one of the most admired Filipino author today is Sir Alexander Lacson. his book "12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country" is one of the small books that has a heart in it. it beats in a way that many Filipinos realize the importance of little things that can greatly impact the country's status. so for this month's online interview, let's meet another brilliant pinoy!
dong ho: Knowing how you were inspired to write this book, it really inspires the readers also to really do it. When you wrote the book, did you already have the twelve things in mind or you still had more?
Alexander Lacson: No. Initially, I had almost 50 little things in my list. But I really wanted for the little things to be remembered and practiced by those who read the book. So I planned it to be simple, easy to digest, and easy to remember. So I made them 12 little things only. If I made them 50 or 100 little things, perhaps the book did not become as nearly as successful as it is now, because they may have said “Ang dami naman. Mahirap gawin.” Today, many people say that the book is so realistic and doable because they are only “12 little things”. I guess that’s one of the secrets of success of the book.
dong ho: I am thinking if you can actually make a sequel and include the importance of encouraging local or domestic travel as something Filipino should also do. What can you say about the country's tourism industry today? Alexander Lacson: I do encourage domestic tourism among our people. I include it in my talks and speeches. Domestic tourism is one way for us Filipinos to see the bounty and beauty of our country. It is one way for us to meet fellow Filipinos from other parts or islands of our archipelagic country. I have been myself to various tourism parts of our country, and they are truly beautiful. Some are truly majestic. Truly, the world is yet to see the beauty of our country. dong ho: If there was something that the Philippines need to change or improve immediately what do you think it would be?
Alexander Lacson: Two things – first, the way we look at ourselves, and second, the way we value one another.
We must look at the Filipino, at ourselves, with hope that is based on great faith of our God, however we may call Him. We must believe that the Filipino is great and beautiful, because he is truly great and beautiful, because the Filipino is a child of a great God who wants him to be great and beautiful.
We must value and treat one another as brothers and sisters. For truly, we Filipinos are placed by our Creator in this specific part of the world for one reason – He wants us to belong to one another as one people, as one nation, as one big family – the Filipino Family.
This is what I call a CULTURE OF FAMILIHOOD.
This Culture of Familihood is what will unite us as one people, under one Creator.
dong ho: If you are to give an advice to the leaders of the country, what would it be?Alexander Lacson: Serve our people well with the full measure of your hearts and minds, for they are your brothers and sisters. And ensure that no Filipino is left behind in the street to suffer his poverty and misery on his own, for the greatness of a leader shall be measured by the way he treats the least of the people he leads.
dong ho: The book has a very simple cover and each chapter was so direct. Did you really intend it to be that way?
Alexander Lacson: Yes, I designed it so simply. There is so much beauty in simplicity.
dong ho: What was the best lesson that you've learned when you were young?Alexander Lacson: That integrity is the true foundation of every success there is in our world. The leader is followed by his followers because they believe in him, because he does what he says. That is integrity. A teacher, a priest, or a pastor is listened to only when his audience believes in him. A truly successful businessman gets dealings and contracts from other business people only because they trust him. A person becomes truly effective only if he has integrity.
dong ho: The first thing that came into my mind after reading the book was "this book should have a sequel". Are you planning to write another book?
Alexander Lacson: Yes, I am in fact writing my second and third books now. The second book is expected to be released before the end of this year. The third book, I hope to release it by June 2009. The title of the second book is “The Wisdom of our Race. The Wisdom of the Filipino.” The title of the third book is “Eight (8) Wonderful Things We Should Know Why We Should Be Proud as Filipinos.”
dong ho: What other books would you recommend us reading?Alexander Lacson: All the books of C.S. Lewis. All the books of Leo Tolstoy. The two novels of Rizal. All the books of Nick Joaquin. Read also Rick Warren’s “The Purpose-Driven Life.” But even if you do not read these books, you must not go on living without reading the Bible – for billions of people in the past had read it, and billions more today are reading it. So many people had become happy because of it. So many more have become prosperous because of it. It is about yourself and your Creator, including the many things and puzzles of this world.
dong ho: On the lighter side, what else do we not know about sir Alexander Lacson?
Alexander Lacson: I was a working student for most of my nine (9) years as a college student in U.P. Diliman. My father finished only high school. My mother was a public school teacher who taught Grade Two pupils in public schools all her life in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental. There are nine (9) of us children. One died a few days after birth. One passed away 3 years ago. I was constrained to resign from PMA (Philippine Military Academy) when I did not report a scandal that I should have reported. But I am glad that it happened, for it made me the person that I am today.
dong ho: How do you usually spend your leisure time? Alexander Lacson: I love my four kids, my wife, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, John Lennon, the Beetles, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr, Ninoy Aquino, Bonifacio, Rizal, Gregorio del Pilar – but not necessarily in that order. I also love movies, food, and wine. I spend my leisure time with them or on them. dong ho: thank you very much sir. you are indeed someone every Filipino should be looking at. continue to be an inspiration to the nation. with these things, we are assured that every Filipino can do something good for the country. no matter how small it may be it teaches us to value our citizenship, our responsibility and our faith. small things, big impact!
he will soon be releasing another book by the end of this year entitled "The Wisdom of our Race". title itself is already something worth anticipating. just keep in touch as i will be posting this book once its released.
you can check other previous online interviews:
Howie Severino - Dokyu Guru
Gabe Mercado - Noypi Ako
Sunshine Plata - Coffee Masterpiece
Pol Medina Jr. - Pugad Baboy
Manix Abrara - Rak en Rol