Alfredo Yao, Gregorio G. Sanchez Jr. and Tony Tan Caktiong

 “I started working at age 12, out of need. I lost my father and my mother was just a sidewalk vendor.  After school, I would do odd jobs,”

-Alfredo Yao

In 1969 French inventor Louis Doyen invented a plastic bag that could stand upright. This plastic bag was called as Doypack. Doypack became popular food  packaging material.

Alfredo was a son of street side vendor in Philippines, who lost father at the age of 12. Alfredo was hard worker and with the money he saved he managed to start a printing press. On his trip to Europe he happened to see Doypak, he was very impressed with it and purchased Doypack machine and brought it to Philippines. But fruit juice vendors were not interested in this kind of packaging.

Alfredo refused to give up and with his friend started making fruit juice on his own. He called his juice Zest O. The brightly coloured packs were big hit and soon Zest O captured 80% of fruit juice market.

Alfredo also owned an airline company called Zest Air.

“Raising pigs in the backyard was the most successful livelihood program, but the pigs got sick so he had to do something to keep them alive”

Grecilda Sanchez-Zaballero, daughter Gregorio Sanchez

Gregorio G. Sanchez was Civil Engineer in Philippines who was concerned about poor quality of pigs that were sold in market for meat. Using pots and pans and his home as laboratory he did research on reasons for poor health of pigs.  He found that pigs were suffering from bacterial infection. To counter that he discovered a probiotic bacteria, this “good bacteria” improved the health of pigs. Gregorio called it LactoPAFI bacteria. He then formed a company to sell bacteria based products including health drinks.

“Tony was only 23 years old or so when I met him. But already, he was equipped with the wisdom and patience and persevering attitude of a 70-year-old man. He would listen to any one who had ideas, and would casually nod as if he didn’t know them. To this day, he remains the same: humble, always listening, but ready to take a calculated risk.”

-Manuel Lumba, Marketing Consultant

Tony Tan was Chinese immigrant who came to Philippines to seek fortune. He started with ice cream parlour. Along with ice cream he decided to sell hamburgers, French fries, sandwiches etc.  Soon these became more popular than ice cream. He then closed ice cream business and concentrated on fast food. He modeled his chain on Mc Donald. He named his retail fast food chain as Jolliebee and smiling red bee as logo. Jolly for happiness and bee for hardwork.

Today Jolliebee is leading food chain of Philippines.

 

 

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Charlene Teters, Chief Illiniwek and Racism

University of Illinois sports team had a mascot named Chief Illiniwek. It portrays Native American person. During sport events ex. Football or Basketball matches the mascot used to dance wearing Native American costume.

In 1989, one student of university protested against the mascot and the ritual dance. This student, Charlene Teters, belongs to Spokane tribe. She felt that such mascot and ritual dance was degrading and misrepresents Native Americans.

She thought that the mascot was result of racism and stereotypes people had about Native Americans. According to her Native Americans are humans with rich cultural heritage, they cannot be reduced to a mascot.

“Through the struggle, I have met some of the best, most conscientious people…it took 20 years, but in 2007 the University of Illinois retired the mascot, although I know it’s still used behind closed doors.”

-Charlene Teters

She had led protests at sports events and created awareness on representation of Native Americans in films, TV, cartoons, social media etc.

Charlene is not just an activist, but also a painter.

Black Panther, Dalit Panther, Polynesian Panther and Gray Panther

“Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind – even if your voice shakes.”

-Maggie Kuhn, founder Gray Panther Movement

A group of 6 youth from Pacific Islands decided to form a group to fight for the rights of Maori people and Pacific Islanders. They called themselves Polynesian Panthers.

New Zealand faced shortage of labour, they hired labour from Pacific Island, many overstayed their visa limit. Prime minister of New Zealand Sir Robert David Muldoon decided to crack down on overstayers. Overstayers included those from Great Britain, Australia and South Africa, but action was taken only against Pacific Islanders. The Polynesian Panthers raised their over against this discrimination. This also spoiled relations of New Zealand government with Maoris and Pacific Islanders.

The Polynesian Panthers drew inspiration from Black Panther Party of USA. Black Panther Party was formed by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale to protect black neighbourhoods from police brutality. They fought for the rights of Blacks of US. They were against capitalism. FBI declared Black Panthers as communists and enemy of state. They were ruthlessly repressed by FBI.

Meheboob Sheikh was a revolutionary poet of Maharashtra. It is said that Mahatma Gandhi so impressed with his patriotic and revolutionary poetry that he gave him title of Amar Sheikh. Amar Sheikh also played important role in unification of Maharashtra.

Amar Sheikh married a Hindu girl and had daughter called Mallika. Like her father Mallika too was a poet. Mallika fell in love with a Dalit poet Namdeo Dhasal. Namdeo Dhasal had created revolution in Marathi literature by his raw language and realistic description of lower strata of society.

“But he was a Communist at heart. He defined Dalits as anyone who is oppressed, the lower caste, the poor, the sex workers. It was inclusive and that gave the movement a strong ideological base and massive support. He tried to unite the Left and the Dalits but they could not rise above it,”

-Mallika Shiekh on Namdeo Dhasal

But in her autobiography Mallika says that theirs was not a happy marriage.

“I am a venereal sore in the private part of language.
The living spirit looking out
of hundreds of thousands of sad, pitiful eyes
Has shaken me.
I am broken by the revolt exploding inside me.
There’s no moonlight anywhere;
There’s no water anywhere.
A rabid fox is tearing off my flesh with its teeth;
And a terrible venom-like cruelty
Spreads out from my monkey-bone.”

-Namdeo Dhasal

Namdeo Dhasal drew inspiration from Black Panthers and along with Pawar formed Dalit Panthers. Dalit Panthers raised voice against injustice done on Dalits.

“The Dalit is no longer merely an untouchable outside the village walls and the scriptures. He is an untouchable, and he is a Dalit, but he is also a worker, a landless labourer, a proletarian. And unless we strengthen this growing revolutionary unity of the many with all our efforts, our existence has no future.”

-Dalit Panthers’ Manifesto

In 1970, Maggie Kuhn was forced to retire the day she turned 65 because of the mandatory retirement law then in effect. Maggie felt that such laws were unjust and discriminated against aged.

ti_joinus

She decided to fight against ageism is society and formed Gray Panther Movement to fight against ageism. She raised issue of segregation of old people from society (disassociation theory), representation of old people in media, old age homes, sexuality of aged, social security etc.

She wrote her autobiography No Stone Unturned in 1991.

“Old age is not a disease – it is strength and survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illnesses.”

-Maggie Kuhn

Widows,Vidya More, Savita Chhabra and Anasuya Gupta

“Nobody wants to acknowledge the fact that the widows have done what the men were unable to,” -Sunanda Kharate, Paryay Organisation

In India word widow brings negative images of Sati – burning of widows, actually sati means virtuous woman, Widows of Vrindavan etc. Though burning of widows is banned, the mental attitude had not changed much. Widows are still seen as unwanted and unproductive units of society. This also has to do with inferior status of women in Indian society.

Vidya More’s husband Sahadev More, a farmer in Maharashtra, was frustrated due to debt, so one day he set fire to his to kill himself and his family. But his wife was brave she saved her two children and herself. She did not know how to do farming, but she learned and with her hardwork she managed to repay her loans and is getting her children educated.

“I had to start from scratch. There was no support from my family. My deceased husband had mortgaged our two acres for Rs 30,000. Those were difficult days. I started working as a farm worker… we had to survive, we had to eat. I worked day and night and learned all farming skills on my own. I also learned sewing, and worked as a seamstress to add to the earnings from the farm.”

-Vidya More

There are others like Vidya. But attitude of society towards them has not changed much. Men in village don’t expect them to work hard and become financially independent, they still feel that it is men’s job. Widow should always remain dependent.

“Everyone wants to show sympathy to a widow. But when a widow wants to do something on her own, society doesn’t like it,”

-Vidya More

While Vidya belongs to poor family. Anasuya Gupta belonged to rich business family in Kolkata. Her family owns CICO technologies. Women members of family had no role to play in running business. After death of her husband, the bankers and other stakeholders wanted her to sell her stake, as they had no faith in her managerial capabilities. As widow, she also stopped getting invitation for social events. But Anasuya was made of sterner stuff, her refused to sell her stake and decided to run the company. With hard work and determination, she not only brought out stake of investors, but doubled turnover of the company.

“Invitations to social events stopped coming, but I didn’t care. The exciting thing was that I learnt something new everyday. Today we have bought out all our investors”

-Anasuya Gupta

Savita Chhabra of Hygiene Research Institute which makes hair products like Vasmol Kesh Kala, had similar experience when her husband died of heart attack. Her son was doing course in Pharmacy. Family wanted elder son to join business rather than Savita taking over business. But Savita took charge of business and is successfully running the company.

“God has given us (women) equal strength intelligence and same 24 hours like men and we can do it. But the biggest challenge is to proof yourself, to learn your subject thoroughly, and then one can’t stop you. I think God has given us immense power to manage a family, so in my view woman are born with management skills.”

-Savita Chhabra

 

 

Chicano culture, Bracero Project, Romano Acosta Banuelos

“They’re flying ’em back to the Mexican border

To pay all their money to wade back again

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,

Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;

You won’t have your names when you ride the big airplane,

All they will call you will be “deportees”

Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,

Our work contract’s out and we have to move on;

Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,

They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.”

-Deportee by Woody Guthrie on plane crash which killed 28 braceros

In 1945 US signed agreement with Mexico to allow Mexican farm workers to work in US. After the work was over they were sent back to Mexico. In Spanish such people are called bracero- one using arms for work or manual labour. The labour was promised decent living conditions and minimum wage. This helped US to overcome labour shortage and Mexican labour was ready to do job which white Americans refused to do.

There were many cases of illegal immigration and exploitation of labour. Many were illtreated and working conditions were harsh. Labour arriving from Mexico was disinfected by spraying DDT on them!

One such immigrant Mexican worker gave birth to daughter in US, she was named Acosta. Once work was over this family was sent back to Mexico, though technically Acosta was US citizen. In Mexico she got married at the age of 16 and had two sons, but her husband left her. Acosta returned to US and started to earn living by dish-washing. While doing job of dish-washing she also started making tortillas. She built tortilla factory and started company of her own called Ramona’s Mexican Food Products.

Later with help of some businessmen she started Pan-American National Bank, which gave loans to Chicano to start their own business.

Both bank and her food company prospered. Success of bank caught attention of President Richard Nixon. She expressed her desire to become post of U.S. treasurer. In 1971 she became US treasurer, highest post held by Mexican American.

Mexican Americans, also called Chicano, today take pride in their past they see themselves not as some inferior caste in US, but descendants of people who build magnificent Aztec empire.

Jesús Helguera was Mexican painter who was fascinated by Aztech mythology and landscape of Mexico and that is subject of many of his paintings.

 

 

Conquistadors, Gonzola Guerrero and Malinche

The Mexica people saw an eagle eating snake near Lake Texcoco. It was seen as good omen by people and city of Tenochtitlan was built on site, which became capital of Aztec Empire. Tenochtitlan became large and prosperous city. When Aztec empire was under Moctezuma II, Spanish conquistador Cortés visited Tenochtitlan. He was impressed with wealth of Aztec Empire.

Cortes conquered Aztec Empire with help of his Spanish soldiers and tribes who were enemies of Aztec. After conquest he destroyed city. Cortes was one of the conquistadors.  Other Conquistadors from Spain conquered a large area of American continent for King of Spain. The conquistadors were cruel and killed large number of natives, in fact most died due to diseases like small pox due to contact with soldiers. The native tribes had very little resistance to small pox. Thousand died because of diseases.

Malinche was one such native who was given as slave girl to Spanish.  Cortes found her useful as translator and soon became his confidante and mother of his child. Her skills were found useful during conquest of Aztec Empire. Her son Don Martin Cortés, is regarded as the one of the first Mestizos (a person of mixed European and indigenous American ancestry),  and she is regarded as mother of Mestizo race.

There is controversy among historians about role of Malinche, some regard her as traitor, while others feel that she was victim of circumstances.

While Malinche helped Spanish conquerors, there was strange case of Gonzola Guerrero. Gonzola was a Spanish sailor who was taken as slave by local Maya tribe. He later married local chief’s daughter Zazil Há and had fathered the first Mestizo children in the region. Later when the region was conquered by Cortes, while his partner Aguilar decided to become translator along with Malinche, Gonzola refused to leave tribe, his wife and children and go back to Spain. In fact, he led Maya against Cortes.

“Brother Aguilar; I am married and have three children, and they look on me as a cacique (lord) here, and captain in time of war. My face is tattooed and my ears are pierced. What would the Spaniards say about me if they saw me like this? Go and God’s blessing be with you, for you have seen how handsome these children of mine are. Please give me some of those beads you have brought to give to them and I will tell them that my brothers have sent them from my own country.”

-Gonzola’s response to Aguilar

Chicano are natives and mestizos who are now citizens of US. Chicanos take pride in their Aztec past. Many refuse to called themselves as Hispanics or Latinos.

Marie Kondo, KonMari and Organizing Things

 “Weeding out what doesn’t spark joy applies to just about anything…after cleaning her house, one of my clients changed jobs and another one dumped her boyfriend.”

-Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo is Japanese entrepreneur, she is quite successful in her profession. Her profession is to provide consultancy on how to declutter and organize things.

She has long list of clients and is in demand for her expertise.

As a child she was always interested in organizing things. After college she made consulting on organizing things her profession.

“A customer was struggling with what to keep and what to get rid of..so  I suddenly said, does owning this spark joy(tokimeki)? From then on, cleaning really went fast.”

-Marie Kondo

Her method of organizing things is called KonMari. It consists of gathering together all belongings, holding one item at a time, and then keeping only those things that bring joy, in words of Marie, “tokimeki” i.e. things that “spark joy”. Those things are then arranged in particular manner and preferably kept in drawers.

“Dump all your clothes in a heap, keep only what makes you happy, and say “thanks” to each possession before throwing it out.”

-Marie Kondo

Marie today is mother of two children and in one of her interviews she said that her husband before marrying read her book and then he moved in to new house with just 5 boxes.

“If you have a big house, perhaps you can allocate a whole room for your child, but in Japan, where housing is quite small, some people decide to allocate two or three big drawers.”

-Marie Kondo

She has written book on this subject.