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Friday, August 31, 2007

Another Life Wasted

I cannot, for the life of me, understand what drives otherwise sane persons to join fraternities and subject themselves to torture; or the prospects of death. There’s just no cogent need for it.

While I was in law school, I received several invitations from fratmen who made me think that life will be unbearably hard if I didn’t join their group. I didn’t budge. True, I later settled with one, but this was a fraternity where no physical initiation was required. It actually looked more like a scholastic organization.

The benefits of being a “brod” are no secret: camaraderie, assistance, belonging, an extensive network. All these are touted to extend beyond the boundaries of school. But I was quite sure I can get all those even without a frat.

When we took our bar review, we were witness to another trait instilled in a brod: extreme courage. This means fear of nothing, since the frat’s behind him anyway.

My first brush with frat-related violence was when one law student was reportedly mauled by hooded men using baseball bats at the parking lot. The victim was severely injured but I guess nothing came out of the investigation.

Next came the incident at the library (it was open to both students and reviewees) where a co-reviewee was harrased by a frat just because he had the gall to approach one lady who happened to be a brod’s girlfriend. The poor guy was forced to apologize and never went back went back to school.

What bothers me is the fact that those who were all too ready to ignite violence in the name of brotherhood are people knocking at the door of the bar. These would-be lawyers seem to have no qualms about committing infractions of law. Is that because they know that their illustrious lawyer-brods will be using their legal expertise to extricate them from whatever trouble they get entangled with?

I can only surmise that Cris Anthony Mendez was planning to go to law school and applied for membership early on. With dreams of becoming a lawyer, he thought being with a frat will help him sail through it.

You all know what happened. All his dreams mean nothing now. With him now dead, it’s even improbable that he gets to pursue justice, as a victim.

What’s more pathetic is, despite many publicized deaths due to hazing, young people still flock to these exclusive organizations. I’m pretty sure that one of these days, another life will be offered at the temple of violence, but they will never learn.

(Note: Check Mendez’s Friendster account and cry.)


carlotta said...

it's sad that most fraternities here in the philippines are linked to violence. they give the sense of brotherhood a bad name.

lazarus said...

How can fraternities change that culture of violence? One teacher of mine in college said that "fraternities without hazing is nothing". He was actually taking a shot at us who were pledgees of a frat exclusively for commerce students. We lead prayers, erase the writings on blackboards, and wore formal clothing during initiation. He thought it was too "easy" for an initiation.

We knew he belonged to a fraternity of ROTC officers. There was even a hazing case against their frat at that time. But ours was the only frat that was consistently awarded as one of the top 10 outstanding campus organizations, along with JPIA and junior jaycees.

Gypsy said...

Ay talaga, I agree with you, these frats are not only senseless but sadistically senseless pa. The reasons they gave are not valid--and loyalty? Hello, tingnan mo mga politicians na magka-frat noong college, now on different sides of the political fence...I wonder how much "camaraderie" and "belongingness" they have for each other...and extreme courage? Ngek, di ko rin nakikita sa kanila..

pepe M. said...

am glad my bro is in good hands :)

jayclops said...

A friend of mine showed pictures of him with bruised legs and a captured video too. I wish I could tell him that he can choose not to go through it. But I guess his resolve is firmly ingrained as the violence in the system.

aajao said...

"I cannot, for the life of me, understand what drives otherwise sane persons to join fraternities and subject themselves to torture; or the prospects of death."

ditto. brotherhood should be beneficial to everyone and should never be resulting to tragedy.

Rochelle said...

Wow. Your title certainly captures it all. Another life wasted. What a shame. Thank you for speaking out against this.

aryo said...

Carlotta: I was lucky I was able to join a fraternity that required no violence for admission. But the level of brotherhood and commitment we have is just the same as the others.

Lazarus: Your teacher was wrong. There are fraternities which require more than just brawn to belong.

Gypsy: You're right. The brotherhood frats foster are thrown out the window when the personal interests of each comes into play. So wala ring assurance na pag nabugbog ka, kikilalanin ka rin ng ibang brods. Mamya, kayo pa magpatayan. Remember Ninoy and FM?

aryo said...

Pepe: Me frat ba si Bro?

Jayclops: My biggest issue when asked to join frats was: sino bubugbog sa akin? Normally, these are the students who cannot even fend for themselves in class. Why the hell should I allow anyone of them to beat me up when they need me more than I need them? Masaya sila! :-)

Abaniko said...

What's ironic is that they call non-frat members "barbarians".