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Comics and Death

Holy Week is a time for watching DVDs, enjoying cleaner air than usual due to the lack of active vehicles and factories, catching up on your work, and, oh yeah... praying and stuff, of course. Oh, and reading lots of great online comics! For example:

I watched Iris and Catch Me If You Can (both movies sent me scurrying to my PC to look up stuff online on Frank Abagnale Jr, and Iris Murdoch and John Bayley), as well as Chinese Box and part of Chungking Express again. Offline, I've been reading Legion of Superheroes and Zot!

On a completely unrelated and much grimmer note, I checked the PSHS Batch 91 mailing list recently (something I don't do very frequently), and someone had forwarded this article:

Student facing theft raps commits suicide

Posted: 8:02 AM (Manila Time) | Apr. 05, 2004
By Joey A. Gabieta
Inquirer News Service

Shameful to be accused

TACLOBAN CITY -- What is a 14-year-old boy's life worth?

Two hundred pesos?

A little less than two weeks ago, at about 2 a.m., Xaviery Val Yancy Engle took out a blanket, twisted it into a noose, and hanged himself on the spiral staircase of his family's two-story house in Palo town, Leyte province.

Described by his family as bubbly and full of life, Yancy was to have appeared later that morning before the disciplinary committee of the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) in Palo to answer accusations that he stole 200 pesos from the class fund. He had denied the allegation and found it shameful he would be accused of a crime.

"Sorry if I was not one of the best in your class. I did not steal any amount from anybody. Kahit nagpakamatay ako, di ako guilty (Even if I had killed myself, I am not guilty)! Sorry! For all the troubles I have caused," the second year PSHS student said in a suicide note. The note, in his own hand, was addressed to "all my teachers."

His family described Engle as a boy with a bright future, who loved to sing and was not stingy with his affections. His parents and relatives were inconsolable and angry, blaming the school's system for his death. They clamored for justice when they buried Yancy at the public cemetery on Thursday.

"We want justice ... he was a victim of their school's harsh system," said his father Lyndon, 39. Lyndon has been working in a fast-food chain in Bahrain for 12 years. He came home on March 28, four days after the suicide of his eldest son. George Roca, uncle of Yancy, said the family was seriously considering taking legal action against school officials, led by its director, Pedrito Padilla. "But we don't know yet what particular case the family would file against them," he said.

[Complete story here.]

Sad and senseless, but somehow not entirely surprising. Having graduated from a branch of Pisay myself, I know that it often seems like a melting pot for many varieties of mental and emotional instability. I was happy there, but I can understand how it may have seemed less than utopian especially for kids suffering from a volatile combination of intelligence, sensitivity, imagination and insecurity (not to mention homesickness for those uprooted from their provinces). Our batch alone has two suicides that I know of, and several cases of insanity. It's hard to imagine these people doing better if they had gone to another high school, though. I guess it's just that Pisay tends to gather the people who are most "at risk." (In which case, perhaps the administration would do well to account for this by adopting more proactive consultation methods or at least a warmer, more humane approach to discipline).

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Best described as a Murakami detox support group, we're all fans of the quirkily brilliant Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, and writing about such things as films we've seen recently and books we're reading (not to mention meandering musings on the man's work, of course) helps us to pass time while waiting for the next book from Haruki-baby.

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