Archive for January, 2007

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King and Kipling

January 6, 2007

On my maternal side, King is our very first cousin. His nickname is a giveaway. He was born January 6 – formerly the Feast of the Three Kings before the Church moved it to coincide with the very first Sunday of January. We may have been born under different signs but there is some truth about that peculiar temperament of eldest children. Driven and determined. Forever wary of failing to live up to our perception of what our families expect from us.

Of late, he has been under so much pressure. I have long wanted whoever will be the father of my son to give this poem to him when he grows up – a former boss had it framed as gift to his son and I think it should be given by every father to his son (and yes, daughter too). In the meantime, ading ko, this is your poem. You are growing up to be fine young man. These are Rudyard Kipling’s words but it perfectly articulates what I always fail to tell you for fear that you will just laugh at me and dismiss me as an overaged drama queen. Happy birthday and I will always be proud of you.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings — nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!

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Remembering Ambet

January 3, 2007

“Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever.” [Elisabeth Kubler-Ross]

Perhaps it was my mother’s birthday yesterday that reminded me of you. We always called you Ambet, not lola. [Which reminds me, I know I have asked this question as a child but my memory now fail me as I try to recall the reason why we always called you that.] You were an imposing figure in the community. When I was younger, I used to hear stories from most grown-ups that at least once in their childhood, they feared you. Their parents would invoke you as if you were the devil incarnate. [Funny, I think my students think exactly that way of me now.] Read the rest of this entry ?