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Saturday, August 17, 2019
BAGUIO

Olsim: End with fire

The Eternal Student

THE fire blazed brilliantly, spreading its warmth to the glowing faces of the crowd – indeed, fire draws people together. Then, after the singing and stories, the smoldering slowed revealing the embers and ashes – signifying that the month-long festivity has ended: “it’s time to go”. The world may not end in fire, but in festivities, the fire mysteriously ends everything magnificently – fireworks, bonfire, fire dance, fiery speeches. Trinity’s Coffee and Strawberry festival may have ended, but tomorrow will be the start of something new.

It is the start of vacations, of summer plans. Perhaps, a restart of our diet programs and the regrouping of our priorities. And of course, yes, it is also the start of the challenges and struggles for our aspiring leaders. Some say that it is also the start of friendships, promises, and active economic spending. But it may also be a start of difficult choices, debates, and uneasy relationships.

Fortunately, here in Benguet, politics does not end with firearms and firing. Whatever the results, we wish that the fire of public service will continue inside our present leaders and those who are aspiring to be our leaders. May the fire of public service be with you always!

But back with Fire (and the R. Frost’s reference) and those who tasted of greed and desire; the world is getting warmer and we have to think and consider. “El Nino” and the problems of water – they were the same harms which they warned us when we were younger. Now that we are twenty years older, it seems that we are really doomed to suffer. “Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice/ From what I’ve tasted of desire/ I hold with those who favor fire.../. Curiously why? The signs are too obvious to miss, we must at least make a stand and try.

***

I was writing this article when our heroes fell. The news put me in a swirl, a drowning ocean of emotions as I recall the past week’s meetings with disappointed coaches and teachers from parade results, a depressed friend, and a struggling acquaintance. Then, I recalled all my failures in life: the frustrations and struggles, the moments of despair and loss. But, strangely, also a week ago, I was invited to inspire children in a graduation ceremony. I recall that I have been invited by two of my alma maters to speak in their graduation programs in the last two years. Did this mean that they saw something in me that I could share? Since, naturally, we cannot give something that we do not have, right?

A decade ago, before my father died. He told me something that has given me hope in my struggling times: “You are a winner, ever since when you were a kid. You are a winner not because you have awards, but because you never quit. Winners never give up,” he smiled. Whenever I speak in graduation rites, I always remind the children or the young people that they are winners because they do not give up. Similarly, I warn parents against degrading comments to their kids. I tell them instead to plant the fire of being passionate, and the attitude of never giving up in life. To all of us: “tuloy lang”, do not give up.


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