Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Asi identity in the age of globalization (4)

(Last of four parts of commencement address to the graduating class, Class of 2012, Sibale Academy, 23 March 2012, Concepcion Parish Church, Concepcion, Romblon)

With education, you will gain enough confidence to be in the labor market. This market, by the way, is very competitive and open only to the skilled and the educated. It is blind to race, religion, color, nor creed. Remember, we are in the Knowledge century where brainpower, not manpower or muscle, commands a premium. Only if you acquire an education that you can fully participate in the continuing knowledge debate happening at every turn in a highly globalized, flat world.

After my graduation from high school, I had never doubted, despite my family’s poverty, that I will finish college. My grandparents on my father’s side were barely able to read and write. On my mother’s side, my grandfather finished only grade seven under the American system, but he was fluent in spoken and written English. My father never reached high school; neither my mother. But all of them had inculcated in us the value of education. In my family, so strong was our desire to pursue college education that as I look back now, I couldn’t believe that all my brothers and sisters, except one, finished our courses in college through sheer hard work and tremendous sacrifices. And I am very proud of our achievement.

It is fortunate that you and I grew up in an island where the tradition to acquire an education to be able to make it in life is very strong. Our parents go through so much pain and sacrifice so that we can be educated. And rightly so. With limited land and other resources, they are convinced that education is the only ticket out of the socio-economic shackles of Sibale.

So I sincerely believe that most, if not all of you, will continue to college after high school, if only to affirm this education tradition, and to sustain the record of Sibale as the municipality in Romblon which has the highest literacy rate and with the highest number of university graduates. You can check this fact with the National Statistics Office.

The fourth life-long learning that could be useful to you after your graduation is to learn the values of sacrifice, tenacity, and diligence. I know that these concepts are not new to you. For four years, you have already invested a lot in acquiring a high school diploma, perhaps, sometimes skipping the luxury of a new shirt or dress just to save a little money for books or tuition; or perhaps skipping a meal just to make it to the next day. Your parents have also done as much, perhaps, foregoing the little luxury of a drink during a fiesta, or at the worst, postponing a visit to a doctor just to save for your school allowance.

Well, you are not alone. Students before you have suffered the same. I know many Sibalenhons who have been through such adversities and have triumphed. They are an inspiration. I myself experienced terrible difficulties in my college days. Before I finished my degree, I did a lot of odd jobs as many of my classmates and peers can attest. I did poultry farm work; worked in a hollow blocks factory; became a barker in a jeepney terminal; sold real estate and insurance; and bought and sold junk. But I hang on to my dream and chased my star as if it was the only thing that mattered. The good news is that the rewards for those sacrifices, when they come as they did to me, are immense and very self-fulfilling.

So, don’t ever lose hope, or be discouraged. Be patient and hang on to your dreams. Persevere. Be diligent and work harder. Don’t be distracted. Stay focused, for you will eventually succeed and get your reward as countless others before you had.

The last, and the most important, life-long learning that has helped me and I am sure will help you is to cultivate your faith in God. Coming from a writer who has a different perspective about many things, you wouldn’t believe it but the most constant in my life philosophy is the belief that nothing in this world ever happens without the knowledge and dictate of the Creator from whom all things, including knowledge, emanate.

You have gone to a Catholic school, so I am sure you need not be reminded that faith move mountains. When all else fails, when you are down and seem vulnerable to temptation and despair, the only remaining anchor that can save you from total moral and spiritual devastation is God. Never mind religion, but mind your faith. We have our moral duty which is, according to George Washington, is inseparably connected with human happiness. That moral duty is first and foremost to the Heavenly Father. If we obey it, no storm on this earth should and could ever extinguish the light that our faith in God keeps burning in our hearts to shine the path of our journeys.

My dear graduates, I began by saying how honored I am to be here today. I shall end by saying thank you to all of you—to Father Mehler, the school officials, and members of the faculty—for making this graduation happy and meaningful. And thank you, too, for listening.

Inggwa ako it pabayon sa mga maguyang: Lamihay nak salamat sa inro hugot na pagpalangga sa inro mga apas, ag sa pagtambong it hungor sa inra pag-aray. Paka-rumruma baga nak ka aagtuan ninra sa liwas it Sibale Academy ay buko rungawan, kung buko’y mas sahoy, mas marako, ag mas maigkas nak labanan sa pagpanray it kaisipon ag kaayaman. Ka inro premyo nak kaalwanan pag sinra’y makabarbar it kolehiyo o nio mang kursong bokasyunal ay naghuhuyat. Waya’t maakab it kina, kada huyata. Kapan kamo it rungan-rungan nak pag kamo'y nakatabok ay tangkas ka inro tanang kabudlayan.

Masilak ag masadyang adlaw sa atong tanan.


JMFradejas said...

Pagka ado ag nakaka-inspire manong ka imp ing bisaya sa inra

Nicon said...

Salamat, Joey toto