I take pleasure in relaying that my very good friend and law school classmate, Greg Macaltao, is doing very well as a businessman in Vancouver. I hooked up with Greg in our recent Vancouver visit just to know how he is doing. I re-connected with him at Facebook and told him I would be in town. We met at a Starbucks outlet inside a grocery store near the place we parked. We had a nice time talking about the past, the present, and the future. Past: Greg was a good friend in law school, a seat mate in fact in Section B. Very good student, and studied at the fourth floor where the Ateneo MBA was housed, from early morning till class time. After law school and a few years of Manila law practice he moved to the U.S. to study masters in business in the U.S., and made a career shift from law to business. Present: He is Vancouver-based now, living near downtown and establishing a start-up export-import business with some partners. He buys goods/products from the Philippines, and ships it to Vancouver for distribution. What the product was, he didn't disclose at that time for superstitious reasons. Future: He hopes to make the first major shipment in a couple of months, and is wishing everything goes well. I'm sure it will. Way to go, Greg...
Annie Edison wrote an article on hair loss, that I would like to share:
For the Love of Hair
There comes a time in every man's life when one has to face up to the inevitable. Dealing with a few more wrinkles and a bit of sagging around the chin is one thing, but facing up to the thought of losing your hair is something else altogether. I've always been secretly proud of my hair, but I have to admit that these days when I look in the mirror I can't help but notice that the tide is a little further back from the shore than it once was. Whilst this leaves me with what I proudly assume is a distinguished looking forehead, there have been times recently when I've been given over to pondering the mysteries of male ageing as a part of my regular musings. This seems to be something with which the Bible has very few comments. Although 2 Corinthians 4:16 has the encouraging statement that "though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day", the process of ageing seems to be far less straightforward. More troubling, Proverbs 20:29 tell us that "the glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their grey hair". Quite true. But what if the old man doesn't have grey hair? What if he has no hair at all?
A Question of Health
People really do hate to lose their hair. Psychologists state that in today's world a person's hair is a part of their identity, rather like the clothes that they wear. Losing your hair can mean losing a vital part of how you present yourself to the world. At the same time, there is the inevitable awkward issue about age. Looking in the mirror and seeing your father's face staring back at you is quite humbling, but it's also quite spooky. Nobody wants to feel that they are getting older. If you are a woman, most of these changes happen on the inside so that they are hidden from the world. If you are a man who is going to lose his hair, everyone is going to see. In some cases, as the Hairloss Center experts explain, hair loss is related to health issues such as insulin resistance resulting from too much body weight. Heart disease is another common factor that can increase the risk. For some, it is simply a matter of genetics.
This made me think about some inspirational people who have no hair, and to look into the stories of their lives. The first names that spring to mind are movie stars. Bruce Willis is a particular inspiration. He grew up as the son of an American soldier father and a German mother, a thoroughly blue collar family background that Bruce has always been proud to affiliate himself with. After the army, his father worked in a factory and as a welder, meaning that Bruce's upbringing in Carney's Point New Jersey was a very normal experience. Bruce himself had a serious stutter, which caused his high school contemporaries to nickname him 'buck-buck' because of his habit of repeating words and sounds twice. Before becoming a famous actor, Bruce Willis worked as a private investigator. Bruce has been a great ambassador for the hairless look.
Another actor who has embraced baldness is Patrick Stewart, of Star Trek fame. His portrayal of Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation has become the stuff of television legend. Despite being voted television's sexiest man in 1992, Stewart has achieved his highest acclaim for his stage work, particularly Shakespeare. Like Willis, Stewart was born to an army father and a blue collar mother. Unlike Willis, however, Stewart's home life was far from pleasant. His father was a domestically violent man who suffered from shell shock, and who Stewart has described as being a "very potent individual". In recent years, Patrick Stewart has shown that he can resonate with much younger generations by taking a character voice role in the anarchic cartoon American Dad and by embracing the social media networking portal Twitter. Patrick Stewart seems to be an icon for being not letting age get in the way of your life.
Perhaps the most inspirational of all, however, are those people who aren't famous because of their ability to play an action hero or guide a fictional spacecraft through space. The summer of 2012 saw the Olympics come to London, and one participant really stood out for me. Joanna Rowsell competed in the Olympics as a cyclist at the tender age of 24. Rowsell had won the cycling world cup when she was only 23, and had stunned TV audiences by climbing onto the podium, taking off her helmet, and revealing a completely bald head. Rowsell suffers from alopecia, a condition where the body's immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing the hair to fall out. Joanna Rowsell lost her long auburn hair when she was only ten years old. Despite enduring teasing and taunting at school, Rowsell focused on making herself be the best that she could be physically. In 2012 this paid off when she again climbed onto a podium, this time with the whole world looking on, in order to accept an Olympic gold medal.
For me, I don't know how I would cope with going bald. I'd like to think that it would suit me in the way that it does Bruce Willis, or that it would make me look distinguished in the way that it does Patrick Stewart. However, thinking about this whole thing has made me realize that worrying about how we look is so much less important than trying to be the best that we always can be. In a world where people face a daily struggle just to survive, fretting about the hairs on your head is nothing short of a waste of energy. We hold influence through our actions, not by how we look.
My heart bleeds seeing Bohol’s historical churches felled by nature’s wrath. I suddenly reflected our pilgrimage to some of these magnificent cathedrals a year ago. It seemed God had wanted us to view, visit, pray and commune inside these churches, in all its beauty and splendor, one last time. In Christianity’s history, churches have been conquered, razed, and destroyed. But they are meant to be rebuilt. Bohol’s churches will be restored, certainly. But something tells me, its not going to be the same. Now I realize what a blessing that pilgrimage was.