Published September 27, 2013 15:25

First Ever Pinoy Talks

The Association of Filipino Students in Japan (AFSJ) held the first-ever Pinoy Talks last August 17, 2013 at the Asia Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo. This event is a TED-style talk series with a theme of leadership and excellence, graced by five successful Filipinos in various walks of life from a priest, businesswoman, social worker, bureaucrat and professor. These speakers who inspired the Filipino students how to become successful in career and life in Japan are Father Restituto Ogsimer, Ms. Joyce Ogawa, Mrs. Lita Manalastas-Watanabe, Consul General Tirol-Ignacio and Professor Mel Kasuya, respectively. In their own personal lives, they defined what is success and how to attain it.

Pinoy Talks

Fr Resty

“Success is the fulfilment of various aspects of human life.” 
Father Restituto Ogsimer 
migrant workers advocate

The talk started with the discussion of various aspects of human life: family, social, spiritual and financial. According to Father Resty, one needs to juggle and balance all and not only one or few of them. In fact, it has to be achieved in linear fashion by starting from self to family and expand in society. It has to move towards spirituality tagging along self, family and others so that one can put financial fulfilment in place. He cited stories of Filipinos who are financially stable yet struggle in family and/or social life. He ended his talk by asking participants to think of the inner self as the beginning but at the same time as the end for everyone to reflect on to.
Ms Ogawa

“Failure is not found in my vocabulary.”
Ms. Joyce Ogawa
Philippine Assistance Group President

The truth is, Ms. Joyce Ogawa refrain from uttering the word failure because she does not subscribe in it. The irony is she spoke about her failures all throughout in her career but would see these failures as learning experiences. She tried all sorts of business endeavours only to give up on them upon learning she is not fit to do the job.

Ms Manalastas

“Success is simply working on opportunities.”

Mrs. Lita Manalastas-Watanabe
Speed Money Transfer President

A former MEXT scholar herself considers connections, influence and credentials as dimensions of opportunities. Her connection in the form of a scholarship in Japan during her undergraduate years enabled her to get a scholarship when she was already employed. Her connections with salient people in the business sector paved the way in the founding of the only Filipino-owned money remittance service in Japan. Connection is in the context of knowing the right persons who can be partners. It is through working hard and exemplifying excellence that influence is achieved and eventually a plus factor in credentials.


“Success is doing the right thing.”

Hon. Marian Jocelyn Tirol-Ignacio

Consul General of Philippine Embassy in Japan

Congen as everyone would fondly call her presented the negative conception of bureaucrat. In fact, it is this conception which made her realize the essence of being a bureaucrat in the government and how she attained the highest position in embassy. Early in her career, she was fearless as a woman and embarked on a mission to save Filipinos in Cambodia during a political turmoil. On the time the group was to leave the country, three Czech ladies pleaded to be taken as well in the plane with them. She replied by saying about the protocol and suggested instead to talk to her ambassador. The retelling made her cry of the incident which until now she still carries heavily in her heart. She admitted that she was young then to decide the right thing to do and reminded everyone that in an institution, people struggle in endless quandary in doing the right thing.

Prof Kasuya

“My personal formula for success is anchored on faith and prayer, clarity of purpose, passion for excellence, witnessing, awareness of ‘roots’/strengths and social responsibility.”

Professor Maria Carmelita Zulueta Kasuya

Faculty, University of Tokyo

Professor Mel espoused the idea of obedience in the early part of her stay in Japan. She did not have any intention of pursuing higher studies but only did so due to obedience to her department head way back in La Salle. She took the professorial position in University of Tokyo out of obedience to her professor who invited her to join in his laboratory. She attributed success in experiments because it is coupled with prayers. She would recite prayers as she prepares and conducts research work. She reminded Filipino scholars to strive for excellence by giving the best in all task. She reminded that after our stint in Japan, Japanese people may forget our names but they won’t forget that once there was a Filipino whose excellence is beyond compare. Being a cancer survivor twice made her ponder why she survived it. The struggles are unthinkable yet she reflected that she grew in virtues having lived through cancer and always asked God for His will for letting us face whatever challenges that come our way. She challenged everyone present to become ambassadors of the Philippines in our own way and at the same time become ambassadors of Christ to everyone around us.

As a whole, the speakers provided different tenets of success. It has to begin with self, grow in others and back again to self in a cyclical fashion. Despite the status each one has attained, they conveyed the importance of learning Nihonggo. The learning of language may not be a necessity but it could spell a lot of difference and can be an edge in career whether one chooses to stay or to go back.

contributed by Aris Larroder

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