Saturday, October 20, 2007

Quote on Starbuck's cup

I was happily sipping a latte, and when I put down my cup, I noticed a quote on the side of it. I guess I never noticed there were quotes on Starbucks cups before. Anyway I found the quote on mine to be interesting:

“My cousin in Tibet is an illiterate subsistence farmer. By accident of birth, I was raised in the west and have a Ph.D. The task of our generation is to cut through the illusion that we inhabit separate worlds. Only then will we find the heart to rise to the daunting but urgent challenges of global disparity.” -Losang Rabgey, “The Way I See It…”

In my visits to the Philippines as an adult, it's disappointing to see how a country with so much potential cannot get out of "Third World" status. The problem is the widening gap between the rich and the poor. "Middle class" is a college grad with a four-year degree, who graduated at the top of their class, working a graveyard shift at a call center, making next to nothing. A daily struggle to make ends meet, just to provide for their family. Just a block down the street from a 5-star hotel is a slum area, where families live off someone else's garbage.

Having been born in the Philippines, but raised in the United States, I have enormous pride as an American and what it means to be an American. I appreciate what generations of immigrants have sacrificed to make this country the great nation that it is. I cherish my Filipino heritage, and recognize the good and bad traits of the Filipino way, and absorb the positive parts.

My parents came to the United States to give my sister and me a chance for a better life. A kind of life that is not offered in the Philippines or any other country... freedom to take control of your destiny. Self-sacrifice, hard work, self-reliance, resourcefulness, and hope. That defines the American dream. Not "For English Press 1, Para Espanol...", bilingual signs, single teen mothers on welfare continuing to have babies.

I applaud those who try to rise above adversity. These are the ones you help. Give a hungry man a fish and he will be satisfied, but teach a man to fish and he will never go hungry again. Or you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. So create opportunities for those less fortunate, not encourage complacency.

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