You are the one who does not copy during exams. You’re too proud to cheat and too killjoy not to let us cheat. You throw your trash responsibly. You are the one who won’t smoke pot. You are the one who drinks but does not get drunk. You don’t play online games. You love the library. But you spend nights at the club also. You flirt averagely. And I adore your words. It’s just that we really find you weird. You do it cleanly, you know? You smile like you don’t have a 32-unit schedule. Damn you.
We say you’re a big joke, because you said you never cheated---yes, even during homework. We say you have so much pride. It will eat you up someday. You say it’s not just all about pride. It’s about integrity. We insist it’s pride. You look down, shake your head, and smile. Damn you.
I went home immediately that day. I asked Encarta for the meaning of the word “Integrity”. I’ve been seeing a lot of it around school so I’d better know its meaning or feel dumb. Encarta says integrity is a possession of firm principles. Now that definition was predictable. What struck me was the second definition: completeness, wholeness. It means that one can never be complete without integrity.
It is apparent in society that even when integrity is actually subjective, we have a standard for a person whom we call “the one with integrity” or in our dialect, “may integridad” that all of us will meet at some point when judging that person. We say that you have actually passed that standard. Though sometimes we veil you with snickers and sarcasm, a part of us wish to be just like you.
It’s nice to think that you are actually someone we will remember. The one whom we condemned because everybody else is doing “it” while you’re not. I know it’s a form of education in the guise of mocking..but you tell us to always be “Maligdong”. More often than not, you receive different versions of the infamous smirk.
But yes, we still want to be like you. You were great in your own way and you made us think that we, too, can be great. You encouraged us to be honest and neat and punctual(oh yeah). Sometimes we are really too lazy to study or too “cool” to be “righteous” but we realized that it was more than being just righteous, because these things you do, you do it for yourself. Nobody knows the reason, yes, not even you. Still, integrity is the highlight.
And oh, I loved the quote stitched on your bag. It says, “See, in this world, it’s not enough to BE the difference; you too, have to MAKE THE difference.”
-- This is for all Ateneans who gave justice to the Maligdong tag. And for everyone else, who never failed to make a difference. Those who return large amounts of money left in their taxis, those who help the police run after the snatcher, those who lent their pails to help extinguish their ignited neighbor's house, those who teach kids for free and a lot more. These kinds of people are little light bulbs of hope which shed positive light on our country's name.
A toast. For you, for me, for us all.
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9 years ago