Rene Saguisag: How do you grow up when you're growing old?

MANILA: Beloved former Senator Rene Saguisag has one fear now that he's old: "a long, lingering, hopeless illness" towards the end of his life, as quoted by ANN (author not named, no date, politics.com.ph). My fear for him is "a continuing limited, lingering, looking-forward lawyering" – time, talent and treasure spent on lesser causes. 

At 76, Rene Saguisag should be tilting on windmills! Wikipedia says tilting at windmills means attacking imaginary enemies, as did Don Quixote de la Mancha in Miguel de Cervantes' beloved tale The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha. Don Quixote was impossible and lovable. I'm redefining windmills here from imaginary enemies to impossible enemies. "While the difficult takes time," motivational speaker and wheelchair athlete Art E Berg said, "the impossible just takes a little longer."

And oh yes, I practice what I preach. At 76, I'm tilting on windmills such as those who are thinking of voting for Mayor Duterte for him to get rid of the bad elements of Philippine society. "Duterte is what we Filipinos need to lead us," the windmills say. That will be solving the little problems and creating bigger ones. Duterte's methods will not pass the Rotary 4-Way Test: Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned? Will it build GOOD WILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

The bigger windmill I'm tilting is the lack of Vision and Mission of any of the candidates for President of the Philippines – how can they captain the Ship of State if they do not know where they want the Ship to go? The Vision is the Dream – if you don't have a Vision, how can you make the Dream come true?

At his age, Rene Saguisag should not be playing safe. Not worrying about how much those he will leave behind will have to pay as his hospital bills in a slow but sure death. My good friend Dr Antonio C Oposa (may he rest in peace!) taught me the value of a living will; in his will, one of his strict instructions was for no one to come up with heroic efforts to prolong his life on life support. You save on certain debts as you save on a certain death. He died last month; he was almost 91 (01 April 1924).

Those of us who are still alive, please stop complaining! If you are 76, you have at least 15 years more to live, to tilt at more windmills and contribute more to your country.

Rene Saguisag, if you believe in God, you are certainly one of the lilies of the field! What did Apostle Matthew write again that Jesus said to his disciples and to us across time?

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:24-34 (NRSV)

You of little faith! Rene Saguisag should have no fear at all now (image from rappler.com). He has battled them all, including premature death. A little more than 8 years ago:

"Atty Rene Saguisag suffered severe trauma to the head and chest as a result of a vehicular accident early this morning. He is currently admitted at the intensive care unit of our hospital. We (Doctors) may have to undergo surgical intervention to address complication resulting from injuries he sustained. He is being attended by a team of specialists headed by Dr Victor Alvarez, a neurosurgeon" – medical bulletin, Makati Medical Center (08 November 2007, gmanetwork.com).

Not that he is immortal, but that he should now live his life so that he leaves behind a legacy that is immortal.

And where would that legacy come from? I know he hasn't thought or talked about it, but how about teaching the world 76 lessons on how to dream, believe, survive, and thrive?

And in the end, distil the essence of those 76 into just 7 fundamental rules of living and giving to society? If not:

Enough of senatorial advices like conscience voting and reporting 24/7 to the job.

Enough of name-calling, such as Manny Pacquiao is a one-armed bandit. Pacquiao had complained he had an injury when he fought Floyd Mayweather, and therefore was essentially fighting with one arm; and Pacquiao had not paid his taxes when Rene Saguisag wrote his column 15 May 2015 ("Money Pacman, the one-arm bandit?" manilatimes.net). I thought Pacquiao won that one.

Rene Saguisag, at 76 you and I should be tilting at windmills. Windmills would have to be bigger than ourselves, our families, our villages, our towns, our cities, our provinces, our regions.

Tilting at windmills would involve like the GMOs, which are all over the world. Now, who is the windmill: The pro-GMOs or the anti-GMOs? Genetically modified organism, GMO, plural GMOs. GMO foods, in the Philippines we have Golden Rice, Bt corn, Bt eggplant. The Bt crops are quite imaginary enemies because the crystal protein in them, Cry1Ac, comes from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (hence Bt), which you cannot see with the naked eye. The Cry1Ac is toxic to insects; "it kills bugs dead and it kills them with an angry vengeance" (Edward Group, 22 July 2013, Global Healing Center, globalhealingcenter.com). Either the GMO foods are safe for us to eat or they are not. What will happen to humans ingesting foods with the Bt protein is anybody's guess. Now, which side of this windmill will Rene Saguisag attack?

Tilting at windmills is not that safe or easy, but at 76 it should be fun.



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