Helping my own business

by Evans Yonson

Barcelona – I have been told recently that I don’t help others especially the Filipino community. This I find uncalled for. Completely out of context. I don’t help others? Wow!!!

What does helping others entail? Are there various forms of helping others? Are there hard and fast rules for this?

Please indulge me on this as I rant over something that I find so mundane and in fact utterly uneducated. Sometimes educated people are allowed to be uneducated, only sometimes. This is going to be the first and the last time that I am going to talk about it here online for the whole world to see and for that person who claims to have seen the whole of Europe but still lacks the proper decorum to be called an educated person.

I know I have several talents. Can I help it if over the years I have acquired such skills? Of course not, I have worked hard to get to where I am and what I am now and by God’s grace, of course. Least I become religious here, I must say that I will always be a humble person. Irony of ironies. But so be it. I have been guided by the prayer of Saint Ignatius, “… to give and not to cost…, to labor and ask not for rewards…”

Help, according to Webster, is to give assistance or to aid. To give assistance to others in pursuit of a higher goal is a very noble cause. The Filipino community in Barcelona has a program called Eskwelang Pinoy, which I believe is a very good program designed to aid or assist Filipinos in various ways especially the Spanish language. I admire the people who manage this program, their dedication is indeed exemplary. Then I enter the picture. I don’t help the Filipino community, according to that person. I have my reasons and I will stand by it no matter what.

In 2006, I moved to Barcelona from Madrid, which I believe was a good move considering that I was treading on unfamiliar grounds. I made friends in Barcelona, very good friends. Along with a friend, I came up with a monthly community paper. It was a voluntary thing because I wanted to help the community. I did not get any remuneration from anyone. I have asked some friends to write for the paper. One person responded that he wants a talent fee and that got me pissed me without saying a word. At the start, it was a bit controversial because some people thought we were challenging another group. But we proved them wrong, we were able to get advertisers and published for six months. It was hardwork at the same time fun. Until I was offered a teaching position in the Philippines. I decided to go home because it was a good chance and it was part of my professional career plans. In short, the community paper folded up because the publisher couldn’t do it by himself.

In 2009, some people volunteered my name to be the editor of a Filipino organization’s community paper. These people did not consult me personally about this, which I found very unprofessional. Because I wanted to help so I set up an appointment with the administrative people of this organization, we agreed on a time and a date. I arrived early on the appointed day but the person was somewhere else. She was entertaining visitors and they were more 50 kilometers away from Barcelona. So, she promised to call me and up to this very minute she never did call me at all. They need my help. They need my assistance. They should call me. I have done my part and it’s time that they do their share of working and helping.

When I came back to Barcelona in 2008, I came here to study under a scholarship of the Spanish government. Some people who are volunteers now used to be scholars and in fact some of them have volunteered while they were still studying. Fine, I admire their efforts. But I am doing a PhD program and not a Masters program here. I could not afford to waste my time.

For that person who said that I don’t help others especially the Filipino community, here’s a rundown of what I have done for you over the last 6 years, in case you might have forgotten. I know this is very unlikely of me, but here it is.

1. When you came to Spain in 2004, you didn’t know anybody and who tagged you along in Madrid for a short stay?

2. When you decided to move to Madrid in 2005, who introduced you to people in the capital?

3. When you came to Barcelona in 2009 and you’re “landlord” kicked you out of their house because you were one insensitive person, who helped you out?

4. Who brought you to the university and introduced you the professor that made you realize that you can write a book?

I could go on and on and on. But that’s beyond me now.

I help others not because I want to receive dole-outs from some religious and/or organizations who distribute goods for the needy. I don’t mean to belittle those who receive these stuff. If people need it the most, then they should have it. Now if I volunteer  just because I want to receive even though I can afford to buy these, is that helping the Filipino community wholeheartedly at all?

As a Filipino, I conduct myself in the university in the best way I know I could. I don’t put myself and my country to shame. I don’t go around town telling people of my sexual escapades because that is unlikely of a Filipino. I take a bath every single day since I came here. I don’t smell. I have never been told by my professor to take a bath. I don’t pretend to be religious. I don’t enter the church and pray at the same time feasting my eyes on those men around me. I don’t pretend that I have something when I totally don’t have it at all. I don’t prostitute myself in exchange for six rolls of toilet paper. I would rather stay at home and be contented than hopping from one place to another just to get free lunch or dinner. I don’t invite friends over just to get freebies.

If I want to help that is going to be my own prerogative. No one else can dictate me what to do, how to do it and to whom will I do it for. With or without me, the Filipino community will go on and function on its own. In the same manner that my life will take its course even without the Filipino community. My business is never their business at all. I will never give a damn what their business is unless they’ll cross mine.

Now that you’ve crossed mine. Here’s what you get for doing/saying what you just did.  I know you’re good at helping because you always have something in mind -to get something out of helping others. It must be your education. It’s in your values, dear. Misplaced values are hard to let go. It’s in you now. Help yourself first before you start telling others to help others.

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