AN INTERESTING FACEBOOK MESSAGE
Sometime mid-November of last year Filipinos in New Zealand Group broad casted a special feature on the sidebars of its community websites for Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch. It was a graphic image panel inviting members of the Filipino-Kiwi Communi ty in New Zealand to submit nomina tions for participants who would be featured in a regular television show on TV3 called the Cadbury Dream Factory. The show is broadcasted every Thurs day evening 7.30PM. After that, it can also be viewed On Demand with 3NOW on the Internet so it does have a strong following because television and the web are now popular mediums of communication, information and entertainment.
Earlier that month, an interesting Facebook message arrived. It was addressed to Filipinos in New Zealand Group through Karl Quirino who forwarded it to my email inbox with some comments and an endorsement to engage. This is what that email contained:
THE DIGNITY OF THEIR SUFFERING
Now allow me to say at least that Karl has a unique way of seeing things clearly when it deals with many matters including Filipino-Kiwis who, as an ethnic migrant community group dispersed across New Zealand. “It is growing and needs to eventually gel as one solid community”, he said.
In Karl’s email on this matter he also remarked that, “Ian Hart’s invitation, although attached with a commercial element on its tail-end nevertheless con tains noble intent if you just focus on the human element alone and see it for what it is. You and I both know Tony that Filipinos in general anywhere around the world are individually noble in character. The dignity of their suffering and fortitude of character is etched into the deep recesses of their soul. That’s because of their history as a people. Thus, strong family values are the foun dation of their collective psyche. It is their fountainhead as it is their refuge.”
AND DEEP PERSONAL SACRIFICES
Karl then added, “If they had the financial means, they would do everything possible for the security and well-being of their family members even as it happens that they’re wrenched away from them in a foreign country struggling to make a better life for them and loved ones back in the Philippines. For the many of them who now live and work abroad as skilled migrants and workers they endure long separation anxieties and deep personal sacrifices quietly. It is this pain which their host countries don’t understand nor fully appreciate. Besides that Tony (and your tongue on cheek has to be on this one), I do know that you’re a chocoholic and that Cadbury is one of your favourite brands of milk chocolate as is perhaps true for other members of the Editorial Board of Filipinos in New Zealand Group. So, let’s get on with this and I’ll get my KQ&A team to whip up something simple soon and publish it.”
It has been my experience that when Karl speaks (or better yet, writes), you listen because he bores down to the crux of things absent all manner of dis tractions which others might allow them selves to obfuscate arguments or a line of reasoning.
He can be brutally frank at times as he never suffers foolishness but is never du plicitous or unkind.
For this and other good reasons, that’s what I think makes him such a highly skilled reputation management strate gist (but clearly not a public relations man) and one who always works un noticed behind-the-scenes like a ninja. It is an attribute that is evidently so because Karl is so well-read, well-travelled and that his treasure chest of in sights, experiences and store of uncommon knowledge speaks for itself in high definition. And, he is often right. I need to stop and start paying notice to what life is all about. So in go the graphic panel images on the websites and let’s see what happens next, I said to myself.
YET DREAMS DO COME TRUE
Yesterday evening, Karl sent me an email with a link to a webpage containing a video for NZ TV3’s latest Cadbury Dream Factory (Season-1 Episode-7) install ment found on NZ TV3’s NOW website.
In a major section of this episode, the Cadbury Dream Team show hosts Brooke Howard-Smith and Kimberly Crossman and their crew reunite two young girls Khryzelle (age 11) and Jamine (age 9) who stay with their aunts in the highland summer capital city of Baguio in the Philippines. They have been separated for 7-years from their parents – Ruel and Johanna Ciubal, who live in a suburb in South Auckland.
Click The Image Below To Access This Video Offsite
Now I have to admit to myself that this short film-like video seems to be a rather long stretch for many to invest their precious time (as it did for me at first) but now also I do remember Karl writing me once not too long ago that “the demands of life in our modern socio-economic system require that we keep running and running with little or no respite and are pummelled by it. So, we and our children end up waking in a fog of routine and live out our best years without ideals. It is for this reason I believe that we sleep in the shadows of nothingness.” Ouch, he right again!
REVIVING MY FAITH IN HUMANITY
I have to confess another matter. I watched this video for its entire length. I’m glad I did. The ending was dramatically poignant and drove me to sob not in sorrow, but happiness. It is moments like this that take your breath away.
I think it might have the same effect on you as it did to those people in the video who accompanied the Ciubal couple to Auckland’s International Airport and witness for themselves first-hand the precious moments loving parents finally have reunited with their long-separated children.
It revived my faith in humanity. It reinforced that ‘until now’ waning faith of mine that indeed there are still many good, selfless and giving people who go on quietly about their chores in this world helping other people.
TO CELEBRATE AND CHERISH LIFE
For some, there are moments when the world moves so slowly you can feel your bones shifting, your mind tumbling. When you think that no matter what hap pens to you for the rest of your life, you will remember every last detail of that one minute forever. It is in such moments like these that we should all celebrate and cherish life.
Some moments are nice, some are nicer, some are even worth writing about – like this one. And if we were to collect these small moments in a notebook and store them over a period of months we would see certain trends emerge from our collection – certain voices would emerge that have been trying to speak through us all this time.
Then, we would realise that we have been having another life altogether; one we didn’t even know was going on inside us. And maybe this other life is more im portant than the one we think of as being real. So just maybe it is these small silent moments which are the true story-making events of our lives.
In closing, I can only say that people like all those who are involved with the preparation and production of the Cadbury Dream Factory shows on TV3; Filipino-Kiwis like immigration adviser Maricel Weischede (who operates with her partner Holger a service called NZ Immigration Help Service); Dennis Maga of Migrante Aotearoa (an NGO who advances the rights and welfare of Filipino and other migrants in New Zealand); and, not the least Karl – an old and trusted confidante of mine that’s wrapped around a friendship which has lasted starting from our graduate school years together in California, may I say that all of you continue to remind me in subtle ways that life as a human being can only be worth living until the very end when it has been all about giving, not getting.
Thank you all for being around in this world when it matters. May your tribe increase in all our communities.
Antonio de Pacis
Filipinos in New Zealand Group
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