By Danton Remoto
29 October 2010
After May 10,2010, when Ang Ladlad Party List ran on sheer adrenalin and campaigned for only three weeks –when the other party lists campaigned for three months – and lost, I quietly returned to part-time teaching. But let me tell you the odyssey of finding a part-time teaching job.
In all humility, I took the grammar and writing test in a State University so I could teach part-time in its Department of English and Comparative Literature. But after a month and no word came from its esteemed chairperson, I called her up and asked about my chances.
“Well, you passed the grammar and writing test!” she enthused, for which I thanked her. “But we don’t have a slot for you as a teacher.”
“I’m only applying for a part-time teaching position,” I said.
“Yes, we have no slots for full-time teachers.”
I repeated my answer and she repeated hers. Now, I do not know why some state universities have English Department chairpersons with nothing between their ears except dry wax.
Next, I sent my CV to a Catholic college where my cousin taught. My cousin said the dean, who was a priest, was so happy about my application for part-time teaching. But the chairperson sat on my papers.
“But why?” I asked my cousin.
“Because the good chairman thought that one day, you’ll take over his job.”
“But I only want to teach part-time!” I said.
“Not in his insecure mind.”
Next, I sent my CV to another Catholic university, one of whose top officials was a friend of mine. You see, in all my applications, I never went to the top honchos, although I knew some of them well. I sent my CV, took grammar and writing tests, and would have wanted to attend interview panels and give teaching demonstrations.
This time, the chairperson wanted me to teach, but the Vice-Rector did not, “because he said that your media exposure in Ang Ladlad might prove detrimental to the teaching pedadogy in the university.”
I wanted to laugh, the way I laughed when I received the decision of Comelec Commissioner Ferrer (Eucharistic Minister of the Church), Commissioner Yusuph (Imam from Marawi City), and Commissioner Tagle (Director of the Christian Family Movement, Cubao chapter) calling me “Immoral” and “abnormal” for having the balls to found an LGBT party in a conservative and Catholic country.
This university is afraid of media publicity? Well, it is doing its darnedest best to attract media attention for its 400th year or something celebration. I could have helped them with the publicity for free.
Next, I sent my CV to a school in what Alma Moreno once called on TV “the University of Belt.” The chairperson was so glad I was applying, and so was the dean. But the daughter of the owner miffed, and sulked, and pouted, and mightily proclaimed, amidst lightning and thunder: “No, he cannot join our faculty. He did not campaign for Mar Roxas. Instead, he campaigned for that peasant Jojo Binay.”
My laughter when I heard this one reached all the way to the zig and the zag of Kennon Road. I was sending a CV which was called “a strong CV” when I applied for a teaching post at Rutgers University in the US (I got it), and here comes Lady Dementia telling my friend that I cannot join their university simply because I campaigned for a peasant and not a blue-blood like them?
I did not know that people – especially the greedy elite – take their politics so seriously in this country. I resigned from my cushy job in an international development organization when I filed the Ang Ladlad papers in October of 2009 and when the party lost, I just wanted to return to teaching. But Lady Dementia could not be appeased, sitting in her perfumed chamber in her university run like a corporation, with millions of pesos in net profits.
I’m the one who should have taken all this personally, because I was being vilified in public when myold and sick parents were both dying and we shielded them from this terrible news that was in all media 24/7. I’m the one who should have taken this personally, because I was rating high in the real senatorial surveys, only to be junked by the political parties because 1) I questioned their stand on land reform and the fake sincerity of the people in their elitist party, and I am not a landowner; 2) the other senatorial candidates are “scared” of me in the 2016 elections (their words, not mine); 3) they offered me PHP 30 million and I just smiled at them because that was too small, mere coins, for a national senatorial campaign; 4) I did not want GMA to raise my hands in public, and since I am 5’11” that would be very hard for her to do.
So where did I end up teaching? At the Ateneo de Manil University, where I taught for 22 before I retired, the only university whose faculty are not insecure about the chaos and color of my CV.
And now, I am back working for an international development organization, quietly working to spur progress in the land, especially in the poorest places.
Places where Vice-Rectors and Daughters of university owners and Deans and Chairpersons have never reached, stuck as they are not in the groves, but the graves, of academe.