Thursday, February 17, 2011

The People I Admired


These are the people I greatly admired in life, not because of their popularity and privileged background, but on how their legendary charms and abilities stirred the consciousness of humanity.  They managed to shape and influence the world with their unique personality, ability, passion and devotion to create a difference.

POPE JOHN PAUL II

"He was the true great Christian disciple who firmly believed that Jesus Christ is the only answer to all questions about human life", This is how the late Great Pope, John Paul II, described by his biographer, Georg Wigel, during an interview with the TIME magazine.


Pope John Paul II, perhaps the greatest spiritual leader to come in recent memory, had worked tirelessly for the benefit of humanity. 

His unique kindness, compassion, devotion to Catholic faith, effort to spread peace and solidarity and promotion for international understanding made him one of the most effective God's messengers of peace ever sat in the throne of St.Peter since the first millennium.


The late great Pope (Karol Josef Wojtyla in real life) was an "orphan" when he decided to become a priest. At the age of 21, he was all alone and struggling to make a room for himself. The suffering he felt made him realized God wanted him for something --- to lead His people . 

True enough, after he became a priest, he quickly rose to rank, a rare occurrence in the stiff hierarchy of the church. At the age of 39, he became a bishop, later he was promoted to Archbishop then Cardinal. At the age of 58 when elected as Pope in 1978 after the death of Pope John Paul I, John Paul II was one of the youngest cardinals to become a Vicar of Jesus Christ.


He was full of compassion and kindness, his deep humility made him the most beloved Pope of all time. Naturally, I cried when he died in 2005 (April 2). Up to now, I kept praying for his immediate sainthood. 


STEPHEN HAWKING

Though not a believer in God, I admired this great human being because of his exceptional courage and enthusiasm to pursue his life's goals despite being ravaged by a very strange and rare illness called a motor neuron disease which made him totally paralyzed and crippled. 

His slurred speech and very limited mobility however, did not stop him from doing spectacular things in life.


Stephen Hawking is a British scientist whose worked in Theoritical Physics and Quantum Gravity made him one of the greatest scientists in world history. He is often called "the only remaining genius in the tradition of Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton". His book, The Brief History of Time is dubbed as the best-selling book of all time. 

Hawking was born in 1942 at Oxford, England. He studied Physics at the Oxford University then went on to Cambridge University to do a research in Cosmology, after obtaining PhD he became a Lucasian professor of Mathematics for 10 years in Cambridge becoming the third person only, after Isaac Barrow and Isaac Newton, to hold such a prestigious post. After his retirement, Hawking became the director of research at the Centre of Theoritical Physics at Cambridge.


WARREN BUFFET


"One of the most brilliant investors in American history", is how Warren Buffet described by the media. Buffet is the third richest man in the world in 2010 listing of Forbes Magazine after Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico and Bill Gates. 

But what amazed me with this billionaire, despite his immense wealth, is his very simple lifestyle. This legendary investor is known with his frugality, he never splurged and just contented with simple things in life. 

For a while he refused to buy a private jet but after seeing its great advantage he bought one. He still lived in the same, very simple house in Nebraska he bought in 1956. He personally drive his car when reporting to office, he never carry a cellular phone and no computer in his working desk. And the most amazing part is, he gave 80% of his fortune to charity. 

In 2007, he was the richest man in the world but after donating $37 billion to the foundation of his friend, Bill Gates, he moved down to number two and became number three in 2010 listing of Forbes Magazine.


STEVE JOBS


He is the co-founder of Apple Incorporated, the world's most admired company for the past four years according to Fortune magazine. He innovated so many high tech devices: Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad.


What made him great is the way he managed and guided Apple through all these years. His  shrewd business principles propelled Apple into one of the world's highly successful business entities with unparalleled success in terms of sleek innovations.


He is Apple's shining star, without him, many experts would say, the company's products might not be too magical. He revolutionized gadgets in a way people never know they needed until it emerged in the market. He redefined the old concept of "market and business" --- create your market and not find your market. (Update: Steve Jobs died in October 2011 after his long battle of cancer)


NINOY AQUINO


I was still in grade school when Ninoy was killed but I was already aware then how great he was, his ideals, his crusades and how he fought hard for Philippine democracy. His selfless devotion to Philippine freedom cost his life when an assassin bullet greeted him upon returning from the United States.


Ninoy Aquino descended from the family of politician and hacienderos of Tarlac, and it was him who carved the name for the family when he courageously fought against the dictator in 1970s. His death largely shaped the present Philippine history. 

His wife, Cory Aquino, scion of the illustrious Cojuanco family, became Asia's first woman President. In 1999, Ninoy Aquino was named by TIME magazine as one of the heirs of Mahatma Gandhi for nonviolence and in 2010 together with his wife Cory, Ninoy was named as one of 100 People who Shaped and influenced the 20th Century. His only son and also his namesake, Benigno Aquino III, is the incumbent Philippine president after winning a landslide victory in May 2010.


DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES


The late Princess of Wales epitomized what fairytale is all about. She was enchanting, beguiling and glamorous, she was famous, compassionate and fascinating. Her kindness and charm were magical and mesmerizing, her warmth and loving heart transcended nationality and yet she was lonely, virtually ignored by the establishment she served.


She was giving and yet wanting, she lived alone in her empty world, though she collected bouquets and admiration around the world, in her private world she needed care, attention and love, but she used her sad plight to inspire others that one could rise above misfortunes. I admired her effort to help the downtrodden through her charity crusades. She did not confine on her role by just wearing tiaras and fabulous gowns but showed to the world that each one of us has an important mission to fulfill.


PRINCE PHILIP, The Duke of Edinburgh



He is often misunderstood as rough and boorish and too "Germanic", but the Duke of Edinburgh, who was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, a grandson of King George I of Greece, was an affectionate gentleman in the British royal court who stood behind his wife, protected and supported her in all her public endeavors and constantly watched their children not to embarrass the reign of their mother.


Though the marriage of three of his four children ended in divorce, Prince Philip tried his best, as a father, to interfere the affair of his children to make the marriage work most notably during the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales where the Duke did all his best to keep the marriage of the heir-to-the-throne intact. Philip married Queen Elizabeth II in 1947 when she was still the heir-presumptive. He was a navy officer before he became a consort at his wife's accession in 1952.


What I love about the Duke of Edinburgh is his strong character and determination and good sense of humor in all his public outings. At 90 (last June 10, 2011), Prince Philip remained one of the most influential British royals.


MARK ZUCKERBERG


Everybody knows who is this man. The one who united the world into one social networking site called FACEBOOK. Yes, Mark Zuckerberg is one of the founders of Facebook and now the site's CEO. He founded it with other friends while still a sophomore student at Harvard University taking up Computer Science.


In February 2004, Zuckerberg launched Facebook at the room of their Harvard dorm and later dropped out and moved to the Silicon Valley area to work full time in his networking site. Now, Facebook has more than 600 million members around the world!


But despite his immense fortune, Zuckerberg remains frugal and followed a lifestyle below a billionaire standard. He descended from a Jewish family from New York, (update: Zuckerberg married Priscilla Chan, a Chinese medical graduate, in May 2012).

LI KA SHING


Listed by Forbes magazine as the 8th richest person in the world with a net worth asset of US$31 billion, Li Ka Shing is the richest person in Asia. He is currently residing in one of the most expensive areas in Southeast Asia, the Deep water bay in Hongkong. He is the Chairman of the board of Cheung Kong Holdings and Hutchison Whampoa, the largest container terminal operator in the world.

He is a Chinese refugee whose family came to Hongkong in the 1930s to escape the civil war in China. Born June 13, 1928 in Chaozhou, China, Li Ka Shing did not finish high school when, at the age of 14, his father died and had to help his mother raised his younger siblings

He worked as a salesman and later found a job in a plastic factory. It was in this industry that he discovered his luck. By 1950, Li Ka Shing established his own business, manufacturing plastic flowers, Cheung Kong Industries, the business grew and started diversifying into other fields. Now, his business empire covered almost every industry, from container terminals, to retailer of health and beauty products, to real estate, plastic manufacturing, to electricity.

Cheung kong expanded and soon acquired Hutchison Whampoa and Hongkong Electric Holdings Limited. Li Ka Shing is regarded as one of the most generous philanthrophists in Asia donating over US$1.4 billion to various charities.

He has two sons who helped him run the family's business empire, he is a widower but did not remarry since his wife's death. Li Ka Shing received a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, due to his massive contributions to Hongkong's Economy and to the world and because Hongkong is a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, Li Ka Shing is entitled to be called "Sir".

What I love about this man is his very classic rags-to-riches story and despite his immense wealth, he still managed to maintain his simple lifestyle.

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