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Opinion

They are not young in hours

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

Francis Bacon once wrote about people “young in years but old in hours.” This line is not easy to understand. It is so profound that it needs a lot of heavy thinking to fathom what Bacon had in mind but thanks to the internet I have come across what he probably meant. Accordingly, “to say that he is young in years but old in hours suggests that he has learnt much and gained a lot of wisdom despite his youth.”

For this column today, I want to reverse somewhat the above cited Bacon quotation. With apologies to the author, I transpose some of his words and come up with “young in hours but old in years.” Is it not some kind of reversing the thought? Perhaps. Still, I dare to wrestle with the risk of receiving harsh and severe criticism from the learned in our midst for this corruption of the revered Bacon because truthfully, that is what i have lately experienced.

Indeed, to reverse what the British essayist said, I may be a man “old in years but young in hours.” This was what i felt quite recently. You see, I have had the privilege of sharing my humble understanding of Parliamentary Procedure and local legislation with the newly elected officials of the three local government units of Guindulman and Jagna in the province of Bohol and San Francisco in Camotes island, Province of Cebu. While there were three separate seminars that I conducted in three distinct venues my feeling of being “old in years but young in hours” was surprisingly similar. I believed that with my seventy one summers, I was the person older than every one else (save one in San Francisco) in all the three sessions. Yet, as my sharing went on, i felt that I, despite my advance years, was the least energetic (read that as knowledgeable) in so far as the search for ways to serve our country was concerned. In a way i was somehow, young in hours.

The session with Guindulman, Bohol Vice Mayor Maria Fe Piezas, a doctor of medicine, and the town councilors showed their understanding of the need to craft an ordinance to regulate this unique mode of public transportation called “habal-habal.” In many places that I have visited, commuters have chosen to ride the ubiquitous motor cycle yet i know of no LGU that has written a regulatory local law. When the members of the Guindulman sangguniang bayan poured their individual thoughts to come up with a collective measure of regulating this preferred mode of public conveyance, they showed the wisdom of veteran legislators even if they are young being just into the first few weeks as councilors.

The seminar/training of the Jagna sangguniang bayan, some of whose members are neophyte councilors, likewise revealed their keen perception on what to serve the public with. Vice Mayor Teofisto Pagar Jr., presided. In the workshop on writing ordinances, the councilors amused me because I thought my experience would come in handy. After all, I have blown my own horn to claim that I succeeded in growing over a thousand trees. They decided to craft an ordinance aimed at greening the municipality. But when each one of them contributed ideas on how to plant and grow trees, I realized that despite my “old in years” I was young in hours because I comparably knew less on the subject.

The mind frames of the San Francisco Vice Mayor Al Arquillano and the councilors were no different from those of the SB members of Jagna and Guindulman. They all surprised me because while i was supposed to be the guru being “old in hours”, the depth of their understanding their roles as local government officials showed that they were learning much and gaining a lot of wisdom despite newness to the job.

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