Destroying a myth
FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2018 - 12:00am

I’m still savoring the taste and mirth of the recently concluded successful 100th year celebration of Upsilon Sigma Phi which was attended by more than half of the entire membership of the fraternity from all over the world.  But alas, even before the last lights were turned off or before the last hurrah was said,  a dark sinister  move was ensuing.  A private online chat of  two or three of the newly minted student Upsilonians, still not fully socialized to the fraternity ways and traditions, was maliciously hacked and thrown open for everybody to read in cyber space. Admittedly the contents of the chat are horrible, reprehensible and condemnable: misogynistic views, racial slurs, anti Muslim, anti gays and lesbians. Even the resident Upsilonians were shocked and angry that such kind of behavior or thinking exists in the fraternity.  They immediately condemned the abhorrent conversation and asked for disciplinary actions. 

The Diliman head of Upsilon known as Illustrious Fellow, Girard Sirios, was understandably upset.  Considering that this chat was hacked and considering further that this is an era of fake news, he wanted to ferret out the truth himself. Has the conversation been enhanced or made to appear worse than what it was? For him every member is precious and he is not about to throw the student brods to the angry crowd crying for blood. If all were said and correctly quoted, they should be answerable  for their acts. But this would be glorifying the hacker who committed the criminal act and whose aim is to destroy or malign Upsilon, which the Illustrious Fellow vowed to protect.  On another thought,  can anyone be so angry at the whole world or is this a case of mental disorder?

Upon publication of these malicious leaks, immediately vicious attacks were hurled at Upsilon, condemning the whole fraternity for the views of the three student brods who barely warmed their seats as members. Unreasonably, these critics want every Upsilonian tarred with the same brush. Others who were non-members took a sober approach and defended Upsilon as this was a private conversation not intended for public consumption, but illegally hacked and maliciously spread for the purpose of condemning and maligning the entire fraternity.  

People care for Upsilon. Either you love them or you hate them. I am not an Upsilonian (nor a member of its sister sorority Sigma Delta Sorority), but I have made many friends of the frat brods and applauded many of their good deeds. 

I am so concerned about the mudslinging as my partner for many years is an Upsilonian and a devout Muslim. I have witnessed how the entire fraternity treated him with utmost respect, almost reverential. It never crossed my mind that his being a Muslim mattered at all.   I had the privilege of attending most of their socials and even their intimate gatherings.  I can say that there is uniformity in Upsilonians’ attitude toward women.  They adore them all.

As far as I know Upsilon is not a monolithic or homogenous group. It has princes, as it has paupers, macho men as there are gays, there are Catholics, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists and agnostics or simply non believers! Indeed one can be lost in the forest of the very diverse personalities of Upsilon membership.

I say good luck to those who wish Upsilon ill. Consider these:

Scores of Upsilonians led the revolutionary left and some died for this noble cause, their names forever etched in the hearts of every revolutionary and engraved in the memorials of EDSA.  On the other hand there were Upsilonian military generals on the opposite  camp. Their noble aims transversed one another and lives were sacrificed in the altar of heroism. Did this destroy the Upsilon? No.

Then there was the proverbial political duel between Upsilonians Ferdinand Marcos and  Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino. The Upsilonians aligned themselves which ever way. Politically they were hopelessly divided. Did  this destroy Upsilon?  It strengthened them all the more.

We witnessed the court room drama during the  impeachment proceedings of Joseph “Erap” Estrada between Upsilonians Titong Mendoza and Joker Arroyo, standing on opposite ends of the spectrum. Upsilonians were cheering on each side. Afterwards fierce debate ensued as to who did better. Did this break Upsilon?

In the recent elections, the Upsilon egroup was burning with heated arguments either for Roxas or for Duterte. An outsider whispered to me that Upsilon was breaking up because of divergent and fierce personal political arguments in the Internet.  Unknown to the outsider, even during the election fever, there was never personal animosity from within.

The celebration, the  singing and the shouting of proud and confident Upsilonians still reverberate in my mind. “The years cannot break us”. . . “weld us together like true and tempered steel.”

* * *

Johannes Hopmans, RNU, of Batangas City, reacts to the goal of newly appointed Manila Yacht Club Commodore Robert “Bobby” Joseph to save Manila Bay. His letter goes thus:

“Dear Ma’am Domini,

“I was happy to read your column on Commodore Joseph’s goal to clean up Manila Bay. But that is only part of the story. The Philippines is one of the five worst polluted countries in the world with respect to plastics floating  in the ocean.

“Should there not be a nationwide campaign to stop that? I think a campaign carried on television reaches many people. Maybe they can involve the ROTC for educating the people. (That is better than military drills.)

“But to be honest I am disappointed about the inaction in this field.

“ I see people throwing away plastic bottles on the side of the road. 

These end up in the sea.”

* * *



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