Beware the Chinese camel

November 11, 2018

WHEN I was young, my mother used to read to me children stories. One story I found quite entertaining was entitled “The Arab and His Camel”. The story went like this.

One day, an Arab was traveling in the desert, riding on his camel. As darkness fell, the Arab pitched his tent on the sand and tied his camel outside. Inside the tent, the Arab spread his blanket and prepared to rest. Before long, the Arab was snoring.

But the Arab was awakened by a gentle nudge from the camel.

“It’s cold outside. Can I just put my nose in?” asked the camel.

The desert might be sweltering during the daytime but the temperature can really drop at night.

The sleepy Arab reluctantly agreed. “Ok, but only your nose because this tent is too small and there is no room for two.”

The camel’s nose soon became warm but after a while the temperature dropped some more. The camel asked the Arab if he could put his forelegs inside the tent to keep them warm.

‘Only the forelegs, and no more,’ replied the very, very sleepy Arab.

An hour later, the camel asked if he could put in his hind legs, too, inside the tent because it was already freezing outside.

The Arab merely grunted. The camel took it as a ‘yes’ and dragged his hind legs inside the tent.

Came morning, the Arab woke up shivering. He was outside his own tent. The camel was snoring away inside.

“The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, “The Emperor Had No Clothes”, “The Monkey and The Turtle” and other similar children’s stories normally have moral lessons to impart to their young readers or listeners.

“The Arab and His Camel” carries subtle warnings even to present-day national leaders, Philippine leaders to be more specific.

Today, it is a Chinese camel trying to push us out of our tent.

If we sleep on our rights, like the Arab in the bedtime story, we will find ourselves, slowly but surely, eased out of the West Philippine Sea.

But unlike in the Arab tale, the Chinese camel will not even bother to ask our consent to kick us out.

Manny Pacquiao’s speech.

Manny Pacquiao’s latest victory did not happen in the ring. It happened in the august halls of Oxford.

Pacquiao spoke in the same venue, Oxford Union, which had previously hosted speakers like Winston Churchill, 3 US Presidents -- Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter, as well as Mother Teresa.

Unlike his audience, Pacquiao’s formal academic training did not go past Grade 12. But he said he got schooled in the Open University of Life where he faced and overcame severe challenges.

This he did through sheer determination and, most important, belief in the Almighty.

Pacquiao told his spell-bound audience that he sees himself as a role model whose main purpose now is to give hope to his less fortunate countryman.

For sheer message impact, I would rate Manny’s speech a “knockout”.

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