Speech delivered by Aida Garcia, President of the Filipino Communities Council of Australia (FILCCA) at the Annual Philippine Fiesta held at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds last 14 December 2014.
“Together, we can do better”
As the President of the Filipino Communities Council of Australia Inc., let me at the outset thank the Philippine Fiesta Committee and members, for the honor of being your guest and for the privilege of sharing my thoughts about your theme “Sama sama, kayang kaya”. “Together, we can do better”.
The theme invites us to reflect on the following implications:
First is the challenge of unity among ourselves. I must confess that to rally ourselves to unite is tough and surely challenging. There are some adherences innate among us Filipinos that need to be addressed before we can fully be in solidarity. We have to work on our being regionalistic. We tend to unite with those we have common origins to talk about like birthplace, dialect and practices. Something has to be done with our tendency to be more individualistic. Our energy and priorities are focused on what will secure us economically and what will benefit ourselves and our family before we even relate with other activities which only rob us of precious time. What about kanya kanya mentality? We love to achieve something but we want all the credit for what we do. We would rather go solo to gain all fame and recognitions and it does not make us happy and feeling fulfilled if we don’t do it alone.
Often, our quest for fame and our passionfor pride kill every good effort to bring about a working community out of us. We love to compete rather than be affirming one’s achievements. The each-to-his-own mentality paralyzes many beneficial initiatives which require our utmost and undivided participation. We are also a people with the tendency to be content. And there is nothing wrong with that. Problems arise however when we no longer make extra effort to be better, to do better, and even be best in all things we do. Further problem comes because we do not desire anymore to leave our comfort zone.
Second, is the challenge of inspiration or encouragement. We raise the questions:
“ Why must I involve myself? What is it to me? Who are the people we will work with? Is it a priority? Do we have all the means to launch such ambitious project? Are the beneficiaries excited of our help? Will our project create an impact to our community?
Will others recognize all our efforts? Will they be thankful for all our sacrifices? And more and more questions until our enthusiasm fizzled out.
And yet your theme is a rallying quest. It builds in us a sense of community. It creates in us an awareness that there are pressing things we must do so we can find meaning in our lives. The theme calls for involvement because few hands cannot do all the good programs that will benefit many. There is a dire need for more of us, more sacrifices, more dedication, more energy, more resources, more ideas, more love for what we do.
While being regionalistic poses at times a problem, it is worthy to note that in times of crisis, we find ourselves doing away with anything that hampers or deters the execution of what is urgent and pressing. We have raised money and more donations when the Philippines was hit by strong typhoons includinh Haiyan and the latest typhoon Hagupit and we didn’t even assert our kanya- kanya or regionalistic spirit. We stood firm against laws which affect us in this adopted land. We held many successful conferences, including FILCCA’s 13th National Conference with the theme “Facing the Future Together” held last October 2014 and gatherings and events from the 8 Australian States and Territories, because we believe that it is a worthwhile endeavor. Our strong passion to be of service to our kababayans in Australia and in the Philippines is the driving force and is the propelling reason why we continue to volunteer our time and effort to our community because it gives us the opportunity to pursue, engage and realize our hopes for a brighter future for all of us in our adopted country, Australia.
Together our dreams are assured; maintaining unity, harmony, and cooperative spirit will be made easy and being effective and relevant in discovering new ways and new culture that will bind us to be a blessing to others will be exciting and keeping ourselves focus to what is priority especially as we all advocate for what is fair, just and right will keep us together, yes, sama sama, kayang kaya natin regardless of whatever trials and tribulations we will encounter along the way.
Our theme “Sama sama, kayang kaya” tells us that there are many things we can do and it inspires us to believe we can accomplish them. We move around the spirit of Kayang kaya and not kanya kanya. We drop the N, we avoid the N, and loathe the thought of N. N stands for anything negative. So if we remove the N from kanya kanya, we now can do greater tasks with that spirit of kayang kaya. We are therefore determined to attain what we agreed upon as our goals. We are convinced in our hearts that that is the right thing to do. We know that our projects though ambitious are doable, beneficial, and will result to something satisfying.
Word of caution though. While we celebrate our unity and our capability to accomplish things, let not our pride swallow us. Let us just do what we can expecting nothing in return. Let us not hope for recognition and laurels that will crown our heads. Let us just bear in mind that once our objectives are fulfilled, our youths will have something to inherit and all of us who are here today will be proud and satisfied. It is enough that we have done something good and let God and the people who are benefitted be our judge. Above all else, there is such a thing as posterity. Yes, sama sama, kayang kaya.
Yes, together we can do better. Let us be content that today we are writing history for the good welfare of tomorrow’s generation.