To be grateful for any kind consideration made, pleasant lines written or surprise prepared is but an elementary obligation. It is said that to be thankful for any good thing that comes one’s way is according to the standard and standing norm of “GMRC” (Good manners and right conduct). Gratitude becomes even more imperative when what is made, written or prepared goes well beyond what is merited.
And this is exactly what I honestly feel after having seen and read the Philippines Free Press issue of 31 December 2005. “Man of the Year”. This is what it says of me. I cannot but thank all those who came to that conclusion and wrote about it. I appreciate the kind attention—although this be undesired. This is not false humility but plain truth.
In my old age, I have come to learn an empirical reality. This: I know who I am and the Good Lord knows me only too well. Thus: When people speak ill of me, nothing is really taken away from me. When they say good things about me, nothing is either truly added to me. How true is the saying that in the last analysis, the honor actually belongs to the one giving the honor.
Not that I am a robot with no feeling of either joy or pain. I feel good when affirmed and bad when disdained. But at the end of the day, I know who I am—and only I really can make myself less or more before God. And this I know when and why.
But just the same, I thank the people behind the Philippines Free Press. They make me feel good. To say otherwise would be falsity. But then, when I do something bad—immoral, unethical or anything the like—the said publication known since 1908 has all the right to censure me. And I promise to do amends.
Again: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the Philippines Free Press! God bless you all! Mabuhay!
5 January 2006