NO TOPIC JUST FUN
Speech delivered by LLOYD LUNA during the 2015 convention of Europe Asia Alliance in Shangri-la’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu City on April 16, 2015 at 7:00 PM
Thank you. Thank you to those who clapped their hands. Actually, I am expecting a louder round of applause. Thank you.
Directors, organizers, guests, people from Europe, people from Asia, people from “The Alliance”, and people who were not invited but are here anyway:
Good evening, Buenas noches, Bonsoir, Buonasera, Guten abend, Wǎnshàng hǎo, Selamat petang, Selamat Malam, Chào buổi tối, S̄wạs̄dī, Magandang gabi po.
Wow. Let me start by saying that I think the world is about to end. Having a small guy like me speak in this highly celebrated event with the people of your reputation is a signal that we are getting closer to the destruction of the world.
Seriously, inviting a 32-year-old author such as my self means there is something terribly wrong in the this world. When I got your invitation, I immediately asked, “Why would you invite someone like me?” “Why me?”
There are many more speakers out there who are more qualified to speak. More intelligent than me. More deserving than me. More educated than me. Richer than me. Taller than me. Maybe more goodlooking than me.
But on second thought, I also asked, “Why not me?”
Really, here’s how I feel now. I feel I don’t deserve to stand here in front of you. But I don’t think I can stand at the back while giving this speech so I guess I have to stay here in front.
Just to let you know, I am also a comedian so just a fair warning: I mean no offense to anyone. Please don’t take me so seriously tonight. Because seriously, I’m kidding.
Besides, on this kind of ocassion, most people including my self are guilty of remembering only one thing from the speaker in any given seminar: Thank you. So my motivational message for tonight: Thank you.
To those who would like me to continue, another round of applause please. To those who want me to go out now, round of applause please.
Ok then. Let’s just enjoy the night, shall we? This will be short. So please relax. This speech is only about 200 pages. It’s brief.
I was not given a particular topic to talk about. The organizers are kind and trusting enough to give me a freehand to speak on any topic I wish. So tonight, the title of my speech is “No topic, just fun.” So i can’t promise that you’ll learn anything from me tonight.
By the way, I am so excited to see you and share some of my thoughts with you. I thought I needed to make some deep and substantial research about your organization, EAA, which means European Athletic Association.
Oh, you are not an athletic association? Who is in the wrong seminar then? Is it me or you?
Ok, EAA, otherwise known as the great Europe Asia Alliance, formed in 2007 to offer importers and exporters the advantages of the multi-national corporations with the expertise that can be found only in a locally owned and operated business. you have a network of offices strategically positioned in virtually every angle of Europe and Asia, giving you the advantage of being able to offer your clients a comprehensive service.
I didn’t make that up. I got it from your website.
Seriously I worked long and hard for this talk. On my way going here from Manila while in the airplane this morning, I prepared this speech.
This speech is especially made from 35,000 feet above sea level.
Today, many industries are trying their very best to stay alive and stay relevant. For example, in the Philippines, we used to have a very active and lucrative business in textile industry. But since the entry of international brands such as Uniqlo and H&M, our local brands started to struggle.
These international brands sell their goods at a local price. People have lost their appetite on local brands and found an overwhelming desire on global brands.
Our once active manufacturing industry is now a sunset industry. Many are getting ready for their brands funeral.
But yours is an industry that will never die and will always be where the sun rises. It will never be a sunset industry. It will never ever go back in time. It will never rewind because your business is always forwarding.
I always wonder what people in the forwarding business do and what kind of people they are. Are they cool? Are they strict? Are they disciplinarian? Are they serious? How do they do what they do?
So I opened my browser and here’s what I discovered about you.
(Play the video)
I realized that you are also a human being, capable of falling when you get dizzy, going towards a wrong direction no matter how well you know where the right direction is, and getting up to finish the game you started.
Speaking of work, the Philippines’ biggest business is politics and entertainment. As a television host myself, i should know how huge these two businesses are.
The reason perhaps is because the Philippines is a family-oriented nation. We don’t leave a family member behind.
That’s why we elected a vice president whose wife was a former city mayor, their eldest daughter is a now senator, their son is a mayor, and another daughter is a congresswoman.
The Philippines is a family corporation but our bureau of customs is probably another family. No offense but I heard they have their own language there. I didn’t know their language so back in 2012, my shipment worth 1.5 million pesos never made it out.
Thank you for your sympathy but I have moved on.
As Filipinos, you know we are very kind people. We are hospitable. We are great entertainers. We are happy people. We are easy to get along with. We are very friendly.
But we were not as friendly as before. We killed nearly every one who tried to conquer our nation. We are friendly. But we can kill. So, friendly killers.
We are now a free nation. Back then, we were under a dictatorship. In 1986, democracy was restored. Since then, Filipinos got the freedom to do everything they like.
For example, in Singapore, you’ll feel bad and somehow ashamed of your self when you cross the street without using pedestrian lanes.
In the Philippines, you’ll feel bad and ashamed of your self when you use pedestrian lanes because everybody else cross anywhere they like. Pedestrian lanes are not part of the traffic system. It is an art we paint on our roads.
In the Philippines, we have high regards on the environment so we treat almost every place as a park. Yes, including our work places. Everyday for us is a walk in the park. That said, we don’t walk fast. We don’t glide. We always take our time so we walk slowly.
Escalators in Singapore operate four times faster than our escalators because probably Singaporeans believe that, “It’s better never late.” We, on the other hand, believe that, “It’s better late than never.”
But we are natural visionaries. When you give us a work assignment, don’t expect us to finish it on the day. Just like many other people around the world, procrastination is our specialty. We are visionaries. Our vision is always set on tomorrow. So tomorrow, we will do our work assignment.
We are too focused on the future that we forget today’s deadline.
Speaking of time, Europeans and other people in the West are always specific and mindful of their appointments and meeting schedules. There’s no gray area. It’s just black and white.
Our sense of time in this part of the world is kinda different. For example, when you ask a European, “Where and what time are we meeting tomorrow?” They would answer this way: I will see you at 3PM in Starbucks.
You will find it strange in the Philippines. When you ask me the same question, my answer would be, “After lunch in a coffee shop inside the mall.”
What time? After lunch. Where? Somewhere out there.
Once inside the coffee shop, you probably would ask me: Have you eaten yet? I would answer this way: It’s ok. I’m still full.
Clearly, we don’t answer your question. Or maybe, we give you an answer that is more than what your question can take.
But going back in the old days, you will realize that we are indeed a great nation with great people situated in a greatly strategic part of the pacific, perhaps the reason why many nations express their interest a certain group of islands.
It is only in this part of the globe where you can see a group of islands called in many different names based on who is talking.
Spratly is located in South China Sea which is the same as West Philippine Sea, under the economic zone of Brunei, in the state of Sabah, Malaysia, which is a municipality of the Philippines and taiwan, in the district of Vietnam.
But the disputed group of islands is so strategically positioned that whoever got it would get the best place to set up a missile system.
But we are a great nation. Two thousand years ago, we built one of the seven wonders of the world known as Banaue Rice Terraces. how do you keep the water from draining in the mountain?
Modesty aside, two thousand years ago, while Jesus was walking in Jerusalem, we already knew hydraulics technology.
But the same wonder of the world would give us an idea that Filipinos are natural visionary.
We built the rice terraces not only for the present generation at the time, but we built it with the future generation in mind. We build something today that our future generation would benefit from.
But back in those days, we were not huge fans of leadership by patronage. Our concept of leadership then was, leaders don’t take credit for the team’s achievement.
Our leaders in the old times don’t put their name on what they have accomplished. That’s why we would never know who led the creation of the rice terraces.
Back then, it was about leading without names. Today, it’s about names without leading.
Every name, every face, every mark of a politician is printed on every project they do for the people who are paying for their salary as well as the project that they build for the people.
By the way, the Banaue Rice Terraces was built by free people dedicated for the future generation unlike the pyramids in Egypt which were built by slaves for a certain leader.
Filipinos build something beyond themselves.
As a nation, we have our own share of many firsts. We built the first airport and operated Philippine Airlines, the first and oldest commercial airline in Asia. It was built in 1941.
We built the first metro railway system in Southeast Asia in 1891. Thanks to King Alfonso XII of Spain, a European, for his support.
So you may be asking, despite our firsts, why is the Philippines trailing behind many other Asian nations today?
Well, we got tired of being the first. So we took a rest up to this day. But we are aware that Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos are catching up and might overtake us soon. We are not alarmed.
We appreciate small joys. We love small things. We are physically small people. Maybe we think small as well.
Maybe that explains why it’s only prevalent in the Philippines that we have a very small version of supermarket called sari-sari store or in your language, variety store, where you can buy anything like beer, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, bread, biscuits, chips, diaper, napkins and panty liners. One small store with everything you need.
It’s only in the Philippines that you can buy a shampoo as small as your lighter and buy a single piece of cigarette without complaint from the seller.
Be that as it may, we are creative people. When you give a German a one-to-five step-by-step instruction, I think Germans would do exactly as instructed.
When you give Filipinos the same set of instructions, we will add step 1.1 to step 1 or step 2.1.a after step number 2. We don’t really ruin the process, but sure we add more years for the project to be completed.
Speaking of projects, our politicians construct roads that can only last for three years or equivalent to their term of office so that their re-election promise is now, “If you elect me once again, I promise to repair those roads.”
We are dreamers. We just forgot to wake up and build the dream.
French kiss. Well, growing up, I really didn’t know about it. I only heard it and read about it. I always wonder what French kiss means and how it is done.
When I was in college, I thought you’ll need a French lady to have a French kiss. So I waited for many years. She didn’t come so I ended up eating French fries instead.
I don’t know how sensational French kiss could be. No idea. But hey all I know is we beat the French people on the number of couples kissing on valentines day according to Guiness.
We also broke the record held by Chile and Hungary. We call it Lovapalooza, a traditional Filipino Valentine’s Day celebration that first bid to claim the Guiness World Record for the Most Number of Simultaneously Kissing Couples for 10 seconds in 2007.
In the news this week, one city government is trying to pass a local law that prohibits a citizen from owning more than three cats and dogs. I wonder why they have to do that. are they mad about the cats and dogs?
Then I realized, maybe because they can’t control human population so they settled on controlling what they can—animal population. Anyway, cats and dogs don’t vote.
We are very sweet people. Perhaps that’s why some European retirees retire in the Philippines and maybe get Filipina as a partner. We are so sweet. In fact, many Filipinos have diabetes. Mainly, it’s unlimited rice promo’s fault.
But another reason why many people choose the Philippines as a retiring destination is because naturally, we are caring people. We have a lot of caregivers and nurses around the world.
We are natural magicians. The Philippines has one of the highest tax rates in Asia and we collect billions of pesos from tax payers annually. But we really don’t know where the money goes after we pay.
As a magician, we can make money disappear in less than a year and elect in the following election the same set of politicians who made it disappear.
Our greatest business is export business. We export our people. We export our talents. Our education system is carefully and effectively designed to prepare our citizens to work in other countries and enrich other nations. That is so sweet as well.
We have the best beaches in the world. Many white people go in Boracay for tanning. They literally stay under the sun for long hours just to look tan.
But when we Filipinos see you do that, we thouht it’s cool. We thought it’s the trend. We thought it’s new. So we also stay under the sun and our brown skin becomes dark brown. At night, you can’t see us anymore.
On a serious note, as a motivational stand up comedian and inspirational author, I always feel for the people. I guess as business leaders, while we strive to stay relevant to the market that we serve, we also must strive to reach out and genuinely help our people in their personal development.
It’s not enough that we give them jobs. Let us give them time and attention. Maybe that’s what they need more than the competitive compensation and benefit packages that we give to them.
Finally, there are three important things that I learned in my life. You don’t have to believe them but at least hear them.
When stuck between choosing to be happy or to be kind, choose to be kind. Happy people are not always kind but kind people are generally happy.
When stuck between choosing to have hope or to have faith, choose to have faith. Hope waits for a defining moment to come when faith has already defined your defining moment.
Keep the faith.
When stuck between choosing to succeed or to love, choose love. For it is only in the magical expression of love that real success is made and found.
Always stay in love.
Life won’t guarantee us of anything but if we would just be kind to one another, if we would just keep the faith in who we are, and if we would just fall in love on what we do best over and over again, amazing things would always come our way.
What people always say about businessmen is it’s always business as usual for us. We make more money and we give very little to others. We are so focused on the profit. We always consider our bottome line.
Well, I don’t have any joke for that. I’m just letting you know what they say.
Up to this point, I still don’t know the topic I am going to speak about. But I don’t think it still matters because I think I have said everything I needed to say—enough message for me to collect my professional speaking fee.
I am honored to speak to you tonight. Thank you and may God bless you all.