Sept. 13, 2011- Devouring Life, Reciprocating Gifts in the Sharing Economy

I’m sorry for not being able to post here in this blog for quite a while.  The weekend was very hectic with several birthdays and mooncake festivals of my closest ones that I had to make special days booked for them.  It is thus befitting that I talk about “The Gift Economy” to all my readers, whether traders or non-traders alike.


After listening to Chris Anderson’s excellent book “Free”, I want to share the best bits of how this nonmonetary economy we are all living in right now is changing the entire landscape of the world, and more specifically, in small and big ways, my country Philippines. 

“Gifts are a social cement.  The implicit role is to reciprocate and to return the gift to others.  Gifts shouldn’t be kept.  It must always be moved.  One can never own the gift.  It’s simply a symbol of goodwill.  You can only retain it through giving.” – Chris Anderson, “Free:The Future of a Radical Price”

It strikes me when many Filipinos, particularly my friends, talk more about negativity in the Philippines, rather than seeing what I’m seeing.  Am I always just a glass half full kind of guy?  Here are a few things:

1.) From Death Sprang Life – Philippine Inquirer (the nation’s most read newspaper’s) Front page highlighted the story of Marie Rose Abad and his husband, Rudy.

Here, we see the ever-flowing abundance of love that rivals India’s Taj Mahal, in a Philippine context.

In Manila’s Tondo district, dozens of former shanty dwellers offered bouquets of red and white roses, balloons and prayers for another 9/11 victim, American businesswoman Marie Rose Abad.

The neighborhood used to be a shantytown that reeked of garbage. But in 2004, Abad’s Filipino-American husband Rudy built 48 brightly colored houses, fulfilling his late wife’s wish to help impoverished Filipinos.

2.) Incidentally, if you look all over the world, 9/11 related stories abound about heroism and love spurring from all fronts.  Try to watch StoryCorps’ 9/11 related videos.  I’ve attached some of them below:

3.) For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Son— In China, a couple REALLY gave their son away for adoption, in order to care for those who were more unloved.  She’s called the Chinese Mother Theresa.  Read the full story here.

Li Yan Ping made a desperate decision to give their own healthy son up for adoption. They figured someone would adopt a healthy baby, whereas the disabled child had almost no chance of survival.

Throughout the 22 years since she found that first baby on her doorstep, Li Yanping has taken care of 80 children, 13 of which are still living with her today.The most valuable things in her modest home are a 29-inch TV and a small refrigerator, and she only spends 20 yuan ($3) on meat each month, but manages to support her children, and says she would sacrifice anything to help them into college or a PhD program. Two of her physically healthy kids are currently attending high-school at a local vocational school.

4.) 100 Pre-schools—all in a year’s work – Neni Cruz writes in this Inquirer Opinion page that 

IT SEEMED so ambitious when Pinky Aquino Abellada mentioned last year that the goal of the foundation she would be involved in was to build 100 pre-schools during President Noynoy Aquino’s first year in office. But true enough,  AGAPP Foundation lived up to its boast of a hundred pre-schools from July 2010 to mid-June 2011, with the 100th built in Limay, Bataan.

It cannot be denied that Pinky’s lineage and present political connections, despite her downplaying them in typical self-effacing Cory Aquino fashion, have made it much easier for AGAPP to draw public attention and donors.  But who is to complain?  What I am pleased about is that she is at the very least using her status as the President’s sister to draw attention to pre-school education.

AGAPP stands for Aklat, Gabay at Aruga Tungo sa Pag-angat at Pag-asa (books, teacher training, feeding, livelihood and parenting support programs towards a better quality of life and hope)

5.) Freddie Mercury, of the band Queen’s lasting legacies- Last September 5, a lot of fans recounted how much they loved Freddie.  I highlight below one particularly moving paragraph, that makes me want to relive and be able to have what Freddie could inspire in his fans.( Highlights are all mine)

“Freddie made the last person at the back of the furthest stand in a stadium feel that he was connected.  Freddie gave people proof that a man could achieve his dreams – made them feel that through him they were overcoming their own shyness, and becoming the powerful God-like figure of their ambitions.  And he lived life to the full. He devoured life.  He celebrated every minute.  And, like a Great Comet, he left a luminous trail which will sparkle 



“You have within you more resources of energy that have ever been tapped, more talent that has ever been exploited, more strength that has ever been tested, more to give than you have ever given.” -John Gardner

We live in a life today, where everything is literally just a click of a button away, if we know how to push those buttons properly.  We can explore and be pleasantly surprised on stories of interconnecting, unintended consequences … and watch what happens when things begin to build themselves.  In my personal life, touching base with people such as Justino Cabarles and Doc Ofelia Sy from Masbate Funds for Little Kids (MFLK) , I have witnessed tremendous kabayanihan amongst Filipinos.  (Note: MFLK is a group that followed after the successful non profit organization Zamboanga Funds for Little Kids got critical recognition abroad (CNN, Al Jazeera, Facebook Best Stories etc.)  on helping children through yellow boats so that they can go to school without having to swim).  Read the full article here.

My Top Motivation to Contribute is simply Intimacy and Community

Intimate relations are those in which each knows a great deal about the other, as a result of extensive contact in the present and in the past, and as a result of having an interest in the other’s activities.  Interest and contact can’t be sustained at high levels with everyone, and so each person specializes in cultivating a limited number of intimate ties.  

Communal relations may involve very large numbers of people tied in content and limited in emotional involvement. Communal Relations are constructed out of pre-existing social identities, such as kinship, identification with the same ethnic group, neighborliness, etc.

“It’s basically the message thing.  And also thinking of that person as someone special and making that person feel special at that time.  I think that’s the essence of a lot of giving, what it’s doing for that person’s feeling of themselves, especially for somebody who’s alone.  It’s really important that they know they’re being thought about and this is a way of showing it, not just going, but going with something, because you’re giving of yourself.

It is the expressive function of gifts, and not their instrumental functions.”

(Reference: The Gift Economy by David Cheal)

Gifts serve to connect individuals to one another, in sofar as people are willing to participate in the process of social exchange.

I wish to highlight my friend’s work.  Mr Ronilo Acabo is kickstarting a seaweeds farm in layag layag to help sustain livelihoods in Masbate.  Together with the team, he is spearheading this project:  Take a look at his blogpost here:

Let me stress that none of the members of Masbate Funds for Little Kids urged him to do such a thing, just as most of us in the group have just found ourselves “accidentally” or “serendipitously” together using our personal strengths to give a helping hand to our respective communities.

Delivering Happiness need not be complicated.  You could be just sharing a smile to your workmate, and really making him/her feel that he/she’s appreciated in the company.  You have no idea what a smile can do.

Just as most of the audacious, great thinkers of the world today are saying:

Cooperation, often organized from the bottom up, plays a much greater role than we thought in everything from natural phenomena like ant colonies to human institutions such as markets and cities. It’s what New Yorker writer James Surowiecki, in his illuminating 2004 book of the same name, calls “the wisdom of crowds.” Crowds can go mad, of course, but by and large, it turns out, they’re smarter at solving many problems than even the brightest individuals.

It really takes the power of us, together to make a difference.  We are living in a user-capitalized network.  We are one big hairy monstrous organism.

“The nearly 1 billion people online worldwide — along with their shared knowledge, social contacts, online reputations, computing power, and more — are rapidly becoming a collective force of unprecedented power. For the first time in human history, mass cooperation across time and space is suddenly economical. “There’s a fundamental shift in power happening,” says Pierre M. Omidyar, founder and chairman of the online marketplace eBay Inc. (EBAY ) “Everywhere, people are getting together and, using the Internet, disrupting whatever activities they’re involved in.”- Businessweek

All of the developments raises a key point: All of us will have to take on more responsibility. Father Jet Villarin wrote a marvelous “manifesto” for each one of us in this Sharing economy.  Read the entire article here.

1.) We are not a nation of crabs pulling each other down, and that we can and should always be pulling each other up.

2.)In this investiture, I would like to believe that it is not only the president that is being vested with power. We are all of us here vested with many powers. I can cite three. Tonight, let us celebrate our being vested with the power to become who we are, the power to build this nation, and the power to care for creation. Identity, nation, creation.

3.) Even if we are dismayed to see how fractious and misled we have been, how marooned our people feel in a country that has not given them good jobs and fair opportunity, we still find ourselves immersed in the mystery of our goodness, our resilience and heroism, our capacity to endure adversity and believe in a benevolent God.  Despite our mendicancy, we can still care for one another, be hospitable and helpful to our own, even to the widow or orphan or stranger.

4.)Poverty is a beast with many hearts to spare.  You do not destroy this monster by goring its hearts one or two at a time.  You slay this monster decisively by flanking it on all sides, and lancing its hearts in parallel, in concert, with strategic, calculated, calibrated and consistent thrusts to the hearts of hunger, ignorance, joblessness, injustice, conflict, and corruption.

5.) Who will initiate, coordinate, inspire and orchestrate this plot to slay the monster?  Leaders.  You.  All of us here.  Men and women who have been schooled to step up and take charge because they have been taught as well when to stand down and surrender their pride and ambition.  Men and women, here at the Ateneo, beyond the Ateneo, who have been taught to stand on a hill, between earth and sky, so that they can train their sights beyond themselves and look after the common good, the greater good.


It is the main aim of this blog (I, as facelesstrader, not only to succeed in the financial markets alone, but to take as many people as possible who are willing to learn the financial markets, or at least hear me out, on possible businesses, educational opportunities in order to lift this country up).

This blog is not a sermon. This is about faith in a calculated belief that Filipinos, by and large, have adequate means in order to help themselves and lift themselves up.  It seems audacious to think of such things, but Filipinos, or at the very least, human beings cannot simply be given up on.  Give the gift of your time, love, or whatever it is.  You have more power than you ever tapped into.

Let this picture serve as a guide for us to help each other, and pull each other up together.  Spread the message as far as possible. Kabayanihan means collective heroism.

Here’s a gift to myself (enlightened self-interests) — The boats will be used by Masbate’s little kids to transport them to their schools, instead of swimming.  Afterwards, it will be used by seafarers for livelihood.  Many such boats have  been donated all over.  One can learn more about “The Yellow Boat Community” in (as the NGO’s website is yet to be started.)

-Faceless Trader

P.S. September 23 shows Money Ball (Michael Lewis’ bravado work). Always cited by top traders to be the book that parallels so much between baseball, trading and life, I couldn’t stop myself but lose control on when the show will come out in the Philippines.

Guys Beware: Girls’ radar– Brad Pitt.


About Abc

This entry was posted in It's a Small World. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sept. 13, 2011- Devouring Life, Reciprocating Gifts in the Sharing Economy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s