May 18, 2011

Thursdays with Emy


It was on a Thursday when I first met her. A quiet and simple little girl. That was my first impression of her, despite having seen her countless of times in the national TV.

What is fiscal policy?” that was the first question she asked to which I answered “It is one of the government’s instruments for the country’s development through revenue raising, spending and borrowing.” I said something more but she stopped me in mid-sentence, saying the first statement will do.

Clearly, she knows what she talks about. And I like people who have authority and conviction on what they say. I’m really not that affectionate towards accounting, mathematics, fiscal matters and anything that has to do with numbers, but I said to myself I think I’m going to enjoy the upcoming Thursdays of the semester. Well, despite being only three of us students (me, Dext and Leila) in the class, it was a privilege to have as PA 231 professor the former Budget Secretary, Emilia Boncodin.

Well, she was supposed to teach us only about public fiscal administration, but we got more than that… because she taught us a thing or two about life.

On our first Thursday, she taught us that happiness is not all about the good life. Financial security is only one of the components of true happiness, just like having a career, building a family, or just getting a glimpse of your crush. Success will not always be the key to happiness. It is the other way around. If one really loves what he’s doing, then chances are, he will be successful in life. As Maam Emy said, “It is important that you progress in whatever you do, because along the process you develop.

On our ninth Thursday, she taught us that honesty will always be the best policy. There will always be someone who will cheat. Just like how husbands cheat on their wives, cheating and fraud also circulates in the government. She hates cheaters that’s why she warned us “Kung aanga ka, maiisahan ka.”

On our third Thursday, she taught us the Ramon Magsaysay credo - those who have less in life should have more in law. She believed in equity, especially when it comes to taxes, emphasizing that taxes should be equitable. If one has more, he should pay more so others who have less could have a little more.

On our second Thursday, she taught us that reality bites and it hurts for those who were bitten. “Class, mortality rate in UPCAT is high,” she said. Out of the more than 70,000 who take the UPCAT every year, about 10,000 only pass. What she’s trying to say was not everybody gets the chance to get their first choice. Just live with that.

On our tenth Thursday, she taught us that everybody needs to be appreciated. Never take good things and persons for granted. A person’s relentless pursue of his meaning is somehow brought into light when there’s someone who believes that no matter how small he is, he’s still one important piece of a big puzzle.

On our fifth Thursday, she taught us that seriousness kit should include a packet of sense of humor. I will never forget the day she asked me “Frenz what’s the difference between equipment and machines?” I immediately replied “Machines are bigger.” And she started laughing. I could see in her eyes that I gave a stupid answer. But it didn’t bother me at all, for it was the first time I saw her laughing out loud. And that, somehow made me happy, even if I didn’t give the answer she was quite expecting.

On our eleventh Thursday, she taught us to hold on to things that really matters. I’m sure she will agree with me never to hold on to anger, hurt or pain because they keep one away from love, just as I agree with her not to hold on to cash, unless it’s petty cash.

On our last Thursday, I missed the class for the first time because of an official business I had to attend to. I knew I disappointed Maam Emy, and my classmates. If I could only move heaven and earth just to be with them, I would do so, but then again I’m just an ordinary boy. But I learned something new that day - I found a family in them. It’s more than enough to make me smile, knowing Maam Emy had been a mother to us.

Maam Emy was one of the Hyatt 10. She came from a small town in Bicol, where Nora Aunor was discovered. She grew up professionally in the DBM. She was single. Her untimely and instantaneous death was a big loss not only to the government but also to the academe. And yes I felt sad because I never had the chance to properly say goodbye or thank her for all the lessons she imparted to us.

A quiet and simple little girl. That was my last impression of her. And an epitome of integrity and simplicity. And integrity and simplicity always will be a beauty.

Boncodin Hall lobby

Note:
I wrote this piece more than a year ago. Na miss ko lang siguro si Maam kasi galing ako kanina sa budget briefing sa DBM. Their newest building, Boncodin Hall was named in her memory.
Post a Comment