For generations, Asians all over the world have been recognized for a multitude of incredible feats. Whether they may be intellectual, socially revolutionary, or technologically innovative, Asians have always found new ways to leave their mark in our ever-changing world.
One of these truly inspiring individuals was Ramon Magsaysay, the 3rd President of the Republic of the Philippines. All throughout his life, he devoted his entirety to improving the lives of his fellow Filipinos with selfless devotion. By means of leading a just and sound government, he fought for the liberty and happiness of his countrymen. With his unrelenting drive and determination for bringing about positive change, it is safe to say that people all over the world are currently enjoying the fruits of his labor.
Since Magsaysay’s unfortunate passing in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award was established to recognize the few that exhibit his ideals and unique brand of leadership in their respective communities. Over the past 50 years, there have been exactly 307 carefully selected recipients of this highly prestigious award. Individuals and organizations ranging from social and political leaders to scientists, doctors, and artists, have all been included in this diverse assemblage of awardees.
Last August 31, five individuals and one organization were added to this incredibly esteemed list of laureates during the 2014 Ramon Magsaysay Award Ceremony, which was held at the Cultural Centre of the Philippines. This was a formal event with countless guests of power and influence in attendance. In fact, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was on stage throughout the entire ceremony in order to personally present the awards. Certainly, a marvelous sense of nationalism and Filipino pride filled the auditorium.
A specialized ceremony was conducted in order to honor the lives and works of each and every awardee. The recipients of the awards stood at the very center of the stage while their biographies were read out loud. As the night progressed, their adversities and achievements were narrated in a reverent fashion; it was a marvellous spectacle to witness. It was made crystal clear that these six laureates were undeniably worthy of receiving such a prestigious award.
And, although this award is especially reserved for the few exceptional leaders of Asia, we must not be intimidated by their greatness. Instead, we should turn this awe and reverence we have for them into effervescent inspiration–inspiration that should later be turned into positive action. Ramon Magsaysay fought for the liberty and happiness of his countrymen because he genuinely believed that we are all capable of greatness. In fact, each and every one of us is actually capable of living out the spirit of Magsaysay on a daily basis; all we need is the proper guidance and support.
Until this very day, multiple individuals and institutions all over the world have been trying to act as responsible propagators of Magsaysay’s ideologies. For instance, Xavier School has been working for many years to instill some of the integral values that this year’s awardees all evidently possess: the 6C’s.
The 6C’s of Xavier School are Character, Conscience, Competence, Culture, Compassion, and Community.
Saur Marlina Manuring of Indonesia allowed her radiant CHARACTER to shine and illuminate the lives of countless fellow indigenous people by her protecting and uplifting the lives of the Orang Rimba, otherwise known as the “forest people.”
Hu Shuli of China allowed her CONSCIENCE to prevail in propagating truthful and significant information, despite the societal pressures and adversities that never failed to come her way.
The Citizens Foundation of Pakistan undoubtedly fought for the intellectual COMPETENCE of Pakistani students by establishing over 1000 schools that have taken thousands of children off the streets and put them into respectable classrooms.
Omara Khan Masoudi of Afghanistan displayed his undying passion for his people’s CULTURE by exhausting all possible means to preserve his nation’s invaluable artifacts and relics in the face of the most perilous of attacks.
Wang Canfa of China consistently showed his sincere COMPASSION for the citizens of China and of the world by persistently fighting for environmental protection and a cleaner Earth for all.
Randy Halasan of the Philippines exhibited an inspirational sense of COMMUNITY through his efforts to bring the Pegalongan people together and change their lives for the better through holistic education.
In essence, while people all over the world continue to perform extraordinary feats, we, the average people of society, must not be discouraged to do the same. Whether we end up being recognized for our works or not, we must keep in mind that each and every effort towards building a better world is just as valuable as the next.
On a final note, I would like to challenge you all to step out of your comfort zones and live out the spirit of Ramon Magsaysay in your everyday lives. Let your light shine and light the path for others, especially those who may live in the darkness.
Watch out for individual articles about each of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay awardees over the upcoming weeks!