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Waiting

12:10 AM May 31, 2016

WAITING IS a special game. Victory is not secured, but losing means you get something in return.

When I was younger, my mother used to tell me of the rewards that await: A child who waits will get more and better things. Since then, I have learned to wait and do my best while I did. I waited for my transfer papers from the University of the Philippines Los Baños to UP Diliman. I waited to get my first set of marks in the history program. I waited for my first cosplay debut. I waited to graduate.

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And each time, I received a lot of things in return for my patience. I did not achieve what I wanted, but I know I got what I deserved. But the waiting continues, even after I graduated from college.

For example, as I write, we are waiting for the results of the national elections.

My family has had its share of waiting.

My father had waited 18 years for his dispensation papers. Eight months after my graduation, my father received his “Dispensio ab oneribus Ordinationi conexis” from the Order of Preachers. He had been part of a religious order, and was always regarded as one until recently. This is a story of its own, and I might write about it one day.

My mother, on the other hand, is waiting for her brothers to settle the properties left by my great-grandfather. My mother is like Cassandra, who can predict everything but no one pays her any heed. She had foreseen this problem even before my youngest uncle got sick. Now she’s waiting again for the complete recovery of my 95-year-old grandmother, for whom she had personally been caring since 1994.

My sister, a biology major at UPLB, is waiting to finish her third (or fourth?) round of exams. Even if it were hard for her at the start, she managed to keep her grades at a satisfactory level, and I am the proudest sibling. Science courses are hard, especially with the many long exams per semester (in history, we usually had two major ones per subject—all essay, no mercy). As my sister nurses a dream of becoming a cardiologist like Dr. Yang from “Grey’s Anatomy,” or that pretty blond doctor in “Heartbeat,” she must continue studying very hard, and we all share in her waiting.

For my part, I am waiting for the summer vacation to end. This is my first vacation in three years, and I intend to enjoy it while it lasts. Of course, I still have to keep studying for my next courses for the coming school year. I waited for this vacation for almost two years, as I immediately went to law school after graduation. No kidding. I graduated on June 28, I went to law school on June 29. New school, new set of friends, new rules. So as of now, I have nothing major to wait for, except maybe the convention I plan to attend with my law and cosplay friends in June. (Most importantly, I waited to cast my first ever national vote.)

In a larger sense, our family is the reflection of our country today. Everyone is waiting as the greatest election drama in six years reaches its climax. (Opinionated) debates are all over social media. (Overenthusiastic) supporters are pitted against one another. Everyone wants to give their two, no, three, actually, ninety-nine, cents’ worth in everything political, as if they had studied a social science course. Most of us rely on social media for information, and it’s sad to see millions of Filipino kids getting brainwashed and victimized by online propaganda, biases and bullying. Present them some facts about history and politics, and they will answer with emotions. Such is the country waiting for the outcome of its elections.

Like my father waiting for his dispensation, one candidate waited for the clearing of their name. Like my mother waiting for her brothers’ decision, another candidate waited to be able to fight for their right in the political race. Like my sister waiting for her exam results, one candidate waited whether to come out on top or fail to secure the position they sought. Like yours truly waiting for her vacation to end, still another candidate just waited for the election results to get things over with.

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I have seen too many posts and comments to justify my logging out of social media, at least until the election fever is over. Too many fanatics, too little facts. Nobody cared to see the two sides of their candidates. Nobody bothered to research who they would vote for. Nobody listens to anyone but him/herself.

We have become a nation of individuals, not an individual nation. We have forgotten that we vote for the future, not for the sweet poisonous promises of candidates. Mobs have taken over information, and intellectuals are withholding knowledge. We have become rude, uncouth and bordering on uncivilized.

In the process, we have become less like Filipinos, who are known for their bayanihan, and more like individuals with no purpose except to shove their ideals down another’s throat. But perhaps, this will all change after the election fever breaks. We are all waiting for the dawn of a new era. Most of the people I know are looking forward to the end of this election drama. The end of the loud campaigns. The end of “empty” promises. The end of waiting.

Ma. Athena Almira Benedictos, 21, is enrolled at University of Perpetual Help System Dalta Las Piñas City, Law School.  She says she is “a graduate of the passionate teachings of the professors in the UP Kasaysayan Department.”

See the bigger picture with the Inquirer's live in-depth coverage of the election here https://inq.ph/Election2019

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