This is an essay about what it takes to be a hero, in my opinion.
|CAUTION: This post is NOT recommended for Manny Pacquiao die-hard-to-the-extreme fanatic.
I was able to read the newspaper last week and I just found out that I’ve been missing a lot of things. I found out how people start to be a hero on their own way. I was able to read about Jane Walker. The article was titled, “angel of the dumps” because she became Smokey Mountain’s angel not only for saving Filipino children, but also, for providing a much brought up source of income for several families living within the Manila’s city dump surrounding area. I felt so delighted especially after I saw her picture and she’s indeed pretty! I rushed through the net and what I found out pleased me much more. Walker is from Britain and her life there is far imaginable. She used to work as a publishing executive and her life was complacent. I must say that whatever plans she has in mind is genuine and heroic. For lending a hand to the Filipino garbage pickers who live in the dumpsites and cemeteries, I call it a heroic deed. Why? It’s because she managed to go out of her comfort zone in the UK, away from her family and work with the poorest of the poor. To gain the trust of the people living there isn’t easy yet she didn’t mind if she has to pick through Manila's garbage herself. I was also amazed that aside from sending children to school, she even teaches job skills to local adults. Widows and those physically not capable to search through the dump, recover discarded materials into aprons and handbags that help support families and their organization, the Philippine Community Fund. I wonder how come such philanthropy came from the heart and mind of a person who lives far-off to our country. It’s inspiring to know that a foreigner is helping our youth to pursue an education at their early age and in the midst of poverty. I am absolutely amazed to incredible works of God by using Ms. Walker stretch His grace to them. And with all this wonderful things done by the angel of the dumps, the Filipino people have so much to thank Ms. Jane Walker.
Then, just last night, finally I was able to read the full story and awarding of Efren Penaflorida, the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year. Actually I have heard of Efren’s “pushcart classroom” even before he had his awarding speech. Browsing through the net, I saw pictures about this pushcart classroom that offers Filipino youth an alternative to street gangs through education. I saw that these pushcarts were stocked with school materials such as colors, pencils, chairs, etc. used to recreate school settings in unusual locations such as the cemetery or trash dump. It’s nice to know and of course, I am so proud how Penaflorida beated the 9,000 finalists from 100 countries. Well, can we think what could possibly beat the thought of giving what was given to you? I thoroughly agree when Conrado de Quiros said how Penaflorida damned government by what he has done, by showing up what government has not. Peñaflorida damns government by what he is, by showing up what government is not. And, then again, this is, another, an act of great courage; of valor.. Of heroism.
But come to think of it, wouldn’t it be nice if it’s these great ideas would always come from our promising politicians? (Humor me.)
"I always tell my volunteers that you are the change that you dream and I am the change that I dream. And collectively we are the change that this world needs to be."
Then there goes Manny Pacquiao. Yeah, the world’s #1 pound-for-pound boxer. The Filipino boxing superstar and the first boxer to win seven world titles in seven different weight divisions. And the winner who’s considered by many as “a hero”.
I do not mean to degrade Pacquiao’s achievements. He had gone through so much ‘winnings’ for me not to respect him. I idolize him as well, I even bought a poster of him, but, to adore him won’t make me merit him as a hero. Although a veteran journalist like Ronnie Nathanielsz (Time Magazine) mentioned that this country is hungry of two things, a fighter and a hero. Yeah, but, what is it that makes a hero? For Joseph Campbell (1989), “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Pacquiao’s great punches and smart tactics came from months of preparation build ups. Could Manny Pacquiao fight without practicing at all, NO. That’s suicide. He don’t just come up inside the ring and win nothing like Jane walker who came here in our country as a tourist and ended as a public servant or much more to the great idea of Efren Penaflorida who was able to transform a simple pushcart into a mini classroom. Moreover, Pacquiao’s dream is to be a “World Champion”. Somehow, It’s known to him that all he need to do is win several times and will be known worldwide contrary to what Walker have done. She could just donate funds to Philippine Organizations but she even sacrificed to be away from her family so she could exert more of her to Filipino people. And, though Efren doesn’t have much, “monetary wise”, but, that doesn’t stopped him; starting from nothing never stopped them because true heroism is remarkably serious, very straight. Heroes are inspiring, they must be worthy of their name. Come to think of it, would wonder woman matter if she only sent sympathizing telegrams to the distressed? Let us be careful in choosing and looking up to heroic people as well as their deeds because to be a hero is not easy to pull off. It takes a pure intention to attain an authentic urge to serve others at whatever cost.