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Living by the traditions of your people?

IT IS OFTEN said that one most telling trait that our great historical figures share is: Living by the traditions of their people respective. Witness for example, and as often cited:

SITTING BULL OR Iyothanka Tothangka, the Amerindian Hunkpapa; George Washington, the first American president; Marquis de Lafayette, the French general who helped win the War of Independence; even Ira Hayes, the Pima Indian and a 2nd World War veteran of the Battle of Iwo Jima; and our very own General Emilio Aguinaldo, the first President of the Philippine Republic.

WHEN THEY ARE cited, you will not miss their respective origins, and their deep love and pride for such.. for these are often attached to their specific identifications or features as leading world leaders and remembered men of their locales and milieus. Now,

COULD WE BECOME like any of them in these times? “Why not?” some may quip. But given our present situation in the Globe where almost everything now is relegated to the machines as well as to the electronic media, our answer would be a tentative: “perhaps hardly ever so xxx” for

OUR TIMES NOW are no longer the eras of Expansion, of Conquest, of armed conflicts and so forth; rather, they are of those attempts of “all-sectors” to the attainment of Global – or others speak of ‘regional, then global’ stability, cooperation, and peace.

ALTHOUGH SOME PRETTY good detractors say: “that’s better said than done!” for they contend: “how can there be World understanding when our present generation cannot even surpass the occasions of too much ambition, and excessive envy?” Or this: will those now “on top”, or in the ‘powerful stage’ be moved to go slower and find some points of moderation, etcetera?

MEANWHILE, AS WORTHY citizens we need not always look at the world picture and be dismayed at what’s adverse to our own goals; nor be consumed by the absurdities presently emanating from the global scenes. We need to begin, coming to grips with our own concerns, needs, and challenges.

IN SHORT, WE need to cultivate our own strengths of character so that we can survive in our own midsts and be inspirations to the present and next generations of our people. Thus, we’re saying:

WHY DON’T WE begin with our own self-examination, after which we can determine for ourselves how we can be assets or agents of change and improvement in our own respective communities, with our own gaits or co-peoples?

IN THE CORDIS alone, you and I are aware of traditional ways of thought (WOTs) our Elders teach us even at early age. For starters, let’s have three WOTs, to wit:

1) Itneng ka ni bilibilin ni amed (Lit. “listen to the advices of the Elders/Ancestors”); 2) Emai dihngeten sapol – samman i siged (“What is earned by your own sweat, that’s what’s good); and 3) menginames ka ngo reshan (“You’ll finally overcome/be ahead, you’ll see”).

THE FIRST WOT is often said as an advice to younger people – especially those trending to defy the traditional, customary, or “old” ways.

THE ADVISING ONE emphasizes, the Elders haven’t just reached the great ages by magic – or by some ‘accidental’ circumstances; but rather by experience, day-by-day learning, and ‘reformulations’ – epanbalbalew, across the times of their ages.

“THEY’RE MUCH LIKE some of the books you read in school.. only, the pages are unseen, but you hear them ‘page-by-page’ in their lips as they recount their own experiences and those of others they’ve met or encountered.

“WHEN THEY DIE and thus become our ancestors, their words are passed on to us by their living descendants or folks.. and so forth.. they’re Oral – but same way: knowledge, new and fresh as ever.. and we can put those in writing, anytime! Gets?”

THE SECONT WOT is counselled to everyone – but perhaps most especially to those who complain “they’re not earning as much”, compared to this or that person.

THE COUNSELLING ONE cites some examples of men and women who worked their way up – starting from little or nothing, to present things considerable.

“AND LOOK AT them – no myth nor legend about their success and current well-being. God gave us each 10 fingers, two hands, a strong body and mind, when we use them and we perspire, there come the rewards – little by little, maybe; but they’ll accumulate or pile up soon and you’ll be surprised, ondibag ka, you got more than enough you need, aliben siya?

THE THIRD WOT is advised to people who feel dejected because they experience any or all of the following: discrimination, overbearance, nepotism, even some “forms of oppression”.

YEY NO JHAY (Lit. “hear ye, you) you don’t have to fight them back, they’ll do the worse.. they’re your kin – though farther, by Tracing. But he who created us, si Apo Namarsua, sees all, knows all. Let them be – or, get away from them, find work somewhere and you’ll see: one day you’ll overcome your hurts; you’ll perhaps be ahead in rank or ‘progress’ than them. Yey, angkena.. Menginames ka ngo reshan! (EXPR, don’t mind them.. you’ll be far happier, successful in time!)”.

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