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King of Engineers

by Juan Miguel Exaltacion on Saturday, 25 April 2009 Comments
A week ago, as I was preparing myself to the award as “King of Engineers”, a question came to my mind: “What does it mean to be King of Engineers?”

Pondering on this question, I thought of Herbert Spencer, a sociologist and philosopher. He said that “human life is full of adversities and the law that governs the human race is one of survival of the fittest.” This is the maxim of today’s world. Therefore, in this world of make or break, where opportunities for work and better living become leaner and leaner due to global economic crises, most schools, companies and institutions train people to be highly-skilled and competitive in order to survive. For this reason, knowledge does play a very important role. It is knowledge that brings people like Tim Patterson of Microsoft or Charles Steinmetz of General Electric to the top.

Without exception, all of us are endowed with a good amount of knowledge and capabilities. Perhaps, we differ in how much we appreciate or how much we value those gifts. Some would care so much that these gifts become part of their lives. Others may take them for granted or even ignore them. For five years, I have dedicated myself to learning, for knowledge is not something that I can acquire overnight. It is a continuing process. But then I asked myself, is this the reason why I am here before you now? Perhaps, it is more than academic knowledge that brought me here.

Since my elementary days, the Cebu Institute of Technology has been my training ground. Like a soldier being trained for battle, my training here was tough. For sure I had my bruises and wounds, but they are nothing compared to the joy I am feeling right now. And it is the people around me that brought me where I am right now and what I have become. They trained and continue to train me to be tough, and lead me to my desire of becoming the best Juan Miguel Exaltacion I can be. It is these people around me that formed not only my head, but also my heart, body, and spirit that I may be fully human. The series of trainings and formation I have experienced here will surely prepare and brace me for future battles, where at times, the enemy is my own self... I guess this is what it really means to be a king. It is not the king that our dictionaries define him to be: a male sovereign, a competitor who holds a preeminent position, a dominant ruler controlling and reigning over his subjects. On the other hand, any man can be king if he is able to rule over himself, mastering himself in overcoming his wickedness and weaknesses, and having the strength to rise above all self-defeating obstacles; mustering enough courage to rise again and again every time he falls, never giving up. Yes, it is the people around me who taught me that to be a real man is to master and tame his own fears, his pride, his passion, his very self.

Furthermore, it is the people around me who taught me the value of relationships. People like my teachers taught me the value of giving and sharing; dedicated teachers and mentors who unselfishly shared to us students their knowledge; people like my classmates taught me the value of real friendship; faithful friends who never abandoned me in my darkest moments; people who encouraged and supported me in all my endeavors. Most of all, people like my family, especially my parents, who taught me the value of humility, service and love. They helped me see and understand this so-called “survival of the fittest” in a different light. They taught me that to be a great man, or a king, is not to compete and defeat everyone else in order to survive or get to the top. Man’s survival is found in his relationship with others. What makes him great is determined by the kind of relationship he builds with others. The real survivors, the so-called fittest, are the ones who are not afraid to give and share so that others may survive. They are the ones who have the capacity to love more, allow themselves to become the least and the last. This is what it really means to survive and live.

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