Thursday, December 02, 2004

Requiem

Sir Alexander Alix, quintessential Pisay trigo and calculus teacher, passed away recently due to cirrhosis of the liver. There's a service for him at Pisay tomorrow, Dec. 3, Friday. Since I doubt I can go, I'll say my piece here.

Alix was a helluva guy. Friendly and gets well with the students. And he gave high grades. Seriously. He gave me flat 1.0s (highest possible grade) for all four quarters of fourth year math. Now, not to brag, when I was in high school, math was my thing. Seriously, I could breeze through my high school math classes in my sleep. And few of my batch mates will contradict me when I say I was one of the best, if not the best in math in our batch. (That last part is debatable, some people might contest it. :p) The point of this is not me bragging, since I do that often, it's nothing special. No, the point is that I seldom took math period seriously. I often spent math class doodling something in my notebooks, at least on those occasions that I had a pen.

On one such math class, Alix caught me and a classmate (you know who you are...) passing around a hand-drawn comic strip in class. (During my high school days, I often spent my free energy drawing such small strips about classroom happenings, particularly in the second year. Alas, none of the aforementioned high-school artworks have survived. But I digress.) I got a severe tongue-lashing for that one, something along the lines of "No matter how good you are at math, you can't just goof off in class." I felt quite bad about the incident, not only because I got to eat some humble pie in front of the class, but mostly because I felt like I had disappointed the guy. It's not that I don't goof off in other classes, I certainly do; but I felt that Alix expected more of me, since for some reason he believed me to be a good student. I didn't have the nerve to respond or apologize to him about this, I just took my tongue-lashing in silence. I wish I had told him I was sorry. I realize this is such a small, trivial matter, but God knows I like to obsess over small, trivial matters.

In any case, cheers to you sir Alix, wherever you may be. I don't spend much time with the other alumni, but over the past few days, I've seen the news of your passing spread through the online Pisay alumni community quickly, and many are planning to be there Friday. Rest well, sir Alix, and know that your students look back at you fondly.

4 comments:

btflpenguin said...

Sir Alix wasn't particularly one of my favorite math teachers, but then again i wasn't as able in math as you were (think borderline bubing). My first comment when I heard about his passing was "manginginom pala si sir". It turns out he took the chosen few out for drinks sometimes. And this was true for the many batches of Pisay people he taught. It must be something to leave such a legacy -- not the drinking of course, but all that algebra/pre-calculus.
ang haba na nito pero may tanong pa ako -- sino si entertainment capital?

Roy said...

I guess he did drink often since it was cirrhosis, but at least it never showed during his classes, I believe. Lots of people drink -- I guess it doesn't really change my opinion of the man.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Peng, (or is it still Sushie?). It's me, "Entertainment Capital". Since my account's on LJ, Roy and I anonymously comment in each other's blogs.

In the year that Sir Alix was my boss, he was, as far as I could tell, completely sober all of the time I was around. He convinced me that Pisay should destructure the calculus curriculum and to trickle it down the lower years, as he was teaching it partly in third year, though not as extreme as my urging to find a way to lower the function analysis parts of it (pertinent for lab reports) somehow to second (or first!) year. (He fully supported my move to teach bridge in Math 7 for the second semester, by the by.)

His cirrhosis was probably due to earlier bouts of heavy drinking. From what I hear, his drinking buddies were the heavy drinkers in campus. The year after I left, he started having fainting spells. Prior even to that, he has had bouts of high blood pressure, though that could be as likely caused by teaching stress as by liver problems, I have heard.

btflpenguin said...

it's when people pass on that you realize how sayang the opportunity was to really get to know them. when Sir Alix was my teacher, (or any math teacher, kasi nga i didn't and still don't like math) all i remember was looking at my watch waiting for free cut to occur. Pero si sir nagbibigay ng leakage, sorta like near the exams biglang buhos ng math (that i still did not get, btw) tapos lalabas pala yon sa exam. That's the extent of my memory. Kakainggit lang siguro yung mga students who were actually friends with him.
it's peng now, and not sushie. at mike, pwede ba kita i-link?