There is a vast difference between what is equal and what is equitable.
Imagine this, a toddler, a person in a wheelchair and an athlete were all trying to see over a tall fence.
Both the toddler and the wheelchair-bound person have trouble looking over said fence whilst the athlete only had to tiptoe and he could see over it.
Equality is giving all three the same platform whilst being equitable is giving each one a personalised platform tailored to their height so everyone can see over the fence. That’s one of the things my Dad taught me growing up.
He was a lawyer that would still show up in court and fight for his client’s rights even when all they could give him was a carton of eggs. And he would gladly accept the eggs; look the client in the eye and say thank you.
He would always tell me that everyone regardless of their position in life deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. (And mama has always shown this to us by example).
Money comes and goes but your character is with you forever.
As this is the maiden issue of Raining Grace, I thought it best to share with you one of my biggest influences, my parents and in particular – my Dad.
Last February would’ve been my Dad’s 67th birthday.
It is always around this time, when I think. I reflect. I ponder.
I couldn’t help but wonder what life would’ve been. I probably wouldn’t be in Melbourne.
You see, I came to Australia as an exchange student. My other motive was to take the LSAT’s here, and I did. Back in the day, my Dad and I used to have deep philosophical conversations. We used to talk about Kierkegaard’s existentialism and his definition of truth.
‘Truth is an idea paradoxical for finite reason, requiring both a risk and a “leap of faith.” Why Hegel would posit that ‘the rationale alone is real’ Nietzsche’s idea of the ‘ubermensch’ and numerous others. He would always take the opposing side of every argument and challenge me to prove my point. (This helped me land the role of team captain of my high school debate team).
At age 5, I went to court with him and told him straight after that I wanted to be just like him, a lawyer, when I grow up. And he used to tell me, I could be anything I wanted to be. So that’s how I found myself in Melbourne, an exchange student at RMIT back in 2005.
Twenty days after I got here, Daddy passed away.
And I had a decision to make.
Go forward with Harvard Law or stay in Melbourne, work hard, pray harder and bring my family here.
When making my decision, I remembered a long ago conversation that I had with my Daddy, the smartest man I know. A lawyer with a near photographic memory, who never needed lists or notes as he had it all in his head.
‘Why stay in Naga Dad?’ (Naga City in the Bicol Region)
He looked away wistfully and said.‘I stayed in Naga because your Uncles and Aunties are here. Before your Mama Oming and Lolo Pids passed away (my grandparents, on separate occasions), they both told me that as the eldest, regardless of how your siblings feel, you must stay in Naga for them.’
Because family is everything.
I then asked him, do you regret it? He then looked me in the eye and said, ‘Regret? Maybe not regret, because once you make a decision, you stand by it and see it through.
So don’t regret the choices that you make. But make sure the choice that you make is something you can live with the rest of your life.’
So I decided to stay.
Stay in Melbourne. And build a future here.
Along the way, I met some very generous souls. People who treated me like their own. I will never forget the kindness and generosity that they have shown me. You know who you are.
Fourteen years later, here I am with my five siblings, a husband and a two-year old.
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