Today is the New Year according to the Julian Calendar, the calendar that had been in use prior to today’s Gregorian Calendar. So I wish you a Happy New Year, dear readers and visitors!
My name is Allister Roy S. Chua, but you can call me Aloy. I’ve been in the business of business for others for a little less than two years now, and every New Year I still feel the urge to keep renewing myself and my vows of living out what I believe our God has sent me here to do. My New Year’s resolution, shall we say. Of course, it also includes other things such as going to bed and waking up early to make room and time for a rather rigorous exercise regimen (that I have yet to embark on), and learning to cook more. But these are all means to why I try to live out a healthy and full life.
Here and there, we keep hearing the sayings “a fresh start”, “turn over a new leaf”, or “a new beginning”. How can we truly apply the belief of a New Year’s resolution?
For starters, as practitioners of CSR 3.0 – an individualized Citizenship, Sustainability, and Social Responsibility, we can – and must, I should say – start with ourselves. There are many other ways in which we can do this, apart from going on the endless weight-reduction diets and strict I-must-run-x-kilometers-to-lose-y-kilograms. The way we behave towards and with others, in particular, comes to mind in this thought exercise. It is never too late to become a little kinder to someone who has offended us – or who we think has offended us. Or perhaps we can become a little more sensitive to the needs and concerns of those we interact with on a daily basis.
Here, I quote the great Dylan Wilk, co-founder of Human ♥ Nature (or simply Human Nature). One principle that has influenced the way he runs Human Nature is that “if God does not give up on us, I should not give up on others”. Practicing this to the fullest alone is already a huge step towards being a good, responsible citizen. Love is the very basis of every single atom of existence in this world the way God intended it to be: without love, God would not have turned chaos into order; without love, God would not have made us and chosen us to become His stewards of creation, always growing and living to the fullest in His image. Not to forgive is not to love, to let run cold the bonds between persons, thereby reducing effectivity and productivity that a society can achieve for God’s greater glory.
And if love is the basis of everything, then it follows that love is the basis of CSR, translated practically by our very own chairman Antonio Yap as purposeful action. To work within our own self-interests, ignoring and even compromising those of our stakeholders – anybody and everybody we influence, from the largest company to the humblest everyday Juan – is to work against the divine order of things. It is to work against ethical conduct, against citizenship, against sustainability, against social responsibility, against the development of the common good.
That’s why the theme I propose we live out this New Year is to always remember that we all of us are RESPONSIBLE for someone or something in every single act we do. This, I believe, is the very root of CSR – to remember that none of us is an island, that any and every thing we do can, will, and does make an impact somewhere in the world. It is something that I always remind myself everyday, because there are a lot of us from all walks of life who, based on the way we transact with the world, seem to need reminding of such.
It’s never too late to begin, or re-begin, practicing responsibility. After all, Jesus Himself always encouraged us to start anew, to cast aside our old, unnecessary burdens, and to go to Him and take His yoke upon us, for it is light (cf. Mt. 11:28-30). Remembering the spirit of Christmas, Jesus came to cast a light over the darkness and show us the way to the Father, the One who made and sent us here. He came to cleanse us of sin and illness, to heal us and make us ready to serve the Father.
This was, I believe, the dominant feeling that came to me on 1 August 2011. It was before my exchange studies trip that I was invited to visit the GK Enchanted Farm for an exposure trip. Within hours, the entire direction for my life had changed forever. From someone who merely wanted wealth and fame from working and going up the ranks in Europe, I became someone who did still want wealth, but as long as I brought others up with me – and that I did it here in the Philippines, the land that gave me my life. My lifelong desire to somehow lift the poor out of poverty experienced a major shift from just charity and philanthropy to social enterprise.
As my first concrete step, I joined Frontline Social Enterprises Development, the leadership training social enterprise that had brought us to the Farm, and I volunteered in the Enchanted Farm throughout all of 2012 and the first part of 2013 (which coincided with my college graduation). Currently, I’m in the Benita & Catalino Yap Foundation (BCYF), which advocates CSR, social enterprise, and education – but from an individualized and personalized perspective.
That’s how I came about to become the Supervising Editor of this site, and that’s how I came about to write this today, Julian New Year 2014. Although today’s a Tuesday, expect me to come up with this weekly column every Monday night.
So once again, Happy 2014, and I wish you a prosperous, blessed, and fulfilling year ahead!