Friday

Oscar B. Tan: "Like Wine in the River, Like Citizens of the World"

"As for me, I come from the Philippines , a former American colony best known for Imelda Marcos’s shoe collection. I remember being a six-year old watching my parents walk out of our house to join the crowds gathering to depose the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and form human walls against tanks. I remember being a twenty-year old in a different crowd deposing a different but equally corrupt president."

"I cannot deny that our generation’s issues will be complex, but I can guarantee that they will never be abstract, not after having a classmate who was an Israeli army drill sergeant, not after having a Chinese classmate with a Taiwanese girlfriend, nor after having a classmate chased by gunmen out of Afghanistan . In fact, when George W. Bush’s speechwriter visited, my Iranian classmate introduced himself, 'Hi, I’m from an Axis of Evil country.' "

"Friends, my most uplifting thought this year has been that the more we learn about each other, the more we realize that we are all alike, and the more we inspire each other to realize our most heartfelt yearnings."


"How do a mere 700 change the world, even with overpriced Harvard diplomas? Before a great battle in China ’s Spring and Autumn Period, the legendary King Gou Jian of Yue was presented with fine wine. He ordered his troops to stand beside a river, and poured the wine into it. He ordered them to drink from the river and share his gift. A bottle of wine cannot flavor a river, but the gesture so emboldened his army that they won a great victory. We of the Class of 2007 shall flavor this earth, whether we be vodka, wine, champagne, pisco sour, pina colada, caipirinha, tequila, sake, jagermeister, raki, Irish stout, Ugandan Warabi, or Philippine lambanog.


-Oscar Franklin Barcelona Tan,
Harvard Law School 2007 Student Commencement Address

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12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do to Help Our Country

1. Follow traffic rules. Follow the law. 2. Whenever you buy or pay for anything, always ask for an official receipt. 3. Don’t buy smuggled goods. Buy Local. Buy Filipino. 4. When you talk to others, especially foreigners, speak positively about us and our country. 5. Respect your traffic officer, policeman and soldier. 6. Do not litter. Dispose your garbage properly. Segregate. Recycle. Conserve. 7. Support your church. 8. During elections, do your solemn duty. 9. Pay your employees well. 10. Pay your taxes. 11. Adopt a scholar or a poor child. 12. Be a good parent. Teach your kids to follow the law and love our country. - Alexander L. Lacson, Lawyer and Author