Patrick Ireland, Susan Boyle and Shaheen Jafargholi

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Once in a while, I will be sharing my thoughts on fascinating / interesting news that I come across while browsing the Internet. I’d be labeling these posts under “interesting” and “an igorot’s opinion”. It’s my own small take on the big world out there. This is post # 001.

*** Britain's Got Talent Instant Stars

sagada igorot patrick ireland, susan boyleSusan Boyle and Shaheen Jafargholi, both contestants in this year’s Britain’s Got Talent are now outdueling each other in the blogosphere. The former is a 47 year old virgin who shocked the judges and the audience on Britain’s Got Talent by her voice when singing “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Misérables. Her Youtube video has reached more than a 100 million hits in just a week’s time. Shaheen Jafargholi meanwhile is the 12-year old contestant who got the judges attention after performing the Michael Jackson song "Who's Loving You". He showed uncommon poise after judge Simon Cowell stopped his initial performance as he disapproved of his first song choice. Both Susan and Shaheen are the bookies favorites to win the show.

MY TAKE: People, in a recession or not, will always care for excellent gifts, no matter how they are packaged. The story of Susan Boyle is compelling because people had such low expectations of her. She proved those expectations wrong by performing beyond what most people thought she could do. I'm amused at how much attention is being given to her less than stellar looks. (Honestly though, doesn't she have an uncanny resemblance to a certain royal girlfriend? Hala!) A news report I read lambasted the fact that women who are "ugly and talented" get less attention than men who belong to the same category. Frankly, the looks do not matter. I'd rather give up my average looks and have an exceptional singing talent as Susan Boyle has. Imagine how the heads would turn in the karaoke bar, hehehe.

In the case of Jafargholi, no one expected a boy like him to hit such big notes as he did. He also performed so naturally in front of a nationwide audience, as if he was born to do just that. While people will admire his talent, this year’s winner of the Britain’s Got Talent is a foregone conclusion. Without offense to the rest of the talented contestants, its tough not to see Ms. Boyle win by a mile.

Related Links:Susan Boyle got over 100 million hits; Latest News on Susan Boyle; Latest News on Shaheen Jafargholi

*** Columbine Massacre Marks 10th Anniversary

This week marked the 10th anniversary of the Columbine massacre. On April 20, 1999, two high school students stormed a suburban high school killing 12 classmates and 1 teacher, while wounding around 2 dozen students in Columbine High, Colorado. It ended when the gunmen committed suicide less than an hour later. Patrick Ireland, then 17, was among the wounded. Images of him falling from a window, bloodied and paralyzed into the arms of rescuers shocked the US and the world. Now 27, Patrick Ireland is married, and works in the financial services industry. Ireland recognizes that he will be remembered as the face of Columbine because of his dramatic rescue. He accepts it as a way to emphasize that Columbine should be another word for "hope and courage."

MY TAKE: I was in Quezon City when the Columbine massacre occurred. I remember that my wife’s aunt was visiting the Philippines from Colorado and so the events stuck to my mind. I also remember criticizing a forum entry by an insensitive British poster who wrote that Americans deserved the tragedy. Who are we to say that a group of people deserve such things? This can happen anywhere, anytime. If we haven’t dealt with this kind of tragedy, we should just be thankful that it hasn’t happened to us or our loved ones.

It is easy to be insensitive on other people’s tragedies, especially if we are not involved. But behind each tragedy is a human story. The article on Patrick Ireland and the other Columbine survivor’s recovery will not be enough to describe what they had to go through. What did they do during the immediate aftermath – when suffering from physical pain, they endured moments of despair and fear? Who gave them hope to recover and move on?

The human spirit, which some people think do not exist (or probably think is a mechanism that evolved through a series of random occurrences in the environment), is never to be underestimated. Scripture tells us that humans are created in the image of God. We are not just random beings, floating in this earth, and waiting for gunmen to wipe us out at their own pleasure. We are built for relationships, and yes, our lives do have purposes. While seemingly unexplainable things may happen to our lives at a particular time, in the greater scheme of things, they are pieces of one gigantic puzzle that one day will be revealed.

For the Columbine survivors, some have taken 10 years to see the whole puzzle. Patrick Ireland endured grueling therapy to regain the use of his legs, and he had to relearn how to read, write and talk. When he was recently asked on how he want himself to be remembered, he said, "A triumphant recovery and success story."

Related Links: Patrick Ireland and other Columbine survivors; Latest News on the Columbine Massacre