"I turned 70, and my news magazine turned 17."
Following are excerpts from my speech at the 17th anniversary of BizNewsAsia
weekly news magazine, Nov. 26, 2018:
Yesterday, Nov. 25, I turned 70. Today, Nov. 26, my BizNewsAsia
weekly business and news magazine turns 17.
Thank you for coming for tonight’s BizNewsAsia
Seven is a lucky number. It is the most popular lucky number.
There are, after all, seven days of the week, seven colors of the rainbow, seven notes on a musical scale, seven seas, and seven continents. Our senators use No. 7 in a Senate house that it does not even own.
Snow White had seven dwarves. There were seven brides for seven brothers. Shakespeare described the seven ages of man. Sinbad the Sailor had seven voyages. And when Ian Fleming was looking for a code for James Bond, it was not 006 or 008. Only 007.
Christianity considers seven a holy number. The Genesis says that God rested on the 7th day after man was created on the 6th day.
Actually, my favorite number is 25, my birth day. It still amounts to 7—two plus 5.
Seven, of course, is not always lucky.
Imelda Marcos’s favorite number is 7. Her car’s plate number used to be 777. Early this month, in a 70-page decision, the Sandiganbayan found her to have founded seven foundations and she was found guilty on seven counts of graft and meted 11 years for each count of graft. So 7 times 11 is 77. She, of course, will not go to jail. She is already 89—and 8 plus 9 is 17.
Last Aug. 25, (that is a 7), my SUV lost its brake and slammed onto three concrete posts. The SUV’s bumper was cut into half, its engine broken. The SUV was declared a total wreck. My head banged against the windshield. But you know, I was bloodied but unbowed.
My doctor ordered me to have my brain scanned. Initially, I resisted. Because it might confirm that I have some form of lunacy. You have to be crazy to have BizNewsAsia
going for all these years.
Finally, after a month, I had a brain scan. The findings could not be more pleasing. My brain is not deteriorating at all. It is, in fact, trying to expand but my skull wouldn’t allow it. There is no more space.
My brain is still young! Five years ago, I had an executive checkup at St. Luke’s. My doctor was amazed that I had the heart of a 17-year-old.
This means me and my BizNewsAsia
have still many years to go before we sleep.
As I become a septuagenarian, I remember two well-loved poems. “Invictus,” by William Ernest Henle, and “If,” by Rudyard Kipling.
In Invictus, we learn that we can be bloody but unbowed. We can be unafraid despite the menace of many years. And that it matters not that the gate is not straight. “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”
If you read closely, these themes form the basic fighting faith of businessmen and entrepreneurs. They can be bloody but unbowed. They are not afraid of the menace of many years, their rivals. Because they are masters of their faith, and captains of their soul.
“If,” on the other hand, is about the downside of life and business, and still be above it all.
The first paragraph says:
“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
“If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
“If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
“Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
“Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
“And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
“If” also tells us a lesson about being famous:
“If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
“Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
“If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
“If all men count with you, but none too much;
“If you can fill the unforgiving minute
“With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
“Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
“And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!”
Poetry is beautiful. But did you realize that there can be no poetry without language?
Did you know that the original language originated from numbers, from counting, and accounting? That the best linguists are accountants and number crunchers?
Numbers are the language of business. The so-called programming language uses only two numbers, thank God, 1 and zero. Internet’s language is called algorithm, which is about calculations and numbers.
That is probably the reason why when you want to make a statement or a message, you present revenues and profits in a financial statement. That when you express how much you own and how much you owe you do it in a balance sheet. You see, accounting is a balanced language. Just like the language of poetry.
That may explain why accountants make good linguists. You cannot understand them.
Anyway, I am digressing. Let me talk about BizNewsAsia. To be continued