I attended the ‘One Cebu Business & Sustainability’ summit earlier. I was invited by Paul of Mandaue Business Chamber of Commerce. Of course, when he first invited me. I said no. I don’t know but I always get a funny feeling about those mouthful of words.I guess it’s more of I get intimidated because I can picture people in business attires, networking churva, and such — they’re just not my thing.
But I came across a newspaper ad of it, and I saw that Tony Meloto and Alex Lacson were 2 of the speakers. I was sold out. And so there I was earlier/yesterday morning.
I got a mix emotion of frustrated and awed/inspired from the event. But I won’t wallow much in the frustration part. It was Alex Lacson who gave the last talk. (He’s a WOW speaker.)
In the first part of his talk he talked about God’s gifts to us. The first greatest gift is life. Then, 2nd best is freedom. We have freedom to choose what to eat, wear, etc, etc. We have the freedom to choose what we want to do, to feel, etc. So he said something like, we have freedom to feel contented with what we are right now, we also have freedom to aspire more for us.
It got me thinking about how sometimes mark and I talk about getting a 2nd citizenship from a first world country. I guess all of us have this thought. We are not leaving Philippines, by the way. But we thought it would be nice for our kids to have the ‘privilege’ of being able to access different cultures easily, of not them not having to go through a somewhat like criminal investigation just to enter another country. You know, we have that choice of getting a 2nd citizenship. And, I guess I could say we/us are luckier in that area compared to others because it might be easier for us.
But we can also aspire for more than that. Lacson’s talk made me think that we also have freedom to make Philippines, instead, a first world country. Instead of channeling our energy on working/hoping for that 2nd citizenship, we could put that energy on our country. As such, we do not need to apply for a 2nd citizenship from another ‘rich’ country. We could be a country where other citizens would aspire to get a 2nd citizenship to get that ‘privilege.’
It’s a wishful thinking. But a wishful thinking worth keeping, and fighting for.
My frustration was after all those inspiring/heavenly-tasting talks, it left me feeling what now? I guess one cause of my frustration was that other speakers came from the corporate world/big companies — and somehow their talks were like mostly PR of their companies.
There was 1 speaker who is from a bank, and she talks about the philanthrophic works of the bank. The main thing she was talking about was about education. Well, it was nice and all. But when I asked her if they have any projects about something like Grameen Bank (you know that microcredit thing), and she said something like they are not ‘good’ at it so they would rather focus on where they can deliver. She added something like microcredit needs too much time and attention. I mean nothing wrong with her answer, but I cannot help but feel disappointed. I cannot help but feel that it’s just PR after all, marketing. It was a ‘business & sustainability’ summit and she is from a bank, I guess social microcredit kind of stuff is worth talking about.
So I guess that was my frustration, that after all those nicely-worded talks, it was just after all PR. Of course, I don’t mean all the talks were like that. But I was expecting to hear stories from the people who are really on the ground doing the dirty works of ‘social responsibility’ — like how they work their way with the government’s bureaucracy just to put up a project, or how they bring people with different cultures to work for a cause.
The event does not fail to inspire and awe me, but I wish it taught me better on how to be more socially responsible person without having to be in a big business. But I guess, acting on ‘social responsibility’ is like ‘parenting,’ it is some thing in us that only us can decide on how to take it. And, nothing wrong if we will not take that route. I believe it must be something natural for us, or else we will just end up sounding like those PR’s with beautifully crafted empty words.
Enough of bad vibes (BV for the kids). I believe each one of us has done some thing for our family/fellow countrymen, but most of us just kept it to ourselves. We have these wonderful ideas for others but we keep it. Because we are afraid to be accused of being ‘hambug.’ I guess for a start, maybe we can change that mindset/culture/attitude.
So I’ll share what I have in mind in times that I feel this ‘social responsibility’ urge:
* one is I’ll support local tech ‘start-ups.’
* and this one.
As always, I’m a girl so I can be fickle-minded. Next time, I might have other things in my mind especially when ‘fear’ gets the better of me.
Tony Meloto started to play with his GK idea 1995, he first built a house 1999, and GK took off to become popular 2003(?). So, just to remind us, it’s not instant. So let’s not let go of what we have when days get long and frustrating. It takes time. =)