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Lost in translation

BY JAIME K. PIMENTEL – A COPY of my graduation speech last month found its way on social media, and it elicited commentaries all over the place:

Face-to-face, by telephone, cellphone, email, and Facebook.

Only Twitter and LinkedIn were spared comment.

I must thank all those commentators for reading through the copy of my four-minute speech. Mine was only one of three delivered at the graduation exercises of my business management diploma class.

As with all three speeches, it was targeted solely to my graduating class of 20 candidates, most of them seniors who were turning back the clock for a new direction.

What amused me were comments by a few readers who appeared to may have been lost in translation. For example:

“Did you really earn 81 diplomas, Jimmy?” (His interpretation from one line in the speech, which you will see further down this column).

“Diplomas are no big deal; I don’t have one and I haven’t done so bad. (Poor thing. Somebody please send him a diploma).

“Why go for another diploma at your age, Jimmy; have you already forgotten what you learned in your earlier ones? (Not far from the mark, bro; but maybe I’m just testing my brain’s capacity to continue learning new things).

My point is, why duel on the word ‘Diploma’ when it was mentioned only twice ~ two times ~ in a 120-worded speech?

The speech was about continuing education, enjoying the process of learning, and discovering life-changing experiences.

No matter at what age.

For the benefit of those who don’t go to Facebook and may want to read the speech I’m talking about, let me reprint it here in toto:

** *

EVERY now and then, I remind myself that, as a person, I am the sum total of my education.

So it is with every graduate and every person in this room. 

My early education began at home, followed by formal education at school for engaging subjects such as maths and history; then in the streets to learn about facing conflict on my own and rolling with the punches in the real world, through to higher education and to the practice of my craft as I earned a living and raised a family. 

What you see here, is 81 years of education. 

Every step of the way through my education was, to me, more challenging than the last. Gradually the whole business of getting more education became a drag, and a good reason enough to look forward to retirement. 

Yet the hunger for learning is never satisfied. Retirement itself can become a drag. That’s a dilemma one faces when education ceases to be part of one’s life. I know I faced it even after this old geezer’s 81 years of study. 

And I thought: “God forbid. An idle mind is the devil’s playground.” 

Enter this life-changing concept offered by a youthful martial artist-cum-businessman, supported a former school teacher and diplomat: A concept about making education a fun exercise. 

Why say “No Pain, No Gain”, when one can just as easily say: “Gain Without Pain”, or “Painless Gain”? 

Indeed, Life Changing College (funny name, isn’t it?) has put new meaning to education. What a plain and simple truism: A happy and active mind is better prepared for learning, more open to get an education. 

As the senior graduate of this class, I invoke the right to offer at least one parting advice the graduating children in this room today: 

Here is it: 

Just because you can now brag about having earned your Diplomas, don’t think that it’s all we came to Life Changing College. 

Your Diploma is not the end. It’s only the beginning.