Hall of Ghosts

This year’s Halloween fell on a Saturday and it’s Sunday now. I had not noticed earlier, but the past few days were symptomatic of Halloween – little kids dressed up as a batman or superman here and there. Streets were riddled with those masked marauders and while my thoughts were still largely under that ominous cloud of tragedy, i.e. law school, these little kids provided a break by bringing in a laugh or two. Come to think of it, it’s a different kind of stress in class these days. Maybe we can call it “good” stress and “bad” stress. The “good” stress is much like making a model – it’s tough but at least you know you’re getting somewhere. The “bad” kind gives you the impression that all the work is just pointless – pro forma. Among the few that come to mind immediately are Negotiable Instruments Law (NIL) and Public International Law (PIL).

The NIL is just ancient. Heck, our textbook is still from 1994 and basically all the cases are from US Jurisprudence. I guess there’s just not enough material locally – so I just don’t get the point of studying this law unless I was planning on specializing on it (or God forbid, teaching it). The standard answer is always the Bar – yes, that nonsensical test that’s almost so general it’s ridiculous, but I’ll save a word or two for another time. (Btw, it’s almost bar season!)

PIL, however, is another story. The reason of my despising this course is just because of the professor. It’s a tragedy that as the semester went on I honestly started to find the subject matter interesting. The irony of it all is that it was the professor that blocked my learning. I ask myself: how could I have expected anything else. He’s a politician now and probably the only reason why we’re having class is merely to suit his networking purposes. Well and good for those that have something to offer him – either a good last name or just about any service. It’s a quid pro quo world out here more than I’d like to admit. Even among the mortals/fodder in the student body. Gone are the undergrad days when you could just relax and chill with your buddies while forgetting totally about the stress of academic life (which to be fair, only arrived during midterms and finals weeks).


In other news, I’m a junior now. It’s scary how fast time flies. It was yesterday when our Transportation law professor mentioned how different it was to teach juniors after teaching freshmen. That was when it hit me – have two years gone by already? So many things have happened along the way and even as school life gets progressively crappier and nonsensical, there’s still that light at the end of the tunnel that I can be a lawyer someday, for what it’s worth. Now on my third year, it’s not so surprising now why a lot of people think most lawyers go to hell (haha, do people still believe in hell these days?). It’s basically a lawyer’s job to bullshit, and I’m using it in a more nuanced sense and not simply as it is commonly known which is “to lie.” Lots of professors have said once or twice, “There are many ways to skin a cat.” While I object to the image, I understand that there are several ways to spin a story. It really is never about the truth but what you can prove. It’s glorified storytelling. It’s a fiction – legal fiction – and the rules on evidence are its dramatic tools, much like how plot, character, setting are tools in literary fiction. And to bullshit necessarily requires an ambivalence of character, i.e. – being two-faced, or maybe n-faced – a skill eminently prized within the walls of Malcolm Hall.

I am saddened that I haven’t been writing as much as I should. I miss the movement of my fingers on the pad and the running of the cursor as it moves from left to right. It’s the closest thing to an art form that I’m capable of doing and it’s wasting away in exchange for reading cases I’ll never use and provisions that are never applied.

It’s easy for me to see Malcolm Hall now as just some kind of purgatory, but where some souls don’t know where they are. We walk around going to class, recite, and walk around school some more. I stop and look at some of the alumni of the school and wonder how were they like when they were studying. Were things the same now as they were then? Most likely not. All that’s left of them are their ghosts, lingering among the souls of the dead and dying left in the hall.


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