Friday, July 29, 2005

A Manifesto of our Commitment

I wrote this piece as a Christmas gift and a tribute as well from our MBA class to our Strategic Management professor, Elfren Cruz, a great man who I considered my mentor. This article came out in his column in BusinessWorld dated January 15,2002 under the title, “Why I Teach”. I had since taken this commitment as a pledge to a mentor, a debt that I would repay back in due time.

In the beginning, we all have dreams. It is this dream that led us to De La Salle University and MBA. Because we believed that we lack the skills and knowledge to help us achieve our dreams and we believed that in this institution, we can learn those skills and knowledge. We were willing and bale to endure all the sleepless nights, the pressure of balancing study and work, and braving through the tortuous traffic simply, because we wanted to achieve our dreams and that was all we know. We never knew of a higher calling or purpose until we took up your subject (Strategic Management). Like all of us, you also have a dream or in your business parlance, a vision. Your vision is a Philippines where no Filipino goes hungry or seen begging in the streets. Every Juan or Eva would have a decent job and lived a prosperous and dignified life. Everywhere Filipinos go, they will hold their heads high and proud of their heritage and race and not being look down upon by other races and people. To achieve this vision, you devise a strategy. Again borrowing from your word, reengineer the elite, specifically, the future elite which in this case is all of us, your student. By helping us to develop the skills, you would help us succeed in our career and make our companies more profitable and in the process, we would be hiring more people, generate employment and thus improve the lives of millions of poor Filipinos. By teaching us the frameworks to analyze our companies and making them more competitive, we would be making the Philippines competitive as well, since, the economy is but the aggregate sum of all the companies in the country. For that notable goal, you have our most sincere respect from the bottom of hearts. Before we came to class, we know only our dreams but now, thanks to you we have a vision. For this, we want to offer you, our heartfelt appreciation for what you did for us and for your noble goals, we cannot find a more appropriate response than to pledge our solemn commitment to your vision and to do all we can to improve the performance of our respective companies and in turn contribute to the national economic development. We pledge this with our heart and soul.

From the class of GSTRAMA, 2nd term, 2001 – 2002, Monday class.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

My Contract

I wrote a contract when I was 20 years old. Back then; I was young, eager, and restless. It was written in Chinese. The contract I wrote is about a promise. It is a promise to myself, more aptly, a promise to my then future self, 10 years after. In that contract, I wrote that I don’t want to be stuck in my parent’s crummy old factory and watch over it till my demise. Instead, I vowed to use every strength, every courage, and ability that I possessed to remedy the situation in such a way that 10 years after, I would become a man respected for his effort, for his ability and become a leader of a community. Furthermore, I promised my future self that this would not be a dream at all nor would it be a wishful thinking but a reality that I could expect to live in when I am 30. I even signed the contract against my future self to seal the pact. I kept that contract in my wallet to constantly remind me of my task. I have since lost the contract when my wallet was stolen. However, the spirit of the contract lives on in me. I was driven to excel, driven to do my outmost best and when my best fell short due to my lack of skill, I strove to remedy it by taking up further studies, only to find that I already had what it takes to succeed. I only lack the confidence and the mindset to do what it needed to be done. Eleven years later, I have failed to realize my obligation but somehow I didn’t despair rather I felt superbly good about myself. This is because I now felt confident and capable to realize my dream into a reality but I need more time to make it real. The rashness of my youth has given way to the patience of my age. One cannot turn into a billionaire over night. It takes time and patience. Trifles and trials, challenges and mistakes. Rome isn’t built in a day. Nonetheless, I still bound myself to my oath. I renewed my contract last year and this time, I know I can do it and I just wanted to say to my 40 year old self; relax and go get a Caribbean holiday for a job well done.


July 26,2004
(Translated from Chinese)

Ten years has already passed and the obligation stipulated in the contract wasn’t realized as promised. However, the actions and effort taken in the past ten years were not for naught for it had tremendously helped in the advancement toward the realization of the promise and in effect brought the dream closer to reality. More time is needed.
Therefore, on this day, July 26,2004, I (name) again promised myself ten years after that I would exert my greatest effort to become a very successful businessman, to become a leader of the community, a well - respected man whose life would be told as a legend by the great many and not a man who is stuck in a dilapidated factory without hope or salvation till my own death.
Again, I would want to reassure my future self of a reality and not just a fancy dream made during a daytime nap. This I promise to make it happen!


(Name) July 26,2004


(Name) July 26,2014

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

On Being 31

The first 10 years of my life, I wither away my time questioning the world around me, wondering who I am or what I’m going to be, and dreaming what I could be. I spent the next 10 years learning. Learning how to read the treasures of the world. Learning to write what I think, what I feel and count the stars that illuminates my dreams at night. I however, still dream and I still wonder. By the third decade of my life, I wander around to discover the world around me. Learning what still needed to be learned. And I still dream but only by this time, I no longer wonder because my dream has finally taken shape. The road was clear to me now although I still can’t see what lies beyond the distance. At 20, I dream that someday I would be able to enter the sacred hall of great men and women. Perhaps trembling as I walked to that hollowed stage in the center of that great hall surrounded by those illustrious forbearers and submitting myself to their judgment and scrutiny. They would review my victories and my success while studying my faults, my mistakes, and my defeats in great detail. They would question my character and overly criticized my short – comings. They would then weighed whether or not my efforts have serve to improve the lots of Man and bring him closer to his destiny or have I irreparably retarded his progress towards his full potential. And at the end of the day, I would be saluted and applauded by these great audience for a life well lived and they would deemed me worthy to be admitted to their ranks and acknowledge me as their peer and asked me to take my rightful place amongst them in the annals of mankind. That is my dream however improbable but I never thought it impossible. Nevertheless, it is a dream that I must realize and one that I must prepare for. It is for this reason that I need to learn the crafts and skills not only to survive in this world but also to realize my dream. And this is how I spend the third decade of my life. Now I’m entering the fourth decade of my existence and I’m taking my first step towards a journey in realizing my dream so that by the fifth decade, my dream would have a solid foundation and would begin to materialize. And by my sixth decade, my dream would be a reality and the world will look like the picture that I have framed in my mind when I was young. And by my seventh decade, I would be a model for the next generation to emulate and four score years after my birth, I hope to become an example of a worthy life for posterity. And then and only then, I would close my eyes and vanished into nothingness……… Today, I turn 31 and as I looked forward, I see the path of my journey will be wrought with trials and challenges but I can overcome them and I must overcome them. And in the course of my journey, I may waver and I may question my decision as to the path I have taken but I will hold my ground for I need to. Today, I celebrate my journey for the past 31 years and I toast to long road ahead to my dream. Cheers to life and to dreams.

Monday, July 25, 2005

On Being 30

I wrote this when I turned 30 last year.
As I turned 30, I couldn't help but looked back at the past. The past 30 years are the incredible learning years of my life. It was also a time of robbed happiness, challenges, and truimphs. I wish it could be different and better but that was in the past, no use in complaining. Now, at 30, I'm facing the future. Looking forward to what the next 30 years of my life would be. The next 30 years would be the productive years of my life. It is at this years that I will achieve my greatest accomplishments. It is at this years that I will leave behind my legacy. There will be challenges but I can overcome them because I have prepared myself for it in terms of skills and capabilities. There will be trials but I would overcome them because I'm determined to see it through and I will not be stopped by it. Now, at 30, I'm more than prepared for my next 30 years. I'm ready for life. Today I celebrate my birth! Today, I celebrate my renewal! Life begins Now!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

SEVEN AGES OF MAN by William Shakespeare

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then, the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shinning morning face, creeping like snail
Unwilling to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. In the sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shrank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Martyr Wife

Behind every successful man is a woman. How true is this phrase. I read a newspaper article today about the life of Chen Cuifen, the “mistress” of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, the father of modern Republican China. The tag “mistress” is actually misleading. It is a western description of the relationship between Madame Chen and Dr. Sun. In reality, pre – republican Chinese men practices polygamy and Chinese law allows concubinage for reasons of propagation of offspring. In essence, mdm Chen is but Dr. Sun’s concubine and not a mistress. The reasons I took interest in her life story is because as a historian, I’m fascinated with her unheralded importance to the cause of the Chinese revolution that led to the overthrow of the Imperial regime and also because as a romantic, I can’t help but praise her devotion to her man in helping him achieve his goal and at the same time, felt indignant and betrayed over her obscure fate and unfair treatment. I couldn’t accept that how could a man of Dr. Sun’s stature would “leave” a woman who he profess to love and who has helped him so much, once he came to power. I guess it is but the expediency of realpolitik. Chen Cuifen was born on September 29, 1874 in Hong Kong. The fourth child of a poor traditional Chinese doctor, she was orphaned at a young age and as a result, wasn’t able to attend schooling and was illiterate throughout her entire life. She first met Sun when she was 19 through a common friend inside a church. Sun then was still finishing his medical studies and was already married by then but the two later on eloped. By the time Sun graduated, he began organizing a revolutionary association and traveled to America and other countries to solicit aid from overseas Chinese. Mdm Chen accompanied him in all his travels. Eventually, both returned to China where Sun started his practice while secretly plot to overthrow the regime while she became his nurse at his clinic as well as his secretary and confidante. She also helped Sun in smuggling guns to the various revolutionary groups all over the country for the eventual uprising since women were considered politically harmless at that time. When the uprising failed, she embarked with her husband to foreign exile, soliciting overseas Chinese support and organizing revolutionary groups. One time, while in London, Dr. Sun was kidnapped by the Chinese consul and was detained for treason. She was the one who went to see her husband’s friends and compatriots in order to appeal the British government to pressure the imperial regime to release Dr. Sun. She succeeded. Soon thereafter, the couple settled in Japan and there she became the gracious hostess to the numerous patriots who flee from persecution and seek her husband’s leadership. While the men plot, she was the one who cook for them, wash their clothes, arrange their accommodation. She even helped print the pamphlets, and organized secret communications. Untiring, patient and never to complain, she is also unassuming. Once, people praised her for her invaluable effort and she is said to reply that she didn’t do much but simply cooks and washes clothes. And what a cook she is, for in later uprisings, she risks her own life to ensure that the patriots are well fed and supported in the battlefield. When the regime was overthrown and her husband came to power, she disappeared from the limelight having left for Malaysia in a voluntary exile. Her husband had divorced his first wife and had just married the eldest daughter of the wealthy Soong family. The Soong sisters, of which the famous Soong Meiling, the wife generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek belongs, are not only wealthy, young, and beautiful but they are also American educated and politically well – connected. They are the things that a new fragile regime would seek. In contrast, mdm Chen is illiterate and doesn’t have a strong political backing. Years later, when somebody protested about her shabby treatment, she is said to have defended her husband saying that she is the one who left him and not the other way around for she is not fit to be his “wife” or more aptly, a public wife because she is illiterate and ignorant of the ways of the world. During her “exile” in Malaysia, the local Chinese took care of her since she was the revered “wife” of the great Sun Yat Sen. Having no child of her own, she adopted a daughter and named her Sun Rong in memory of the precious time she has with her husband. In 1924, upon hearing the news of the death of her husband, mdm Chen broke down in tears and mourned his passing deeply until her demise. Later on in her life, she was brought to Hong Kong and taken care of by Dr. Sun’s son by his first wife. She died in 1960 in Hong Kong in obscurity. I felt ashamed after reading her story because as a historian I should have known better. It is people like her that deserve to be written in the annals, to be praised in the history books, to be a role model for generations to come. But alas, her memory was obscured because of the fame of Dr. Sun’s third wife and because of her lowly status. Lucky bastard (Dr. Sun Yat Sen)! Some guys do have all the luck. If I were Sun, I wouldn’t give her up even for political expediency. I would have kept her at my side and announce to the whole wide world that what a great woman she is. But then again, I’m not him and everything is already history. Behind every successful man is a woman. How true, how true!