June 04, 2009

The Black Swan

I had the chance to listen to one of the top headhunters in the country or probably even in the Asian region—Dr. Jesus Zulueta or GG. He treated us with pizza and soda at the Institute of Solidarity in Asia while getting enriched by his talk on Professional Options. He looks very expensive which according to him is a deliberate act in order to maintain an image essential in the nature of his work. For me, his way of talking and his nonverbal cues are more than requisites of his work. These are harvests of his very meaningful career.

I could not forget his discussion on the Black Swan. It is an unexpected and life-changing event that diverts us from the normal course of our lives. All along, we thought there are only white swans until someone in Australia or Tasmania reported about the existence of a black swan.

Sometimes, we are deeply engrossed in a serene and “normal” life, as everything seems to be on the right track. Until a learned urbanite, for example, makes a difficult decision like quitting from a high-paying job and settle down in the countryside in order to take care of a sick mom whose death wish is companionship with her only begotten son. Or a person was rammed by a car and lost his left leg, which immensely changed the direction of his life.

The Black Swan, I think, makes “unspoken messages” more manifest or obvious. There are turning points we cannot immediately fathom at the moment, until what is deemed abnormal falls into its proper place. Some call it sheer serendipity. But many devout Catholics, Buddhists, and other Christians consider it as part of God’s grand Divine plan. Kuya Kim of ABS-CBN’s Matanglawin, in a talk at FEU, is a classic example of this “grand plan”. Before the death of the legendary Ernie Baron, the late broadcaster told him in an interview that he can already die because his alter ego has been borne.

Using your gut-feel or listening to God through an inner voice, as my friend puts it, is the greatest challenge in discerning a Black Swan. Occasionally, we stubbornly push for what we think is best for us. It takes a Black Swan—sometimes even very painful—to finally realize a deeper meaning of our lives.

This is not to say that an existentialist’s way of life is absolutely irrelevant. When we invest on our future by going to a good school, sustaining harmonious interpersonal relationships with social and professional circles, investing on long-term financial portfolios, we personally chart our roadmap to success. In fact, some mentors always advise that we need to reinvent ourselves every five years because the real point of equilibrium is change. “Kalabaw lang ang tumatanda” is probably a Filipino idiomatic expression that succinctly puts the permanence of change. Sometimes, change is ignited by a Black Swan.

Lately, several positive changes or blessings occurred in my life in the past three weeks. I do not really consider these as Black Swans because they are not really negative or painful. These changes cleared for me the better path I should tread. I hope I can sustain and do my best as planned, not just by my own volition but by the Omnipresent.

February 03, 2009

At the back please

They cramp near the door despite the wide inner space. They sit near the exit even if their destination is the farthest. I am talking about people I rub elbows with in the metro’s public transport utilities. My experience with them is rarely delightful, oftentimes disgustful for reflecting one reprehensible Filipino psychology – lack of self-sacrifice.

Passengers who “cordon” the entry and exit points are probably proactive. In case of emergency, their position is a guarantee of an easiest way out. Probably, they are able to avoid the hassle of squeezing in a throng of Filipinos, not to mention the hassle of “stench” that is given off by bodies pummeled by a humid day’s hard work. Unfortunately, these types of Filipinos are not the minority. A lot of them think alike, thus, clogging what could have been a smooth traffic of people.

A sigh is my initial reaction coupled with a fast panning of the head from left to right. I want to shout, “Please give way!” but I fear a mob of tired individuals whose linear thinking is to go home the soonest time possible for rest.

What if I am an indigent senior citizen who has to travel through the jeepney? It means bending my body forward regardless of osteoporosis, rheumatism, and other ailments common among the elderly!

Then you have Filipinos who – yes! – sit behind the driver who should, by tradition, hand the fare on the driver. But they snub you despite the increased volume and intensity of “Bayad, pakisuyo po!” You have those who scornfully stare at you when you bump them by sheer accident due to the dense pack of passengers. Had I not been educated, I wanted to tell these women: “Miss, magtaxi or limousine ka kaya!”

I envy the Aussies. I saw their outlook about “other people.” When they board the bus, they usually take the backseats to give way to those who will get off the bus first. I envy the people of Hong Kong: at least they have a very good transport system, enough to accommodate taxpayers who deserve efficient services from the government.

I think Filipino passengers need a reversal of attitude. It has been a Filipino way of life: Ayaw nating palamangan kahit nakakaapekto na tayo sa iba. The scene in public utilities is a microcosm of how a significant number of Filipinos behave. You go to the legislative houses you can see grandstanding politicians who race to grab the microphone in anticipation of a mass media mileage. You hear about Filipinos who throw their garbage anywhere just so they can get rid of the waste in their immediate environs.

Our sense of community has taken the backseat because we refuse to make the lives of others convenient unless we have copped our own convenience first. Of course it is a natural inclination to prioritize personal satisfaction but this does not have to be divorced from the satisfaction of others. We can co-exist more harmoniously, not a toleration of the inconveniences caused by others.

The next time you hop on any mass transport vehicle, please proceed to the inner space lest receive the ire of impatient others. We are educated to have a greater social responsibility. In our own little and slow way, let us rekindle a sense of community. Remember, finally, that being the first or being in front does not always mean being the best.

January 21, 2009

The Self

I'm supposed to be at the FEU Auditorium this afternoon for the Educational Foundation Awards. But I preferred to stay at home and laze around, not because Idislike the award but because I am tired (physically, that is). The recognition is important but my body is uncooperative these days. It all started before Christmas 2008. My bestfriend even joked another close friend, that he should return from Singapore before my last breath. I hope not just yet.

This is not my swansong blog nor a suicide note. I am not terminally ill. I do not have a suicidal tendency either. I just observed I am not as talkative as before. It is a sign of growing up, boredom, and probably disappointment. I will get by. I just need to reserve my energy for something "grand", a "turning point" if you will.

My Chinese horoscope for the year 2009 predicts that I will not be lucky this year. I do not completely believe this but it is a good reason to be more cautious this year, to reflect, and to find out further what truly makes me happy.

There are things I want to do but there are opposing circumstances (by chance or intention). I remember one good friend Iyan Adewuya who once told me, "You do not always get what you want." Now I fully understand. Even the best of intentions are insufficient to pave the way for what you desire especially if some stakeholders refuse to take the risks with you.

The effect: You "breathe in" for survival but you do not "breathe out" an enthusiastic spirit. You stick around but your mind darts toward a motley of directions and possibilities. You find the rocking chair more enjoyable than a joy ride en route the best place there is.

This does not necessarily downplay performance. I cannot afford to sacrifice the trust and expectation of several people whom I trust as well. I will finish (with all my best) my commitments. I can still be relied upon when it comes to professional work.

But I hope people close to me will get to understand that strong as I am, I have fears and frustrations. In the event I cannot be my public self or what they want me to be, it is either I have reached my threshold or I have decided to move on (alone).

My private victory is more important than my public victory. The Self must find its greater essence and better "condition" before it can connect or reconnect with other self-reflexive beings. I hope they understand. I am sorry for those who cannot.

October 11, 2008

The social value of research

While finding a book on psychoanalysis and gender I noticed the new see-through windows of the FEU Main Library fronting Quezon Blvd. I peeked and saw the phalanx of dilapidated buildings and train of shanties along the parallel street. At its core I know the Bilibid Prison is located. Then I had a flashback of my best friend’s rant about the culture of academic research. To a certain extent, the truth she blurted is now a nagging thought.

For the past few years I have conducted some scholarly communication researches. Lately, the political economy of gender has been the central theme of my work. I have read several studies; some are very highfalutin, a sheer intellectual exercise. The sight of urban blight facing the grandiose façade of my University’s UNESCO-awarded building is a reminder of the yet unfulfilled role of research and probably by some academic institutions. It is a contrast that highlights the tendency of learning to stay in the ivory tower while a significant number of people grapple for help from the educated or those who can make use of what they learned for greater social benefit?

College graduates tend to use their university training for “personal” benefit alone. This is a natural reaction in a third world country. Majority of students had to depend on the financial support of their parents/sponsors who, in return, expect them to “repay” them by supporting the needs of the family. This payback period usually takes several years before graduates get that “financial stability and independence” (perhaps, a lifetime commitment for some) especially that the culture of close family ties is still deeply embedded.

I do not see anything wrong with helping the family. “Charity begins at home” is a universal principle. The charity usually transcends the parapets of the home only when the provider has enough to share. But what is enough? When is the best time to start embracing social responsibility?

In a documentary entitled Buto’t Balat by Kara David, the state of malnutrition in the Philippines is just two percent lesser than Sub-Saharan Africa. One Chinese student’s reaction after seeing a victim of chronic malnutrition was, “Let’s help her.” My Filipino students showed compassion and pity, a sort of “Oh my God” reaction. But I did not hear anyone say, “Let’s help her.”

It is ironic that we produce so many graduates, if not one of the world’s best minds, but our knowledge has not been translated to social benefit. The knowledge has not transcended its potential state. It is knowledge just for its sake, for personal growth. The sense of community is still lip service that has also developed apathy. There is still the mentality that public service is the primary duty of the government. This is true. But when some government officials siphon funds for personal gain, who else will help the poor?

The challenge for graduates, professionals, the academe, and all of us is to lock arms with non-profit, non-government organizations in support of advocacies on poverty alleviation. Research should also have topics along this line. For one, I have required “social value” as a major criterion in approving research topics. The post-structuralist, postmodernist perspectives that seem to be in vogue as a research current maybe intellectually stimulating. But what's next? At the end of the day, how we use what we know is more important.

August 29, 2008

The Asian Congress at the Kadayawan

I had the fear that Davao might be the spillover of the military’s offensive against the MILF rebels. But the contrast of Mayor Duterte’s infamous security blanket encouraged me to go on with my attendance to the 1st International Conference of the Asian Congress of Media and Communication (ACMC), considering that I already wired my registration fee, booked my flight, and there was the lingering guilt that if I retract I woukd break my promise to assume an important role in the conference.

My fears were allayed when I set afoot Davao International Airport, which was definitely better than Tagbilaran’s and Puerto Princesa’s. When the conference started I all forgot about the threat brewing in the South.

The conference centered on the role of media and communication in the discussion of human rights. Rightly so, Alan Davis, a London-based journalist who is currently affiliated with an NGO that monitors human rights cases, gave the keynote speech. I could not forget his emphasis on the preferred behavior of journalists who are human beings before professionals. He gleaned that objectivity in news is not necessarily compromised by expressing a journalist’s sense of “humanity” or “subjectivity” (to a certain extent) when dealing with sensitive human rights cases.

A series of plenary speakers provided more insights, most noteworthy of them for me was Rachel Khan. I like the way she responded to my question on Reuter’s dictum today that “No news is worth dying for.” She said that the dictum is not in conflict with the search for “truth” because the journalist could simply raise awareness on a controversial issue and let more “powerful” stakeholders take the cudgels and battle it out so to speak. Expectedly witty was Dr. Isagani Cruz who clarified that the Philippines is not the third largest English speaking country. According to him, nowhere in the world has recognized this except the website of our embassies. We are actually the 5th; if I heard it right India and Nigeria are ahead of us. His talk, however, focused on the impetus recognizing the “Filipino English” and the challenge of “colonizing English”.

I learned that my panel on “Imaging Women” with fellow young communication scholars had the most number of attendees. Our panel tackled the political economy of women’s portrayals in sitcoms, “Other-ness” in the representation of Thailand as a sex tourist destination, the most gender-sensitive films of the Metro Manila Film Festival, and women in better light

I had newfound friends: Fatima of Lyceum who told me to teach in her university too, Dr. Lea from Zamboanga who invited me to give a talk in her school soon, Joanne of Ateneo de Davao who accommodated most of my requests, Dan Cantal, Communications chair of Trinity U and my roommate, my flight-mate John Wigley of UST, and rekindled friendships with Gwen Pusta,Walter Yudelmo of FEU, among others.

But more memorable is the bonding I had with Ma’am Beth Naui and Smith from Chulalongkorn U. Showing our version of Filipino hospitality, we treated Smith in an unknown restaurant. Smith was so polite to say that the food is okay but Beth and I knew that there is better pork sinigang than what was served us. Despite this, we still had a lively tête-à-tête over dinner ranging from politics to our lives.

Smith who questioned how British media misrepresented Thailand as a sex spot shares with me some commonalities like the similar anchor on political economy of our papers, our passion for teaching, and penchant to go to massage spas. It was just unfortunate that he had to return to Thailand the day after his paper presentation. If time permits, Beth and I will visit him in Bangkok in February next year.

The ACMC’s schedule was timely for the Kadayawan Festival. Much touted, it featured the “indakan” and float parade as students all over Davao strutted on the streets in their colorful and ethnic-inspired costumes. Like a true-bloodied tourist, we did not miss the festival, took snapshots, and feasted on the spectacles.

Noticeably, the Davaoeños were very polite. In the market stalls, they cleared the way so we could pass, a sign of how they highly value tourists. The food and accommodation are not pricey so local tourists like us had our money’s worth. We were also able to walk in the streets without fear of muggers, a proof that Davao is indeed one of the safest cities in the country. The only spark of threat I noticed was when I saw a group of adolescents who shouted some invectives against some emos crossing the street.

I will go back to Davao, this time for sheer leisure because I did not have the chance to visit some tourist spots. Some must-haves the second time around: the grilled fresh fish at P25 each, the good massage (combination of Thai, shiatsu, and Swedish), the suburban ambience that provides balance between rural and cosmopolitan life, and the festivity that conveys our rich Filipino heritage.

July 28, 2008

The crying groom; the martyr girlfriend

THIS IS A STORY about two individuals with two interesting love anecdotes. The first one just got married at Sanctuario de Antonio in Makati and the other one just broke up with her “boyfriend”.

I witnessed the expressions of love and I cannot help but share them with readers of my blog. I believe that the lessons are insightful for someone who enjoys scrutiny of gender politics like me, for those facing the same situation, and for anyone who believes in love despite its paradoxes.

Their names are withheld for privacy.

The first half of the title is “The crying groom” because it was the first time of my life to see that the groom was more emotional than the bride. He was so emotional that it almost crossed the borders of light comedy.

He walked confidently and looked gallantly in his tuxedo as his parents accompanied him to the altar. The wedding coordinator was walking briskly from front to back just to ensure the smooth run of the processional. The crowd was excited to see the entry of the bride—who was expected to exude beauty and elegance—for being the central character of the entourage that looked so expensive in their brown and rusted orange motif.

The violin’s melody lorded over the airwaves. Everyone panned his or her head to see the entrance of the bride. She was statuesque in her gown and there was a sparkle in her face. Her mom and brother locked their arms with her. When she reached the altar, she kissed her mom and mom-in-law. The groom did the same: he kissed his mom-in-law and embraced his bro-in-law as if they are best of friends. There and then I noticed that the groom was already teary-eyed.

One part of the wedding ceremonies was a brief speech. The officiating priest asked the couple to express a verbal vow aside from the usual, “Take this as a sign of my love and loyalty” or the very succinct but loaded “I do.” The bride started it. Paraphrasing it, she said that she would always be there for him. She was calm and smiling, her face aglow with happiness. When it was the groom’s turn, he was saying, “I promise to take care of…” when he became less intelligible. He was muttering his vow as tears welled from his eyes. The bride was smiling, more of an expression of disbelief that her husband is more emotional. She wiped his tears as if she assured him that the feeling is mutual and everything is fine. Then they embraced each other.

Climax of the ceremony: The newly wed couple kissed and then they tightly embraced. The intensity of emotions was undoubtedly euphoric.

A week before the wedding, I had a chat with the groom when he handed me down the invitation. I asked him, “Why are you getting married?” He said jokingly, “She insistently courted me,” as if it was the bride who initiated it all.

I understand that a wedding is usually construed as more important for the bride, more of her celebration. You will usually notice that she is usually more excited and busier than the groom. The camera zooms in on: Her gown, pair of shoes, bouquet, etc. The groom does not receive the same camera treatment, angle, or exposure.

Of course weddings are mutually beneficial for both parties. I do not have qualms about that. But when the groom cried, to a certain extent, he reversed the dichotomy of Deborah Tannen’s genderlect that a woman seeks connection while a man seeks authority. I am happy about this “role reversal” or better yet, “overlapping roles”.

When a man has a higher degree of love for a woman or exerts more effort to keep the family beyond the required mutual love and concern, I believe that the relationship will turn stronger. Connection is second nature to women; by hook or by crook, a traditional woman will do her best to preserve the family. Thus, the newly wed couple is off to a stronger family since the groom manifested a deeper sense of responsibility by exhibiting a more intense emotion that is opposite the socialized behavior of traditional men. In essence, he provides a better part of the equation since he is in synch with the bride’s traditional nurturing role.

May their love continue to grow given the fact that it is already anchored on a strong foundation. This I will observe with utmost optimism.

* * * * * * * * * * *

THIS IS LONG OVERDUE. Maybe, this is now moot and academic. But I am still posting it because this blog is a requested analysis of the situation. I hope it can help those who are into the same dilemma.

The girl cannot get over it. She received a text message from an unknown woman who told her to leave her husband alone. She was dumbfounded. She regained her composure and replied, “Don’t worry, I am a decent girl. I did not know anything about it. He is all yours.” Then she cried a river.

The relationship started serendipitously. It was romance at the right time, at the right place. (I cannot detail it to keep the identity of the concerned persons).

The guy is sweet and a gentleman who visited her at home as a sign of high respect to her parents. His presence can command authority. He has a good posture and a friendly smile. He looks timid but deep inside is a volcano of mystery. He seems to have an inherent “gallantry” because of his profession, a surefire magnet of women.

The girl is lovable, sweet, very understanding, very loyal, and family-oriented. She has a strong personality and thinks with substance and élan. But when she falls in love she clings to it and has difficulty moving on.

As far as I know, they only had a mutual understanding; almost there but not quite. This is because the guy’s mission demands much of his time. What only keeps them together is through mediated communication and the ideals that “absence makes love grow fonder” and “love is patient; it has sacrifices.”

Quality of sacrifice

However, the quality of sacrifice and the circumstances that embed the dynamics of their relationship lay the root of the problem. My insights, of course, are based on what was revealed to me.

I have always told the girl that a man who truly loves his partner would not frequently test her loyalty because this breeds insecurity and distrust. Taking the man’s perspective, however, it is in casting doubt that a man can affirm, reaffirm or disconfirm the emotional attachment. Since their connection is through SMS and phone calls where facial expressions that better mirror sincerity are absent, then the guy, by his own definition, has rationale for his actions.

The goal of confirming the degree of love is understandable. But the means to this end, in my opinion, is torture. To fabricate facts that he (the guy lover) is married just to assess the girl’s reaction is too much (assuming that the retraction of the news about marriage is really fictitious). It caused emotional pain on the part of the girl who thought that all along she was cheated and she could have mislabeled herself as an unknowing mistress.

Analysis based on sheer logic dictates that the guy has a quirk that is quite difficult to fathom even in the context of a catch-chase relationship. It is a clear example of a romanticized psychological warfare that can cause nervous breakdown for a very neophyte apprentice of love like the girl.

Effects on others

I think both have already reaffirmed their love. The softened voice during phone conversations is searing in romance like a teenager who whispers “I love you” while in the seated on the sofa beside her parents who are not yet prepared to see her falling in love at a young age. But the sweetness takes an overturn when the soft voice suddenly increases in pace and volume plus the sudden rush to a secluded area just so the girl’s friends would not hear the heated conversation.

While love is bittersweet, it is confusing for the girl’s friends to see her in silent pain. When the girl calls you up and bursts with tears because of him, a conscientious friend could not say “no” even if the friend already said his piece about the relationship. It is difficult to advise someone who is still engulfed by the mystery of love. But what she should realize is while love involves risks, the calculation should be more careful and be made earlier before the dawn of any irreparable damage – emotionally and psychologically. Because if this happens caring friends share with the burden. However, I hope the girl does not feel offended the moment the friends keep mum about her complaints because it is not unlikely for her to receive this retort: “I told you, you did not listen.”

Expected maturity

The lovers are already in their mid-20s and I think they are no longer young to play the catch-chase setup. Clarification: I am not The Grinch or even Ebenezer Scrooge of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol who abhors the thrills of Christmas or maybe even the colors of love. But come on, this age bracket I think should already be off the catch-chase relationship. I agree this is purely a mental analysis (assuming the heart can analyze too) but when the heart refuses to see the other side of the coin, the mental analysis might be able to shed light on the conflict.

Maturity, in this sense, refers to the ability to delineate what is tolerable versus what is already too much. Yes, forgiving his shortcomings is the springboard of a deeper understanding. But wait. Even forgiveness can be abused especially with a sugarcoated tongue. As my favorite author Ayn Rand said, “Martyrdom is toleration of your adversary. They are not enemies but the act of the guy is villainous; the girl is a willing victim. The girl should therefore realize when to say enough is enough. But then again, at the end of the day, advices are just advices. The decision is still the girl’s. I fully understand where the girl is coming from. There is a social exchange value in the relationship. Painful and uncertain it may be, to some extent, she gains the feeling of being appreciated and she experiences the magic of love that seldom cascades into our lives.


For now, the gush of emotions is unstoppable. But on a final note, maybe it pays to recall Dory in Finding Nemo: “…Follow your heart wherever it leads you and when you reach a dead end or whenever you are lost, use your brain to bring you back home.”

Your friends will wait for you as you float in the clouds but neither lose your wings nor feet while you are up. Because you need these on your way down.

March 31, 2008


My two nephews, both two years old, held my hands like escorts ushering me to the terrace. I was already dressed up, ready to return to Manila after a week-long stay in my parents’ house for the Lenten season. My nephews knew that my get-up was a prelude to my departure. There was a transformation in their behavior. It was a paradox of my daily encounter with them because usually they turn the house into a jumanji. Either my mother or the nanny was like a member of the police dispersal unit in stopping these robust toddlers from “wrecking havoc” at home. (I wonder how I was like when I was their age!)

They looked so calm and mabait with eyes that resembled Tweety Bird’s. They obviously wanted a favor. They were always at my trail. But I was mum to break the news that I could not bring them with me. It would be a huge responsibility to do so.

A few minutes later, I hailed the approaching Victory Liner. I unlocked our hands, immediately kissed my mom to bid goodbye, and I proceeded to get on the bus. I heard a loud duet of cry. I did not look back. I do not want to see their faces because the tone of the cry seemed to mean I broke a promise. When they grow up, they will understand how grown-ups think and live. I hate this goodbye.

* * *

The long trip bored me so my eyes wandered inside the bus and tried to feast on the view outside. My seatmate has a black eye. I wanted to ask but the question could inconvenience him. So I did a sightseeing instead, even if the sunrays rammed through the glass of the new aircon bus. I saw farmers harvesting palay. I saw vast cornfields, a carabao smelling its mom’s behind (probably as a signal that it wants to lactate), lahar deposits of Mount Pinatubo eruption that drained what used to be a body of water. Clear water started to accumulate over a gray bed of sand or lahar. The altered “geographical landscape” (if such a term is valid) promises a “new life”. Probably, after two decades, this will be a significant body of water with new life forms.

Then my eyes closed.

When I woke up I was already at NLEX and I knew I was at the entry point to the urban city. The landscape is like a rainbow as plants are alternately arranged to provide a color contrast. I saw a phalanx of subdivisions developed from agricultural lands. The structures have begun to depict majesty. On the contrary, I believe that the majesty is a façade of the social cost of urban development as the Philippines continues to import rice from its neighboring countries. Importation is not inherently bad but when you import due to the government’s misplaced priorities, then it becomes a thorny issue. Ironically, an agricultural country like ours that used to teach farmers from Thailand through the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has a reversed role now: the consumer instead of the producer. Is this a total goodbye to our competitive edge? I hope not. I hope we begin to learn the value of our asset as a tropical country with vast fertile lands. I hope the government starts to prioritize the concern of the majority by always looking into the long-term effects of its current actions. Sadly, we only learn the value of something once it is out of our midst.

* * *

I am not sure but goodbye seems to be in the offing. Technology can easily connect…and disconnect too. Too bad I am missing the inspiring and meaningful messages. The communication just stopped. We had pleasantries before the Holy Week. I sent several SMS but there was no single reply. Was the phone lost or stolen? I do not know. I hope I will be informed. I can understand whatever reason, except this deafening silence. It breeds vagueness that has dragged me into the vastness of uncertainty. If the silence persists, then my hunch is confirmed: Silence is an indisputable right. I cannot question it myself.

* * *

Goodbye my students. It is my honor to have become part of your college life. I hope and pray that you will achieve your goals. Don’t be scared to start from below because there is no other way but up for those who work hard and for those who love their work. Maintain the highest degree of work ethics because at the end of the day, no regret will hound you if you know you did the right thing to do.

This is the kind of positive goodbye. Pain is not very grueling because the departure is the onset of spanning greater heights. When you become successful, return to Far Eastern University and join the academe so that your wisdom can be shared to those who will succeed you.