Saturday, August 23, 2008

Man of the Hour

This title is just apt for Sir Quiwa. Maybe I should listen to the Pearl Jam song of the same title while I'm doing the first draft of the character sketch. These lines encapsulate everything I feel for him, especially now that he's about to retire soon:

And the road
The old man paved
The broken seams along the way
The rusted signs, left just for me
He was guiding me, love, his own way
Now the man of the hour is taking his final bow
As the curtain comes down
I feel that this is just g'bye for now*
I'd forgotten that we were only supposed to do a character sketch. A thousand words isn't much; that's just three pages of double-spaced paragraphs. I guess I confused my own desire to learn more about him with what we were required to do in a thousand words: present a vivid portrait of the chosen subject using facts and anecdotes. I thought I needed to know him inside out, to put a label on all of his ideas and motivations. I'd forgotten that an artist paints what she sees, and what she thinks she sees; she has no real knowledge about her subject, only what she has seen and heard and deduced on her own. I had thought that this was simply a limitation that I had to overcome. Unfortunately, it's the limitation that shapes perception; we cannot ever truly know one another as we know ourselves. When writing about another person, I must always write from the viewpoint of the outsider; in this case, the student in awe of the maestro.

I cannot adequately quantify the good that he has done me, as well as the other Computer Science (CS) majors past and present. Many of his lessons are exemplified in his conduct: he never misses a class, never turns away a student in need. His door is open to all who approach him, whether delinquent or star student. He recognizes his role as a shaper of minds and fulfills it with utmost seriousness. I don't think I've ever known anyone whose genuine concern and love of work equals his; maybe I never will. It saddens me to think that, a few years from now, future batches of CS students won't even know him. By the time they set foot in Engineering and the CS department's new building, one of the department's founding fathers would have already gone. The man of the hour is taking his final bow.

One of my teachers said that we, as his students, are Sir Quiwa's legacy. A teacher's influence spreads at an exponential rate: his students will go on to influence others – friends, family, coworkers, their own students for those who become teachers. One cannot underestimate the power of a teacher to change the course of his students' lives. The least we can do is to reward his efforts, either by excelling in our chosen fields, or taking the path that he took – the path of self-sacrifice, of endless patience and faith in human potential. His greatness should not, must not come to an end with us – we have been given the task of taking on the mantle he is about to relinquish.

Hopefully my character sketch will do him justice. My original goal had been to understand how he can command the respect of so many people, when he always stays in the background, never taking credit for everything he has done; my interviews and conversations with him have helped me answer this. My new goal, then, is to communicate to others those qualities that make him the man of the hour. I hope that my words, like the brush strokes of an artisan, will portray him with the vibrancy and warmth that endears him to everyone he meets. I truly hope so.

I'll be posting the final draft of my character sketch here, as well as the final drafts of the other essays I'll be writing for my Creative Writing class. Watch out for them ^^

* the lyrics of Man of the Hour are copyrighted to whomever owns it ^^ they most certainly don't belong to me


jMe said...

wow...:) post mo yung character sketch ha...hehe. grabe...nakaka-miss si sir quiwa. di complete ang CS life ng students pag di nila naging teacher si sir quiwa. :D

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Gah! My brain is 0% mathematical, 40% logical 50% emotional and 10% qizzical! Nice to know the proper ratios though.