Thursday, June 26, 2014
Why go to college? An often asked question in college and university interviews that doesn’t seem to be answered with enough deep thought to the matter. The usual answers that one gets include to gain more knowledge, to graduate from college, and to have a good job, which by themselves are correct…partially correct actually. Partially correct because after one gains more knowledge then what? After one graduates from college then what? After landing a good job then what? Simply put the answers are very myopic, short term in nature, and are not the ultimate goal, although they contribute to the final objective. I tell my students that one’s mission in going to college is, take good note of this, to improve one’s quality of life and ultimately be happy in life. Having knowledge, having graduated, and having a job or a business are the first steps. If one is myopic, he can just focus his sights on these yet he may never attain real fulfillment and happiness in life since this ultimate goal is not within his focus. On the other hand, if one has improving the quality of life and being happy as the ultimate goal then having knowledge, having graduated, and having a good job or business are but natural preparatory steps. This way of thinking is outside the box, a different paradigm shift if you will. Many students would go to school just to hang out, drink, smoke, do drugs, go to billiard halls or disco houses, or even impregnate or be impregnated. Any of these activities that do not contribute to the fulfillment of one’s dreams have no place in a student’s focus in going to school. If a student has this mindset then he can never go down the wrong path. The importance of education can not be pointed out enough. The title of this article may well best describe the revolving interaction between education, entrepreneurship, employment, and the economy. There is a direct link between education and employment. Education prepares a citizen for employment, whether with an institution or by one’s self (entrepreneurship). An analogy I often give my students is that at one point in life, we may be required to remove a screw. Without the right tool we won’t be able to do the job. It is here where the education system comes in, by providing the screwdriver to get the job done. Generally, people with no or less education end up in labor-intensive employment - porters, stevedores, construction workers, carpenters, plumbers, etc. While these jobs are honorable, the laborer has a decreasing capability to earn as he grows older and become weaker physically. Younger applicants can easily sidetrack them in the race for bringing home the bacon. However, a job, say in the office, while still stressful, would tend to put more strain on the mind rather than on the physical, and with better pay. Office workers will have relatively fewer job-related physical mishaps or injuries than those in the labor-intensive industries. Improving quality of life therefore does not only involve earning money for the sake of having money but being able to use one’s earnings to make life more comfortable and enjoyable. This includes being able to attend to the medical needs of one’s parents or family, being able to eat what one wants to eat, and being able to go where one wants to have a vacation among other things. Traditionally, the orientation of graduates is towards salaried employment. In more recent times, this has changed as there is a growing interest in entrepreneurship in our country. Today, entrepreneurship is included in the curricula of most universities and colleges. Consider the following figures by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). There were 820,255 business enterprises operating in the Philippines in 2011 with 99.6% (816,759) of these being micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) (those with up to P3 million, P3-15 million, and P15-100 million capitalization respectively); The large enterprises only comprised 0.4% (3,496). 91.0% (743,250) of these MSMEs were micro enterprises; 8.6% (70,222) were small enterprises and 0.4% (3,287) was medium enterprises. In Region 6 (Western Visayas) there were 47,166 MSMEs in that year. MSMEs generated 3,872,406 jobs in 2011, or 61.0% of the total jobs generated by all types of business establishments that year; the large enterprises contributed 2,473,336 jobs. Again, micro enterprises comprise the bulk of this job generation at 45.9% (1,778,353 jobs). 206,108 jobs were generated for Region 6 (Western Visayas) that year. Thus, entrepreneurship helps improve the economy among others through 1) employment, 2) income generation of employees and businesses (both suppliers and buyers), 3) improvement of the quality of life, 4) more equitable distribution of wealth, and 5) strengthening of the government through taxes, licensing and permits, and development of buildings and other structures. In Bacolod City, the capital of the province of Negros Occidental, the local government under Hon. Mayor Monico O. Puentevella continues to operate and support the Bacolod City College (BCC), which had produced thousands of graduates within its 14 years of existence. This year BCC produced 897 graduates in its 5 programs. During the college’s 14th Commencement Exercises last April 3, 2014 at the BAYS Center, Mayor Puentevella stressed the college’s continued quest for excellence in education by having experts from the academic field in the board of trustees. He also thanked the parents for sacrificing to have their children finish college. BCC is one of only two public schools in Bacolod offering college education (the other is the Carlos Hilado Memorial State College) As graduates join the real world of employment and entrepreneurship and as high school graduates enter the gates of colleges and universities this coming June, hopefully they will realize that education, employment, entrepreneurship, and the economy are all interrelated pieces of a larger puzzle which we all call life.
Prolific moviegoers would have noted several ongoing trends in the film industry nowadays. For one, superheroes are the in thing, with Marvel outdoing DC in the silver screen with the release of Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Elektra, and yes, The Avengers. The most familiar DC franchise is Batman with several films already made under its belt. But aside from that there’s only Superman and Green Lantern (Flash is yet to be released and there’s a rumor of a Justice League movie). Another noticeable trend is the reemergence of several fairy tales in Hollywood, but with some new and refreshing twists. At least two new versions were made for Snow White and then there was Jack the Giant Slayer (of Jack and the Beanstalk fame), Hansel and Gretel, and Rapunzel, in the cartoon format Tangled. Other fairy tales in the cartoon format were Frozen and the three installments of Shrek. Many of these movies had some really good action packed sequences, most especially Hansel and Gretel. The latest of these fairy tales to hit the screen was Maleficient, which starred Angelina Jolie in the lead role. Interestingly, the title was not “Sleeping Beauty” but viewers would soon understand why it was not so. What differentiates Maleficient from the other previous fairy tale movies is that the point of view taken was that of the villain, not of the innocent victim princess. This adds an air of freshness to the presentation because it’s a route outside of the box. The movie depicted Maleficient, the villain in the movie, not as the kind of evil that previous fairy tales would have us see. Instead, Maleficient was given a human element (although she’s a fairy), a personality that has both a bad and good side, which tends to break our stereotype of a purely evil or a purely good person. Maleficient was both villain and hero, an anti-villain if you will. The start of the movie depicted Maleficient as a joyful and righteous fairy, appreciating the beauty in her environment and taking the responsibility of protecting all that’s within her kingdom. The attack on her people by the king represented man’s inherent greed, which often leads to conflict. Maleficient succeeded in defending their home but then she was betrayed by her childhood sweetheart and she lost her wings. Her consequent depression and transformation is a manifestation of the great sorrow caused by man’s lust for power and wealth. From a wronged person’s perspective, taking revenge is but a natural progression, something that has not been elaborately depicted in other retelling or rendering of the story of Sleeping Beauty. The movie Maleficient put this in proper perspective. Jolie looked stunning as an evil fairy with her make up and the accompanying light effects. But as fate would have it, love is the antidote to hate. Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) grew to be a fine and likeable young lady. Maleficient would often see her doing things that she used to do also when she was young, reminding her of old self. Maleficient developed a liking for Aurora though she tried to suppress and hide it. Jolie convincingly acted this out on screen. Maleficient soon started her retransformation to her old self. An unexpected twist was when Aurora did not wake up from the kiss of the prince. Then the fairy tale bubble bursts. Reality check: How can the prince really love a girl whom he just met once? Viewers are left thinking, “Now what?” Maleficient, who regretted putting a spell on Aurora, tried to revoke the curse but wasn’t able to because of the condition she had placed on the curse. At this point, Maleficient did not realize it yet but her actions bespeak of her love for Aurora. Her asking forgiveness and kissing Aurora in the forehead is symbolic of man’s real life actions that would soon lead him to regret them. It was this part wherein Maleficient’s humanity was best expressed by the film’s director. Love, which is very real, is the real fairy tale after all. Taken from a philosophical point of view, the movie Maleficient is a good medium of teaching values to children, who would have been a significant part of the total viewers of the movie. It was a story about friendship, loyalty, and betrayal, love and hate, good and evil, and how people transform because of their environment and how they are affected by the actions of others. Overall, it was a totally human depiction of a fairy tale. Two thumbs up. For those who have not yet seen it, you better do.