Feedback from my column readers 2018-2019
A POINT OF AWARENESS - Preciosa S. Soliven (The Philippine Star) - September 19, 2019 - 12:00am

Columnists look forward to the reactions of their readers, whether they are flattering or objectionable. I recall my late husband Max Soliven gets a thick bundle of letters from his readers weekly in the ’60s before email became the practice. It became his bedtime stories before sleeping. He dared to print the opinions that contradicted his articles.

Mrs. Amelita Ramos contributes info to ‘Filipino West Pointers advise a new graduate’

Mrs. Amelita “Ming” Ramos reacted to my column with an informative email about her husband, former President Fidel V. Ramos: “I am writing to you after reading your column Filipino West Pointers Advise a New Graduate in the Philippine STAR, Sept. 5, 2019. I am wondering why you did not mention Fidel V. Ramos, West Point Class of 1950 in your article. His accomplishments would be an inspiration to graduates and future graduates of West Point. Why? He is the only Filipino graduate who held positions of Chief of the Philippine Constabulary, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Secretary of National Defense, awarded the Distinguished Alumnus during the year 2000 by West Point, and who became the President of the Republic of the Philippines in 1992. Don’t you agree?”

I do agree. Let me add my Nov. 19, 1992 column about FVR “On Helping the President Reform Education” when he hosted 400 private school heads in the annual assembly of the Coordinating Council for Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) at the Heroes Hall of Malacañang Palace.  He said: “I too regard myself as something of an educator. Public office in a developing country was an obligatory teaching function. And the presidency has the entire country as the classroom for its lectures. I intend to use the lectern of my office as extensively as I can… to urge our countrymen towards unity, civic responsibility and national pride. In fulfilling this teaching function, I ask your help… I am still in the process of learning.”

An objection to ‘UNESCO debate on re-engineering education linked to Jose Rizal’

Roy Basan wrote: “Your article about Rizal shows your extreme fanaticism to that overrated guy promoted by the Americans as the model for the Filipinos. This guy whose life was made into a college subject is not worth emulating. He pretends to be a womanizer – When the fact is there is no evidence he slept with those ladies except Josephine Bracken whom he married. The book El Filibusterismo had technical errors if you understand the science of explosives, etc. Since my early years, never did I have a sense of admiration to this puny guy whose achievements are exaggerated. I pity you for regaling just an ordinary guy the respect belonging to the gods.”

Reply:  I respect your dissenting opinion. After all the Latin saying states ne gustimus non est disputatum. Dr. Jose Rizal died young in his late thirties having made the best of his life wherever he went, either in Europe, Asia or Dapitan – learning languages, involved in medical research, engaging Dr. Blumentritt in spiritual discussion of philosophy and culture and elevated our country with inspired poetry. Can you find any other man who cared to transform the youth, the illiterate provincianos to be patriotic and ultimately gave his life for our country? Look at the silver lining of our cloudy country and be happy. Each of us can be a hero to our forsaken neighbor.

Rafik Ishak reacts to ‘How LKY transformed Singapore from 3rd world to 1st’

Rafik Ishak, a Canadian businessman who migrated to the Philippines wrote, “I have been a big admirer of your late husband, Max and your daughter Sara. I travel frequently in Asia and other countries including Singapore.  I agree about everything you said about Singapore and Lee Kwan Yew, one of my heroes. But one thing I am not sure you wanted to include in your article today. It is 100 times easier and more effective to accomplish things for Singapore’s three to four million population than for 100 million plus Filipinos. Governing the Philippine population is like asking someone in the gym to lift 100 pounds instead of lifting a two-pound weight. The Philippines is a great country in spite of all its faults. Many foreigners including embassy personnel extend their stay here. God bless the Philippines and its people.”

Inspired by ‘The Thai prince descendant who elevated Philippine farming’ (3 parts)

Mr. Laurence Joshua Morales, from Southern Leyte and an OFW in Thailand, wrote “I am very amused how you depicted Thai and Filipinos working hand in hand to improve the agriculture sector of both countries. I wondered if Prof. Noi is still alive and still doing his voluntary work. (Yes, he is and still writes.) The reason why your article caught my attention is because I was an OFW in Thailand for five years and was able to travel “the land of smiles” in almost every municipality (amphoe) and city (mueang). What fascinates me is the way they encourage their farmers to be productive in their farming. I guess one of the many reasons for this is the support from their kingdom to promote farming in far flung areas and make money out of it, just like the example you gave in your article:

‘The leatherleaf fern he introduced to growers in Chiang Mai from the Philippines is now earning money for exporters. Wherever he goes, ornamental plant nursery owners go out of their way to see him, to thank him for the knowledge he had imparted to them through his talk, his books and newspaper articles.’ How amazing it is.”

Reaction to part 2 of the column ‘West Point motto – A pledge to duty, honor, country and God’ 

Maina Walk wrote: “It was with great interest that I read your column about Capt. Eclarin. I knew him by name through my dear friend the late Secretary Angelo Reyes, who spoke to me about him with great admiration. I would assume that Capt. Eclarin has rose in rank by now, perhaps a One Star General?  His talents was directed to the pursuit of improving the integrity and disciplined leadership in our government.”

Reply: Dennis Eclarin retired as a full Colonel and is engaged in business. He still continues to chair the Scout Rangers Alumni. For years, we consulted him to enrich the CAT and ROTC of the O.B. Montessori Professional High School. We also refer to his five books including the “Scout Ranger Combat Guide” and “Philippine Jungle Survival.

COLUMN READERS 2018-2019 FEEDBACK
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