By Eric Gerard D. Ruiz
|Like most students, Tinyo didn’t finish high school in four years. He was “stupid” during high school. He made many mistakes. Tinyo felt so ashamed sitting down in class with students who were younger than him. He added two more years in his high school life. Tinyo had to endure the shame of graduating high school while his original classmates were already in 2nd-year college. However, Tinyo realized that he hit a wall. He deviated from the road to success. He learned that this set back in life can bring him back to the right track. After many years, Tinyo reunited with his classmates in a high school reunion. Everyone asked about him, “Ano na nangyari kay Tinyo? ‘Di ba siya yung pinakabobo sa klase natin?” Tinyo took business administration and management in college and he graduated magna cum laude. Tinyo is now a respected and multi-awarded business speaker and leader, a columnist in The Philippine Star, a broadcaster, a millionaire, and a successful book author. Tinyo is Francis Kong, the “dumbest” boy in class.|
Francis Kong is a paradigm of an unprecedented success. Who would’ve thought that the “dumbest” boy in class would become a respected business leader in the Philippines? He said that one could’ve finished a Ph.D. degree in the six years he spent in high school.. By inflicting wit and puns, Francis said that he already finished Ph.D. in high school. According to him, Ph.D. is “passing high school with difficulty.” There are several life lessons that Francis shared during his talk in Silliman. We have to learn how to give back.
Francis taught Sillimanians he attitude of gratitude. He is one of the most expensive speakers here in the Philippines. But in school talks, he doesn’t ask for payment or honorarium. “Hindi dapat kabig ng kabig. ‘Wag kang mukhang pera.”
We are the products of the choices we make from day to day. Everyone is constantly changing as they make choices in life. Francis didn’t make the right choices when he’s in high school. But, where is he now? He encouraged the students that it’s okay to make wrong choices like what he did. Success chooses no person; neither does it choose randomly. Success is earned by learning from the wrong choices and choosing better ones in the future.
Being a master in puns, Francis shared his 7 B’s for boys and girls. For girls, “books before boys because boys bring babies.” For boys, “books before babes because babes bring bankruptcy.” Aside from its comical sense, Francis prioritizes education. Love can wait.
God is a god of second chances. God gave Francis a second chance. When he hit the wall, he woke up and realized that he deviated from the straight path to success. God knocked at his doorstep, and he opened the door for Him. Now, Francis is blessed with a good career, a beautiful wife, and three adorable kids who are now professionals.
Nothing is impossible if a person will work hard like Francis. His wrong choices in high school led him to be a better college student. The Francis Kong who inspired Sillimanians is the product of the Francis Kong who deviated from the path of success. Francis Kong is an inspiration and a lesson—an inspiration of success and a lesson not to do the same mistakes he committed.~