THE SUNNY PHILOSOPHER | Materials for a masterpiece?

If you are out to create a literary masterpiece, the world has abundant materials. But you will come upon the best materials in the lives of ordinary folks. Their daily struggles are more interesting than the unceasing ringing of the cash registers of the rich.

The noble character of the poor, their lack of love for sinful things has inspired Christ to identify himself with the fishermen and laborers during his early ministry and later years. He loved them for their simple lives. The poor in today’s slums rarely dreams of wealth. They are happy with just enough food on the table, just enough clothes to keep them warm at night, just enough shelter to keep the rains from drenching their bodies.

Contrast their simple needs with the lavish needs of the rich. The latter are not satisfied with what they have in their hands. They want more, more, more.

Of course, the poor dream. They dream of a place under the sun. They dream of better days for their children.

We go to slum area and watch a squatter family lives their lives. The father is a tricy driver earning P200 daily and the mother a jobless housewife. They have six children of school age.

How do they survive?

Talk to the father and his children. Do they dream, the children? And what are their dreams? A college education? Most likely.

But is the father’s income enough to finance that dream?

Some people said, however, they won’t be poor all their lives. Indeed, those work hard succeeded, those who don’t fail.

Here is one that inspires – Years back, a Manila daily published the story of tribal families in Mindoro whose several children had finished college. They proudly displayed their diplomas on the walls of their homes.

The families were farmers.

Recently, Julius Babao of ABS-CBN featured the odyssey of a poor girl who studied law and passed the Bar. It is no joke to finish law and hurdle the Bar with scanty resources. I went through it myself.

The book, Seven Laws of Success, cited as ingredients of success one’s refusal to accept defeat plus a firm belief in one’s ability and keeping the presence of God in one’s life.

My youngest son, Herbert, an architect, who was employed by Parsons Int’l in Manila after passing the board exams, was awarded top prize for his speech during a program in his office.

He talked about his father’s life in a speech entitled, Believe, and his father’s firm belief in his talent and his refusal to accept failure. His father finished law and doctorate eventually.

Herbert’s elder brother is a ship captain.

You see, when I married my wife in Catanduanes, I was a high school graduate without a stable job. After marriage, I put up a small store in a rented house. It prospered into almost half a million store.

But I was not happy. I wanted a college degree. By this time, I had two boys , one of school age.

I moved my family to Legaspi City and worked as editor of a local weekly. I also enrolled in Bicol College on a scholarship grant of BC president, Dr. Pete Maecellano, Jr.

Eventually I moved over to his Daraga Herald as chief editor. The Daraga Herald gained international fame when it was featured in Asian wall Street Journal in Hongkong.

My government stint was with the Commission on Human Rights.

While pursuing my PhD, I almost made it to the Dept. of Tourism as Bicol regional drirector. It was also at this time that I was invited as commencement speaker of my Alma Mater in Caramoan, Camarines Sur.

Hard to believe?