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ALL IN THE FAMILY

Glamorizing the good

/ 05:14 AM November 21, 2019

Aside from constant pleas for help in resolving conflicts, creating family constitutions, dealing with personnel, I receive requests from businesses to feature their leaders, products, innovations.

I scan all e-mails and reply to several, but with regard to requests for publicity, more often than not I do not accede.

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Sometimes, even if the personalities are well-known, they have not yet achieved much on their own, and have only hung on to the businesses passed on to them. Other times, the products are imitations of standard brands, but their marketing team insists otherwise.

But the reason behind the reluctance to write about an enterprise is simple:  I do not share many of the values, beliefs or practices of those running it.

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No one is perfect, of course, particularly businesses, which often have to compromise their mission-vision in the ambiguities of politics and economics.

Not everyone featured in this column through the years is a saint but they all strive to be stewards of their family businesses.  They walk the talk. With their perseverance, resilience and groundedness, they continue to make the world better.

My first column “Eureka” began in the Sunday Inquirer Magazine in 1991, when I was about half the age I am today.

I focused on math and science then, and ensured details of every piece were accurate, and up to the standards of my stellar editor Lorna Kalaw-Tirol.

I also took to heart what my Ateneo freshman English professor, the late Inquirer food columnist Doreen Fernandez, told me,  “I never do negative restaurant reviews.  I leave those to other critics.  One negative write-up can destroy a fledgling business.

Doreen never lived to see social media, where her judicious and kind outlook is certainly not  shared by trolls or purveyors of fake news.

But I honor Doreen by following her example.  “Eureka” transferred to the science section under editor Cesar Mangawang and then to the education page under Chelo Banal-Formoso.  Since 2015, I have done this column under business editor Raul Marcelo.

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But in whatever field I write on, I prefer to highlight best practices and inspiring stories, with real names and events.  If I have to discuss what not to do—as cautionary tales to readers—I try my best to be kind, and to disguise details.

I want to glamorize the good.

At the 41st Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) on Nov. 14, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said, “Let us not glamorize evil … If the good news is too boring to report, then does the Gospel which is Good News have a place in communication?

“Yes, we become truthful even when reporting evil.  But as believers in Jesus who has triumphed over sin and death, we should be more zealous and animate in proclaiming Good News.”

Thank you, CMMA, for recognizing “All in the Family” as the Best Business Column this year.  Thank you, Eleanore Lee-Teo, for your candor and humility, that moved me to write about you and your father Edward in “Spoiled and entitled?  A next gen speaks out” (Aug. 10, 2018), which was singled out by CMMA.

Thank you to the business desk for ensuring the readability of each piece.  Thank you, Sandy, for convincing me to write on family businesses.

Thank you readers, for your suggestions and comments.  Now that you know what I look for in a story, send me those that will instruct, encourage, inspire.

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