Where do you belong? On fraternities, death, and hazing...
(PADRINO is to blame. The horrid reason for joining fraternities.)
It's true! Life is full of surprises. Some are good… and some unfortunately are bad. Are you prepared to receive one now? How would you react? What would you feel if the next surprise life ushered you is your son, friend, or boyfriend lying in a coffin?
Forgive me for a morbid scenario. The news on television is filled with a gruesome story of death and hazing. An alleged fraternity hazing of a first year law student of a notable college here in Manila ended with the student's apparently untimely demise. The law student's death according to autopsy reports is due to organ (i.e., renal) failure because of hematoma (i.e., solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues). Here is the local news report:
Hazing in the Philippines is illegal. So, how come this culture of violence in the university and college fraternities is still apparently pervasive? And much more interesting is that most victims are law students. I have a lifelong search for true irony. Does this qualify as a legitimate irony? - that those who are studying the law in order to become future defenders of the Constitution, future lawyers and law makers, upright citizens dedicated to the letter of the law, are the ones breaking the law! And they practice at an early stage no less!
Shame on all those fraternities who practice hazing! Shame on the universities and colleges that do not conduct conscious efforts in ensuring that their students are free from the influence of this evil culture known as "PADRINO". This I believe is the primordial drive why students join fraternities. Most of them think that they'd be better off after graduation if they belong to a a certain "brotherhood".
PADRINO is a spanish term that refers to the influential or powerful person who provides the "backing" whenever one asks for "special" favors. Yes, GRAFT and CORRUPTION are brothers with PADRINO. Why? Because after the favor is granted, you have to pay the PADRINO back. After winning that election, or after that multi-billion project is awarded, or after that powerful seat appointment, PADRINOS expect something in return. So, instead of concentrating on the welfare of the elected official's constituents, the first priority is none other than the PADRINO. Part of the money intended to buy industry-standard materials for that multi-billion infrastructure now goes to PADRINO's pockets. Therefore, the project gets substandard materials because of PADRINO. Instead of thinking ways on how to help raise the quality of education for instance, the newly appointed official is thinking of ways on how to shower PADRINO with gifts and return the favor big time. Who do you think is shortchanged here? The ordinary people, of course! And you know what? It all starts with the fraternities. Evidences in most of these cases have proven this reason of students in joining these fraternities. I have to reiterate - most of them think that they'd be better off after graduation because of PADRINOS in the fraternities. Those members of the fraternity (and their connections) before them would become PADRINOS. The perceived golden fruits in the near future must be great because some students are willing to undergo such painful rites just to be part of the fraternity.
Do not get me wrong! School fraternities, organizations, clubs, groups, etc., are all okay. What's not okay is this twisted thinking that you have to inflict pain on someone just to be considered as "one of us"... that you have to undergo "initiation rites" to be "one of us". STUPID! STUPID! STUPID! "No pain, no gain!", you say? That's fuc#*ng bull$@%&^!!! It is without a doubt that "to belong" is a good thing. But we should choose wisely where to belong, and consider the right reason for joining.
When will we ever learn? This is not the first time and by far, I think, would not be the last one. Deaths because of hazing have been reported since the 80's. This is a wake-up call for all of us. If you have a son, friend, or boyfriend who tells you that he'll be joining a fraternity and knew that there'll be initiation rites, do everything in your power to stop him from joining! You wouldn't wish for your son, friend, or boyfriend to be lying six feet underground after the initiation rites, would you? STOP THIS CULTURE OF VIOLENCE!
Postscript: now that the victim has already passed on, what's important now is to bring those who are responsible to justice. I am one with the family and friends of that law student, hazing victim Marc Andre Marcos, in crying for JUSTICE! My prayers and support are with you. May your soul, Marc Andre, rest in peace!