Friday, July 24, 2015

A different Friday

I feel specially melancholic today. Perhaps it's because of what's happened in the office. Some may say what kind of awful person I am for being too affected by what is happening in the office. Yes, it seems like I am the kind of person who lacks life outside the four corners (or even more) of the workplace. But what happened today is different.

For the second time, a colleague of mine died.

I came in early in the office, minutes earlier than I used to. It made me happy. It was an achievement. So I went in the office with a smile on my face, larger than what I used to sport when I arrive a bit late. When I got to my area, three of my colleagues were talking in low voices, with a sullen look on their faces. I heard them talking and wondering what happened to this certain person and that they just talked to him earlier this week. I asked one of them what was happening. I was finally told that our colleague, who I will name Jerry in order to protect his identity, died this morning. I was in shock. I just saw him last Monday and I even talked to him. There was no evidence of any sickness that might signal us of his impending demise, although he looked very sleepy during the training we had earlier this week.

                                                           Artwork by Rose Wong's Art

Later today, I learned that he died because of heart attack. Apparently, he had burdened himself with some personal problems, which may have caused him stress that led to his cardiac arrest. Our deputy representative called all those present in the office to talk about the situation. She shared that one lesson to be learned from what happened is that there are times that it would be helpful to talk with your colleagues and chat them over their life outside of the office. In that way, it can help lighten their load if ever they are carrying heavy ones in their own personal lives. She encouraged us to make it our personal mission to foster such kind of relations at least with one person in the office.

Throughout the day, I was sullen. It was just relieved by a presentation of one colleague on inter-faith dialogue and peacebuilding. It felt good to learn new things, share ideas, and interact with people outside my unit. I was even praised by our Country Representative for an idea I shared during the session. How generous with praise he is!

However, the joy brought by the approval was snatched away by this urgent administrative matter in the office that does not merit much space in this blog, hence I will not speak much about it. But I do hope it will be settled come Monday.

The rest of the day, I felt cheerless. I hope tomorrow will be a better one.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A glimpse of me, more than a decade ago

Below is a transcript of my salutatory speech back in highschool. I made a soft copy of it in order to keep a memory, not to brag. I dare not brag about it because I cringe at most aspects of it - some ideas on it, some words used, the grammar and punctuation, among others. Nonetheless, give me the liberty to "fossilize" this keepsake from the past.

           Distinguished guests, Ms. Principal, members of the faculty, fellow graduates, ladies and gentlemen, my friends, I feel deeply honored for having been given this opportunity to speak before a gathering of intellectuals and men and women of the academe, our dearest parents, and my fellow graduates.

            Today is the day of yet another great achievement for all of us and a crowning glory of our struggle over a laborious period of time in search of knowledge, truth and enlightenment.
            It isn’t easy to say farewell after four long years of sweet and unforgettable camaraderie and friendship, but go we must, for our stay in this institution is over. We may keep these fond memories that we shared together. But we are grownups now. We must act more maturely and try to measure up to what our mentors expect of us, the best we can.

            Our school has prepared us for greater and perhaps more difficult adventure in life – that is college education. After all, it’s every school’s concern and objective not just to turn out graduates but to ensure that every graduate is well prepared and equipped with the necessary skill and knowledge to be able to pursue higher education. Thus, it is the school’s first initiative: to focus on the outcomes or the quality of education of the would-be graduates must acquire in the course of their study.

            To me, education isn’t all about academics. It isn’t all about getting high grades either. It is during education that one must also develop good traits and values everyone needs to be successful in life. Being a class valedictorian or a salutatorian is not a passport to success, for knowledge without values is doomed to fail. More often than not, it’s the individual who have developed good moral characters in their early years that reap happiness and success late in their lives. Being genuinely happy is an ultimate success. That’s why our teachers, our second parents in school, are being tasked to mold us into a better person, better graduates, for better outcomes.

            It is the pride of every education institution to produce a great number of graduates that would someday become models of the society. The destiny of any nation, big or small, is determined by how their leaders give importance to literacy and the quality of education among its population.

            So my fellow graduates, let us all thrive to excel as we take another journey towards our goals. Let’s pray to God for our guidance along the way. And of course, we must be grateful to our parents for their sacrifices.

            To our beloved mentors, our grateful heart now bids goodbye, to our Alma Mater, from whose fountain of wisdom and virtue we’ve imbibed deeply, a fond farewell. To our friends and classmates who went along in the search of knowledge, thank you and so long.

            We shall go our different ways, but wherever we are, the memories of our dear St. Emilene Academe will truly spur us to greater achievements.

            To all, a pleasant goodbye and Godspeed.