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Lillian Kay L.

Wanawan Synthesis Paper 1

Y-0232 07/ 12/10

Rizal and Beyond:

The Irony of Symbols and the Definitiveness of Symbols

On Rizal

Rizal has been a permanent fixture in my life. I recall reading about him when i was a

kid. I learned a lot, apart from his being the national hero. Of course, being a kid, i was

fascinated by how he lead his life.

But then i did not realize his significance. perhaps i treated him like my fictional “super”

heroes. However, slowly, i now realize that i have a lot to learn from him.

Years after his death, Rizal has become a symbol. That is, we have different impressions

and different interpretations of him.

On Symbols and Complications

It was mentioned in my sociology class that “symbols are powerful”. And that symbols

can “invoke emotions”. For example, one of the most popular symbols during the campaign

period was the yellow ribbon . When the Filipino public sees this, they interpret it as our new

President’s symbol. even that hand gesture depicting the letter “L” made a statement. However,

it has several meanings, these include love, loser, or laban, more importantly. It is fascinating

how one gesture could have different meanings. How we interpret these symbols depend in the

context−where and when it is used. indeed, symbols are powerful. even without uttering a word,

we can understand each other.

However, symbols could also make communication complicated. As what was mentioned

in class, symbols are open to interpretations.

Ironic, as it maybe, but true (personally, at least). On the Internet alone, with the rising
popularity of online networking sites comes an equal increase in symbols spread through it.

Once, when I was an Internet “newbie”, I was “chatting” with a friend, and apparently I said

something funny, so she typed LOL. I was appalled but I had enough sense to check the online

“urban” dictionary. As it tuned out, LOL actually meant laughing out loud, and not what I first

had in mind. Evidently, I had presumed that it was short for ulol, a Tagalog word for stupid.

On Signs and Limitations

It was discussed in class, a sign has a definite meaning. Thus, it is not open to multiple

interpretations. And I think can be associated to permanence. The assigned meaning to a sign

would remain as long as it exists.

There is an inherent authority with signs. In contrast to symbols, signs are less confusing.

And less prone to misinterpretations, since most signs are universal.

On the highways alone, numerous signs greet motorists. They serve to maintain order, in

this case, on traffic.

On the Coexistence of Symbols and Signs

The world offers a vast pool of signs and symbols. It is just up to us to differentiate them.

It requires effort to do so, though. And perhaps deep analysis.

We must be cautious in dealing with signs or symbols. As what was mentioned earlier,

both pose usefulness in our everyday lives. Thus, it is up to us to take them and make them work

to our advantage given that we have clear understanding of which things are symbols and which

are signs.

Through time, the number of symbols and signs increase. It helps if we keep ourselves

updated as the using them is a given in order to exist in society.