Not only skills, but values

Author’s note: The following is my response to a letter by Mr. Eric A. Gutierrez titled ”To protester-students: Go back to school” dated Sept. 21, 2005 that was posted on then October 19, 2005. Right below is a copy of Mr Gutierrez’ letter was first posted September 24, 2005.


I am happy that you are no longer teaching in De La Salle University, for you would no longer be able to poison the minds of my fellow students who for once are doing something useful with the things they have learned from school.

May I freshen you with the particular virtues my school, the one you are no longer teaching in (thank God) have taught me: “Religio, mores, cultura.” These are the things that are far more important than speaking and writing fluent English.
I would rather choose the student who speaks “carabao English ” than someone who says “So what?” to cheating. I would rather be with the student who takes hours to solve a physics problem than with the math wiz or the big-shot engineer who tolerates cheating and stealing.

We don’t want to build robots or an ultra-light plane or a solar-powered car just yet — we have plenty of time for that, because time is on our side. Now we are attending to a more important and urgent work: building a nation, a society that is just, honest, and has high standards of what is right and what is wrong.
This work surpasses all the schoolwork and assignments you could ever come up with.

We never claim to know everything under the sun, but we know for a fact that the country is being run by someone who has lied on our national hero’s grave and someone who stole our votes. That knowledge is enough to make us do something that is more than simply memorizing formulas, solving equations, etc.

We are scaring foreign investors because we don’t want them to be welcomed by someone whom we never voted for. We don’t want them to see us represented by someone who is a liar and a cheat. If that is all right with you, then fine.

We are thinking, we are using our brains, but we are also using something else that is also from God, our conscience. There’s no need to flunk me, because if I were to be one of your unlucky students, I would drop your subject and find someone else who would teach me not only the skills I would need later on, but also the values to live a decent life.

So shut up, step aside and let us be, for your time is up. Now it’s our turn.


To protester-students: Go back to school
First posted 04:28am (Mla time) Sept 24, 2005

AS A former College of Engineering teacher at De La Salle University, I am dismayed by what you students are doing these days. You students rally for causes that are self-dooming. You students help destabilize and embarrass this country that you think you love so much. You students seem to care more about politics and rallies than acquiring the more important skills to help you get good jobs when you graduate.

You students can’t even speak good English anymore. You can’t even write a coherent sentence in English. In fact, when I interview job applicants, out of 60 I am lucky to find one who can speak decent English without the heavy accent.
On top of all this, you seem to think you know everything under the sun, that’s why you students involve yourselves in matters that you should stay away from: politics.

You students are becoming the next generation of the same sort of people you hate the most: traditional politicians, whose sole purpose in life is to not do anything except argue with whatever current administration. I am amazed you have so much free time to participate in activities to oust President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which you seem to have made it your life-long ambition.

Whatever happened to building a robot or an ultra-light plane or a solar-powered car in school? You students seem to have so much energy, which should be redirected to produce something more creative.

All this nonsense makes me believe that you students don’t have enough assignments or schoolwork. Are your schools second-rate? My former students certainly didn’t even have a social life while I kept them busy at school with their projects.

Study hard, that’s why you’re in school. You’re in school because you still have lots to learn. If you help destabilize this country, it is your families that could end up losing their jobs. You students are helping scare away the few foreign investors that this country needs so you can have jobs when you graduate. Don’t you just hate it when the investors end up in Thailand, China or Singapore because the political climate there is so much more stable?

Think! That’s why God put brains in your skulls. Use them. Stop acting like a bunch of freshmen. If I were your teacher, I’d flunk all of you out of your seats just for not knowing what on earth you are doing to this country and to your folks, who send you to school so you can do something positive with your lives when you graduate.

So, shut up and go back to your books.

ERIC A. GUTIERREZ, 8 Himalayas Street, San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines

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