Archive for January, 2011

Critique on DOST’s Future Plans Part I

Posted in Uncategorized on January 31, 2011 by angiegiegie

Yesterday, the School of Science and Engineering presented a talk of Secretary Mario G. Montejo, one of the supposedly most outstanding engineers in our country. He bragged himself of his successes in the field of technopreneurship and was chosen by our Excellency, Benigno Aquino III, to be the current administration’s DOST Secretary in a span of about five to six years. Other speakers included in the program were scientific professionals from the university, who presented case studies or reports on the current situation in our country in terms of science and technology.

As to the extent of where my nationalism as well as passion for science and technology goes, the talk seemed a bit frustrating. I do not have any negative feedbacks about how our technological research has progressed in our Innovation Center. Engineering is indeed one of the key fields our country must develop. What disappointed me were not only the plans of our Secretary but also on his determination and overview on developing the theoretical points in science (i.e. pure sciences) as well as how the mandate of this department holds.

It seems right that the Department of Science and Technology is targeting the key issues of our country today such as dengue, flood monitoring system, rice shortage problems, malnutrition, weathering stations, mass transportations, and such. It rather disturbs me was to how the secretary responded to a couple of the questions during the open forum. One was on the opportunities for theoretical mathematicians and the other on extending theories on complex systems where he simply answered, “Well, it’s just numbers.” and “Complex systems is just complex mathematics.”

Secretary Mario Montejo painted a pretty picture to the Ateneo scientific crowd the areas that the Department of Science and Technology would be supporting in the years to come. To name a few would be genomics, biotechnology, nanotechnology, industrial control and automation, and industrial robotics. We’ve all seen their magic and progress for the past few months or maybe even years. In his plans, one would not see his support on theories but just applications. What’s the point of it all – in building frameworks and solutions if we hinder ourselves in progressing theoretical research?

Let us take for example, Quantum Mechanics. Who would even imagine that this would have led to numerous discoveries today? As physics undergraduates, we sometimes don’t see the point of studying it. It is just too abstract for some of us to grasp. So what, some would say. I guess this is where, as Dr. Queena Lee-Chua pointed out, excellent mentoring enters its role in shaping the students’ understanding on such lessons.

Amidst of it all, we now look at the mandate of the Department of Science and Technology. It mentions that it should provide central direction, leadership, and coordination of scientific and technological efforts and ensures that the results there from all geared and utilized in areas of maximum economic and social benefits for the people.

The beauty of it all in science does not only contain itself in our compacted gadgets today. Solving social problems and understanding the world can’t be done by solely applied science. We as future leaders in the field of science and technology cannot merely enclose ourselves in a perception that all good things happen in applied science. At this point, someone may ask, “So what? I still don’t get the point of utilizing the theories in real-life situations.” Well, you don’t need to, as Dr. Jerrold Garcia pointed out. You’d have to deal with it. Who even thought that Feynman’s integrals would work out in Polymer Science, Finance, and such?

Instead of creating a one-sided development in terms of applied science, we need to progress in the pure sciences too. If the department thinks that helping out the country means creating machines or programs to solve hunger, natural disasters, and such, then I’d be damned. What the country needs is not only trend setters but also researchers who aim for scientific excellence.

The Philippines needs a scientific revolution, not just a set of innovations.

It Does Not End Here

Posted in Uncategorized on January 30, 2011 by angiegiegie

Almost a year ago, there was that feeling of anxiety and hopefulness wrapped into one.

A few hours ago, I was in that same room again, vowing my pledge and life to the Lord.

Right now, I cannot help smiling the challenges that I am about to face this year and the years to come.

Tomorrow, I will be back in school, doing things that a regular student would do.

Despite the time series I’ve observed, being a servant to the Lord will be timeless. He’d surprise you in any way He can whether it be big or small. Looking back at my old files, I would always recall that time where I wrote my Induction Essay just for the heck of it. I will just post it here for future reference.

No matter what you do, something itches you. That something could possibly not be an object but still has substantial value. The ticks that I have grew larger and larger till I get lost over the millions of ticks that are beneath my skin. It is just like a disease waiting to die down. The problem is that you might have to only choose one of them. One of those ticks could only be the answer to your problems. Maybe one of them will make you a happier person in general.

Discernment is a process that does not only need quantitative thinking. I was trained to analyze critically through numbers. Because of this, I’ve thought too much by crunching the number of cycles, rounds, wavelengths and so forth without knowing that there is of course something more than just quantitative data beneath the palm of my hands. I live and breathe as a being not necessarily programmed to solve complicated equations.  Knowing what the equation’s point would be enough for me I guess for the time being. You see, I was born not with a strong wit for numbers though I have that slight inclination for it. I try too much that even outside my course, even though I still want to reach for it, it’s still a million light years away.

Besides from that itch, there was an itch to know more about myself and why I am here. I’ve been too pessimistic to recount the ways I’ve been a burden to many. Being an atheist for four years was quite a rough ride to deal it considering this as a looking back process sort of thing. I’ve been told by innumerable people to take things slowly while others still keep on forcing me to rush my judgments and sentiments over a thousand of things. This is a letter on taking the next step, a step that one will not look back and say, “Why did I do that?” and a slap on his or her forehead. This next step is not just a small step, but a BIG LEAP towards fulfilling the mission of God and Jesus Christ.

We’ve been taught and raised practically for four years by the Jesuits. We live and breath their teachings although some may seem to do so. People have told me that I’m a good piece to deal with while some would disagree. My aunts and uncles were pleased with what I do academically but I would say the opposite. We can never be great but we can continue to search for greatness. Discernment is more than just thinking of taking the first step to His Path but incorporating oneself to be one with His Being just as how Incarnation would seem.

I am not a fan of long waiting nor of short notice. It is only this year that I’ve entered and been welcomed by the AtSCan community. But this discernment did not happen recently. It was just that what I was pondering deeply for several months and years was what the term meant. All my life, I always strive for success not only for myself but for others. I wanted to know that I was the best till suddenly all came crashing down one day during my high school days. False hopes ran across my veins and in the back of my head. I questioned God and unknowingly just left Him behind all those years. These were the years that bitter relationships were made that I turned to suicide as one of my options.

A part of me now still looks back and feel that sting in my heart thinking of ‘what if’s’. One cannot change the past they say but what boils down at this point is what fundamental option are you about to take in this long journey ahead of you? Is this a risk I am willing to take? Recounting every step I’ve taken during this lifetime, I would say, YES. Yes, to the idea of induction. This is a decision that is not light-headed in a sense that you just nod your head any time of the day. This is the heavy duty commitment one is about to take for the grandeur plans of God. No matter how great one is, he or she cannot just think of himself/herself. You have to have the drive to do something greater and bigger than that. Being a man means being a companion to others of any origin and the sort. Each one has his or her own time to stand up and raise his or her left hand saying I do but for me, this is the TIME to say YES to that calling. But then again, this is not a risk or a hard decision unless our hearts would pause and turn back, thinking again. We may still continue to have doubts of what options we are about to take in this journey ahead of us, but for sure, it is a destination I would never want to miss in my entire life.

Sure, I got the high feeling after being inducted. I knew at that time that God wouldn’t leave me and that I was meant for greater things. What I was not able to process was being in control of who I am or who I really was. I got into the ocean of losing myself to the world. Along the way, I got a hold of myself but I wouldn’t have done it without the help of some people. Through thick or thin, there will always be that light on the other side. Getting hurt is one lesson.

With that, I end a glimpse of my story after my induction. Being inducted is one thing. To live up to His name is another. This is not the end of your journey but just the beginning.

To all the new inductees, Patuloy lang… 🙂

How to Run It, How to Run Us

Posted in Uncategorized on January 21, 2011 by angiegiegie

For over four years, I’ve had my fair shares of appreciation and disappointments while I was both a participant and a spectator of the Sanggunian’s actions. There were also those expectations which became disillusionments when one can’t bring out the utopia out of the community. Our perception of reaching out to the people in our school can’t be perfected. There will always be that leak in that big blue submarine but this is not just a technically easy-to-repair submarine. It’s more than that.

Leading the school’s voice is not as easy as it sounds. One can’t assume that the people are consumers and are just waiting to be served. One also can’t simply reason out projects as ways of solving the invisible bigger problems in our community. If the student government can’t entice the students as being stakeholders of our school, just imagine how this would look like in our Philippine government.

Relating to the lessons learned from Development Economics, one can’t judge development in a country based on the GDP, the GNP, and those commonly used econometric data. Countries as well as communities can’t be judged like guinea pigs. As individuals, we partake in a dynamic society where by just rebooting the world won’t work. If the student government can’t offer the representation needed by the students based on their present projects, then there must be a problem bigger than the anomalies of the projects’ logistics, program execution, etc. Time immemorial, we try to minimize the errors in our projects as students, or organization members. If something goes wrong, we’d always find a way to end them with the best outcomes as much as possible.

Year by year, candidates tell us about their visions and missions. We’d see some of them running again the following year, promising us that they’d do better. Though each person holds a certain dogma or ideology in mind, frameworks based on our assumptions would not always necessary work. Structures were made for us to better understand how things work and how to make them better. They have their ups and downs depending on the different backgrounds of the test subjects. Looking again at one example in Development Economics, we don’t necessarily solve the problems of Russia by using the framework in China. We just simply can’t as based on further investigation. Numbers don’t tell us everything. All theories are not necessarily right. Using the same set of mechanisms on a different set of group won’t give the results we expect.

Then here, some of you tell us that your way of doing things would actually make small or big miracles for the Ateneo community. If one mechanism can’t work, it just simply can’t. Though my status as a graduating super senior student, I want to make sure that my vote counts for my last election here in the Ateneo. I want an assurance that the next President would not just leave another legacy as what previous Presidents had done but to also improve next year’s student government in terms of representation and relevance.

No matter how many positions one has taken under the government body be it a Central Body Representative or an Executive Officer, one should remember that being a student does not only entail partying, cramming, and such. The needs of the students are more than that (I hope). We are not part of a company or a factory. We are a dynamic community and need a better discourse of things.

Change isn’t just using the ideal framework you have in mind to shape up your community. It’s also finding the perfect way of improving the state of mind in your group.