By Benito M. Pacheco
25 June 2018
Maligayang bati sa bawat isang nagtapos sa Class of 2018!
Salamat po, Dean at mga kapwa faculty, sa paanyayang ito.
At salamat po sa inyong pagdalo, mga mahal sa buhay.
Salamat din po sa pagpapakilala sa akin at aking pamilya.
Dear Graduate, happy are you for a number of good reasons. Your family members are excited about your degree, such as: BS Civil Engineering, wow, the best! LOL. Or your loved ones are very glad that you graduated from UP, not the other school! LOL. Or they are very happy that you graduated, finally, period!
Sa aming naunang henerasyon ng UP engineering graduates, mas maraming summa: sumasabit; mayroon ding magna: magna-nine years; walang cum: kumokopya… LOL.
Now you already conquered the terror that was.
Please own this achievement, Dear Graduate.
And at this time, feel free to get up on your feet and applaud your guardians and loved ones…
This is one of the many ways that you may thank them, for motivating you to come this far.
Happy are you in coming over, from everywhere in the Philippines, to this huge building, a very fitting venue for celebration. Did you know that the same person designed – and did very well – the church of Holy Sacrifice in Diliman who also designed this Convention Center? Here the only thing that you miss is… the sunflower?
You are a bit sad, too, Dear Graduate, for a number of other things that you will soon miss from Diliman:
the clear view of super blue blood moon, or the bright stars in the sky;
the tall acacia trees;
the green grass;
the Area food;
the ikot and toki jeepneys;
the lantern parade;
the engineering week;
the persons who really warmed your heart on each sad day when you felt that you had failed…
And are you anxious, too, Dear Graduate, about what is out there, about what is next? (I remember I was when I graduated.)
So, I come before you with a proposed resolution to speak truthfully about your anxieties and mine.
Will you find a job; pass the board exam; and stabilize your own finances? … Will you find and keep the love of your life?
Will you match your passion with a good career, a job, or a master’s degree; figure out how to be successful while young; and prepare to be compared to colleagues in profession or industry? Will you get along well with everyone? Will your guardians be around much longer to motivate you?
Will you stay relevant in this fast-changing world and universe; or face uncertainty of government support to your industry? Will you deal with society that, in some ways, you view as dysfunctional?
So many anxieties, so little time! (Is this not another anxiety, too? LOL.) How will industry welcome you? Is it not this same industry that clamored to revamp the education system, which you just went through?
Soon the first regular batch of senior high school graduates will study engineering with a very different curriculum from yours. Of course you had no control on the 5-year curriculum that was required of you; yet you cannot stop asking yourself the question:
Will the 4-year graduate become a better engineer or computer scientist than you?
And soon the first batch of freshmen in other colleges in Diliman will have the option to take an elective minor program in another college.
Will you yourself wish to be an engineer or computer scientist with a minor in Creative Writing?
Will each member of the Class of 2022 – four years from now – become a better UP graduate than you?
Who will be the better UP graduate, the better engineer or computer scientist to research, develop, and apply winning technology?
How will technology win the war on poverty and inequity of wealth?
How will technology cure the illness of apathy? Technology seems to make each person less and less personal, would you not say? How is it that information and communication technology seems to consume you, more than you consume ICT?
Has wisdom been drowned by information?
And has the universe become so loud and so mad?
Amid the haste, have you yourself been reduced into a rigid body or a mere particle, unable — humanly and humanely — to flex, to act, and to reach out?
What do you do, now?
There was a university president named Minor Myers (1942-2003). On each graduation day, for many years, to their graduates he would say, “Go into the world and do well.” Minor Myers was confident that the university provided education, including liberal education, so excellent that whichever job or career every graduate chose, there he or she would excel.
I am confident, too, in you. You will do well.
If every anxiety be treated as a problem, and for every problem a solution be found, the engineer or computer scientist in you will find a tool and will use that well.
For example, algebra: Negative 5 plus Positive 8 equals Positive 3.
Another example, vector algebra: 5 kilometers northeast equals 4 kilometers north plus 3 kilometers east.
In algebra, as in life, you may derive the same positive outcome from the sum of negative and positive terms.
In life, as in vector algebra, you may get to your destination even if not always in a direct line.
There was also a broadcaster named Les Crane
(1933-2008), in his early life an air force jet pilot and helicopter flight instructor, then acquired an image as a bad boy of late-night television talk show. Once and only once he made a hit recording of a very contemplative old prose poem for commercial distribution, not to mind his bad-boy image, so soothing was his voice. Was he the most surprised soon after when he was awarded the annual Grammy for Best Spoken Word Recording! And more than a decade after his TV career, he founded and chaired a software developer company that he grew very successfully for ten more years, and then sold at a huge profit. That was Les Crane.
There was also a lawyer and poet named Max Ehrmann (1872-1945), in his early life a reluctant partner in the family businesses with his brothers, and then decided to be a poet full time. Only one of his poems was said to have become modestly known during his life. He married very late and within a year died. After his passing his wife published his works, and you can now say that one poem, not the first one but another poem, seems to be living forever. That is “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann.
Dear Graduate, you – and I – may have lessons to learn from the lives and the works of poets, broadcasters, lawyers, accountants… equally from professors, scientists and engineers…
For doing well, it appears that the resolution of your every anxiety depends firstly on breaking down that anxiety into its components, even when the sign, direction, or sense of every part you do not always desire. Such resolution reveals that the direction has always been there – there somewhere – towards the positive outcome that you want or towards the destination that you need.
President Minor Myers every year actually said further, “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”
And there, Dear Graduate, is the harder part than doing well: that is, doing good and being good. That takes more than skilled use of some tool; it summons devotion of your whole self. It means more than taking what you desire or want; it means giving, or sometimes giving up, what others need.
For doing good, alas, you already possess the greatest technology in your own gut, heart, and mind. Befitting to the situation, it is your ability with your personal lenses to view or sense the universe with adjustable scale and resolution.
You are able to sense the smallest details up close, at other times appreciate those within your reach, and yet at other times be properly satisfied to take in the vistas from a distance.
You are able to seize the moment when you should, or feel the seasons of the whole year, or savor your whole life thus far.
For such discernment, you summon your strong gut, big heart, and open mind.
So, I come before you with a final resolution:
You are the best technology of this universe; to do well and to do good, apply yourself.
Going back to that pilot turned broadcaster turned software developer, his award-winning and one-time hit spoken-word recording in 1971 was… (you guessed it) “Desiderata.”
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste…
Oh, well… in closing I humbly offer as graduation gift today a new translation into Filipino of
Salin ni Benito M. Pacheco “Desiderata”
Tumuloy ka nang mahinahon, sa gitna man ng ingay at kahog, at tandaan: may kapayapaan na bunga ng katahimikan. Hangga’t maaari ang lahat ng tao, hindi man santohin, ay unawain mo.
Sabihin ang totoo nang walang sigaw at nang buong linaw; at pakinggan din ang saysay ng iba, maging sino pa man.
Iwasan ang mga taong hambog at mapusok, dulot lamang nila ay ligalig sa puso. At kung ang sarili ay ihahambing pa sa iba, baka mainggit ka lamang o kaya ay yumabang; dahil laging mayroong taong higit pa o kaya ay kulang pa kaysa sa iyo.
Ipagpasalamat ang iyong mga narating, at paghandaan ang mga tutunguhin. Ang iyong okupasyon payak man, mahalin; tunay mo itong mapanghahawakan, magbagu-bago man ang panahon.
Imulat ang mga mata sa paghahanap-buhay; dahil sa mundong ito ay may pagkukunwari rin. Ngunit ‘wag namang ipikit ang mga mata sa buti ng tao; maraming yumayakap sa mabuting prinsipyo, at sa bawat panig ng mundo ay may magiting.
Higit sa lahat, huwag magkunwari sa pag-ibig. Huwag din namang magduda rito, dahil ang pag-ibig, abutin man ng tag-tuyot, ay sumisibol muli tulad ng luntiang damo.
Pakinggan ang payo ng panahon, isuko man ang ilan sa aliw ng kabataan.
Patibayain ang loob sa paghahalo ng tagumpay at kasawian.
Ngunit huwag sumuko sa labis na pangamba.
Maraming takot ay dulot lamang ng pagod at lungkot.
Disiplinahin ang sarili, at, bukod doon, sarili ay mahalin.
Ikaw ay lalang ng sanlibutan gaya ng mga puno at mga bituin; Marapat kang magpatuloy rito.
Ang sanlibutan ay nagpapatuloy kasabay mo.
Kaya makiharap ka sa Diyos, anuman ang pagkakilala mo sa Kanya.
At ano man ang iyong mithiin at tunguhin, sa gitna ng ingay o gulo ng buhay, kapayapaan ang iyong isaloob.
Sa kabila ng ilan mang pagkukunwari, pagkabagot, at pagguho ng ilang pangarap, Maganda pa rin ang ating daigdig. Matuwa ka. Magpakaligaya.