It is not how you speak or how you convince or persuade others that makes you fit in the society; it is how silent you are that makes you survive and continue to move, and progress. This is how I remember Charles Darwin’s and Sun Tzu’s treatises. Persistence is different from resilience. Yet both need silence to think in a positive way in the midst of adversity. Society is different from environment, yet the warring states of Chinese History outbursted the fittest dynasties in their history. Charles Darwin’s work - On the Origin of Species, discusses the prospects of Evolutionary Science yet some only know that the treatise was about Survival of the Fittest, not the totality of it. Reading Sun Tzu’s The Art of War discusses methods of ancient Chinese fighting. Some know it as just a work of literature or story-telling, yet if you thoroughly read it you will realize that it teaches Management, Psychology, Strategies and Tactics, etc. - it doesn’t makes you in the war but how you overcome your enemy without fighting. Talking verbosely makes hiking experience in the mountain stiffer; less talk makes you appreciate every steps on it. And same is also true in case of books. Reading books doesn’t make you intelligent or perfect man. Yet reading them perfects your judgement as a man. I always hear, “No one is perfect…”, but those who say that don’t make any effort to approach life as if it is in perfect state.
There is a great pleasure in having a library, and books contained in it. As I schedule my salary on the things that I need to have a budget, I always spend a part of it for my future books. Someone once asked me why I am doing it and I answered her in a personal way. “Investing in books will not make me rich but will make my future children capable of being a very good citizen”, I said and then she laughed. I am inspired on how Patek Philippe promote its line of watches - You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely take care of it for the next generation. Sounds parallel with my stand.
As I fall in-love with books, collecting them is not just a hobby any more, as I realized. It is already an art; it is how I express myself and how actively conceiving it as an activity of my life. Art is compelled by a personal drive (art as activity) and echo or reflect a message, mood, or symbolism for the viewer to interpret (art as experience). Art is something that stimulates an individual’s thoughts, emotions, beliefs, or ideas through the senses. It is also used to communicate something to another person. These statements were from Wikipedia, anyway.
Few weeks ago, one of my company friends asked me what type of books do I have in my collections, and then I told her - I have of various types, ranging from academics, philosophy, literatures, trades, and many more. Collecting books is a very good experience for me. I see different world, when I’m reading a book; and different views of life when I’m holding them. I have already 378 pieces of books in my hanging shelves, and I’m planning not to stop collecting again and again.
What the Books Taught Me (Update: 20110919)
The first thing that books taught me is how to save and schedule my money properly - to budget everything. I think, if I never learn the way of saving money I will never had that number of books.
Second, is to priority things from the rare-to-happen level up to common. Rare-to-happen level I mean an opportunity to have. This is always happening to me when I’m at Book Sale. As I enter the store, of course, I see books that are very new to me, then I pick them up, read the reviews at the back of the book, preface, and sometimes the authors description of himself - these are the things that I commonly read before I buy the book. As time pass by, and as I’m holding pile of books now, I realize that my money is not enough to buy them all; that sucks! So what I’m going to do is to give priority level to the books. I give the highest priority to the books that are really rare-to-be-encounter - these are the books that of different bindings, books written by a very famous author, books that are already declared as out-of-print by its publisher, books that were published before 1990s, and especially the books that discusses the treatises of engineers, historians, mathematicians, philosophers, scientists, and the likes. I value their works very much, and I’m willing to spend time reading them, and buy them even if they costs much; of course, with correspondence to my personal choice and willingness to read the topics the books discusses.
Third, I do not limit my collections to only in the sphere of academics, I mean, books that use as textbooks in the University. I stand for be liberal on what you accept; be conservative on what you share concept. I am a very open man when it comes to reading, and I read books of various topics, yet conservative when it comes to my family’s culture, customs, and long-held tradition. To tell you the truth, I want to buy The Kamasutra by Vatsyayana, it can be the one that was translated by Francis Burton, but the one of no illustrations, only the treatise because as of now I just want to read the treatise, not to apply… haha, half-meant! :) The book has very good reviews in Amazon.com. One of its reviewers was saying, “It is not, in fact, a pornographic work, but a book depicting the art of living for the civilized and refined citizen, finding its expression in the sphere of love, eroticism, and the sensual pleasures of life… Rather than calling the Kama Sutra pornography and hiding it on the highest shelf of their bookcases, Western readers should see it as the expression of a refined, sophisticated people on the art of love.” (Audrey Chaix, Vulpes Libris, Jan 2010 ). However, If I have it already, I don’t know how I will keep it away from my parents and siblings because my family is still conservative after all, and my other siblings are not yet ready to read that kind of work. Other books that I want to have with the same kind of topics are One Thousand and One Nights, commonly known as The Arabian Nights, and Hsi Lai’s The Sexual Teachings of the Jade Dragon: Taoist Methods for Male Sexual Revitalization. OK, off to this topic.
Fourth, philosophically expound the topic of the book, read and ask questions, but not to jump into conclusions. Books taught me this kind of attitudes as I read them. You cannot conclude, even if you’re in the middle of the book already unless you finish the whole book and re-read it not only twice but thrice. Yes, three times, but with few exceptions which includes books from engineering, maths, and sciences - these are the books that explains the fundamentals and the abstracts, because even if you read them a hundred times, you need to perform calculations, conduct experiments, observations, and the likes before you can conclude, unlike novels. And same is also true for the works of Philosophy and other Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, you need to critically think, analyze and criticize the book; re-read, and find another book of the same discussions before concluding.
Fifth, if you buy a book, read the book. Investing in books are very good, but if you don’t read them, you will feel sadness. Money is so important to this time, spend them wisely.
I value all my books as if they are my achievements - yes achievements! They are the fruits, as I save a part from my salary.
I’m currently gathering my past writings in Blogspot and Wordpress and transferring here in tumblr. :) Just sharing this article, dated June of 2005. I’m just a freshman back then. :) haha..
An Attribute to the Future Engineers of the World
Have you been asked your self the questions, “Why do I need to spend my five (5) years studying a risky Engineering Course?”, “What would happen to me after that years?”, “What is the essence and significance of that discipline in my life?” If so, this article or story answers those problems.
Just an Intro!
It is almost 9:30 in the morning, one day on June 2005, when I am sitting in front of my favorite contrivance-my PC. I am surfing the net, searching for my assignments and notes and all of a sudden an internet article popped up on my monitor’s screen saying, “You Stupid, why are you sitting there?, sitting in front of that monitor, searching for an idiot article?”. To my surprise, I decided to disconnect my internet connection, close all my current applications, and start a new one. I opened Yahoo.com as my first step and again, type my needed info. An hour later, I finished my work and decided to do another thing in the net. “Yes, Yes, sa wakas tapos na…OK Friendster naman” I told on myself. The browser started to upload my pictures, profile and of course- my friends.
Tentenenenenen…It all started here.
“Friend A has a message for you”, “You have two (2) unread testimonials from Friend B and Friend C”, the Friendster had told me. “Ano ba ‘to, apaw na naman…kaasar!” So I decided to open the message and hoped to read it. Unfortunately, instead of clicking my friend’s message for me, I accidentally clicked the “view your friend’s profile” button. So, my browser uploaded my friend’s profile and decided to read it.
Scrutinizing every details of his biography-like homepage, suddenly, my eyes were twisted and turned on a certain section of his page saying “Course: Mass Comm. ‘ata ‘to no, san ka pa?” I am very shocked to see that and told myself, “May pagka-proud pala ito sa kanyang course ah?” As a response, I decided to do it also. I go to my homepage, edited my profile, and wrote on the school section, POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES – COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING. “Sana mabasa nya rin itong sakin…” This was the phrase that came into my mind after editing my profile.
Around 12:30 PM, my father called me, “Chris, Chris baba na kakain na tayo!”, “Opo” as I answered him. I fixed my things, from my notebooks to pens, and from books to personal manuals. My father and I were the only persons stayed on our house. My brother and sisters were on Laguna and my mother is on the other country. “Pa, masarap bang mag-Engineering?”, I asked him profoundly. He told me, “”Aba! oo naman ‘no, kung may time pa nga lang ako, eh kukuha pa ako ng isang Engineering course”, “Ah, talaga?”, I asked him, “Oo, talagang-talaga” my father replied. “Bakit?”, “Msaya kasi eh, kesyo ganito, ganun…etc” And the conversations were continued until I finished washing our dishes.
After very long but inspiring conversations, I go on to my PC and connected it to the internet again. I clicked the browser’s icon, went to Yahoo.com, typed the phrase, “The essence of Engineering”, clicked the search button and wait for the response. To my surprised, the browser gave me long lists of different articles as a response to what I had typed a while ago. “Common Engineering Jokes”, “Stupidity and Idiocy of Engineers”, “A Story of a Coward Engineer”, and many more-those were the things I saw after my browser uploaded its response. I noticed that all of those articles are directly the opposite of what my father had told me. “Ang mga Engineer ay magagaling, nagpaplano at nag-iisip ng tama at wala ni isa man sa mga yan ang nakatapos ng hindi dumaan sa butas ng karayom.” I then go back to reality, evaluated each of those articles and after my evaluation, I found that, more of those articles were antagonists of any Engineering Disciplines. “Bakit sila ganon, kala naman nila kung sino silang magagaling. Basta ako hindi ko sila paniniwalaan. I’ll sticked to what I know.” So I continued reading the articles. Two (2) hours later, my computer’s web page counter popped up a message saying, “You have already visited five hundred forty-six (546) different web pages; this can be harmful to your system. Do you want to continue? Click yes if so and no to cancel and disconnect now to the net.” I clicked yes and continued surfing the net. This time, I changed my keywords. The later phrased was changed to, “What is an Engineer?” This time I felt proud and happy. My browser presented me positive web pages related to the question that I had typed.
Wala lang. kaduktong lang din!
I opened each of them. The author of the first page defined, “Engineer is a person specializing in engineering works.” The second page was, “Engineer is a designer or builder of Engines.” And the third page was, “Engineer is one that operates an engine.” “Ano ba ‘to? Bakit ganito silang mag-define? Ang papangit. Kaasar!” I told on myself. “Hay last na ito at wala paring nangyayari. Sayang lang ang internet card ko dito.” I added. When I opened the last page, I was shocked. “Sa wakas nakita ko rin!” I finally found a very inspiring page. The page as deigned by moving letters and animating pictures. The page was not only beautiful, but also has a wonderful description of an Engineer. The article goes like this:
They are the masters of the laws of nature.
On the sound foundation of mathematics, science, and economics, they bend the materials and forces of nature to their plans and rear the structure of civilization. With vision, resourcefulness, and ingenuity, they work to increase the comfort, wealth and safety of mankind.
They attack their problems with the vision of a pioneer, integrity of a scientist, accuracy of a mathematician, practicality of a businessman, resourcefulness of an inventor, and courage of a conqueror.
They are the planners and the builders. They build visions into enduring realities.
They are the pathfinders of lost civilizations. They break down barriers, bridge chasms, established communications and straighten the way for commerce and human progress. They are the protagonists of efficiency. They reduce effort, eliminate wastes, and increase productions.
They are the creators of the nation’s wealth. They drain the swamps, reclaim the deserts, develop resources, and harness power. They build the machinery of and for industry, the wheels of commerce and the structure of business.
They are great coordinators. They plan and direct the construction of projects representing millions of dollars and involving the labor of thousands of people.
They investigate with open mind, and get facts before they make decision. They plan with thoroughness and built with fidelity.
To their rich heritage from the labors and past generations of engineers and scientists, they add their contributions. They continue the work of forcing outward challenging barriers that separate mankind’s efforts from the impossible.
After reading, I copied and saved it on my diskette then printed it. I kept that article on my bag and told myself, “So, ganun pala ang isang Engineer. Ngayon alam ko na kung bakit maraming may ayaw ng Engineering.” A while after, I heard a loud voice calling my name. “Christopher, Christopher ano ba ‘yan?, mahigit dalawa at kalahating oras ka na dyan ah! Lumabas ka na dyan, nawiwiwi na itong kapatid mo.” “Ah?” I was amazed on that voice. Finally, I noticed that I was slept inside the comfort room. “Oh my… sensya na ‘di ko namalayan na nakatulog pala ako” I told my mother. After that, I go to my room and solemnly reminiscing what was happened to me. A minute had passed. After recalling my unforgettable experience, I finally told myself that, “Pagkatapos ng limang taon ang pangalang Christopher M. Sawi ay malalagyan ng titulo at tatawagin ding Engineer
weekends with my tumbler, my books, and gadgets in my very own library - in my very own workbench… :)