I am Sorry, Vlad
by Vladimir Rom Matias, LLB
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A Public Apology to my best friend Mr. Vladimir B. Paraiso
Sometimes, my understanding of the human world was a little bit myopic and hazy that I fail to see the obvious or until recently, the most admirable act of a good man - a man that I would know, later on, to be a Christ-centered family man who values helping his destitute brethren as a priority and whose unselfish acts of sponsoring a child's dream was simply unparalleled. I was so wrong and foolish in dramatizing or ridiculing so many things on other person's lives only to find out I was overspeeding; I am glad you're there to help me realize I am exceeding the limits. Perhaps the Chinese government is right in imposing some restrictions on freedom of speech and expression as some writers, especially the Western media "OVERSPEED" sometimes, just like what I did to you, Vlad. On the personal level, I am remiss to say I did nothing wrong because I intended no harm at all. But that argument misses the point. Who knows that a bucketful of snow can harden to a metal spear which can break not just a target but also a bond of friendship? Certainly, I am on the wrong side of the street.
The pupils, parents, teachers and other stakeholders at the public elementary school where you teach are very lucky for having you as their teacher, co-worker, father, son and friend. For you are always a GOOD EXAMPLE. In the Philippine society, it is not uncommon to see some young children being abused, abandoned, neglected, murdered, etc. I, myself, was a victim of harsh dealings and has a story to tell about some forms of maltreatment I suffered from the very hands of my own relatives. Thirteen years ago, When I was preparing my admission papers as an entering college freshman in a university in Manila. I had no other choice but to stay for awhile in the house of my mother's cousin. It was a nightmare: I was provided little or no food, no access to television or entertainment channels, made to sleep in a cold floor, not to mention the incessant tirades or verbal assault or threats. It was a completely cold treatment. In their eyes, I was not a visitor but a burden.
When I saw you in the company of a young man, those sad memories immediately reawakened my senses. I asked myself: is that child well taken care of? Unfortunately, I inadvertently formulated such a question not in a nice way. It made your image appear no different from the bad guys. I should not have asked that question in the first place. I am really sorry for that and for all the "unsavory" remarks I may have had on your person and personality.
I am happy to learn from you that, in the spirit of Christmas, you're acting as a godfather or following the footsteps of Santa in bringing joy and happiness to a child like him. I have never been to Enchanted Kingdom but I know, children are extremely excited to get in those rides. In behalf of those children who have been deprived of basic necessities in life or are destitute, I thanked you for your benevolence. Not every public school teacher that I personally know do the same stuff you did: Adopt a child this Christmas. I hope there will be more kind persons like you who are willing to give love during Christmas.
Six years ago, I cried a hundred times when I lost Martin, my beloved cat. When a traveler calls up Orbitz, the travel agency where I work to cancel his flight reservation due to the death of a dear dog or cat, I immediately empathize. For what we - they and I - have lost is a prized possession.
I cannot afford to lose you Vlad because for me, you are more than just a friend. You're a BROTHER and will always be. Part of my success in Law School is you. You were there when I was bogged down, tired, exhausted or stressed. I don't want to overemphasize this point anymore.
Sincerely, Vladie M.
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