Illustration by Esther Abigail Daang
How’s summer, dear reader? Making the most of it, aren’t we? Besides the eat-sleep-eat routine, taking a quick visit to the nearest beach in our most “Instagram-worthy” swimwear and body, catching up with friends, and watching the episodes we’ve missed in a sitcom are only some of the time-consumers we may engage with to beat boredom and the scorching heat in this forsaken land. What about reading then?
Yes. Of course, reading! Reading books, journals, magazines and articles on our wee hours. Oh the sweet smell of new books from the 50 percent off book sale from bookstores, here and there, right? Bookworms would perhaps understand. Feelings aside, the floating library called MV Slogos Hope is in Cebu again after visiting about three years ago, and it has been receiving hype from the locals. Here’s a warning, though: this article is not entirely about featuring MV Logos Hope.
GBA, a German Christian charitable organization which stands for Gute Bücher für Alle (Good Books for All) operates the ship in its non-profit venture around the world. The ferry houses 400 people including the volunteers and crew that represent over 45 different countries. From being built as a car ferry around four decades ago, it has been known now for the “Logos Hope Experience” book fair, lounge and theater situated at the supposedly original car-carrying deck of the ferry. Its accessibility can cater more than hundreds a day as they stay for 2-3 weeks at Pier 1 near Fort San Pedro and Plaza Independencia.
Educational and Christian books of over 5,000 different titles are available and for sale in the book fair. Anyone, who is literate or just visually-entertained enough, is expected to somehow find a book of interest in this banquet of knowledge and wisdom.
However, though there is absolutely nothing wrong with sightseeing and noisy blabber when people come by, it is definitely disturbing to know how one seeks only to get a “selfie” with the place or the crew and have it published on social media to gain some sort of “moral” personal satisfaction and self-esteem.
Though the exploitation of the power of social media would really help in terms of advertising the cause of Logos, Facebook likes would not equate and serve the purpose of the venture —to help those who are in need, to spread the Word and of all, to pursue knowledge.
Funny how they call a bookworm a total creep or an absolute kill-joy for staying indoors reading a new book on a Friday night yet call themselves “civilized” for “catching-up” with friends and talk bull. Isn’t it confusing how people label you “materialistic” when you crave over inanimate objects to ease your gut, yet social status for them is of utmost importance? Have we entirely lost our humanity that instead of actually doing something, we share photos of prayers and hit likes instead? We were supposedly raised to be productive individuals who are not contented with just the thought of “being liked” and seek for respect instead.
This has always been one of the issues involving the current generation, called the the Millennials. Deemed as lazy, socially unaware and politically apathetic, they are also known for having parents that are more conceding to their material and emotional needs and sometimes, luxury. Being emotionally and morally attached with our parents is not a bad thing at all, but having them prepare the path for us instead of independently choosing and molding our own entitles us to a life of indefinite dependence from them. The idea of not knowing how it feels like to fail and persevere deliberately separates Millennials from other generations. Is Rizal’s belief of the youth as the hope of the country in the future lost in this era?
The complacency this generation has settled with in their own comfort zones implies a lack of experience and knowledge. Indeed, technology improves our way of living, but it has also corrupted most of the brilliant ideas instilled in the minds of the people. It does not mean that everything we are looking at in the Internet can also be experienced. Likewise, we cannot always reap the lesson out of every experience we have had, yet we cannot live too long to experience all of them twice just to learn what to do.
With all of this, we fear that making mistakes due to the judgmental eyes around us will get ourselves lost in the crowd as we try to please everyone. Society’s expectations have long been depraved from the core values of proper attitude toward people and goals. We are obsessed with the idea of a number of people over-appreciating our wit and beauty through multiple hits on embedded codes in a pile of HTMLs that we tend to forget to achieve our goals with purpose, both personal and communal. Perhaps, now is the time to reel and give things we love doing a shot. After all, our life is not measured as how we attained our “precious” social status, but it is measured with how much we have contributed, regardless of manner, to the lives of those around us while we are still breathing.
So in order to have, as for the meantime, a fruitful and productive summer, other than gossiping and being a futile part of the society, let us try reading more and getting engaged. Maybe the slightest chance of us finding ourselves relieved as we permit ourselves out of the prison of society’s deranged expectations is minimal at first glance, but it is a law that the more massive the load is, the stronger the effect of gravity. Hence, free of expectations means freedom to do anything. Experience and knowledge then come right after in different proportions but in equivalent sums.
As promised, the entirety of the article did not revolve around MV Logos Hope. Online articles and Wiki have fairly discussed the ferry’s history, amenities and operations. The website of the ship also shows her future visits and more. Additionally, the books being sold at the book fair are reasonably cheaper than those found in Cebu’s famous bookstores. Hence, it just does not bring hope to those who are financially in need but hope for those who need knowledge and wisdom in life too. Thus, let us grab one and do charity without the “I-bought-a-book-from-Logos-Hope-I-restored-faith-in-humanity-yaaaay!” selfie. Books are investments for a wealthy, healthy mind. They are not meant to stay on the shelves forever.