Sunday, October 7, 2012

He Gave Up His Life For The Man Who Tried To Kill Him

Originally posted August 15, 2010


I got an email from a reader requesting that I lessen my profanities. I thank you, dear reader, for your polite request and I promise that I will try my best to lessen it. Now, that is not sarcasm. That is a sincere statement. However, I cannot completely take it out because that’s just how I am. Writing otherwise will not be remaining true. I made a vow to just be true and tell the truth all the time. Pretty big vow, eh. That is not to say I will not try to accommodate your request, as I have said – I will try. Oh, thank you for reading my blog. Much love.
I am dying to tell you more earth-shattering achievements of Pinoys in the international scene, entertainers who flirt with the glitz of eyesight-shattering limelight or hardcore Filipino athletes who completely flip out in their world record breaking performances. However, this week’s feature involves the highest form of heroism – volunteers. Now, don’t go and say “I don’t know, man, volunteering for UN and *$%# (I’m trying to avoid cursing. I’ll get there give me time. – Ed) like that, I think it’s gay.”
First, there is nothing wrong with being gay. Second, volunteers are the bravest effers to ever walk the earth. Imagine giving up the comfort that city life could bring (geez, no internet for a year except when needed. Why don’t you just kill me?) to serve the basic needs of people you don’t even know and can never give anything back to you. These volunteers don’t spend their life punching people in their faces until they bleed to death nor their free time signing autographs but they are the ones who walk into people’s lives to feed them, clothe them, teach them how to read and write, and show them some amount of kindness that is so hard to find in this world. Now, THAT IS HARDCORE.
Richard Michael R. Fernando, SJ was a Jesuit scholar that was assigned in Cambodia in a technical school for landmine victims during his regency to work. Do understand, he doesn’t get anything out of this except the right to take a bath, sleep occasionally and eat just enough to survive but he was cool with all that. In fact, he chose that vocation. Operative word, CHOSE.
richard michael fernando, sj
richard michael fernando, sj
It was October 17, 1996 when Richard woke up to another day of service. You know, feed the hungry, attend to the sick, have some fun with the students, just hang. All of a sudden, one student named Sarom threatened to release a hand grenade after being asked to leave the school. It wasn’t a bluff because he actually had a grenade in his hands.
This is a technical school, there are hundreds upon hundreds of students in that place all hoping against all hope they could learn a thing or two so they could have a better future, maybe have three meals a day instead of one every other day. Really, a place with hopeless kids with simple dreams. Richard didn’t even think effin’ twice on what he should do. He grasped the hands of this angry student pleading for him to not take out the pin and drop the grenade. Sarom didn’t give a $%#@ and just dropped the grenade.
$hit right?
Richie, being the hardcore, fearless volunteer that he was didn’t even blink. He was ready, willing and proved to be able to save hundreds of people around him INCLUDING the student who wanted to kill everyone.
Richard fell over the grenade. That’s not all. Just to seal the deal, he grasped it on his hand so tight to make sure no one else gets hurt. The grenade, of course, exploded and Richard died. NO ONE ELSE DID.
Saving one person from death by covering a grenade with your body is something that most mere mortals will never do in their lives, even if they have nine but for Richard, it was a natural thing.
That incident happened in 1996 and it is sad that very few people know about this. Richard’s story is exactly the kind that should be told and retold until it penetrates to every living soul’s effin’ body and lands straight to the heart. He makes being Pinoy totally cool, don’t y’all agree?  This loser blog can’t do much though, except write about it and hope against all hope, someone is reading and listening.
*special thanks to

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