#2015RamonMagsaysayAwards: We need more solutions.

I attended my fifth Ramon Magsaysay Awards presentation ceremonies yesterday, 31 August 2015. This is the first I attended as a guest, and not as a staff.

I ended up getting blurry photos--the lower portions of the Cultural Center of the Philippines' Main Theater was already full, and we had to be seated at the third floor.  But I also got to enjoy the ceremonies, stress-free. I didn't have to worry about taking care of our media friends or audience needs or technical requirements. I just sat there concentrating on what the Awardees were saying.

I have to say that I am most fascinated by Kyaw Thu (it's pronounced something like "Chao Thu"), an actor in Myanmar who served thousands of people out of his own pockets. He's something like our Fernando Poe, Jr., if that helps put his work as an actor in perspective, with the difference being thta he helped more people in his country under authoritarian rule than FPJ did in the Philippines under a democracy.

I am very interested in how he successfully used his celebrity to help out others. I think, as a humanitarian worker, there's a lot of value to be learned from him. Thus, I was also originally planning on attending Kyaw Thu's lecture, scheduled for tomorrow. Unfortunately, exigencies of work demand that I forego attending his lecture. I still encourage to attend his lecture, and those of the other awardees'.

I was also struck by Anshu Gupta, who said in his response after accepting the Magsaysay Award: "We do need more solutions. Do copy our solutions. Duplicate. Add value to it."

In a world where praise, and property rights, and intellectual rights is becoming so important, where knowledge itself is becoming such a precious commodity, here is a man who is willing to give away his store of knowledge for free, for the sake of humanity. Astonishing! Such generosity!

The two other ideas that made a mark on me are from Pres. Benigno Aquino III's speech.

"Shall we choose the hard right or the easy wrong?"

It's easy to say that we should choose the hard right. But we know that even knowing what is right can be a struggle, especially when we are faced with greys instead of blacks-and-whites. Even when we are absolutely sure about the right choice, it can be hard to set aside other considerations such as personal gain or societal pressures to stick to the correct option. Thus, I think this is a good yardstick to have, a mental guidepost when we think of our actions and forks in our paths: "Am I choosing the hard right or the easy wrong?"

"Real transformation requires real backbreaking work?"

Even when we have chosen the right decision, for how long can we last until we become disillusioned or grow tired and simply give up? Sometimes, "the hard right" is not one big decision but a series of small choices where we consistently have to choose the right option, to choose what is ethical and moral. A lot of times, the small struggles become too much to bear. And then, where will we be? We need to be consistent, we need to be willing to put in effort, we need to have fortitude if we want to create change, offer real solutions, and create impact.

I'm pretty sure I wasn't able to get all the beautiful nuggets of wisdom from the ceremony (I'm planning to review the ceremonies when the livestream file is made available to the public. For now, check out this video teaser from the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation's official YouTube account:


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