My Kuya, My Hero

       Whenever cynics shake their heads and declare that there are no decent 
men left in this world, I beg to differ, for I know one such man, my 
Kuya Gari.  Time and time again my brother has weathered one crisis 
after another which would have made a lesser man buckle under, but he 
has persevered through it all without losing his integrity or sacrificing his principles.

      My Kuya wasn’t always a man of steel. In fact, back when we were kids, 
I did not see these seeds of greatness. True, he was a great older brother who took me on numerous adventures, planned and otherwise, from running over barber’s toes with a wagon, crashing into trees on my bike lessons and going on backyard hikes with goats and sheep in tow.  But all this was overshadowed by his one  character flaw: his habitual tardiness. This got him in trouble so many times that I despaired if he was ever going to straighten up. I shouldn’t have worried. My Kuya grew into a larger-than-life hero , and how.

      He first exhibited fierce leadership skills when he led a boycott 
against an unpopular dean way back in college. I was only in high 
school then but I appreciated the mettle of a guy who did not just 
settle for the status quo because it was safe but who risked his neck 
out for what he believed was right. Before he even graduated from 
college, a cushy job in a big firm was his for the taking, but instead 
he opted to work for smaller companies where he could make a 
difference. To his credit, the companies he chose to work for 
flourished under his guidance, but his wanderlust eventually got the 
best of him and he moved on to different challenges. Yet it is not his 
business acumen, his visionary spirit and his passion for life and 
work that I admire most. It is an intangible quality about him, an 
obstinate resolve to stick to his principles despite the prevailing 
sentiment of the times.  Not  a very popular or lucrative philosophy 
in a society that rewards mediocrity, compromise and moral bankruptcy…

      My brother exemplifies for me all that is honest and true in this 
world. He may not be faster than a speeding bullet or able to leap 
tall buildings in a single bound, but he is more than enough of a hero 
to me.

Happy Birthday to my Kuya, my hero.

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