Point of Reference

April 26, 2009

The 11th Asia Pacific Life Insurance Council (APLIC) Congress was held in Macau 2 weeks ago. Chairperson for the conference Nenette Aseniero of Sunlife Financials did a fantastic job. Thousands of delegates representing different countries assembled in The Venetian Hotel for 3 days of learning and fun. Nenette was able to do pull it off and this in spite of the economic gloom and turmoil that is besetting the whole financial world.

I looked at the roster of speakers. Most of them are from the industry. But I was greatly comforted to see that another Filipino speaker Vic Quisumbing, top man from Grepalife would be speaking too. Nenette and Vic are both achievers Filipinos can be proud of.

There are many Filipino achievers who are making a mark in the international arena but they just don’t get front page space. I attended Vic Quisumbing’s talk. He waxed eloquent as he presented learning points that can help insurance agents do their job better. To many delegate’s surprise he boldly talked about how God has been instrumental in raising him up to his position of influence. The gist of his talk was that Christ is his main point of reference. The audience loved him.

Now let me digress for a while. The day before I spoke I went up the Macau Towers and did the bungy jump. Had it recorded on film and even posted it in my Facebook account. I showed it to the audience as I gave my speech and talked about how important courage is to leadership. The audience broke out in applause, they admired me for my courage in doing the jump.

On the same evening, Nenette gave a short speech during thanksgiving dinner. Apart from thanking the staff for helping her, Nenette became bold and vocal as she thanked God for giving her the courage and the wisdom to make the conference successful. God became her point of reference.

Now here is my point. While I may be brave about doing the jump, Vic and Nenette were equally brave in the way they talked about their faith and convictions. The point of reference is in God Himself and all three of us did not play the “political-correctness” game with God during the conference.

And then it happened. In the hotel, food court, along the lobby, inside the beautiful shops of The Venetian even in the airport, Vic, his lovely wife Te, The Ilocana and I prepared to depart Macau and return home, but delegates from all over the place approached us and told us they were inspired, with the talks but they were blessed with the way we talk about God and Faith as our points of reference. As a result, many of the delegates were challenged to be bold with their faith too. Invitations for us to do the talks and trainings in Indonesia, Australia, Singapore and even Hong Kong were poured in. To say that there is a spiritual hunger in the lives of people today no matter which part of the world they come from is an understatement.

To have the courage to do the bungy jump is nothing compared to having the courage to talk about one’s faith. And in an age when truth, honesty, morality and dignity have been sacrificed on the altar of personal gain, comfort, expedience and interest, the worst thing one can do is to be “politically-correct.”

In anything that we do, there should be a point of reference.

“Winning is not everything, it is the only thing?”

“The end justifies the means?”

“He who ends with the most toys wins?”

“Win the election at all cost?”

Your point of reference defines who and what you really are.

Credited to anonymity, somebody possessed with a brilliant mind says this:

“Submit to pressure from peers and you move down to their level. Speak up for your own beliefs and you invite them up to your level. If you move with the crowd, you’ll get no further than the crowd. When 40 million people believe in a dumb idea, it’s still a dumb idea. Simply swimming with the tide leaves you nowhere. So if you believe in something that’s good, honest and bright — stand up for it. Maybe your peers will get smart and drift your way.”

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Erich Jao

    I know very well the maxims you’ve posted. The corporate world is thus often ruled. The moral conundrum of how to be a man of God when many of the corporate entities we serve simply will have the bottom line as their objective.

    Each time I pray for strength to stand firm, while I don’t always triumph, I have slowly made a gradual clearing of being simply too corporate and made as much effort to be simply correct without the political part.

  2. senn

    Kudos Mr. Kong!

  3. German Malonzo


    Congratulations on conquering the heights of Macau! Instead of suffering from midlife crisis — euphoric adventure instead! I’m impressed! ‘Can’t wait to see you skydive! I’d like to join you next time (when I’m 20 lbs. lighter).

    Love from your friends in Vegas,
    German, Angie and Maranatha
    The Malonzos

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