Monday, September 24, 2018

Jason Y Ng: You are an inspiration to me

Transcript of Jason Y. Ng’s Speech Graduation Ceremony, ALSE 59 and ALSE 60
23 September 2018
The Chinese University of Hong Kong



Thank you for the introduction, Anna. I’m always embarrassed when I hear my bio being read out loud in front of a big audience. But indeed, as Anna has just mentioned, I do have many interests and do many different things—which is why my Mom always calls me a “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

Among the different things I do, the most enjoyable and rewarding is working with the foreign domestic worker community. And among the many organizations I work with within the community, Wimler and the Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship program stand out, not only because they make an impact on beneficiaries like yourselves, but more importantly because it has the potential of changing entire communities.

So let me begin with a heartfelt congratulation to the LSE graduates today. You all have come very far to be sitting here in this auditorium. Do give yourselves a big round of applause!

I’m particularly excited to see quite a number of employers and their children sitting in the audience. It warms my heart to see the support and love they’ve shown their domestic workers. Please give all the employers a big round of applause as well!

It’s fitting to celebrate your achievement in this wonderful auditorium. This is the second year that the Chinese University has graciously hosted the LSE graduation. For those of you who aren’t familiar with CUHK, it is one of the top universities not only in Hong Kong but also in the region. CUHK and HKU are the only two medical schools in Hong Kong, and it is one of the only three law schools in the city. CUHK has also produced a number of Nobel prize laureates, such as Charles Kao who won the Nobel for physics in 2009. I’m very pleased that your graduation is taking place in such a dignified venue.



Like I said earlier, all of you have come very far to get to this auditorium—to attend today’s graduation ceremony. I’ve been working with the FDW community for over ten years, long enough to notice that the FDW community itself has too come a long way. In recent years, we’ve seen more and more press coverage of amazing examples of FDWs who have broken the so-called “helper ceiling” and achieved great things in life. Inspirational examples include the helper who climbed Mount Everest, who won photography competition, and who published critically-acclaimed poetry. All that is proof that all of you are meant for big things in life and that you are not—and no one is—defined or limited by what he or she does everyday in his/her line of work.

But you don’t need to climb Mt. Everest or have your own photo exhibition to be an inspiration. To me, each and every one of you is inspirational.

You are an inspiration to me because you left behind your family, your friends, your life back home, and came to Hong Kong to be able to better provide for your loved ones.



You are an inspiration to me because you contribute tremendously to the Hong Kong economy, and even though if you don’t always get the credit for your contribution, you continue to work hard and give your 100 percent.

You are an inspiration to me because Hong Kong is not an easy place, and you or your friends have to put up with biases and prejudices on a daily basis, and yet you are brave and you shrug them off and don’t let them get to you.

You are an inspiration to me because you tough it out six days a week and still struggle to find a dignified place to spend your day off, but you still have a great time on Sundays whether you are sitting in a Starbucks or on the street.

You are an inspiration to me because you live with another family and look after other people’s children and old parents, and you don’t get to see your own children and parents and you miss them every day.

You are an inspiration to me because you knew you wanted more in life and you therefore sacrificed your personal time and put yourself through a six-month training with LSE to better yourself, to challenge yourself, and to equip yourself, so you can do even more to contribute to your families and your communities back home.

You are an inspiration to me because you stepped out of your comfort zone in order to acquire new skills in finance, in presentation, in public speaking, and in starting a new business, even though doing all that within such a short time was difficult, uncomfortable, even scary.

You are an inspiration to me because you are sitting here in this auditorium among your friends, your colleagues, for a few months, your competitors, and you are genuinely happy for and proud of each other for making it through an intensive program and seeing all your hard work pay off.

You are an inspiration to me because many of you are about to embark on a new journey, putting your new skills to use by executing your business plans; some of you will do well and succeed, others may stumble at first but pick themselves up and learn from their mistakes and do better next time, but all of you will come out a better and stronger person and form lifelong friendships with your business partners.

You are an inspiration to me because just hearing myself say all these things make me want to give each of you a big hug and tell you how incredibly honored I am to be here with you today to celebrate your achievement, and to thank you for welcoming me into your community even though I’m not a Filipino, and giving me the opportunity to get to know so many strong, amazing people.

And so when Leila asked me to give an inspirational speech to the graduating class, I told her I would love to, but deep down I knew I wasn’t qualified to do that. Deep down, I knew that you should be giving me an inspirational speech, and not the other way around. That’s why I very much look forward to hearing the testimonials from some of you later in today’s program. Because you truly are the stars and heroes of today’s celebration.

Hong Kong is a special place. I know that not only because I was born and raised here, but also because I’ve also written several books about it—the good, the bad and everything in between. Like any other place, there are things we Hong Kong people do well, but at the same time, there is also a lot of room for improvement. We have bright moments of course, but we also have some not-so-proud ones as well.

Some of you will leave Hong Kong this year or the next, others will stay but may eventually leave. I hope all of you will take the good with the bad and cherish your time here. After you go home and start your new chapter in life, remember the things that Hong Kong people do well, and apply those lessons to whatever it is that you plan on doing. Years later, when you look back on your time in Hong Kong, I hope those memories will give you, if nothing else, a smile on your face.

But more importantly, I want you to acknowledge and appreciate all the things that you do better than we do—things that we in Hong Kong ought to learn from you. And there are so many examples, starting with your kindness, your generosity and your optimism.

So let me leave you with a few parting words. Embrace all the wonderful things that make you who you are and that you have yet to offer. Celebrate them and pass them on.

Thank you and congratulations!

Watch here Jasons speech

About Jason Y. Ng

Bestselling author, news columnist, and adjunct law professor at the University of Hong Kong. He is the President of PEN Hong Kong, the local chapter of PEN International which promotes literature and defends the freedom of expression around the world. For years, Jason has been an outspoken advocate for the rights of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, writing extensively about the challenges they face and working with support groups including Help for Domestic Workers, the WIMLER Foundation and Pathfinders Hong Kong.


For more info, visit www.jasonyng.com


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Call for Articles



Deadline : 1 July 2018

For Pinoys residing and working abroad!



We are inviting migrants and OFWs to share your story with us! The goal is to gather inspiring stories for a book with the following subjects:

- The reason why decide to migrate or work overseas
- The challenges and changes in life since working abroad and coping up
- Relationship with the family while being away
- Your first mis-investment and how you dealt with it
- Going home for good

Number of words required: 2K - 3K words in Filipino/ Tagalog; The story should revolve around either of the said themes.

Deadline: 1 July 2018

Pls. also note the following:
- The book will be launched in Hong Kong.
- You may choose whether to use your real name or fictional name for privacy purpose.
- If your story is chosen, you'll attend the launch in Hong Kong and get a free copy of the book. For those not residing in Hong Kong, we will send a copy of the book by post.

Ms. Leila Rispens-Noel of Wimler Foundation is the Editor in Chief of the book (title will be announced soon), which will be published under 8Letters Bookstore & Publishing.

WIMLER Dubai, Philippines, partners hold outreach activity in Sitio Blaan

May 5, 2018, Nephtaly Joel B. Botor




May 2-3, 2018 - WIMLER-Dubai, in partnership with the Department of Education Cotabato province and the B/LGU, organized the annual two-day outreach activity in Sitio Blaan, a resettlement community in Kanibong, Tulunan, North Cotabato. Its adopt-a-school project has been forged with Kanibong Indigenous Peoples Elementary School, a school that caters to more than a hundred school children from kindergarten to sixth grade. It assists the school by providing scholarship and by augmenting the school’s other needs through the assistance of migrant workers from the UAE and other countries.


The two-day outreach involved WASH advocacy, storytelling, exploration for scholarship and educational support, dental and medical mission, and a series of focus group discussions with stakeholders-parents, children, leaders.


TUAN (Past)--Stories from the community revealed that almost a couple of decades ago, the people of the sitio were displaced from their original community due to armed conflict and were relocated to the bosom of Barangay Kanibong. Life has been difficult for them as they were uprooted from their homes, lost their livelihood, and struggled to access basic social services including health and education. Children were deprived of the opportunity to go to school and were instead integrated into the work force.


AMDONE (Present)--The mothers who were once children when they first came into the resettlement particularly articulated how different their life before was. Now, while there remains to be a handful of problems that community people face, they noted how the introduction of the access road and the local school have made life easier for them especially their children.



In terms of promoting children's welfare, it is remarkable to glean that there are many individuals inside the community who champion children's education and health--dedicated teachers, concerned parents, solid PTA, and involved BLGU. There are also remarkable champions from the outside--fundraisers, benefactors, and advocates for education and health. WILMER has successfully linked and united these two groups of people. It served as a bridge that connects the community to its potential partners.



FAYAH (Future)--There are certainly concerns that must be addressed at a rather communal level, say for instance the need for a reliable water system or a more sustainable livelihood, that are inextricably linked to the historical and systemic oppression of the lumads of Mindanao and of the indigenous peoples of the Philippines in general. These concerns will prevail unless larger issues--economic, sociopolitical, and cultural--are appropriately dealt with.


Notwithstanding this, the vision of the foundation is clear and its mission is resolute. This makes its initiatives, through its partnership with the school, promising in terms of providing children the opportunity to receive the education they rightfully deserve and in promoting a better quality of life for them.

This school year, six children graduated in elementary and through the auspices of benefactors will hopefully be able to pursue high school. Both parents and their children are looking forward to the next step of the journey.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

WIMLER scholars learn traditional arts appreciation


On February 17, Wimler scholars from M’lang and Bansalan, - 46 elementary pupils and 20 high school and college students - attended the “Reclaim our Cultural Heritage Workshop” to foster awareness, understanding, and appreciation for traditional arts.  The workshop was conducted by Potri Ranka Manis of Kinding Sindaw Heritage Foundation of New York City. Lanka was assisted by a combined team of T’boli from Lake Sebu, Maguindanao from Cotabato and Tausug cultural groups from Davao City.   


The workshop which was held today (February 17) opened with each ethnic group showcasing their respective traditional dances, traditional musical instruments, and their costumes. Maranao or Maguindanao women wear malong, a simple tubular cloth.  “Kappa Malong-malong is a dance depicting the many uses of malong such as cape, coat, blanket, umbrella, etc.” An interesting information is the meaning on the way malong is worn. They also demonstrated the different ways to play the large gongs and kulintang.


The T’bolis show traditional musical instruments such as ngs), Hegalong (2-string guitar), S’loli (traditional flute), Kumbing (bamboo jaw harp), and Tenonggong (deerskin drum). “The T'boli ritual dance is used to appease the gods; solicit good harvest; seek deliverance from pestilence; mark birth, weddings and death; prepare for war; celebrate victories; affirm social unity and identity.”


The Tausugs showcased Pangalay, a traditional "fingernail" dance of the Tausug people of the Sulu Archipelago usually performed by a solo female dancer imitating the movement of a bird in flight. “It is usually performed during weddings, social gatherings and other festive events. Pangalay is characterized by elaborate body postures and gestures and the graceful arm and hand movement of the dancer, amplified by the use of janggay or metal claws.”


After lunch, the participants were divided into groups and in a most entertaining way, all of them were able to dance and play with some of the traditional instruments. Around 3:30 pm, they held an outstanding performance.



The workshop which took place at Dugong Elementary School gym in M’lang, North Cotabato is a collaboration of Kinding Sindaw, Dugong Elementary School, local government unit of Dugong and WIMLER Philippines.





Wednesday, January 3, 2018

WIMLER HK, LSE HK Alumni Association organize two LSE classes in 2018


LSE 53 graduates

The 8th and 9th edition of the Ateneo Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship (A-LSE) Training Program in Hong Kong will start on March 3 and 4, 2018, respectively. Due to popular demand the WIMLER Foundation and Ateneo LSE HK Alumni Association decided to organize two classes. The venue of the Saturday Class is at POLO conference room, Mass Mutual Tower, 33 Lockhart Road, Wanchai and Migrant Empowerment Resource Center (MERC), 12/F Euro Trade Centre 21-23 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong for the Sunday Class.

An empowerment program, LSE is a joint initiative of the Ateneo University School of Government (ASoG) with the Overseas Filipinos Society for the Promotion of Economic Security (OFSPES), the Social Enterprises Development Partnerships Inc. (SEDPI) and Ugat Foundation in collaboration with the Philippine Consulate, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and with support from Philippine National Bank, Philippine Airlines, and SWIFT Asia Pacific.  


ALUMNI ASSOCIATION OF THE ATENEO LEADERSHIP AND SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM (AAALSE-HK)
The A-LSE covers 12 sessions each, two Sundays per month over a six-month period starting on March 3, 2018 (Saturday Class) and March 4, 2018 (Sunday class). Sessions last from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. The program covers three modules: financial literacy, leadership and social entrepreneurship. The LSE aims to develop the leadership skills and potentials among overseas Filipinos and their families, provide knowledge and skills in savings and investments and other financial matters and develop and/or enhance their entrepreneurial skills.

Lecturers who are invited for the two courses are: Leila Rispens-Noel (WIMLER HK), Cristina Liamzon (ASOG/OFSPES), Anna Maria Martinez (WIMLER HK), Juan Kanapi (ASOG), Aurma Manlangit (ASOG), Ma. Teresa Medrano-Ganzon (Bangko Kabayan), Vince Rapisura (SEDPI), Edgar Valenzuela (ASOG), and Katherine de Guzman (WIMNLER HK).

A certificate is awarded by the ASoG to participants who attend all the sessions at a graduation ceremony at the end of the course.  The course is open to all Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong, especially those who are seriously planning for their return and reintegration. Only a limited number of participants can be accommodated.

Eligibility for the Program

o   Computer literate
o   With working email address/Facebook
o   Current membership in OWWA (if applicable)
o   18 years and above
o   Agreement to use LSE learned skills in improving the community
o   As much as possible present work contract is until first week of November 2018

Participation fee is HK$ 1,000 for the whole course for migrant domestic workers and HK$ 2,000 for non-migrant domestic workers.

The deadline for registration and payment of $100.00 non-refundable reservation fee, deductible from the tuition fee for those who will follow the course, is on 11 February 2018.


Mode of Payment:

Course fee is payable in CASH on the following terms:

$300.00 on or before  03 MAR 2018 (Saturday Class)
                                 04 MAR 2018 (Sunday Class)

$200.00 on or before  07 April 2018 (Saturday Class)
                                 08 April 2018 (Sunday Class)

$200.00 on or before  05 May 2018 (Saturday Class)
                                 06 May 2018 (Sunday Class)

$200.00 on or before  16 June 2018 (Saturday Class)
                                 17 June 2018 (Sunday Class)

Admission to the course is on “first come, first served basis” and to those who have paid full or partial payment before March 1, 2015 and have met the admission requirements.

Registration Period:

Saturday Class:
February 3, 2018 (from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm)
February 10, 2018 (from 9:00am – 1:00 pm)

Venue: Migrant Empowerment Resource Center (MERC)
            12/F Euro Trade Centre 21-23 Des Voeux Road
            Central, Hong Kong

For information:
Analyn Regulacion, Mobile: +852 65009288
Becky Sta. Maria, Mobile:  Whatsapp/Viber +852 97622749

Sunday Class:

February 4, 2018 (from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm)
February 11, 2018 (from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm)

Venue: Migrant Empowerment Resource Center (MERC)
            12/F Euro Trade Centre 21-23 Des Voeux Road
            Central, Hong Kong

For information, please contact:
Sunday Class:    

Ma. Wilma Padura, Mobile: +852 9386 2514
Andi Allado Mendoza, Mobile: +852 56139395


SCHEDULES OF REGISTRATION:


All applicants must register personally for a brief interview.


PARTNERS:

















Monday, October 23, 2017

"I love You, Alona"



(The following is the speech delivered by Ms Cynthia Ho, the daughter of the employer of Alona Famatiga, domestic helper in Hong Kong during the graduation ceremony of Ateneo LSE53 held at The Chinese University of Hong Kong last October 22. 

The Ateneo Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Training Program for Overseas Filipinos and their Families (Ateneo LSE) is a flagship Executive Education program of the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG). Ateneo-LSE is organized by WIMLER Foundation in Hong Kong.)

Years ago, I was 11 then, when I suddenly learned that we have one new family member at home, one that is not blood related, not even sharing the same ethnicity, but our bond is much stronger than many of my blood related ones. 

I left Hong Kong for the USA when I was 16 to pursue my study.  I came back again when I was 23. I left our home when I was 30 and started living on my own until now. I am now 41 years old. Alona has been staying with my parents for 30 years, while I lived with my parents for 22 years only. Trust me, staying with my parents is not one of the easiest thing to do, especially because my mom is not an easy person to live with.  I would like to call that a generation gap.

So, seven years after I graduated, I finally moved out. All these years I keep wondering what an amazing woman Alona is being able to stay in this family for 30 years! As I grew up, I finally understand it. It is because she does not only TREAT us as family, we ARE her family.

Let us do a little bit more mathematics here.  I was 11 when Alona came.  I spent 5 years with her and I left for the USA.  I spent another seven years living with my family before I moved out.  That means I have only spent 12 years living with Alona! But what makes us so close? I would say, destiny indeed! 

Alona is like an angel sent to me from God. She took good care of me when I was young, from as simple as cooking and taking care of all housework to bringing me lunch every single day when I was in early secondary school. She protected me when my mom punished me at home (trust me those were not simple punishments), to standing up for me when I was being mistreated. Nowadays she still takes care of my parents so that I could literally be carefree, knowing that no matter what happens, my parents would always be well taken care of.

Even though it was just 12 years that we lived under the same roof, she has shared my laughter and tears.  And I am glad that this sharing is mutual  since Alona also has her tough time. As Alona said: "We have been through ups and downs together". She sees everything that happened to me, my changes, my metamorphosis. She sees all the struggles and successes I have had.  There is not a minute that she doubts on me, and she has always been very supportive to me, sometimes even more than my own mother.

I am a grown-up person now.  I wish I could do more for her, for she is not just a helper, but a close family member. I wish she could stay here forever and I could take care of her just like what she did for me, but that would be just too selfish of me, for she has her own family too in the Philippines. She has sacrificed her most beautiful years with us, and as she is gradually getting older, she should have the opportunity to retire and spend the rest of her time with her own family too and do the things she wants to do, for herself and herself alone.
When that day comes, I know I gonna miss her. 

However, being able to graduate from this Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship training program, I believe she will make the best choice for herself and continue to be the leader of her life, and seek the type of happiness she truly deserves.

I love you, Alona!

CYNTHIA HO, is Sex Therapist and Relationship Counselor in Hong Kong. She studied Sexual Health at University of Sydney and Film at Boston University. Ms Ho was 11 years old when her parents hired Alona Famatiga as household helper.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

LSE 53 BP awardees aim to help farmers, fisherfolks

Hong Kong – October 23, 2017 


The winners of the LSE 53 Best Social Enterprise Business Plans 2017 awards were announced at their graduation ceremony at The Chinese University of Hong Kong yesterday. LSE 53 class submitted a total of 14 business plans with three or four members each. Mentors were assigned to advise them in the process of writing the narrative, financial statement and designing the powerpoint presentation.

They presented the business plans during the trial presentation where they received comments and advices from the panelists on how to improve their work specially the financial forecast.  Then, they were given two weeks to finalize the business plans and finally presented them before the Board of Judges during the final presentation. It is very interesting to note that this year, most business plans are quite clear with the social component. From the 14 business plans, the Board of Judges picked the winners. For the first time since LSE was introduced in 2012, two teams received two awards each.

This year’s winners per category are:

Magsasakang Byaherang OFW garnered the Most Socially Relevant Award for their mission to economically empower the Mangyan people in San Vicente, Mindoro and tapping raw materials indigenous in the area.

Magsasakang Byaherang OFW is a social enterprise which is engaged in buying, producing and selling products of Mangyans, the indigenous people of Tinis-an in Barangay San Vicente, Roxas, Oriental Mindoro.

The proposed business aims to organize the Mangyans, provide training in self-development such as proper hygiene, organic farming, basic financial literacy training, and enhance their skills in chips production.

The Mangyans are the first to inhabitants of the island of Mindoro compromising 10% of the Mindoro population. There 12 known Mangyan tribes, each with their own language, culture, and a way of life. They hardly could meet their basic needs due to insufficient income. Farming root crops and growing fruit trees are their only means for livelihood. As of now their main products are banana, taro, and sweet potato. The business plan proposes to process these raw materials into chips. They will install solar power supply and renovate an abandoned building to serve as a working station for the chips production.

Magsasakang Byaherang OFWS serves as their marketing arm. 

The team members are: Elizabeth L.  Lingan, Rhodora U. Camba, Alona F. Famatiga, and Lowie L. Cuenca and mentored by Randolph Flauta who works as Senior Engineer at NXP Semiconductors Hong Kong (Now Nexperia).

Mega Ampalaya Jam team garnered two awards: Most Comprehensive and 
Most Innovative Awards

Mega Ampalaya Jam is a social enterprise that aims to help Ilonggo Ampalaya growers and jam makers by using ampalaya as the main ingredient of the jam. Ampalaya jam is non-existent in the Ilonggo market but based on the market survey the team conducted, there is a demand for ampalaya jam. Ten farmers who are local residents of Pototan, Iloilo will supply raw ampalaya so they can increase their income.

The business addresses the unhealthy lifestyle of the people due to busy lives which caused lesser time in meal preparation. They tend to consume junk and unhealthy foods because they are easy to prepare and tasty. It also addresses the insufficient income of ampalaya growers which hinders their economic development.

Mega Ampalaya Jam is innovative because although ampalaya is full of nutrients and easy to grow, it has never been considered as a main ingredient by jam makers in Iloilo due to its known bitter taste. The proposed business plan hopes to change this stereotype on ampalaya. They will process it into healthy and delicious jam.

The team also garnered the Most Comprehensive Award because before writing their business plan, they conducted market survey in Iloilo involving 400 respondents. This extensive study of the market, comparative prices, existing competitions coupled with ampalaya jam tasting enabled them to prepare a well-thought and convincing business plan.

If implemented, the company provides opportunity to four overseas Filipino workers who are presently working in Hong Kong by producing a local product that has potentials to capture local and national markets.

The members of the team are: Marycris T. Catubay, Nannette M. Pasol, Cheryl L. Precia, and Aien A. Salay with Leila Rispens-Noel, social entrepreneur, founder and director of WIMLER Hong Kong as their mentor.


JARC Seafood Company team won Most Viable and Well-Presented Awards

JARC Seafood Company received the Most Viable and Well-Presented Award.
JARC Seafood Company Ltd. is a social enterprise that aims to transform the mindset and practices of small fisher folks in Atimonan, Quezon province who are presently engaged in illegal and destructive fishing into a sustainable sea farming of high value fish species like grouper. This fish species is highly valued because of its excellent body texture and flavor. The export market for the groupers is rapidly increasing especially in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan. The team plans to provide proper training and financial assistance to start grouper fish farming.
The team easily convinced the Board of Panelists about the viability and benefits of sea farming. The business plan could stimulate grouper farming, increase production, scale up markets, and eventually improves fisher men's livelihood and financial situation. Moreover, it addresses poverty of fisher folks, illegal and destructive fishing.

The team members are: Janice G. Villanueva, Ancherell M. Manjares, Ronaliened R. Ros, and Carla Theresa P. Ramos and mentored by Jared King, social entrepreneur and co-founder of E3, a company which helps transform businesses by rethinking the way they view and treat their workforce.

About LSE

The Ateneo Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship (A-LSE) aims to develop the leadership skills and potentials among overseas Filipinos and their families, provide them with knowledge and skills in savings and investments and other financial matters, and develop and enhance their entrepreneurial skills. The LSE Program is a joint initiative of the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) together with OFSPES, SEDPI,  Ugat Foundation, the Philippine Consulate HK, the Philippine Overseas Labor  Office (POLO HK) , and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA HK) .  LSE53 in Hong Kong is organized by WIMLER Foundation HK with support from Prime Credit, Philippine National Bank and SWIFT APAC.