(Disclaimer: Never in a million years did I think I’d use this blog I made in high school, one used for chemistry homework and religion essays, for a fashion blog. But alas, here we are. And I apologize in advance for the pretentiousness and snark.)
Everyone knows the old adage “clothes make the man”. It’s a short but sweet way of saying that what we wear says something about our personality, and more importantly our individuality, a means of expressing our inner selves through worn garments that otherwise have the dual purpose of shielding our bodies from the elements, and shielding the elements (read: the public) from our bodies (read: our privates). Fashion has come along way since Adam and Eve were told by the devil to go forth and clothe thine selves with leaves to sheath their nasty bits (pissing God off enough that he threw them out of Eden), and naturally, discussion of fashion has grown leaps and bounds with the advent of technology, as any teenager with an internet connection is able to Insta-g or Tumblr their outfit of the day (#ootd). I will attempt to assimilate myself with my other vocally self-obsessed peers by, just this once, blogging a timeline of my fashion evolution, from diapers all the way to what I’m wearing as I type this, and what this says about the man I am today.
1994 – 1998: The Early Years
During my nebulous early childhood, I as a toddler had no say about what I could, would or should wear, becoming the de facto poster boy for my parents’ projections of their fashion choices and tastes at the time. As my family’s first and only male child, I couldn’t get any hand-me-downs from my ate, so they had no choice but to purchase a whole new wardrobe for the new baby on the block. Just to give you a picture, these were the grunge-influenced mid to late 90’s, AKA one of the lowest points in all of fashion history, where garrish “far out” hairdos met baggy, sparkly neon pants, and I’m proud to say I was a survivor of this stylistically disastrous era.
Like a mannequin forced to wear anything its shop owners wanted it to wear, I wore whatever my parents thought would look cute on me, from overalls, to weird combinations of stripes and clashing colors, to big shoes and colored socks, to Power Rangers T-shirts, a definite sign of the times.
Warning! Social suicide ahead. Proceed with caution.
Admittedly, some of these would look acceptable today, in that retro-cool, “everything from 10 years ago and above is cool again” school of cyclical fashion trends (bolstered by the Tumblr generation and the availability of up-to-the-minute information on the “in” chic), but I firmly believe that if it weren’t for my dashingly adorable looks, I probably wouldn’t have made any friends in kindergarten. 1/2 joke.
1999 – 2012: School Daze
Sparing me from that trainwreck, the advent of formalized education and entering an exclusive private school meant all uniform, all the time, especially for an institution as strict and rule-bound as Xavier School, and thus began the familiar 13 year period of crewcut hair, white undershirt/sando, white short-sleeve polo (complete with school, name and grade level patches), khaki/black pants (for grade school/high school, respectively), knee-high socks, and black leather shoes. Being stripped of the freedom to choose what to wear, and giving Star Wars’ clone army a run for their money, was both a blessing and a curse; the former because it prevented spiteful comparison between students and unnecessary insecurity over perceived sartorial inadequacy; the latter because it limited us to faceless square pegs in square holes, carrying the school’s name and image, vicariously forming our fashion identity to stay within the lines, save the subtle variations of pullover hoodie, ID lanyard design, watch brand (strict no-Rolex policy, that means you, Sy and Gokongwei clan descendants), or hairstyle (as long as it didn’t touch the ears, you’re good).
|The Good||The Bad||The Ugly|
|– No time wasted choosing what to wear in the morning||– Unable to express oneself||– Downright cumbersome on hot days, especially when the classroom doesn’t have aircon|
|– Not being judged by classmates based on fashion choices||– Gets old and boring fast||– If you accidentally spilled ketchup on your top during lunch, everyone would laugh at you|
|– Generally presentable and appropriate for formal reports||– Not fit for playing kickball or Cops ‘N Robbers during recess||– Getting detention for having hair touching your eyebrows, ears or collar|
The tiresome feeling of wearing the same thing from Monday to Friday for 9 months a year during my 9 to 5 “day job” was a heavy load to bear, our only respite or “Casual Friday” was during PE day, in which our admittedly well-designed PE uniform of gold shirt emblazoned with school name (in the classic varsity design mirroring how Harvard and Stanford do it), athletic blue and gold shorts, and fancy rubber shoes reigned supreme.
Now what I wore during my “day-off” is a totally different story. Like any other nerdy, TV obsessed, grade conscious elementary-to-early-high schooler, clothes were the least of my problems. Any graphic tee of my favorite TV show (Digimon, Pokemon, any other-mon), jeans worn two to three times before being washed, and any reliable pair of Nike, Adidas, or non-branded rubber shoes (preferably the ones that turn into makeshift roller skates or light up with each step) was good enough for a quick trip to the mall or restaurant.
See, these were my developmental years where I was intelligent enough to think for myself, but not socially conscious enough to care about what I would wear, especially considering this was before girls or the demands of adolescence got in to the picture (more on that later). In the early 2000s, fashion didn’t really have any defining trait, mostly being a non-descript post-post-modern fusion of the previous five decades’ worth of fashion, both integrating and differentiating from what had come before. Also having in mind that this was a time when the internet was on the precipice of becoming the every time, all the time phenomenon it is today, the only things present to mold my fashion was TV and what I would see on a day to day basis (i.e. not in school). So, frankly, I could care less what people thought about my outfit, or whether it fit any unprescribed social dress code, as long as it was comfortable and served the basic purpose of keeping me clothed, anything off the top of my closet was sufficient, and I was contented.
Then everything changed when the opposite sex attacked.
2009 – 2012: The Birth of Clothing Consciousness / Awkward Adolescence
You might be wondering why there’s an overlap of years with the previous years. This is because though they both fall within the grade school to high school period of my life, 2009, or 2nd year high school, marked a turning point in my life: the dawn of the teenager. Just as adolescence and the onset of newly hyperactive hormones spell the impetus for physical, mental, psychological and social change, so does it equal a significant change in one’s fashion paradigm. This phase of burgeoning maturity means forsaking your childish carefree spirit to truly find yourself and form a real identity, but ironically, this means following the trends and trying to conform to the “hip” and “cool” cookie cutter mold of “what everyone else is doing” or the proverbial “Mass Youth Uniform” postulated by Pauline Thomas in her piece “The Semiotics of Fashion” . Peer pressure and social interaction is particularly strong on an impressionable adolescent and will get one to do pretty much anything to be socially accepted. I’m ashamed to admit I fell prey to this “go with the flow” mentality, but really what teenager doesn’t?
Just as Adam was influenced by Eve to eat the apple (again with the Genesis references), a guy can’t say no to the female mystique, and will do everything in his power to impress a girl enough to get a few seconds of her time for meaningless small talk, even if it means changing his very ideals, personality, and yes, even clothes. As the sophomore to senior years of high school was a prime period to actually get to meet girls through frequent soirees and interactions, I had no choice but to change with the times. To prep me for my various soirees and eventual “gimmicks” with girls, my ate (who was herself female and was two years my senior, thus having profound expertise and experience in social dynamics, or simply “how to be cool”) became my fashion guru, taking me on shopping sprees to revamp my whole wardrobe, and taking the time to layout outfits for every time I would see girls. Though at first I thought this was annoyingly unnecessary and stole from my Pokemon playing time, I was irrevocably transformed by my sister’s fashion tastes, and even to this day, I still ask her for fashion tips. So, thanks, sis.
The result: checkered short sleeve polos or statement T-shirts, checkered shorts or faded gray jeans, Vans shoes or Chuck Taylors galore for every soiree, gimmick and hang out. Believe me, this was what constituted “cool” and “in” just five years ago, and though they appear laughable in hindsight, this awkward phase was ultimately essential in forming my fashion identity, helping me understand the intricacies of color coordination, appropriate outfits for various situations, and how to project an image. Shallow, insecure and confomist much, yes, but for a while, I was just happy to be a somewhat normal teenager.
2012 – Present: Fashion Freedom & Sartorial Saavy
(Aside: by now you’ve probably realized my fondness for alliteration. If you have, here’s a virtual cookie. If you’re wondering what alliteration means, your grade school English teacher will be disappointed. End faux condescending rant)
Which brings me to the current college years, before which I’d tried and failed to win the high school hierarchy social game and am just now trying to win the life game, as academics, extracurriculars, and socials fight for supremacy in my hectic schedule. Discounting what I said about adolescence in the previous section, this late teens to early 20‘s period is where we really start to own who we are and make decisions that will have lasting impacts on our futures. In terms of fashion, I came through the painful sandpaper that was high school to become a more refined and polished product. Now that I didn’t have uniforms, my “outside clothes” became my school uniform, and once again, this was a double-edged sword: one one hand, I reveled in the feeling of control, even just the simple task of choosing what to wear for the day; on the other hand, this meant having to make the conscious effort to look good, or at the very least presentable, in front of classmates and professors you’ll see in short 1 and half hour bursts, who might not even be looking your way. That’s why my college outfit comes in two variants: “nagpapaimpress” and “chill mode”. (Batteries not included.)
The former is a testament to my clunky, “was cool then” style during high school, and like a secondhand car with a new coat of paint, my collared shirt, chin shorts and boat shoes combo always delivers. Though some would argue that this reflects my more “burgis” upbringing and social circles, I think it pretty much works for any situation, looking saktong maayos lang to give that report in class, attend meetings for orgs, or even hang out with friends for some food and drinks after class, and has never let me down. Though I sometimes wear pants as well, especially for formal reports and chilly rainy days, shorts has become my staple for its combination of simple elegance and practical comfort, especially for those long treks from Math Building to Eng’g.
The latter, meanwhile, is what I would wear when I would feel too lazy to dress up for class, especially on days when I’d have free cuts (MOST especially in the classes where my crushes are hahaha jk), no org or social appointments, or was just feeling under the weather. Just like how I was in my pre-soiree-going days, I wouldn’t really care what I’d wear or what other people would think of me, preferring to just pull whatever T-shirt and trousers from my closet plus my favorite pair of banged up flip-flops. I think this newfound confidence shows some maturity, as I am no longer the insecure teen constantly seeking approval for my clothes, but more secure in the thought that people in my university, and specifically in the College of Engineering, aren’t shallow enough to think less of a person based on their attire, and I am eternally grateful for this acceptance.
Just as Peter Parker is student by day and wallcrawling, webslinging crimefighter by night, this mild-mannered engineering major becomes a different being when the sun goes down, and the party lights go up, and with great happy hours comes great irresponsibility. Instead of having Spider-sense and the proportionate strength of a spider, I have the ability to intake exhorbitant amounts of alcohol, pretend to have the hottest moves on the dance floor, and convince oneself that he is a standup comedian on the side. And naturally, a superhero is nothing without a flashy costume to combat the evils of the party life (AKA our unbridled youthful inner demons). Any pastel or neutral colored snazzy long sleeve polo (blazer optional), non-maong pants (preferably of the khaki or maroon variants), and boat shoes or loafers, coupled with waxed up hair, are pitch perfect for any night on the town, even though all the dudes in the club start to look like fashion twins.
Though I never knew where my life journey would take me, and would never in a million life times think the timid, grade conscious nerd in grade school would become a slightly cool, but awkward highschooler, to the more confident and outgoing person I am today, my fashion was omnipresently transforming along with my lifestyle and is an integral part of projecting tangibly who I was and am on the inside. In my opinion, the most important thing about fashion is to be you and be true to yourself no matter what, because in the end, though this might be cliched, it’s really the inside that counts, and an outfit is nothing without somebody wearing them. You might be the most sharp-dressed person on the scene, but without poise and confidence, you’ll end up looking just as suave as a seventeen year old who sneaked into the club with a fake driver’s license and his dad’s faded suit which is two sizes too big. When boiled down to its essence, it’s not that the clothes make the man, but the man that makes the clothes work.
P.S. Thank you to my Art Stud prof Ma’am Eileen for a great sem! It was a fun ride!
The Semiotics of Fashion by Pauline Weston Thomas
Doctor Assisted Suicide is my chosen act because looking at our own class’ answers and the statistics given by Gallup, it is one of the, if not the, most morally ambiguous of all the topics. At face value, it seems like it should be judged as morally wrong immediately due to involving the ending of a life, but I consider it as a neutral action, due to the fact that the discernment of the rightness or wrongness of this act always has to take into account the context of the situation. More often than not, doctor assisted suicide occurs in the form of euthanasia, or when the patient suffering from a severe amount of pain and is at a terminal stage in the disease or injury is peacefully killed, and this act is actually considered illegal in numerous countries. This topic cannot be easily judged as right or wrong because the parameters of the situation, such as the actual condition of the patient and those that are responsible for their medical treatment, factor heavily into the judgment of the act’s morality, and this is why I believe that it is a neutral act. This claim is further supported by Gallup’s findings in their Values and Belief survey conducted in May 3-6, 2010, in which 46% voted it morally acceptable and the other 46% voted the opposite, as well as the class’ own answers of 47% moral acceptability and 42% moral wrongness, only a 5% difference, the smallest in the survey. Hence it is the only act in both survey results that had no or minimal difference in percentage points for it’s moral rightness or wrongness and can be considered one of the most controversial.
As mentioned above, discernment of the act is very contextually dependent, and there are many possible situations in which this act may not be considered sinfully wrong or bad. Euthanasia is usually a conscious decision and agreement reached by the family or guardians of the afflicted patient to cease the patient’s living due to their inability to live without the use of life support machines, or are in an irreversible coma, or are suffering from an unparalleled amount of pain that the family wants to end. This act is not sinful as the family has good intentions for it, and their reason for ending the life of their loved one is for the greater good of the patient. When this grave decision is made, it is made with the consent of the people responsible, and they most probably have significant knowledge on the patient’s condition, but it is usually done to avert further serious harm to the patient, and thus is a gray area that cannot be considered sinful.
Based on my answers that suggest that judgment heavily relies on the context of the situation, I am a moral relativist. If just looking at the act in general, this act could be considered as morally wrong due to it being a conscious act to kill someone. However, the condition of the situation cannot be ignored as the act is usually performed for the greater good of the suffering patient who cannot decide for themselves, and it is an agreement among all responsible stakeholders to end the patient’s life if they are no longer truly living, and this is another point of contention. Even though some governments rule it as an illegal act by law, it is impossible to merely judge it as wrong, and it is impossible to divorce its moral discernment from situational analysis.
Greg, I heard that your grandfather is in a coma and the only thing keeping him alive is a respirator. I know that you’re really indecisive about whether to agree with the mercy killing, and confused about why your parents want to allow the doctors to kill your own angkong, but I think you have to consider the situation that your angkong is in right now, and the situation that your parents are placed in. Think of it first from the perspective of reason, is your grandfather still technically alive? Rationally, he can’t survive on his own as the respirator is the only thing that stands between him and death, and he probably will never come out of his coma. It’s a harsh reality, but you have to come to terms with the fact that in terms of reason, he is practically already deceased. But would ending his life be justified by this already? If you think of it from a cautious perspective, as you’re not sure how to really discern this issue morally, you have to safely assume that it is morally wrong, as it does indeed involve the killing of a living being. However, if you consider it from a more suspicious view, it is not a sinful act, as it avoids the further physical decay of your angkong, and the treatment his idle body is currently undergoing is costing a lot for your parents. Whatever decision you take, whether you agree with your parents’ decision or not, I hope that my advice helped you judge that though this act is morally wrong when viewed from a general stance, given your context, I believe that it is not a sin to perform the mercy killing, and I hope my advice helped you come to grips with this at such a trying time.
Last week, we as a class investigated the properties of Fats & Oils by using different kinds of oil to cook kropek, a prawn or lobster cracker snack commonly seen in Chinese restaurants as a side dish.
Our group was a combination of two groups due to the absence of 2 members, so we had 2 kinds of oils: butter and Virgin coconut oil. The outcome was not as good as the other groups as we think that we put the kropek in too early and the oil wasn’t hot enough, thus the result didn’t taste or look good. The coconut oil eventually came out better, as it was big and white compared to the other groups’ light brown, but it still was very oily (obviously) and didn’t match the familiar taste of the restaurant kropek.
Out of all the groups I tasted from (including vegetable and palm oil), the best was the group that used canola oil as theirs tasted the best and they were able to come up with more batches than the rest of us at a faster rate. Another observation is that one group brought ready-made kropek, and the difference between what we made and this commercially mass-produced kind is that the ones we made are much tougher to bite due to increased hardness and also much oilier.
1. One problem faced today about food is that many are ignorant to the actual nutritional value of what they consume, and there are also many misconceptions and erroneous beliefs about the supposed “healthiness” of both eating habits and the lifestyles that people live that lead many to live unintentionally unhealthy lives.
2. Another problem being faced is that fast food and other commercial food establishments sell foods that are unhealthy and are chock full of preservatives and additives that decrease the nutritional value to almost zero, and hence the food that people consume on a daily basis and are also heavily marketed promote malnutrition and obesity.
1. More health-conscious and honest marketing that promotes the nutritional facts of different food products must be advertised for both restaurants and supermarket products to prevent obesity and malnutrition, and so people will learn to not be completely dependent on these products that slowly destroy their bodies.
2. Comprehensive health talks regarding the true healthiness of everyday food as well as instructions to live a healthy lifestyle based on one’s diet and activities should be reinforced in schools to prevent the prevalence of misnomers and incorrect beliefs regarding healthy foods and healthy lifestyles, and this will indoctrinate in the youth what they should make a habit of eating and what they should avoid.
WWW: What Went Well
I can say that the VC was a success because each side had a lot to say about their respective schools and cultures and did not hesitate to share and question when the opportunity arose. From our side, the Xaverians displayed great articulation when introducing the school and when answering the inquiries of the students from Saint Joseph, yet on the other hand, those we had a conference with were equally eager to discuss certain topics and invest as much of their knowledge into the dialogue as possible. The enthusiasm and willingness to participate from both factions led to a richness in the whole conference and we were able to learn a lot of things about their culture and religion, replacing some of the preconceived notions and stereotypes we once had about Lebanese society with more modern and open-minded ideas that reflected the reality. One of the most striking discussion points was when we began to talk about the controversial RH bill issue in our country, shedding some light on how religion affects politics as well. Another was when we noticed how their school motto of “Shine On” paralleled our slogan of “Let Our Light Shine”, showing how despite different cultural and societal backgrounds, we all have similar desires and drives.
EBI: Even Better If
The discussion would have flourished even further if we were given more time, as the allotted hour was not sufficient to talk about all that we wanted to, especially as one of the members from our party wanted to ask about the hot issue of the wars and conflicts in Lebanon and how this has affected them, and the students from St. Joseph must have also become curious as to how else the Church influences the government in the Philippines. Also, if we were more organized in asking questions and the way we structured the seating arrangement and other matters, we would have been more fast-paced and systematic in our answering and asking of questions. Furthermore, I believe that a quick response type of Q&A format would have resulted in an even more rich discussion, as there were points in which people hesitated and had long pauses before responding. Lastly, I think that the discussion would have been more engaging and interactive if the camera angle at which the students from St. Joseph were positioned was to be directly facing us and the camera, so that the video conference would truly live up to its face-to-face name and the experience would be more personal and participative.
1. Epistemological World Views (Absolutist, Evaluativist, Relativist)
2. Social Justice
3. The relations and interconnection of CLE and TOK
Most Important Skills Developed
1. Awareness-Analysis-Action means of reflection
2. Using an amalgamation of reason and faith to assess the relevance of religion and morality to social situations
Most Significant Insight
The circumstances of the current capitalist world we live in dictates that there will always be people on top of the social pyramid and people under this upper echelon of society, and this is an inevitability due to the presence of human desire, but this social structure does not prevent reaching out to these less fortunate and subvert the division of rich and poor, as we observed and experienced first hand in our 4-day SM Immersion.
Based on both vicariously seeing through the eyes of those involved in the insightful documentary on the difficult situations of bus drivers and walking in the shoes of everyday working class men through the extremely meaningful 4-day SM immersion, I can say that society in general is primarily still selfish and neglectful of the needs of this area of social pyramid. Society dictates where they stand, and no matter how hard they work, or how much they sacrificed in college in hopes of a better future, this still does not guarantee them the life that they saw themselves living: one of success and fulfillment. Diligence, indeed, does not automatically translate to success, as circumstance has a heavy hand in this, and sometimes even the greatest amount of effort exerted will not allow one to achieve their needs or wants. But despite this apparent miscarriage of justice, life goes on, and there is simply nothing that any of these men and women can do to help their plight but to understand, accept and deal, or else crumble under the weight of a cruel force known as the real world. “Evolve or die”, Craig Charles once said, and these people just have to live with the injustices present in their society, or face the consequences, which are far worse than the already seemingly “passable” life they already have. Thus, these people are forced to choose to survive instead of realizing what living truly means, and in the present social structure, freedom is not really an option. It is a harsh reality, but the attitudes of these extraordinary men and women, brimming with optimism and enthusiasm despite how they have been shunned and ignored by the society around them, spell a flicker of hope for change for the better on the misty horizon of tomorrow.