Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ambeth Ocampo's "Queridas ni Rizal" Lecture at the Ayala Musem

Bf, ever the fanboy, wanted to attend Ambeth Ocampo's new lecture. I was impressed with the famed historian's previous lecture so I readily agreed.

Ayala Museum was already bursting with people when we arrived. We had no choice but to stand at the back.

All of us Pinoys know who Jose Rizal is. We've been taught stuff about him since we were tiny snotty brats. Still, Ambeth had to clarify:

No, Rizal was NOT Hitler's dad.

(But he might have or might not have been Jack the Ripper.)

Rizal has always been put on a pedestal by most teachers and historians. He was the perfect son, the perfect student, yadda yadda. He was virtually untouchable. Anyone who disagreed would be struck down and taken to a private field trip, never to be heard from again. Sure, Jose got involved with several girls but those girls were more of admirers who our hero found impolite to turn down. Jose was always serious and pure. He wouldn't have become as great as he was if he wasted time with vices or clowning around.

Ambeth Ocampo's Queridas ni Rizal lecture at the Ayala Museum

In Ambeth's lecture, he took Rizal off his pedestal and put him in the same room as us. We realized that Rizal was not perfect. He was not a demigod, but a human being just like us. He joked around, ribbed his friends, engaged in activities his parents would not have approved of. He didn't walk majestically, living and breathing heroism every freaking day. He also had his share of doubts and regrets, as well as cowardice when it came to romantic matters, which led to a string of broken-hearted women.

In short, he was normal.

The audience appreciated this approach in tackling Rizal's private life. It was refreshing and inspirational to know that we flawed mortals could be awesome too. After all, Rizal is a hero, not a god. What good is a hero if his greatness can't be emulated, right?

---

Aside from the lecture, we also got Ambeth's new book Chulalongkorn's Elephants.

Ambeth Ocampo's book Chulalongkorn's Elephants





Ambeth Ocampo's "Queridas ni Rizal" Lecture
Ayala Musem
Makati City, Metro Manila
September 10, 2011


21 comments:

  1. i loved rizal without the overcoat, i hope to read ambeth's new book soon =)

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    1. I haven't read that one but I heard that it is good :)

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  2. I've always loved Rizal back in HS & College. Although he may have been painted a picture of being the 'Perfect Person', I've always known that he was also flawed. No one's really that perfect. :P Sayang, would've loved to hear Ambeth talk about Rizal rin.

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    1. True. Some history books don't mention his imperfections tho. Which is a shame, because his flaws made him more likeable to me. :D

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  3. Honestly, Rizal lectures bored me to the bones! I only had a good time when I was in high school, when our teacher talked about his "normal life" instead of the heroic side. This book sure is interesting.

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    1. I sympathize, I know what you mean. Which is why I enjoyed this lecture. It was not a bombardment of chronological information like in typical textbooks and classroom settings. The approach was less serious, with some juicy tidbits. :)

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  4. I love Ambeth Ocampo's different take on Philippine history. He always manages to make it very contemporary.

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  5. i have always wanted to attend lectures of Ambeth Ocampo but didn't have a chance until the Rizal @ 150 Passport launched. Embarking on this journey that retrace our national hero's steps both here and abroad helped me to see and know the pre-national hero Jose Rizal and i appreciated him more now that i see him as a person just like me -or any of us!!!

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    1. Your journey is pretty amazing. You get to see the things that Jose Rizal experienced during his lifetime.

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  6. now I am curious.. who is Ambeth Ocampo? would love to hear his lectures too!.. won't make me sleep I hope :)

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    1. He's a Filipino historian (the one standing beside Rizal in the poster above). You won't feel sleepy in his lectures, I guarantee you that :)

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  7. Me, too. Haven't heard about Ambeth Ocampo. I agree with what you say that Rizal seems to have always been portrayed as a perfect man. Perhaps it is nice to hear more about his imperfections. hehe. Planning to go to Dapitan this year though, maybe I'll learn more about him there. :)

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  8. i knew rizal from memorising the whole book of noli me tang ere during my high school years and yes this guy made an action putting off rizal to his pedestal and knowing that rizal is just a normal people is quite amazing as well how he helped and been to our history! amazing still.. xx

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    1. Yup his contributions were really remarkable.

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  9. if only RIZAL had lived in this modern world...
    he would not be considered BABAERO.
    Why? Simply because, he seemed to be loyal
    to one woman at a certain time and he never
    fathered a bunch of children unlike the so called
    modern MAGINOO pero medyo BASTOS.

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    1. You have a point. But in the modern world, I expect Rizal would have tons of groupies. Just my hunch. :)

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  10. Nakaka curious. As in hindi seryosong Rizal. That's nice.

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  11. lahat naman ng hero may normal na life before they became one. ehehehe. would have loved to be on that lecture. i wonder what's the connection/relevance of the Philippines on those elephants...hehehe

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    1. Well a bit trivial but Chulanglongkorn's Elephants refer to bronze elephants that the King of Thailand gave Singapore and Indonesia in 1871. The book's first essay touched on the royal visits to colonial Philippines.

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  12. I never imagined womanizing was existent during Rizal's time (its just me). XD

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