Minority Report

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He’s gone far from where he came from: a little town in Bulacan along a river. His father was a maintenance man for the local cement plant. His family owned a little land on which they grew rice. When he was a boy, he was the neighborhood champion with yo-yos and hula-hoops. He was also very bright, and worked very hard in school. After grade school he was offered a scholarship at the UST High School in Manila. He worked very hard there also, with almost no social life to speak of. He continued on scholarship all the way through college at UST.

His dream was be an architect, but his parents wouldn’t allow that. They said architecture was not practical. They told him to study engineering, so that he could be an engineer at the cement plant in Bulacan. He had other ideas, but he did what they said and graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Engineering. Once again he was offered a scholarship — this time in America, for graduate studies, at a small technical institute in upstate New York. He accepted, waved goodbye and went, with only $100 in his pocket.

After getting his Master’s Degree in Engineering, he was sponsored in his first job by a large American chemical company. When he got his green card, he moved to another company, in a higher position, with a higher salary, and bought a house. After five years he became a U.S. Citizen.

It was a good life. He traveled on vacation around America and Europe. He also returned to the Philippines on vacation once, to his home town in Bulacan. He had done well, and thought he would be greeted there with honor. Instead, he was surrounded by distant relatives and children demanding shoes, shirts, bicycles, motorcycles, money. The town mayor told him to offer free engineering service to the cement plant, out of “Respect”. He never went back there again.

Here you see him in America. That’s the house he bought behind him. He’s sitting happily in his vintage sports car, a 1951 Morgan roadster. When he was a little boy in Bulacan, he used to see jet planes flying overhead, flying away from Manila Airport into the distance. “They’re flying to America”, he thought to himself, “and someday I’ll be on one of those planes”. And one day he was. It does happen.

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