e·lit·ism or é·lit·ism (noun). The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.
Our first ever interview series features the President of the Ladies for Rizal Bonn Chapter, Lady Helen Lacuna. In this interview, she traces her history with the LFR, shares her perceptions about the current situation of the organization and looks forward to the challenges ahead.
|Lady Helen Lacuna (middle), flanked by Lady Margie and Lady Jane|
Interviewer: Hi Lady Helen! Thank you for granting us this interview. Could you please tell us the story of how you became a member of the Ladies for Rizal?
Lady Helen Lacuna: Hello to you too! Thanks for the opportunity to be interviewed. I was recruited in 1995 by my husband (Sir Celso Lacuna), who was then a member of the Committee on membership of the Bonn Chapter. Together with other candidates from Bonn, I was formally inducted on May 21, 1995 in Wilhelmsfeld.
I: Do you think preserving the ideologies of Rizal is still relevant to Filipinos outside of the Philippines?
LHL: Yes, preserving the ideologies of Rizal is still relevant not only for Filipinos in the Philippines but also for those outside the Philippines. The Filipinos abroad should be taught about the ideas, aspirations, nationalism and patriotism of Dr. Rizal so that they would always be reminded of their home country.
I: Why is this important?
LHL: By teaching the Filipinos abroad about Rizal's ideas, nationalism and sacrifices for his country, Filipinos residing in foreign countries will always remember their ancestors in the Philippines. Hence, the Filipinos abroad if imbued with Rizal' ideologies, will have a deep sense of national consciousness and belonging to their country of origin.
I: What do you think is the most common public misconception regarding the Ladies for Rizal and Knights of Rizal?
LHL: Many Filipinos in Germany say that the LFR and KOR are an "elitist" group, which is quite true in the Philippines, but not abroad. In Manila and in the neighboring cities, most members of the Kababaihang Rizalista and the Order of the Knights of Rizal are prominent people, e.g. high-ranking officials in public and private officers, leading businessmen, professors, doctors, teachers, lawyers, leaders in sports, media and the arts. However, abroad such as in the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Hongkong, Saudi Arabia and Europe, the members are not "elitist". KOR and LFR members in foreign countries come from all walks of life.
I: What could be done about this misconception?
LHL: At present, the general public and members of the Filipino community are not well informed about the membership, goals, aims, objectives and activities of the LFR and KOR. Hence there is an urgent need to undertake a vigorous campaign to inform the general public, especially the members of the Filipino community in Germany, what the Ladies for Rizal and Knights of Rizal are all about.
I: What is the greatest challenge for Rizalistas right now?
LHL: The greatest challenge for Rizalistas at present is how to achive the multivaried tasks and goals as set forth in the By-Laws of the organization. The Bonn Chapter is registered as a charitable and non-profit organisation a t the City of Bonn.
I: How could this challenge be addressed?
LHL: As a charitable institution, the members of the Bonn Chapter should strive to undertake and support more humanitarian projects in the Philippines, like what we are doing now - extending financial support for the education of school children from the very poor and needy families of Barangay Luna, Ormoc City, Philippines. Based on available records, more than 150 school children benefitted from the more than half a million pesos remitted by the Bonn Chapter since 2006 up to present to an education center in Ormoc City.
I: Finally, could you please share us your vision for the LFR? What do you want to achieve?
LHL: As much as possible, it is my desire that the Ladies for Rizal and Knights of Rizal Bonn Chapter shall be able to achieve most, if not all, of the goals and objectives of the organization as stated in its constitution and By laws. It is also my intention that by sponsoring and supporting urgent charitable projects, the Bonn Chapter shall make a difference, even though in a small way, to the Philippines.
I: Thank you very much for your time Lady President!
LHL: You're very welcome.