Monday, June 30, 2008


Ah. You philosophy types. How you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.

As always I woke up at 4:30 this morning, to begin the weekly grind. I was on campus at 6, to avoid the 7 to 8 gridlock. I saw a guard pedal away from my building, and when I entered the foyer there was no one to greet me good morning at the reception desk. I went up the second floor and as always, I was the one to turn on the corridor lights. A jiggle of keys, I unlocked the bolt and the door knob. Having not slept well the night before, my brain went on autopilot. Turned on the AC, the computer, the water dispenser. I turned on the radio, I didn't know the volume was turned up so loud. The door opened and a guard's behatted head popped in. He said he heard the noise. I said I didn't think the volume was turned up so loud. A twenty second exchange and he went on his way. I thought nothing of it, but I don't recall guards ever being so suspicious.

I remembered to bring coffee and tea with me from home. A sip of the two-week old pasteurised milk in the fridge. Still tasted ok. I fixed myself some tea, a habit I picked up in Oz. Flip, flip, flipped the pages. I pretended to look at my notes while waiting for the cursory time to go downstairs and have my first smoke. They moved the smocket further from my building, a good one hundred meters away. I noticed there were more guards outside, looking busy with their walkie talkies. I thought nothing of it. Puffed quietly on my rollies, while looking at the cars gridlocked on Katipunan. The chaos beyond the gate was a world away from the green trees and the greener grass field.

Ten minutes, and I made my way back to the foyer. Two or three guards in the foyer. My they were busy. One asked me where I was going. "Sa Philosophy Department kayo?" I said no. I thought he was probably new, and so he didn't recognise me. After all, I've been gone for a year and half. I took my coffee cup and toothbrush and went to the toilet. Right next to the Philosophy department. On my way I saw a faculty member in a dark blue shirt close the door behind him and walked out. I attempted the beginnings of a smile, but he didn't seem inclined. These philosophy types. Always moody. Rinse, rinse, rinse. Cup and teeth were clean. A couple more philo professors were in deep conversation near the stairwell. I went back in my own department, put my face on, and prepared my paraphernalia. 7:25, I lock my department. There were more strange activities in the corridor. The guards had cordonned off the Philo department. Must be some event.

Three hours zipped by in pure language fun. 10:25, I walked back to my building, and saw my friend and colleague M. Even more people and security walking out and about. "What's going on?" M. pulled me in the sanctuary of our office. "Someone committed suicide in the Philo department last night. Do you know L***** T*****?"

All the air rushed out of my body. He was my student. M. heard he suffocated. He was taking his masters and was enrolled in my class on audit. He didn't show up regularly but it was ok, he didn't need to. I saw him last Wednesday. He seemed fine. He even laughed at my silly jokes. They always do.

Oh you philosophy types - your mind anguished by the metaphysical. Place your feet on firm ground. Live.

Edited to add:

Well. The incident has made it to the news.

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