Thursday, December 1, 2011

Diverse Interests in December 2011

It Has Crossed My Mind

It’s December, and like many others I do engage in some form of reflection toward the end of the year.  I normally don’t bother asking the question, “could my life been better-off had I selected another route?”  No, I’ve not intentionally done such kind of reflection, but this particular time (December, 2011) the idea, indeed, crossed my mind.  I certainly am not wealthy, but luckily I’m not completely poverty-stricken either, although I have more than enough space for a much more comfortable (read: more wealthy) life.  Now, let me rationalize.

In 1981, I earned my PhD from Indiana University.  Coming back to UPLB, I started getting actively involved in academic administration until today (1982-2011), which spans a period of 29 years.  In all those 29 years, I did not take on consultancy assignments because my personal value system and ethical beliefs told me, in no uncertain terms, that I had, on my own volition, accepted positions of responsibility in the university, for which I should never compromise even if it meant not being able to accept consultancy assignments which could have easily bloated my personal financial resources. 

When I returned to UPLB after my graduate work in the US, I served the university successively as Office Head (Educational Communication Office, Department of Development Communication), Department Chair (Department of Development Communication), Institute Director (Institute of Development Communication), Associate Dean (UPLB College of Agriculture), Dean (School for Distance Education, UPOU), Vice Chancellor for Research and Development (UPOU), and finally as Chancellor of UPOU.  Then I was Faculty Regent of UP in 2008.  Today, I’m serving as Program Chair, Doctor of Communication Program, UPOU.  Through the 29 years after I earned my PhD, I intentionally didn’t accept no less than 20 consultancy assignments, about half requiring assignments in other countries.  Those opportunities could have easily fetched me material things beyond my needs.  Indeed, if I chose to have amassed wealth, which I could have easily done, would I have achieved the same professional, intellectual and attitudinal satisfaction that I now proudly posses?  Perhaps not.

If I get a chance to relive my life, would I live it differently?  Probably not, but I certainly would appreciate getting the opportunity to gain a little more wealth without having to be guilty about it.  But since that’s not going to happen, I am satisfied with what I have and with what I have achieved for myself.

Recipient of the 2007 UPAA Professional Award for Education. (L-R: UPAA 
Chito Pineda; UP President Emer Roman; myself; UP Regent Gary Tiongco.

I've learned to live with my financial inadequacy, and have succeeded in looking like I have more than enough resources.  None of my colleagues and classmates believe I'm financially inadequate.  How did I do it?  Well, I never complain about finances.  I take things in stride.  My personal motto has always been: money will come when you need it most.  In any case, I don't discuss money matters.  After all, my salary won't increase if I complained all the time that I'm underpaid.   Still, it's humiliating when you find yourself, a UP Professor (very significant position of academic prestige), trying to explain to friends your unexplainable poverty.

Hey, enjoy while you can.  Merry Christmas, everyone.    

Tibok ng Kalikasan at the NCC

 Opened on 28 November 2011 at the Lobby of the National Computer Center in Diliman, QC was the 8th Solo Art Exhibit of reknown artist Grace “Gigi” Javier-Alfonso, aka UPOU Chancellor.  This same art exhibit shall open on 9 December 2011 at the Open University of Kaoshiung in Southern Taiwan.  The theme of the art exhibit is Tibok ng Kalikasan (Rhythms of Nature).

Describing the art exhibit, Dr. Prime Garcia, UPOU Cultural Committee Chair, says:

In 50 acrylic paintings, artist Gigi Javier Alfonso interprets the rhythms that underpin the lushness and vitality of nature.  With tropical foliage as the primary subject, the art works capture the nature’s movement, impermanence, and cycles through the interplay of opcacity and translucency, tonal contrasts, and layering.  It is a visual exploration into the beguiling cadence that puts nature into motion.

All paintings are executed on canvass and measure 24x36 inches. The previous solo art exhibits of Chancellor Gigi were: Sulyap (1982) at the Gallery One, Gigi Alfonso’s Latest Works (1984) at the Cultural Center of the Philippines,  Bartolina, Preso, Hawla, at Iba Pa (1985) at the Pinaglabanan Galleries, Third Image (1986) at the Vargas Museum, Dahon at Damo (2000) at UP Diliman, Babae sa Tag-ulan at Tag-araw (2002) at the Vargas Museum in UP Diliman, Kababaihan at Kalikasan: Pagpapalawak ng Puwang (2004) at the GSIS Gallery. 

Artist Gigi has done various versions of the UP Oblation, which now stand at the UPOU (2005), UP Manila (2008), and the UP Manila School of Health Sciences in Palo, Leyte (2010), and that one in Koronadal, South Cotabato (2011).  She’s also writer and director of many TV dramas, documentaries, as well as educational videos.

Gigi is a multi-awarded artist and academic, having been recipient of: UP Arts Productivity Award with the rank of UP Artist I (2009-2011), second grand prize winner as director at the Tamtam Video Festival in Turin, Italy (1988) for the popular late night TV show “Nightline Manila,” and winner of the Shell On-The-Spot Painting Competition in 1971.

Indeed, one expects nothing less from one who has a PhD in communication (1990), MA in humanities, major in art history (1980), and BFA (1972), all from the University of the Philippines.

The 8th Solo Art Exhibit of Gigi Alfonso is organized by the U.P. Open University, the UPOU Foundation, Inc., and the Open University of Kaoshiung, Taiwan.


UPLB’s Giant Christmas Tree is Switched On

For visitors of UPLB, you’ll once more witness the giant Christmas Tree just outside the UPLB Administration Building along Kanluran Street.  The Christmas tree was lighted the other evening.  As usual, there are always many visitors in the evening because the Christmas Tree is, indeed, nice to look at.  It’s also well-lighted in the area.

Each year, one would see certain new things about the Christmas Tree.  For example, last year it was made principally of twigs painted white.  The previous year, the décor consisted of coconut leaves.  This year, it’s made up of twigs again, but colored yellow.  One wonders why a Christmas Tree, which is supposed to be covered with snow, is colored yellow.  I thought snow is white.

I ran into old friends who were there to view this year’s Christmas tree, and so we talked about the Christmas Tree.  As would be expected, I asked them why a Christmas Tree should be colored yellow.  Their answer was swift and rather confident: “it must have been affected by climate change.”   

Speaking of climate change . . . People in North America and Europe have been undertaking projects to mitigate the effects of climate change for decades now, and we in the Philippines are only starting to talk about it.  And it couldn’t have become an issue had Ondoy didn’t happen three years ago.


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