Your son and your brother
DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda () - August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino arrived on time at the Batasang Pambansa for his first State of the Nation Address. He got off from the presidential car in an elegant piña barong (designed by Paul Cabral) with the iconic yellow ribbon sewn deftly and unobtrusively in the chest area above his heart. For him, perhaps not to forget his core — the ribbon that tells the story of his life and his presidency.

As provided for by tradition, he was met by Senate Pres. Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Sonny Belmonte. Political butterflies and bees swarmed the area, trying to create proximity with the new president. After all, was it George Stephanopoulos who said that proximity to power is power?

President Noy shook hands with friends, familiar faces, political acquaintances — but you noticed every time he spotted someone who mattered — his eyes would light up to say hello. Pres. Noy is the most honest and transparent president we will ever have just like his mother. Honesty is the color of his blood.

Watch Pres. Noy’s walk. I saw it again as he was making his way to the Congressional Hall. It’s a straddle that is both boyish and common tao. Pres. Noy is most at ease with ordinary folk. People familiar with his father say Pres. Noy is his father’s son in many interesting ways.

Just before he stood up to go down to the podium where he was to deliver his speech, he managed to quickly grab his hanky from his pocket and wipe his face.

You got this feeling that you wanted him to do well, to look good, to speak well — you wished him well — because he is not only the President of his country — he is your son and he is your brother.

This is what Nanay told me on the day Pres. Noy delivered his first SONA.  

Books that inspire

In his speech before the American Library Association, US President Barack Obama described Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are as a book that made an impact on his early life, expressing gratitude to his mother, who always gave him books as a present for every occasion, no matter what was on his wish list.

“I’d be disappointed initially, but she knew that eventually I’d end up picking them up and reading them. That, I think, really laid the foundation for my subsequent success,” Obama declared.

The Manila International Book Fair (MIBF), is slated on Sept. 15 to 19 at SMX Convention Center. The MIBF celebrates 31 years of promoting the love for reading and gathers bibliophiles and major players in the publishing industry in its continuing efforts to promote books and reading.

Here are a few books I read in the recent past and how they impacted on my life.

The Mighty and the Almighty by Madeleine Albright. This book sent me back to school. Former US State Secretary and currently a Harvard professor, Albright writes about the role of religion in the discourse about global peace. “Know your faith at its deepest and richest best and enough about your neighbor’s faith to respect it.” She is both pragmatic and academic when she says in this book that “sometimes to achieve peace, one has to fight for it.”

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder. It is in this book where I learned that understanding why one fails is the key to success. “Insight by inversion” is explained by an old adage that says, “Tell me where I’m going to die so I won’t go there.”

The Power of Cult Branding by Matthew W. Ragas and Bolivar J. Bueno. The book contains the seven Golden Rules of cult branding. Cult brands from Harley-Davidson, Beetle to Oprah Winfrey do not only attract loyal followers but impassioned disciples too.

Barbra Walters Audition, A Memoir. The greatest interviewer in the world reveals her life story — inspiring, conflicted, empowering for a woman who lisps and relentlessly parodied by Saturday Night Live. She has magnificently defined TV journalism. The most important lesson she shares is that to the very end, you continue to audition before an unforgiving public.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. You will not put this book down, not even to pee or read your text messages. You will weep when you read this book because Pausch reminds you gently that it is important to overcome obstacles, to enable the dreams of others, to seize every moment, because time is all you have and you may find out one day that you have less than what you think.

Mother: A Cradle To Hold Me by Maya Angelou. If this were the last day of the world, I would want to read this book/poem of Maya Angelou aloud — loud enough to remind everyone there is an “enduring love that exists in every corner of the world.”

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