Transformation –> Relationships. Or, stitching together our wounded world

Originally posted on Facebook on 26 May 2013.

I was asked to give a short talk yesterday for an event honoring volunteers working with Hands on Manila. I wasn’t even supposed to be there, but a friend had recommended me to her friend who happened to be one of the organizers and well, that was that. The talk and the slides were hastily assembled about two hours before the whole shebang and it was mostly pulled out of my ass (and the deepening conversations with friends just before that), so this is an attempt to get it out of my head and write it down in a more coherent form.

Transformation –> Relationships. Or, stitching together our wounded world.

Hi, my name is Ica. I won’t talk about the work I do, because I wear a lot of hats, and most importantly, because everyone here is a carrier or volunteer of some kind of awesome initiative anyway, and I don’t think my initiatives are more important than those of you kindness revolutionaries here. (I salute all of you.)

What I do want to talk about tonight though is something that I believe is at the core of any kind of work that aims towards “social transformation”–may it be classical development work, volunteerism, charity, whatever you want to call it. Everyone in this room knows this, on some level, but let me put it out there: at the end of the day, change making is all about relationships. Let me say it again. Relationships. And that entails the relationships we have with ourselves, with each other, and with our world/s.

Continue reading “Transformation –> Relationships. Or, stitching together our wounded world”

“Wag mo lang gawin ang hindi ikaw.”

Originally posted here

Had an interesting conversation with the young’uns during this morning’s cabinet meeting. While our principals were defending their budget lines, four of us spent the intervening five hours chatting about how we’d ended up in government. The most arresting narrative was from J, who handles the day-to-day ops of our Secretary for the Interior and Local Government. She comes from a local political clan, worked on him for her undergraduate thesis, interfaced during the 2010 campaign—but what struck me the most was what SILG gave as marching orders when they began. He said to her, “Wag mo lang gawin ang hindi ikaw”. Just don’t do anything that isn’t you—or to steal from a Janet Jackson song, just be yourself, and let that be your guide.

It makes me wonder: how can one carry out those orders when the Self is thrust inside an institution the negates the self?

Maybe the Self has to be so strong that no institution could ever break it.