Exemplifying generosity of spirit PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 13 June 2011 14:24

Some stories reported in the  media stand out because they remind us of the grander nature of man than we normally read or hear about. These stories are both humbling and inspiring. Humbling because we see ourselves in comparison to the person reported about and we realize we still have a long way to go as far as the trait demonstrated by this person  is concerned. Inspiring because we know that in us too is the potential to be like this person and some day we can realize that potential, if we but try hard enough.

One such story was in the BBC news recently..
Most of us know about the Fukushima Nuclear Plant which was damaged by the recent big earthquake in Japan. One riveting aspect of the Fukushima story was the awe inspiring devotion to duty of  the engineers and other personnel of the plant, who worked round the clock to try and contain the impending meltdown of the nuclear engines and save the country from radioactive threats. This they did knowing full well that they were already exposing themselves to the same danger. In a very sad situation this was a happy note.

The latest happy note relative to the tragedy that is Fukushima is that of a retired engineer. As reported in the BBC this man has volunteered to go back to work so as to free one engineer from the present team. His reason?  He has the competence to do the work; the present crop of engineers are young and still have most of their life ahead of them ; should he, a retired person,  develop cancer from exposure to radiation it would not matter as much since he is old and is near  the end of his life anyway. The  generosity of spirit shown by this elderly engineer is not something we come across every day.

Current use of the term “hero” has always made me ponder and I wind up asking what meaning we now attribute to this word. Manny Pacquiao is often referred to as a hero. I admit that he has been outstanding in his field and that he has brought honors to his country. Without denying that he deserves  the honors that have been heaped on him I still wonder if the term “hero”  applies to him. I think of a hero as someone who gives of himself, even risking death,  for the welfare of others for no other reason than that it is the nobler thing to do. I think of this retired engineer when I think of the word hero.

I cannot help  thinking of this retired Japanese engineer in comparison with what one knowledgeable observer  of a utility company said of a sector of  its personnel,  that “this people come to work each day thinking of what they can steal from the company that day”.

Would that we all try to be the kind of hero this engineer is, and rise  to the nobler self that we can be. --REMEDIOS F. MARMOLEÑO