By: Lourdes G. Mon
What is this penchant of Filipino parents when it comes to their children’s education? Children have to follow in their parent’s footsteps. At least one of the kids has to grow with a degree as a doctor, lawyer, engineer, nurse, teacher, etc. In order to lead and nurture their children’s future, education is the number one priority, which I believe is appropriate.
From an early age as young as kindergarten, Filipino children have to have A’s and no lower than B’s on their report cards, or their parents are on their backs. God forbid, a child comes home with a C; it’s no TV, no going out with friends, or cut down on their allowance.
Not only that the children have to excel academically, but have to be musically-inclined — study various kinds of musical instruments, most especially piano lessons. Filipino parents are also big on martial arts. These include karate, judo, wrestling, and others. I know of a family of six boys and when they were in elementary and high school, they all took karate. They all became very proficient reaching the highest degree in the martial art. Now that they are all grown-ups with their respective careers, none among them are into martial arts.
Another scenario, Joe was an excellent student. His parents wanted him to be a nurse, especially his mother. You got that right. His mother is a nurse. To make her happy, he enrolled in a nursing program after graduating from high school. One year passed. In terms of grades, he did pretty well. But nursing is not his passion. He is great with hands-on activities. Taking his chances, Joe told his mother, he wants to shift courses to take automotive technology. What a switch from taking care of people to working on cars. His father was mad, but his mother was more understanding.
Joe graduated from the Universal Technological Institute and the school helped him get a job after graduation. Joe is very happy with his decision, now working at a car dealership, in the car maintenance department. Only his mother, his girlfriend, and some friends attended and celebrated his graduation. Dad refused to attend.
This reminds me of Korean American Ken Jeong, an actor, comedian, producer, writer, who is making it big in American entertainment. Before it all, he was a full-time doctor, his parents’ dream for him. He is still a licensed physician, something he can “fall back” on. He says that he credits his sense of humor from his father, a college professor. This is a marked change of profession. He credits his wife for believing, encouraging, and supporting his passion of entertaining people. Ken came into prominence as Leslie Chow in “The Hangover” film series and Ben Chang in the NBC sitcom Community. Now, he is seen all over television. Before heading for Hollywood, Ken’s medical school counselor told him, “You will be a great doctor because you are a great comedian, and you will be a great comedian because you are a great doctor.” The rest is history.
It is a pretty common place for entertainment people to enter politics, especially in the Philippines. What is extraordinary about the transformation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is his extreme change of position as a product of circumstance to became a politician at the right time, during the most precarious event in the lives of his people. He is the right person leading them against the unprovoked invasion of Russia’s Vladimir Putin on his country, and is now considered a worldwide political hero.
What was his life before becoming president? Volodymyr was a comedian and actor. That was all he wanted to do, was to entertain people. He even showed his expert skills on the dance floor, a contestant on the Ukrainian Dancing with the Stars, to win 1st prize. He danced with professional dancer Olena Shoptenko, both wearing blindfolds as they mentally counted steps, hitting their marks with perfection.
Zelensky was starring in a political satire comedy “Servant of the People,” went off the air in 2019, the year he changed his art into life to become his country’s president. What made him an extraordinary leader of his people, is how he is handling the war against his country, being on the front line along with the freedom fighters. When the invasion was just starting, he was offered a escape out of Ukraine. His response was, “I don’t need a ride, I need weapons.” President Zelensky captured the hearts and minds of his countrymen and the world, no longer as a comedian, but as a strong captain of the ship.
His father is a computer science professor and his mother is an engineer. They supported Volodymyr’s law studies who became a lawyer, but never practiced it. As a lawyer or an entertainer, President Zelensky carved his own destiny on the world stage not as a comedian but fighting for his people’s freedom.
In conclusion, children are capable of carving their own future with their parents’ guidance and support.
Dr. Ken Jeong
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky