Grad speaker advocates common sense

Grad speaker advocates common sense

by UA&P News Desk on July 10, 2010 - 2:38 pm

UA&P grad speaker Jaime Laya

“Plain common sense” is what Jaime Laya advised that young people use to cope with a technology-ridden future.

For the notable statesman and banker, it is never out-of-date to take initiative, be nice, move on and focus on the important things, even with the countless opportunities that technology and good education bring.

“One must lead a balanced life—faith first, then family, work, and oneself,” Laya said in his speech at the graduation rites of the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) last June 5.

“One of my friends is in his early sixties. He is one of the richest I know, worth billions. He suffered a bad heart attack and has been in a coma since April. His goodness, industry, competence, and justness will survive longer than his money,” he added.

Throughout his successful career as public servant, cultural custodian and business executive, being nice has always worked for Laya.

“One of the things everyone needs to learn is how to say no nicely … I congratulated myself when a new acquaintance said his late father once came to ask me for something. The father had forgotten if I had said yes or no, but remembered only how nice I was. Actually, I had said no.”

Laya shared his tried-and-tested life tips, which for him are neither profound nor “earth shaking, just plain common sense,” to an audience of new graduates, parents, and professors at the Philippine International Convention Center.

He warned them that the present will be unrecognizable in the future, especially due to technology and people advancement. One can still rise above the crowd, however, by “working harder, expressing [oneself] better, doing neater work, finishing earlier, being more thorough, thinking ahead of the boss.”

“Always to be the best, and to be distinguished above the rest,” he quoted Homer in ancient epic The Iliad.

Laya, though a University of the Philippines magna cum laude graduate, acknowledged that UA&P is “one of the Philippines’ best universities.” And that its graduates “possess the skills needed to earn a living, nimbleness of mind to recognize change and quickly devise a response, to initiate change.”

These privileges, nonetheless, have to urge them to pursue God’s will in serving the country. Laya suggested following national heroes like Jose Rizal, Gregorio del Pilar, and Andres Bonifacio who were about the same age at the height of their self-giving for their people.

“They were not much older than you are. Let them be your inspiration,” Laya said.

Laya is a patron of the UA&P, located at Ortigas Center in Pasig, which started as the Center for Research and Communication in 1961. It is known for its holistic liberal education aimed at the integral development of the person, as well as for pioneering 5-year joint undergraduate and Master’s programs such as Industrial Economics, Integrated Marketing Communications, and Humanities.

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