06 August 2005

(Brain D)rain

When I woke up today it has been raining really hard. It’s a late rainy season this year, this rain was supposed to show up two months ago, instead it decided to pour on August. So the whole sky is overcast, grey, and wet. I guess I’m going to be stuck here again.

I finished reading The Shining last night. It was a great read with a climactic ending. And I’ve finished it in just nine days! I think I never read a book that fast aside from 1984 in senior high school, which I finished in five days. And since I still have ten days here, I think I could finished another Stephen King book, this time, Pet Sematary. I frequent used books sales, since I could buy used books for very low prices. It’s because I know that once I read these books, I don’t read them again, so why buy the brand new one when you could get a used one but still in good condition?

Another thought that has been put in my mind is regarding brain drain. Jzz left a comment in my previous post, regarding the Filipino diaspora. Now I hate to say this, but it is true. Many Filipinos are going overseas because they lose hope in their motherland. C’mon, just look at the political situation: there is a scandal that the current President is tangled into. The public doesn’t trust the government anymore, and an impeachment trial is on the horizon. The unemployment rate is high, and many people find jobs that are overseas to be high-paying than the domestic ones.

Let me make it more personal. I am going overseas to study. You might ask: Can’t you study for graduate school here in Manila? Well, actually, there is only one, yes, one university with a Linguistics Dept. And that is where I graduated from. There is a conflict of interest between the department and me. I am a functionalist, and most of the faculty are formalists. When I was writing my thesis, my advisor in the department didn’t have deep knowledge of the theory I am working on, so I had another advisor on the other side of the globe, emailing him of my questions. This other advisor on the other hand, is a member of the faculty of the Linguistics Dept. of University at Buffalo, the school I will attend in a short while.

Look at other aspects of it. My university here in Manila suffers from budget cuts and other financial woes. We couldn’t even update the library collection the way we wanted. The equipment is not cutting edge, and thus, it is detrimental to learning. But all these problems are gone if I study somewhere else. Of course, I am not saying that all my problems will be solved when I study abroad. It’s just that there are different problems for different circumstances.

I am selfish. I do not hesitate to admit that. I look for the best of things that I can have for myself. If I can have a better education outside the Philippines, then I would grab hold of it. If it is in my capability to move up a notch, then I would go for it. I do not prefer sacrifice and patriotic ideology over progression. It is a simple rule of functionalism and pragmatism.


  1. hey,

    Don't get your panties tied up in a knot about that comment on the filipino diaspora. I get a kick from bugging people with weird comments.
    I myself am a 2nd generation filipino that came <insert undisclosed location> during/after the marcos dictatorship. Complicated story. Just do what you think is right, and everything will be fine. I doubt the mass movement will have much use of your linguistic capabilities.
    Our country is run by traditional nepotist puppet politicians from ruling clans probably since the time of the Spanish colonialism. No industries, perpetuated outflow of superprofits to multi-nationals... massive human rights abuse... the usual rape and pillage on a national scale.
    Just pop a chocolate in your mouth, and hope for the best (and hope it doesn't come from nestlé and/or the ivory coast in Africa)

    best wishes,


  2. Jzz,

    Well said. I got nothing else to add. That's a good philosophy: to do what one thinks is right.