Esteemed and respected community, in particular, the Phoenix Barangay Lions…
Another time, another season: tonight, here in this Hohokam Ballroom of Pointe Hilton, Squaw Peak, it is time to renew bonds of friendship, time to be grateful, time to laugh, time to dance, time to pause, relax and heal; it is time to love, time to hope for a great medical mission, and for me this moment, time to speak, but quickly… for the time to relieve itchy feet for dancing is rushing in.
Ladies and gentlemen:
Events celebrating transitions, as this beautiful black and white New Year’s gala, remind us of some sayings: like “ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan” or literally, one who knows not how to look back at where he came from, cannot arrive at where he wants to be. Taking it in this literal meaning alone might complicate matters, for it could lead to a corollary saying: “ang lilingon-lingon sa pinanggalingan samantalang nagmamaneho ay sadyang di makakarating sa paroroonan dahil malamang masasakuna”, which means: one who keeps on looking back at where he came from, while driving, will probably not reach his destination as he will most likely meet an accident. I suggest we take this Filipino idiomatic expression in its substantive meaning, which is: “look at the past for mistakes so that errors will not be repeated and undertakings will have more success”.
Another saying that comes to mind points to the gift of today, which is the present, and urges us to live and act in the here and now, do what we are doing, have presence of mind, and have our being, living and loving with full awareness, for “today well-lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.”
Speaking of past and future, it has been said that Filipinos are inheritors of a glorious past and hostages to an uncertain future. Let’s think about that a bit. Might this saying not constitute counter-productive conditioning? For the good old days of the past are only good because they are old; but they are gone forever; focusing on them only makes us look backward while we are moving forward. The future is ours to make. While indeed there is no security in constant change which is the nature of a world in flux, there are always new opportunities coming up. As doors close, other doors open. Gen. Douglas MacArthur said: “There is no security, only opportunity.” Our job is to be agile and flexible as well as to be competent and capable of seizing unfolding opportunities as the seasons roll. We cannot stand still, stay frozen or stop dead simply because the future is said to be uncertain or unpredictable. Albert Einstein said: “the only way to predict the future is to create it”.
This brings to mind the creative purpose of this New Year’s Ball. Kudos to Phoenix Barangay Lions Club: you are generating funds for your Philippine Medical Mission 2012, while enjoying the fleeting glamor and glitter of this gala. Be assured the Filipino people will be grateful because you, Lions, “serve” and because you uphold the personal code of your founder, Melvin Jones, which is: “You can’t get very far until you start doing something for somebody else”.
Be assured too that the Filipino, with champion heart, will keep on standing up despite many devastating blows, like the one recently inflicted by Typhoon Sendong, now with reported casualties of 1,249 dead and 1,000 more still missing. For Filipino resilience is embodied in the Talisaynon spirit that, in Dr. Rizal’s “Hymn to Talisay”, declares: “There is no darkness, no pitchblack night, nor fierce storm or typhoon that we dread; and should Satan himself come to sight, he shall be captured alive or dead.”
We are all made with the capacity to have dominion. The past is behind us, the future is in front of us. In God’s grace, we can make the rest of our years, the best of our years…
With these thoughts, allow me to close by proposing a toast. For that purpose, with your kind indulgence, may I request everyone to please stand up with their glasses?
Ladies and Gentlemen: with pure, clean, unadulterated water. . .
“To the New Year:
Welcome Twenty Twelve!
May your coming bring and carry
clear visions and resolute actions
for moral and material prosperity.
** Text of short remarks by the writer at the Phoenix Barangay Lions club’s Black and White Gala.