simply left -- we hadn't graduated anywhere -- only made the frightening transition from carefree schooldays to looking for a job in the real world and the sooner the better.

The only individuals of any age entitled to don robe and mortar-board are those leaving a university with a degree. Dressing up kindergarten kids cheapens the words and rites of graduation. The celebration of attainment will become meaningless. If it isn't already.

Something I've kept meaning to mention (And equally kept forgetting) was an item a couple of weeks ago about the nation's medical tourism industry and "how even the next administration will gain from the growing medical tourism."

The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating so why doesn't someone trot around Davao's hospitals, asking how many medical tourists are in residence? Don't take too many fingers to count on.

On Sunday, there was a nice little article from Carlos Dangcalan asking why Filipinos say they want change but "whose actions show otherwise."

The problem Carlos is that you have to overcome the Great Filipino Apathy, a “what will be will be' mentality”. Regular readers of my column will know that for months I've been waging a single-handed campaign to rid our subdivision of boombox trisikads and habal-habals. Not the machines themselves, just their “sounds”.

I say single-handedly because over all this time, not one of the street's residents has approached me to volunteer a hand or even to wish me good luck. Not one. A community not caring one whit if the quality of life of their neighborhood goes down the pan. Apathy writ large. That, Carlos, is what you have to change.