Friday, November 12, 2010

The next on the rack: "After 100 years. . .What Next?" by Salvador H.Laurel

This November 29, 2010 marks two momentous events: the 82th birth anniversary of the late Dr. Salvador “Doy” Laurel, Former Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines and the launch of his book, “After 100 Years…WHAT NEXT,” the last on the rack. Ceremonies will be held on November 29, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. at the Turf Room, Manila Polo Club, Makati City.

Here’s a glimpse on “After 100 Years…WHAT NEXT,” culled from the Prologue written by Celia Diaz Laurel:

Doy wrote “After 100 Years…WHAT NEXT” in 1999 after his term as Chairman of the Philippine Centennial Commission came to an end.

The gestation of this book – WHAT NEXT – was however interrupted by the making of two other books “China Update ...2000”,published on September 2000 and “Through Ordeal And Turmoil” which was published in 2002.

A scrupulous critic of his own works he had scribbled many marginal notes on the manuscript which he laid on his desk ready for printing.
Everything came to a halt when he was suddenly taken ill and had to be flown to Stanford, California for treatment. After two months of countless tests he was finally diagnosed to have lymphoma and chemotherapy was prescribed.

June 2003 to January of 2004 were painful and agonizing months for Doy and for those who loved him who stood by him as he bravely fought his last battle. He was lucid to the end. His concern for his country was always foremost in his mind.

He took to scribbling little notes on his yellow pad while he was still able to write. One of them read:

"I am reminded not only of the awesome and humbling reality that all you have is your faith in God and your fighting spirit and the love of family and friends, and the continuing concern of what is happening to our country."

The next time I saw the book was after Doy’s final trip home. I remember dreading to enter our room alone – without him. As I entered our anteroom I felt strongly drawn to his desk. It was as neat as always, but there – sitting in the center of the desktop – was the manuscript of WHAT NEXT – where he had left it.

I sat on his chair and gingerly opened the book and carefully read each page.

In his introduction he wrote:

"What is our vision for the next 100 years? What can we do to realize that vision? The answers will not come easily nor will they be similar.
This book is a modest contribution for the search for answers.
I have endeavored to outline the dominant themes that preoccupy scholars when they think about the future. I am not a futurist and I do not pretend to be one. I have written this book based on the situation I perceive the world and our nation to be in and how I can deal with the realities of the present and of the imponderables of the future. No doubt, writing this book was a 'learning and planning process' in the broadest sense of the words – research, exploration, discovery, education and a sense of participation in the community of concerned citizens who desire 'a brighter, newer, world.'”

As I went on to read from chapter to chapter – I was overwhelmed by the uncanny feeling that Doy had written this book as his legacy to the Filipino people he had sworn to serve. However, more concerned with its safekeeping, I kept it on a shelf along with his other documents.

For six years the manuscript sat idly on a shelf and imprisoned within its pages were the precious thoughts and visions of a man who took the pains of writing the “answers” that he felt could save a nation.
Many times I wanted to publish the book especially when issues that he expounded on in the book were hotly debated upon. But I hesitated.

But now that his 82nd birthday approaches I feel that I must release this book and allow Doy to continue to serve his country through his thoughts and written words.

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