SABBATICAL NOTES. 4 SEPT 2014. THURSDAY. N1.
Meeting, teaching, and debt-incurring.
WHO THINKS THAT we have lost the American Dream?
I think we are almost there, about to lose it if we are not careful. In my place of town, I see many capable professionals not being able to get a job, a full-time one, that assures them that they are able to pay the bills.
'Paying the bills' has been some kind of a testament to our modern-day imprisonment everywhere whether one is in Manila, in Madrid, in New York City, or in Honolulu. Why they have invented money at all--why is it that they just do not have to keep on printing and printing and printing and printing these paper bills so we will have more and more and more and more of them--is a big question I have. Our inability to pay our bill is the scourge of the modern-day homo economicus. That is us, we modern-day slaves of all things. You got no money, you got not honey. Simple.
Translated in the imaginative terms of starving writers like me, it is too simple for comfort, but it is true: You got no money, you got no art.
Or poetry for that matter.
I have seen starving artists like me everywhere and I cannot think of a bright future for art, the one that commits to the authentic. I do not want to oblige them, the artists, to give me metaphor, not anymore.
Metaphor is expensive, and so is teaching.
I am in the middle of a meeting of some select teachers doing an important job of educating important students, the very same students whose problem is how to turn their As in to A+s. As, and in As, into A pluses. When you have students like these, you better watch out. They look at everything: your grammar, your pronunciation, the clothes you wear, your socks, or the footnote number 3 of page 7 of the 10th book of the author. Jeez.
I hear 'em, the teachers.
One says: "God bless me, I got a note from Student Loan, and it said I have paid off all of my students loans." Now, now, this is a believer, isn't she?
Another one says: "I have paid off mine, but now, I have this mortgage to pay in the next 20 years of my life, and I am no longer young!"
I think of a modest home I built for my family back home, and the years and years I have to work so darn hard to pay for that small house, far smaller than a pigeonhole in an urban blight called Tokyo. I think of how small amounts have to be syphoned to be able to pay the monthly mortgage, and how sacrifices have to be made in order to remain in a home owned by a bank.
I understand the sentiments of these teachers.
I am a teacher, and let me put in on record that some teachers get into teaching already flooded with money, but some, like me, continue to run after whatever small amount of money one can run after. The second one are your real teachers, the poor ones like me, but rich in the memory that some of our former students have made it in life.
Teaching is getting harder and harder, and if a country is worried about the future of education, that country must give priority to brains over bullets.
I said my piece: brains first before bullets.
Or, brains first before bombs, for that matter.