Golden Balangay LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Falls On The Right Hand by Li Eron
I was intently listening to the Presenter for the Lifetime Achievement Awards but it was long. At my age, I don't think I can remember every bit of his life story. He was simply called "Tatay Tom" if my ears didn't falter, from Vancouver. Out of that long narrative, there was one thing that catches me; he closed his restaurant after 2 years of operation for offering free meals all the time.
And he didn't quit. I think he gathered his peers and the best from his community to work on something bigger; build a shelter. He was the brain of what is now a well- accomplished undertaking and a centre that caters to every race that comes to their door.
"Tatay Tom" and his life is a mirror of so many people destined to serve its community. Someone who does not stop at nothing to accomplish his vision. Those bits and pieces of his life as it echoed in the four corners of the room where many dreamers listened to in silence in order to grasp the lessons we wanted to learn from his endearing spirit.
For an 88 years old travelling from Vancouver to claim his rewards from a fruitful, agonizing years of building something monumental, "Tatay Tom" is a remarkable hero that we came to know that Golden Balangay Awards night who walked up the stage with firmness and ecstasy of a man who had gone through all obstacles in life so that the generations after him can benefit from his dream.
His life, although it looked simply like a stardust from someone I hardly knew is a symbol of perseverance, patience, faith and compassion. He walked up the stage, talked in length because he argued he flew from Vancouver and a 5 minute speech is unfair. He lectured us of what life is all about. He imposed his authority as the rightful winner of a golden trophy accorded to him and his many sacrifices in the community.
Not everyone had the gift of service. Not all of us had the energy to serve with dedication and sincerity. Not all of us are seeds of kindness and compassion. This man is just but one of a few who maybe looking at the twilight of his life, left us with his burning spirit and reminded all of us that we can always dream and then make it happen.
Looking at him from my table brandishing his trophy like a true winner from his own life's battlefield was blinding. The Golden Balangay Awards nailed on their first ever project in selecting the most worthy of all....
"Tatay Tom" is from Vancouver which means the Golden Balangay Awards reaches far and wide and scooped and land perfectly on the hands of the rightful and deserving winners. "Tatay Tom" got his Lifetime Achievement Award and he isn't shy about his triumph. But he cautioned to remain humble and do things without asking for returns. "We are not to do things thinking of rewards," says this man of wisdom.
He maybe at the twilight of his life but his radiance will continue to glow even at its last gleaming.