Think Creatively, Dream Big!

What a cheesy title. Even I barfed a little. But no better way to make your point clearer than to put it in the title, I guess? 

I have had enough weirdness these past couple of days. I just finished a book that I was so excited about at the beginning but it became completely weird towards the end. This is however, unrelated to what I will be talking about, but it was such a confusing letdown that I had to squeeze in a bit of a rant. I now have a new addition to the random thoughts keeping me up at night, thank you very much! 

But the weirdness did not stop there. The weirdness continued when I reactivated my Facebook account only to be welcomed by a new trend. 

I am left in awe at how amazing Filipino netizens are at pioneering new trends on social media. But this time, they pioneered something towards a really weird place — particularly to Harvard University. 

Apparently, Filipinos have flocked the Facebook page of Harvard, telling stories about their supposed moments and memories in the university through the comment section. Of course, the stories were posted by people who did not actually go to Harvard, but simply did it out of fun. Yes, weird. 

The flock of comments began from photos Harvard posted, showing the campus being quiet and peaceful, compared to its usual crowd of students because of the pandemic. There came the Filipino netizens reminiscing moments that never really happened. Not even going to lie, the comments were funny and creative. Filipino are naturally witty storytellers! 

This eventually led to the university garnering over 300,000 additional likes on its Facebook. Analytics on its page have shown 18.6 million interactions in a span of one week, with only four posts. The interactions were a combination of likes, comments, and shares. 

But despite the humor and weirdness that fascinated me, apparently not everyone shared the same sentiments. 

Some people, a combination of other Filipinos and real Harvard students were appalled saying that Filipinos were being an embarrassment and that they acted  as such because they have the lowest IQ in Southeast Asia. 

Although the IQ thing was actually based on research, it was uncalled for and quite a big insult for a trend that did not really hurt anyone. 

In fact, if Miriam Defensor Santiago were alive she probably would gasp at the foul remarks on Filipino intelligence. She actually briefly studied at Harvard, among other top tier universities around the world, and is considered one of the brightest minds. She is only one of the rather decent line of Filipinos who not only graduated studied at Harvard, but also excelled their degrees there. 

I guess not everyone has a creative bone in their body. Also, for those claiming that the comments surfaced photos with actual Harvard students, therefore putting them on the spotlight, need I remind you that the photos were actually posted on social media, and therefore for the public’s eye? Also, it was not like anyone was insulting or attacking anyone in particular. 

The randomness and weirdness of the trend has made me realize something important though. 

Perhaps, Filipinos are the pioneer of many odd social media trends because it is an escapism for us. Social media gives us a platform to be creative and witty, and sometimes a good laughter is what we need. 

As for the Harvard trend in particular, I think mostly it was sparked by Filipinos’ desire to become someone bigger, even if only through dreams or creative storytelling. 

Filipino culture does not really teach us to be big dreamers. Instead, it teaches us to be practical, putting it above passion or anything that gives joy. It is why creative fields are not as appreciated here than they are elsewhere. This of course stems from our society that is broken and unable to fully support its people. But this is all the more reason to dream big and channel in our inner creativity. 

The Philippines is already confined by so much wrongness. Education has become a lot harder to access during this time; jobs have become even more impossible than they already were; and the ability to live an adequate life, has become farther for many. So who is to say dreaming about Harvard or anything for that matter is bad?