Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Where have all the businessmen gone?

The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it. Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies founder

Is it crazy to talk and dream of business success in this season of vicious wars between our mostly corrupt politicians? No! In these politically noisy times, some leftist troublemakers and rightwing fascists are mouthing rubbish theories and fantasizing recklessly of bloody revolution. We must counter these anti-democracy and anti-progress campaign by igniting an entrepreneurial revolution throughout the country that is mass-based, democratic and focused on encouraging a vibrant peoples capitalism of numerous micro, small and medium enterprises. Let us frustrate and shut up the doomsayers who want our society to self-destruct. Let us defy our politicians antics and aggressively promote entrepreneurship! Spread The Gospel Of Entrepreneurship And Hope Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) president Ambassador Donald Dee and presidential adviser on entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion of the RFM Group recently spoke to the young Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs of Anvil Business Club (ABC) in two separate dinner and luncheon meetings at Café Carrera in Greenhills, San Juan and at the Tower Club, Makati. Recognizing the activist role of Anvil Business Club in championing the spread of the entrepreneurship gospel in the Philippines, both business leaders announced their bold new projects and sought the support of Anvil.

Anvil Exchange Forum on GO EXPORT!

Success Secrets for Phil Food & other Commodity Export for Small & Medium Enterprises 
w/ the dynamic Vice-President and General Manager of the Corporate Export Division of RFM Group of Companies from 2000 up to now; Vice-Chairman of Phil-Iran Business Council & Treasurer of Phil-Saudi Arabia Business Council; Vice-Chairman for Agriculture Policies of the Export Development Council from 2003 to present; also the Treasurer of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship; former Vice-President and General Manager of Swift Tuna Corp. and Executive Director of RFM Foundation; former Assistant Secretary of the Dept. of Trade & Industry 1978 to 1995, former Director of Food Terminal, Inc., National Food Authority, etc. Former teacher at Ateneo Graduate School of Business and De La Salle University MBA Program Manager; studied at Asian Institute of Management, De La Salle University, St. Theres College, Valedictorian of Colegio de San Jose in Cebu City, former President of Student Council and Editor of the student newspaper; a remarkable woman in exports ---MS. IMELDA J. MADARANG
When? August 30, Tuesday 7:30 PM Dinner
Where? Café Carrera, PGA Cars/Audi, 201 Edsa Highway,
Mandaluyong (across Corinthian Gardens)
Attire? Business Attire preferred, or Smart Casual

To confirm or inquire…pls. Call Anvil Secretariat (Mrs. Amy Uy) tel---7267029 or 7239957

Friday, August 12, 2005

Phil Star Publisher Max Soliven urges Anvil members to Keep Faith, Invest & Ignore Phil Politics

Due to the request of our special guest Philippine Star Publisher and columnist Max Soliven, Anvil Business Club (ABC) last August 5, 2005 held its first ever "Anvil Exchange Forum" at a luncheon instead of dinner this year. It was held at the Tower Club, Paseo de Roxas, Makati City, with members as well as present and past officers in attendance, and Chinese cuisines were served during this frank, enlightening and animated exchane of ideas and informations. In his eloquent extemporaneous speech, Soliven gave a refreshing overview of Philippine politics and economics now, and he challenged the young Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs to continue hard work, investing and not to depend on government.
Anvil Business Club presented Soliven with a "Plaque of Excellence" as tribute to him "in recognition of his lifelong public service with consistent excellence, dedication, eloquence, passion, and leadership in the media and the national community."
As dynamic entrepreneurs and professionals, the members of Anvil Business Club have to keep abreast of the real dynamics and trends in national/international politics and economics, so we occasionally mix our speakers with some analysts and commentators like the multi-awarded and veteran journalist Max Soliven.
ABC Past Chairman Michael "Mike" Tan pointed out that Soliven was our first Anvil speaker 14 years ago at the Century Park Hotel, and he remembered. In the same way Mike Tan last July 5 in Malacañang reminded President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that she was still a Senator when she spoke to Anvil at Rembrandt Hotel in Quezon City. Anvil has been wanting to invite Soliven again for the past 5 years, and it was President Wilson Lee Flores who personally invited him again to speak his year. He impressed the gathering with his wit, humor, his amazing inside stories on the real score and rationales behind our bewildering Philippine political events of the past 20 years. Chairman George Siy asked a lot of political and economic questions to start the ball rolling throughout the fascinating luncheon forum.
Soliven said that in the evening at 8:00 PM that day August 5, he will bring various young military officers---possible military coup plotters---to confer with President Gloria M. Arroyo outside Malacañang Palace to discuss crucial issues and matters to ensure no more military mutinies. He assured Anvil members that Preside not GMA "cannot be forced to resign", because she wouldn't want to suffer the fate of her predecessor ex-President Estrada whom she herself had humiliated before world media with fingerprinting, mug shots and imprisonment. Soliven said only a military coup or assasination can force GMA out of power, and he predicted that the dynamics which created Edsa 1 and Edsa 2 were no longer the same and not present today.
Max Soliven reminded Anvil members that Edsa 1 and Edsa 2 only succeeded because the military shifted its support for the rebels, and Edsa 3 failed because the military didn't budge. Soliven said only the military can topple President GMA from power, and he expects the impeachment process not to take her out, because you need two-thirds of the Senate vote to convict a President.
He revealed that at Edsa 1, Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile holed up at Camp Aguinaldo for fear of being arrested by President Marcos after a failed coup by RAM in the palace and after the arrest of the bodyguards of then Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin by General Fabian Ver's people. He revealed that he called up Betty Go Belmonte, Chairman of Philippine Star and co-founder of Inquirer, to tell her to tell General Fidel Ramos "he may be arrested". Belmonte called up his wife Ming Ramos and said she had news that FVR "will be arrested", prompting the nervous General Ramos to immediately rush to Camp Aguinaldo to join the "rebels" in hiding. Soliven revealed that when he, Butz Aquino and other activists were in Edsa and the military forces were approaching, they had wanted to run away already, but the stubborn Catholic nuns in front of them just wouldn't budge, they had their eyes shut mumbling prayers, so Butz told Soliven it would be embarassing for guys like them to scram.
Anvil members found the luncheon "Anvil Exchange Forum" with Max Soliven as truly educational, interesting and unforgettable. Thanks to all members and officers for attending this historic event!

Life lessons from a savvy entrepreneur

It is a shameful thing for the soul to faint while the body still perseveres.i – Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Roman Emperor
One of the few exemplars of rugged entrepre-neurship and prog-ressive capitalism I most admire is Steve Jobs, the 50-year-old visionary behind Apple which he co-founded in 1976, and Pixar Animation Studios, the Oscar Award-winning animation studio which he co-founded in 1986. For those who are about to give up on life, business or even on the country due to perceived hopeless crises, don’t forget the amazing and inspiring but topsy-turvy life of Steve Jobs. Even our embattled chief executive President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo can gain some lessons on survival, passion and leadership from Steve Jobs.

Overcoming Setbacks

Behind many spectacular successes are often many unremembered tales of painful struggles, tears and defeats. Steve Jobs doesn’t remember his real father, he was adopted by a couple in California, was a college dropout like Bill Gates of Microsoft, and he started as a humble technician in a video game firm. He recently survived a bout with cancer. Jobs was once booted out of his company, Apple, in 1985 and stripped of all his powers by his handpicked CEO John Sculley after an ugly internal power struggle. Jobs is a bold, brash, charismatic and tempestuous super-salesman like most visionary leaders whom other mortals usually cannot fully understand and he has often been criticized as "too erratic" to be a business manager. In 1983, it was Jobs who recruited then Pepsi Cola executive Sculley to join his fast-growing Apple. Jobs challenged Sculley: "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?"
How many of us would have the stamina and guts to fight our way back after humiliating defeats? Not only did Steve Jobs make a magnificent comeback, he has since again been hailed as a great entrepreneur. After being kicked out of Apple, he founded NeXT Computer which in 1995 was bought by Apple for $400 million and which brought him back to his old firm. In 1997, Steve Jobs gained power after a coup d’etat against then Apple CEO Gil Amelio.
Jobs’ Apple ignited the personal computer revolution as a world phenomenon in our homes starting in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning desktop and notebook computers, OS X operating system, and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also leading the digital music revolution with its iPod portable music players and iTunes online music store. Jobs also co-founded Pixar, which has created six of the most successful and beloved animated films of all time – Academy Award-winning Toy Story (1995); A Bug’s Life (1998); Toy Story 2 (1999); Monsters Inc. (2001); Academy Award-winning Finding Nemo (2003); and The Incredibles (2004). Pixar’s six films have grossed more than $3 billion at the worldwide box office to date.
In an interview with Smithsonian in 1995, Jobs was asked about his advice to young entrepreneurs. He said: "I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard. You put so much of your life into this thing. There are such rough moments in time that I think most people give up. I don’t blame them. It’s really tough and it consumes your life. Unless you have a lot of passion for this, you’re not going to survive. You’ve got to have an idea, or a problem or a wrong that you want to right that you’re passionate about, otherwise you’re not going to have the perseverance to stick it through. I think that’s half the battle right there."

Life, Love And Death

One of the best graduation speeches ever delivered by an entrepreneur was that by Steve Jobs, which he delivered at Stanford University last June 12. The lessons and nuggets of wisdom he shared are applicable not only to business people like him, but to people from all walks of life. Share this speech with your boss, colleagues, friends and even to young people. Here it is: "I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.
"The first story is about connecting the dots.
"I dropped out of Reed College after the first six months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
"It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking, ‘We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?’ They said, ‘Of course.’ My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
"And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
"It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned Coke bottles for the five-cent deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the seven miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
"Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus, every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand-calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later.
"Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
"My second story is about love and loss.
"I was lucky. I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents’ garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4,000 employees. We had just released our finest creation – the Macintosh – a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our board of directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
"I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me – I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
"I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
"During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world’s first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
"I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
"My third story is about death.
"When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like, ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
"Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
"I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.
"This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept: No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
"When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: It was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
"Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: ‘Stay hungry. Stay foolish.’ It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay hungry. Stay foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
"Stay hungry. Stay foolish.
Thank you all very much." * * *
The Philippine STAR 08/08/2005

Joey Concepcion seeks Anvil support for Entreprebeurship Promotion campaign

Thanks to all the Anvil officers and members who attended the successful August 9, 2005 luncheon meeting with RFM Group President and Presidential Adviser on Entreprepreneurship Jose "Joey" Concepcion III at the Tower Club, Paseo de Roxas, Makati. He and the Philippine Center for Entrepreeurship (PCE) headed by Executive Director Federico Gonzalez hosted a delicious Chinese cuisines luncheon, made an audio-visual presentation explaining why Concepcion established it and its vision of using major business organizations like Anvil Business Club (ABC) and schools to promote entrepreneurship nationwide.
In his speech, Concepcion complained about the many "useless subjects" taught in Philippine schools like "Filipino subjects and Jose Rizal and others", he criticized the "54 units of useless subjects", but hoped that entrepreneurship, more English and other useful subjects be taught to the youth. He believes the campaign to promote entrepreneurship and faith in the Philippine future should be "private sector-driven" by top business organizations like Anvil, PCCI, Makati Business Club, others. He "hopes people in the Philippines learn to idolize entrepreneurs, not ctors and actresses who teach all the wrong values".
Concepcion urged Anvil members and other young Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs to "ignore the divisive politics" and to focus on productive economic activities. He complained that Philippine politics has become "reality TV, with GMA 7 or ABS-CBN". He said the other incorporators of the PCE along with him include Jollibbee founder Tony Tan Caktiong, National Bookstore founder Socorro C. Ramos, and other prominent entrepreneurs.
During the luncheon, Anvil officers and members discovered a new interesting potential speaker in the person of RFM Corporation Vice-President for Corporate Export Division Emelda J. Madarang, who has priceless experiences and business strategies on Philippine processed foods and other products exports to the USA, Middle Eastand other markets. President Wilson Lee Flores invited her to be our guest speaker for Anvil Exchange Forum on August 30 at Cafe Carrera in PGA Cars, Edsa, Mandaluyong (across Corinthian Gardens). She might not be a celebrity or famous tycoon, but she will make a very fascinating, educational speaker who can inspire our Anvil members to explore the export business! Our officers Chairman George Siy, Past Chairmen Bernard Go and Ronald Ko, other officers as well as members Aileen Siy, Giselle Solco, Gemma Ong and others who were at the door going out of the Tower Club function, we were all impressed by her stories, weall talked her for another half hour...
Among the various new members who attended the Joey Concepcion talk were Kenneth Delbert Lim of LEC Steel Manufacturing Corp., Derick Chester Sy and his girlfriend and John Saturn So all of Nation Granary, Inc., plus others. Welcome to the dynamic, exciting and fast-growing Anvil Business Club!!!

Anvil Exchange Forum with Amb. Donald Dee

Anvil Exchange Forum on family turnaround and Philippine politics in business and international trade with Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (PCCI) President Ambassador Donald Dee.
August 17, 2005, 7:30pm
Cafe Carrera, PGA Cars
201 EDSA

Thursday, August 4, 2005


"The trouble with Scotland is that it's full of Scots." So said King Edward the Longshanks, in the movie Braveheart. While the words were spoken with bigotry and hatred by a British monarch seeking to conquer the former independent state by force, the statement rings some truth when applied to the Philippines.
Of course, to say "the trouble with the Philippines is that it's full of Filipinos," would be politically incorrect, and could easily be misconstrued as advocating ethnic cleansing. However, taken in the context of over-population, the statement is not entirely inaccurate. 82 million Filipinos living in an unstable infrastructure that can accommodate no more than half of that number is a more than self-evident indication of this long-suffering disease that afflicts our country.
In any case, beyond the burgeoning number of Filipinos being born everyday, I think it is more important to point out a sentiment I once heard from a lecture given by Washington Sycip many years ago. To paraphrase him, "the problem with the Philippines, is not so much that there are too many Filipinos, it's that there are not enough Chinese." According to Mr. Sycip, the Chinese here are too few in number to influence the majority. And the few Chinese who are here are so well assimilated into the local population, that they are the ones who have lost their identity.
His statement brings up two issues. First is demographics; the lack of numbers. Second, the erosion of Chinese culture, heritage and philosophy among the native Tsinoys.
In addressing the first part with regard to population, it is important to have a comparative list of our closest ASEAN neighbors. In other more developed Southeast Asian countries, the strong influential presence of their ethnic Chinese played a major role in the economic progress of their countries.
In Singapore, their Chinese population is almost at three-quarters, at 70%. (Of course these days, to call them Chinese would be to commit a cultural faux pas, as they proudly declare themselves as Singaporeans.)
In Malaysia, the Chinese make up for more than 25% of the entire population. And they boldly admit that their current economic success as a nation is due, in no small part, to the influence of Chinese culture and business. Dr. Mahathir Mohammad has on more than one occasion told the ethnic Malays to emulate the example of their industrious and enterprising Chinese brothers.
Thailand's Chinese population is only at 11%, and yet they are slowly but surely becoming the next rising superstar of the region.
In the Philippines, if the local statistical census is to be believed, the ethnic Chinese population is a mere 2%. Factor in the illegal aliens, double or triple the number and it would still be a very small percentage, as compared to our neighbors.
If one were to simply analyze the proportion of a country's Chinese population to the level of economic success, one cannot deny the correlation of the latter with the former. Albeit inconclusive, I am tempted to declare this relationship as cause and effect, the evident existence of the proportion of Chinese population presence and national economic success is undeniable. Therefore for purposes of conjecture, let us hypothesize: the more Chinese = the more chances for sustainable, national economic success.
In our country, although Chinese physical presence is only 2%, it can safely be posited that we contribute to more than 70% of the nation's economy. Perhaps more. It is a monumentally incredible feat, but before we start patting ourselves in the back, there is the second, and I think more important point to Mr. Sycip's theorem.
The second part of the statement addresses the erosion of Chinese mores. The Tsinoy has become more Filipino than he is Chinese.
For example, most of the new generation Filipino-Chinese today have even lost the ability to speak in Mandarin, and their grasp of our provincial dialect of Hokkien is bastardized, at best. I too am guilty of this. Whenever I am abroad, it is a handicap that shames me when I have to speak with another ethnic Chinese in, of all languages, English.
While mastery of the Chinese language is a major, not to mention very basic, issue of concern, perhaps equally important are the many life lessons and guidelines that have been handed down to us by our ancestors. Concepts and beliefs that are the foundations of being Chinese. Principles that have withstood the tests of time and braved international waters, as they were brought here by your grandparents and mine. Some of the simplest and inherently Chinese beliefs include: The virtues of thrift, hard work and enterprise. The philosophy of spending ten cents for every peso earned. The Buddhist wisdom of minimalism, of buying only the things you need, not the things you want. The concept of being the first in and the last out of the workplace in contrast to others who work eight to five. The hunger for undertaking new and bold ventures rather than be contented with eternal employment. And hundreds of other concepts that have been force-fed and hammered into our hearts and minds by our Angkong's and Law-pe's (grandfathers and fathers).
If we cannot share with the local populace our language (because we ourselves speak better Tagalog than we do Mandarin), then we have to at least share with our Filipino brethren these innately Chinese concepts frugality, foresight and sharp business sense.
While insofar as the Chinese contribution is evident in terms of commerce, it may well be the only tangible contribution the Tsinoys have had on the country we call home. Economic factors are fleeting, it is dependent on many other dynamics, and can change over the years, from administration to administration. A better and more lasting pamana or heritage the local peoples can benefit from, with truly long term effects, is the imparting of Chinese attitudes. The infusion of what we call "old school" beliefs of Confucian morals would better serve the Filipinos moreso than any physical wealth. It is not enough to provide employment, to donate schools, to provide free medical assistance to the poor, or feed the hungry masses.
As a favorite mantra of our Anvil Business Club goes, "you give a man fish, and you feed him for a day. You teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."
If we, as Filipino citizens, want to help this country, which is the land of our birth, the land of our grandfathers, the only land we have ever called home, and the land that we will bequeath to our children, then we have to share with it all our powers, all our talents and all of the positive high ideals of our culture. To keep such valuable treasures to ourselves would be selfish and unpatriotic. Perhaps in sharing our ethnic culture's wisdom with them, we may help Juan dela Cruz to be more discerning on what to believe, and not just continually be pawns to politicians, and clergymen with their outdated concepts that are detrimental, if not fatal, to our continued survival.
Change in the political world is nothing. Change has to come about from the grass roots level. And the potential for change is in the average Filipino. All he really needs is direction. I reject the forgone notions of Juan Tamad, of Ningas Cugon, of the Talanka mentality and other bad traits that Filipinos themselves admit to being afflicted with. While these factors do exist in the Filipino persona, they can be rehabilitated with the infusion of Chinese moral medicine.
The only possible obstacle, and the painful fact of the matter is this. The reason all these Chinese concepts failed to be handed down to the local people, is because many of the new generation Tsinoys ourselves have lost these beliefs. And one cannot give away what one does not have. We have to re-discover it inside ourselves first, if we are to be useful to our fellow Filipinos.
That, perhaps, will be the greatest Tsinoy contribution to our country.