Book Series: SENIOR MOMENTS ARE FOREVER

October 16, 2020

46th MOMENT: Politicians, School Honors and Doctors

 

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Of birds and fish and politicians - The Almighty is really just. Imagine if the birds were not given wings? They will not be able to fly! Imagine if the fish were not given fins? They will not be able to swim!
Imagine if politicians were not given pork barrels? They will not be able to serve! 
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In Philippine politics what is the difference between a follower and a supporter? A follower follows blindly, a supporter supports with eye blinders?
What is the difference between a political oppositionist and a destabilizer? A political oppositionist wants to be back in position; a destabilizer stabs the one in position.
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What is the difference between patriots and mercenaries? Patriots die for their country for a noble cause; mercenaries will not die for their country because there are dumb and helpless people whom they can pay to die for them.
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School honors- I started my schooling in Sogod Elementary School, which opened in our remote barrio in the town of Calabanga, Camarines Sur. In grade 1 we were more than 30, I finished 1st honor. In grade 2 we were 20 plus and I was still the 1st honor. In grade 3 our class was down to only 13, and again I was 1st honor. No, I was not really the best in our class; our teacher was a cousin of my mother. 
And no, my bariomates did not surrender to me, they just kept on dropping out and new ones did not enroll anymore because our barrio was too poor and children were busy helping their parents in their small farms and livelihood activities. So, in the 4th year of the school it had to shut down. Then, as in other stories, the rest is history.
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Case study method - While taking my master’s degree in development management at the Asian Institute of Management I had a board mate from Malaysia named Bisan Singh (SLN); One day he asked me why most of the time I am silent in class. I told him, “Bisan, I came here to learn not to study”. Then he asked, “Why, what is difference between studying and learning?” I said, “Studying is when you burn your eyebrows reading your cases in the evening in order to debate with your classmates the day following. Learning is just browsing on my case files and watching our classmates discusses and debates them before me the following day.” 
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When we were young, we had only one doctor in our town – and he can cure all sorts of illness. Today, we have all sorts of specialists. There will come a time when we will have specialists for the left lung and a specialist for the right lung, and specialists for the left eye and specialists for the right eye!
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Poverty and education - In order to impress to my children that poverty is not a hindrance to education I put drama on it. One dinner time I told them my story; How I would go to school with only one pair of wooden Bakya the whole year, how I would add a stick to my pencil so that it can be used longer, how my mother would gather unused pages of old notebooks to sew them together into a usable one, how she used flour bags as my shirt by cutting two corners for my arm and one at the center for my neck, and how my shirt made out of the flour bag would be the center of attention of my classmates because of the loud colored print; Victoria Flour Mills. When I asked them how they feel my youngest said, “Maybe you looked so funny Dad!”
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Inflation - Talking of inflation, when I came home from my project assignment in Jamaica in 1997, I gave my daughters $100 each. They did not sleep all night thinking what they will buy with $100. One year after, I handed both of them $1,000 each – they just took it with a whimper.
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In Liberia I reprimanded my field coordinators when they used the project vehicle to carry basketful of crabs and fish. The following morning, they came to my office. I thought they were going to gang up on me – only to know that they were there to say sorry and to tell me that “I was a Father to them”.
I suddenly got children older than me from Liberia!
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Rules in working with the Poor - There are only a few rules in development work with the poor: Respect their religion, admire their culture and traditions, work within their present political and economic system, make efforts to literally recite their beliefs, concepts and systems - and then and only then can you get their respect and join you towards your common goal and objective.
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How to treat adult public officials - When I was still with TESDA I was tasked to host a conference of high TVET officials from the SEA countries. In the first evening I thought of giving them a man’s night by bringing them to a night club in Pasay City. One delegate hesitated, being a Muslim, but the rest of the group forced him to go. So, we went together. The following evening the same guy who was hesitant to go with us the previous night was ecstatic and sounded to everyone “I am ready tonight”!
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Truth and consequence - A visitor from the Spanish government went to visit our projects in Mindanao. Before we boarded the vehicle, she told me, “Rudy you have to tell me the truth about the project, I have been to many projects before and I know whether they are telling the truth or not”. So when we reach the community I turned her over to the project beneficiaries. She talked to them in English and the beneficiaries answered in the dialect. Hesitantly she called me to ask what the project is all about!
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Before the industrial revolution it was “Spare the rod, spoil the child”. Now it is “Spare the child, we need the rod”. 
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Printable tidbits:
• By the way do you know that the word FARE, which is a noun, has a past tense? The past tense is PAID!
• You can award yourself a gold medal after conquering the Great Wall of China. After you climb buy yourself a replica in the many stalls below, wear it, bite it and take your selfie!
• The effectiveness of village meetings is when the number of people attending is increasing every time you call for them!
• In one visit to a village I was feed by the villagers with local food, fruits, fish, chicken and many other stuffs that thought I will be hanged the following day!
• In one village in PNG I was greeted with a native garland of beetle nuts with live chicken as pendant. I was told not to remove it during my meetings with the villagers. Just imagine the smell and the talking anus of the fowl when I look at the behind.
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