‘My Loving Heart’

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‘Constant Beating Of My Loving Heart’

Tony Meer surely can speak for himself, which he does very well, thank you, in his autobiography, A Lawyer’s Fate & Faith (2003), in all of 499 big pages. Image is an Epson Stylus CX3700 scan of the front cover of the book jacket, which I cropped. (You may want to see what I said of him, the essay below this one.

Not counting the Introduction, his book has 13 chapters which he calls ‘parts’ – to each his own. The number is to tell us he is not superstitious – in fact he is happy a child was born on the 13th of December 1923, and that that child was born at all. That accident of birth became Tony Meer.

The table of contents of his book:
By Leave Of Court (Introduction)
How Do I Begin? (Part One)
The Jesuit In Me (Part Two)
My War, World War II (Part Three)
Return To Legal Eternity (Part Four)
A Maelstrom Of Memories In The Practice Of Law (Part Five)
The PLDT Story (Part Six)
I Remember (Part Seven)
My Jaycee Days (Part Eight)
Manila Polo Club (Part Nine)
My Marriage Vows (Part Ten)
My Well Of Loneliness (Part Eleven)
My Credos, My Legacy (Part Twelve)
Is There A Life Beyond? The Final Curtain? (Part Thirteen)

Tony Meer is an original; he has a way with words and ideas you can’t copy. So, here are 13 excerpts from his book:

I cannot claim immunity or ask for any clemency because I have no ground to defend myself except the constant beating of my loving heart. I was helpless, a prisoner of my loves. (page 3)

I asked my grand uncle, ‘Lolo, how did you get so rich?’ He answered, ‘Tony, it is all very simple. You only have to think of two things. One, you must learn how to plant. Secondly, you have to learn how to save. That is all you need to succeed in life.’ Obviously, life was so much simpler then. (11)

‘Father, I have made the hard decision that I cannot join you. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.’ He hugged me and said, ‘I am glad for you that you have arrived at that decision. I do not want you to end up as a bad Jesuit.’ My ambitions were dashed to pieces! But life goes on and on. Time has a way of letting you forget the best of your intentions … (36)

Gloria, mi patria adorada, mi ultimo y mi unico amor. My famous last words as an incorrigible and avowed lover of life and country. (51)

We broke into tears, warriors that we honestly imagined ourselves to be. We did not realize that our love, however strong it was, did not have the strength to save us from separation. (65)

There is no discrimination in the fortunes of war. Live or die. That is your only choice. Take your pick! So, inevitably soldiers on both sides are forced to fight each other. War is a horrible curse which man has invented for his own crucifixion. Man’s inhumanity to man. It is endless. We will never learn. (86)

I had a briefing with all the ranks where I told them, ‘I have heard of incidents of insubordination in many commands. Let us understand one another very clearly so that we will not regret any untoward situation arising in this command. My advice to you is, if you ever pull a gun on me, please pull the trigger or else that would be the last thing you are going to do!’ We lived harmoniously thereafter … (98)

I have outlived them. Yerba mala nunca muere! As the Spaniards say – Bad weeds never die! (113)

We confined ourselves to rivalry of various fraternities in the college campuses. It was a friendly contest among University student leaders and we did not allow it to become mere institutional rambles, descending into a rivalry and confrontation among competing thugs. It was in essence, the training ground for life. (123)

Singapore can stand as an example of what can be achieved by people … I salute them even as I feel that my opinion may run counter to them. Such is the essence of Democracy, which they sometimes decry. We can agree to disagree. That is my pride. Let us hope that in our case, we can agree on a common ground. Our disagreement may only exist in the figment of our minds, the Jesuit product that I am. I do not hesitate to admire them. They have the most sterilized city in the world today, bar none. (146-147)

I talked over the telephone to the Chairman of the Deportation Board, Johnny Liwag, and told him, ‘Let us play clean and observe the rules of the game. I happen to know that your office denies our motions and pleadings without first reading (them). (157)

Perhaps it is mere coincidence or a sign that success is only reserved for those who have the courage and the insight to dream and have the ability to make their dreams come true. Who knows? Life is not a repository of all the reasons for how everything has come to be. (183)

I take my hat off to Justice Garchitorena. He is a judicial officer worth his weight in gold! (204)

13 excerpts. Here’s another 13 if you’re not superstitious, if you want to savor the language and follow the many leads of Tony Meer:

The greatest satisfaction does not have to come in the form of a handsome fee. When Judge Barot finally rendered his decision on the case, to our surprise, he had a paragraph in his decision where he publicly acknowledged that in his whole career and experience as a Judge, he had never enjoyed hearing a case where the contending counsels both knew their law, and exchanged swords with the greatest finesse. ¶ Money cannot buy the pleasure Dick and I felt. I thank Judge Edilberto Barot for giving us the honest satisfaction we had that day. The crowning glory of our professional life. (250)

When the interpreter had finished explaining my message to them, they all came to me and embraced me with tears in their eyes. Finally I had broken through their stoic demeanor and delivered my message to the center of their hearts. Duty accomplished. (273)

I rode all over the world, bringing my boots and saddle, wherever I went. (286)

She was everything that mattered to me and was the center of my life, nay the Universe! (294)

If perchance, adversity or loneliness comes her way or mine and unhappiness becomes her lot or mine, may I suggest to her, if it is any comfort, that she or I can try to turn back the clock and remind ourselves of the happy times we shared, undisturbed by the present, which blocks the imagination and the memory of a beautiful and endless love. (307)

I regard love to be a many-splendored thing! Unlike others, to whom it is merely a many-splattered thing. (316)

‘Iris, I am so happy for you. I am losing you to God! How lucky can I be? (325)

… all the escapades of my very active heart! (342)

I am not discounting the fact that I may be a born masochist, who enjoys the torture and punishment of my busy and eternally buzzing mind. (359)

Only a fool does not change his mind. I believe, so I have to understand. And I have to accept the change. (370)

Be that as it may, I believed then, as I believe now, that I am no less a Filipino because I speak in English. Patriotism emanates from the heart and not from the tongue. Language is primarily and essentially a medium of communication. A Filipino can speak in English and defend his country’s interests. He can, with equal ease, speak in Tagalog and betray it. (397)

Hypocrisy of the highest order, when we pay lip service and vow to live up to the ideals and principles which can ameliorate the lives of our people, while sabotaging at the bottom the means to achieve our established goals. (402-403)

Let us learn from the lessons of history. Every time that an attempt is made to divide a nation into two, based on religious grounds, we sow the seeds of perpetual conflict and strife. (413)

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Explore posts in the same categories: A Lawyer's Fate & Faith, betrayal, essence of democracy, famous last words, fraternities, holy vocation, Jesuit, Judge Edilberto Barot, language, learning from history, losing someone you love to God, love, lucky 13, patriotism, success, superstition, Tagalog, the best of intentions, Tony Meer

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