December & January 2001 Edition
|"Nandeyanen" is the monthly newsletter published by our Mindoro Office.
"Nandeyanen" means "Why is it?" in Japanese Kansai dielect. It represents the sentiment of our young Japanese volunteers when they encounter cultural differences.
|No. 4||The Power to Forgive(Hiro Kawashima)
My Santa. Cruz with The 21st Century Association(Lenie Alafriz)
Change through my study(Reah Barraca)
Study for Better Life(Louisa Cawayan)
All Scholars of the 21st Century Association
one lesson from Satsu
Editor's comment (Shinya Shigaki)
Forgiveness is no doubt the greatest discovery in our history. The law, which was the invention of the Roman genius, is the basis of modern democracy and gives our society stability. Yet, it is not almighty. Look at what's happening in the world. We shall not tolerate such terrible acts of atrocity in N.Y. but I don't believe the war will put the millennium-long quarrel to the end. What would those innocent people of Afghanistan think about the bombing after bombing? We can easily imagine that they might become another Bin Laden or terrorists against the Western civilization. History teaches us the lextalionis or "eye-for-eye system" never solves problems. It only drags them on, and consumes our energy and lives in vain.
When Jesus said, "If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matt. 6:14-15), he proclaimed that the power to forgive was not the power of God but of us human. In fact, His teaching is not necessarily religious. We can't live happily without this faculty for forgiveness. If we fear the consequence of our doings too much or are obsessed by the possibility of harming our beloved and do not have enough courage to take action, our life will be stagnated and trapped just where we are. Even the most impeccable saintly person can't avoid mistakes because unpredictability is a basic human condition. Only the forgiveness or the power to forgive will free us humans from the past and let us set off to the future. And this miracle will not only work to those who are forgiven but also to those who forgive. We all know that happiness resides in peace.
Promise, which is another important faculty of the human kind, constitutes our identity and hope to live. Some may think that this faculty contradicts with that of forgiving, because forgiveness usually becomes necessary when promises are broken. No, forgiveness will fortify and endorse the power to promise. Psychiatry found that those brought up by the neurotic parents or abused badly, are likely to fail to develop healthy relationships with the world. Since the price for their action is always capricious punishment or abuse, they eventually become a liar or too timid to cast their life forward. But those who feel their actions are well secured by forgiveness can easily take any risk without fear to achieve their promises or dreams.
Two millenniums after this great discovery of forgiveness by Jesus Christ, we are still chained in the reincarnation of retaliation as if we're born into the world only to die. No, with this discovery we shall be freed from sin and be able to start a new life. We're born not to die but to begin something new in this world. May we have enough courage to forgive each other so we can set off a new covenant of peace!
Rupert T. Torreliza
Christmas in Sta. Cruz;
In December, here in Sta. Cruz of course our awaited Christmas day will come again. Preparatory to the Christmas celebration, the nine days novena masses starting December 16 will again be done and this is what we call the "simbang gabi" usually done at 4:00 in the morning. However, in remote Pamayanan (community) where lay minister could hardly catch up on time, the "simbang gabi" is celebrated about 8:00 in the evening or 10:00pm as the case may be depending on the agreement of the people. The usual way of celebrating Christmas in the community is gift giving between and among friends.
Christmas party is being performed here in Sta. Cruz. There is a short program and sometimes to make the affair lively, dancing among the group is usually achieved. However, if the group agreed on fund raising activity, they have to go from house to house singing Christmas songs in exchange for the gift, cash in particular, from the house owner. As they were able to raise sufficient amount, they go to picnic and should there have excess money they will think of one good project for the community as a souvenir.
The21st Century Association and Sta. Cruz
The 21st Century Association was known to me way back 1993 when a Japanese name Hiro Kawashima was introduced to me by one of the MIC sisters who is assigned in the municipality much ahead of the association. I knew that they are partners in giving education to the minorities in Sitio Calamintao because I was then the president of the Parish Pastoral Council of the Holy Cross Parish. Since then I got closer to the association. Also Hiro approached me asking to sign a financial report and from then I was considered a member of the 21st Century Association as auditor.
The operations of the 21st Century Association continue to exist locally thru the managerial capability of Hiro. The association is concentrated more on the educational aspect of the indigenous group. There are now who had already graduated in college. The association has scholars not only in Occidental Mindoro but also in Metro Manila and Baguio City. It is projected that time will come and before we know it many of our poor minority brothers and sisters will be able to acquire higher education thru the assistance given by Japanese missionaries, the 21st Century Association.
Minorities are like any other common people in the community, have their own religious belief. While others are with the catholic groups, others belong to other religious sect like the Pentecostal and more others. There are now group of minorities who are expose in attending masses, and these are the groups who had formed themselves into a Pamayanan, organized and headed by officials duly elected from among themselves. As of now, there are already two minorities who are with the group of the lay ministers, one is from sitio Calamintao the other from sitio Siapo. Both had undergone the required seminars and before assuming the duties of a lay minister, they were given a ceremonial blessing by the local parish priest as mandated. These two minorities are functional and are giving Sunday Devotions in their organized Pamayana during Sundays and they are as active as the Tagalog lay ministers.
Well, I would say as a whole that the existence of the 21st century association blesses those minorities who have the interest in acquiring higher education. That our expectations that Japanese are our perennial enemy due to what we had experienced during the second world war, has now proven that they are friends instead especially the coordinator who has always been showing his excellence and perfect behavior as a friend among the residents of the community. Hopefully, there are more people/associations like the 21st Century who has a big heart and ready to help the needy, at least our unfortunate brothers in the mountainside who do not have any hope except from the blessings our LORD ALMIGHTY.
May all these disadvantage people thru the help of the 21st Century Association find the way for a better job after they have finished their courses in order to alleviate the present condition not only for themselves but also the whole group of minorities!
College life is amazing for me. It gives me the opportunity to improve my ability and widen my horizon. Now I've become mere independent, responsible and self-reliant.
The start of my college study was in Batangas. I had "culture shock" because of the big change of surroundings: loudly sounds of so many vehicles and peoples, neon lights and also new schoolmates. I felt I was quite inferior and I was always conscious how other people see me: how I wear and how I behave. Originally I was so timid and couldn't talk with peoples except co-Mangyan even during high school days. At the beginning I was quite ashamed, but little by little I could overcome my shyness and my inferiority complex in a new environment with good advices from our manager Sir. Hiro. Also, practicing physical exercise like dancing and talking with friends helped mold my personality. And through school events I could become active and could gain many friends.
When I was in 2nd year, however, I had to stop studying. That was due to my bad physical condition. I got sick and I just had to wait for recovering my health. Staying at a small room everyday, I was always worried how my school life would go.
Then I was recommended to tutor our co-scholars in our dormitory during the night. I became familiar with them and learned how to teach practically. And I felt self-confident: I am a teacher at least for them and I could trust myself.
Now I returned to the college again. Through whole school days my fellow students have helped me develop the personality. They made me recognize the discipline was indispensable for learning and growth and made me ponder: What are the qualifications for good and exemplar teachers? Indeed day-to-day discussions and conversations with them help improve my knowledge.
I owe everything to the 21st century association. Without their support, I couldn't have been what I am now. In the near future, I want to support this association with sharing my knowledge as a teacher and I hope to become independent financially and have a better life even a little.
As a college student, now I'm giving much time to study and dedicating all my energy to my ambition: I will accomplish my study for making better future.
When I was freshman at the college in Batangas, I didn't know how I expressed myself in a new environment. Peoples around me were from different circumstances and some were rich beyond my imagination. I felt myself as a smaller person than them and wallowed in self-pity. I avoided joining them and used to be absent from classes and as a result, I got many terrible grades. In my 5th year there, I couldn't catch up any more with my study and failed many subjects. Finally I had no choice but dropped out. It was only when I came to realize that I should have had more good friends and what lacked me during the time.
I was so happy when I heard that I could resume my study. Ma'am Akiko Ikeda, the chairperson of the 21st century association, decided to give another generous chance for me to finish my study at the college in Mamburao, near from my hometown. Last June after one year of absence I enrolled myself in this college. Although our school is very poor with its facility (lack of chairs and rooms), I am relieved from loneliness I felt in Batangas before because I have more confidence in me now to finish my study.
Now I'm working hard, dreaming my graduation next year. Here I'm learning the teaching methodology: how to teach writing, reading and counting the number for illiterate children. I want to help improve the current situation that Mangyan people are suffering from. People are poor and also have difficult access to social services; educations, medical care and so on because they live in the mountain far from towns. But some spend whole day just eating and sleeping without thinking anything at all for tomorrow. I think they need to concern more their future. I believe that if we work hard, we don't have to rely on others to feed our children and can lift up our standard of living even in the mountains. Nothing is impossible if we will.
After my graduation, I want to join the 21st Century Association. I have an idea: I hold some seminars in a mountain and teach both children and adults how to plan and manage the life. To build up a better community for our co-Mangyan's better future.
Here in Sta.Cruz, twenty-one Mangyan scholars go to school under the Association, lives together in a dormitory, shares everything. There are eight elementary and thirteen high-school students.
They all call themselves Mangyan; indigenous people of Mindoro, but come from different sub-tribes and places. In our dormitory, live the Irayas from Calamintao and the Alangans from Ulanguan, Pakpak, or Libagon; all mixed together.
Each and every scholar, aged between 12 and 23, is our hope into the 21st century. Now what have they experienced and what did they feel at the beginning of the new century?
Here are their (1) most unforgettable memory in 2001, and their (2) plans for the New Year, 2002:
The most exciting season Christmas is coming. It must be enjoyable time, but on the other hand, we tend to be in bad shape because of overeating, overdrinking and lack of sleep. Let's think a bit of our health care.
As you know, our good health (or bad health) depends on our daily care. Although progress of medicine technology benefits many patients, the prevention is still the best remedy. To keep good shape, the following care is essential.
1) Daily food
Without food we can't live. Food provides necessary energy and nutrition for our body, but we have to choose appropriate food according to our condition. Too salty, too fatty, too many sweets, too much junk food and overeating, excessive drinking are all harmful for our health. "Too" is very dangerous. We have to pay more attention to the quality food and balanced meal.
Exercises strengthen our muscles, heart and lungs and build up tough body. Not only particular exercises like jogging but also chores like washing cloths or cleaning rooms can help keep us in good health.
Sanitation is also very important for our comfortable and healthy life. For example, parents must teach their children how to clean their body and surroundings: washing hands before meal, keeping away from danger and so on. Sanitation is indispensable for preventing diseases and injury.
You are the only one who can know well your condition. So ask your body if he's fine and take remedy as early as possible when he needs
The first year of the 21st century is coming to an end, and Christmas is approaching. In the Philippines, the Christian people start preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. In Japan too, many people enjoy Christmas having a good time with their family, friends or lovers, even if they are not Christian. But I believe that the magic of the Christmas season is that it makes people feel happy all around the world. As I like to enjoy life, I also appreciate this Christmas season.
Now, if I could, I want a comment from Him, who is known for His great insight:
"Your very existence left a great legacy of religion to the people on earth. The legacy made many people's life happy and meaningful. However, many innocent people are still hurt in struggles, caused by discrimination, injustice and the like. I believe we human being must create a peaceful world whatever. I believe this is also what you wanted and worked so hard for while You were on earth. What should we do in such situation as it is today? Your answer will serve as a great Christmas present for me."
I will not just wait for Your answer, but will continue to seek the answer myself in my everyday life.