Pennies Envy

For some, money is a great motivator. (This picture, taken from, is not originally in my editorial.)

(This is my last “From the Editor” piece in PLDT ACC:ESS magazine. I think it’s a fitting farewell after my nine-year stint in PLDT. Instead of writing about my memorable experiences in PLDT and thereby put you to sleep, I decided to stick to our theme, which is motivation. So I hope you get motivated somehow. Anyway, to my three loyal readers, including my wife, don’t worry. I’ll still be writing here. Happy reading.)

Some people are envious of other people’s pennies, or money, that is. That’s what motivates them. While Sigmund Freud has a theory of envy involving a certain body part, the rest of us are envious of or motivated by many different things.

One of my favorite accounts of motivation is a scene from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. Some of you may have forgotten about it, whereas some may not have had the chance to read the book.

Anyway, here is that particular scene.

Tom Sawyer’s aunt asked him to whitewash a fence. It was 30 yards of board fence nine feet high. The task seemed to be as interesting as brushing your teeth.

As Tom was working, a boy named Ben Rogers sauntered by, ready to ridicule.

Excerpt from the version from iBooks:

“Hello, old  chap, you got to work, hey?”

Tom wheeled suddenly and said: “Why, it’s you, Ben! I warn’t noticing.”

“Say – I’m going in a-swimming, I am. Don’t you wish you could? But of course you’d druther WORK – wouldn’t you? Course you would!”

“What do you call work?”

“Why, ain’t THAT work?”

Tom resumed his whitewashing, and answered carelessly:

“Well,  maybe it is, and maybe it ain’t. All I know is it suits Tom Sawyer.”

“Oh come, now,  you don’t mean to let on that you LIKE it?”

The brush continued to move.

“Like it? Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”

That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling at his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back  and forth – stepped back to note the effect – added a touch here and there – criticized the effect again – Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said:

“Say, Tom, let ME whitewash a little.”

Tom considered, was about to consent, but he altered his mind:

“No – no – I reckon it wouldn’t hardly do, Ben. You see, Aunt Polly’s awful particular about this fence – right here on the street, you know – but if it was the back fence I wouldn’t mind and SHE wouldn’t. Yes, she’s awful particular about this fence; it’s got to be done very cafeful; I reckon there ain’t one boy in a thousand, maybe two thousand, that can do it the way it’s got to be done.”

Soon Ben gave his apple to Tom just so he can whitewash the fence. Other boys traded a kite, marbles, a glass stopper of a decanter, a tin solider, and other gimcracks just to be given the chance to whitewash the fence.

Motivation can be strange indeed. We all have different triggers. And this “From the Editor” piece is my trigger for saying goodbye. I’m moving on to a PLDT affiliate company. I do have a lot of people to thank.

Mr. Manny Pangilinan, Mr. Butch Jimenez, Mr. Mon Isberto, and Mr. Horace Lavides have taught me valuable lessons in my nine-year stay in PLDT. Of course, I’m forever indebted to my colleagues in PLDT Media and other friends: Jun Sambalilo, Sennen Lacsamana, Annie Salazar, Olive Barrozo, Adrian Elumba, Raymond Co, Rochelle Hilario, Paeng Kalaw, Dan Mortalla, Jay Garcia, Jude Galford, Arnel Samson, Wang Salonga, Jenny Salonga, Maricar Cabador, Leng Casas, Ma’am Evelyn del Rosario, Alice Tuazon, Annie Ferrer. I’ve risked not mentioning other names but please know that I’m grateful.

And you, my readers, at least most of you, have been kind and supportive. Thanks a lot.

Let’s hope we find an eternal fount of motivation that will guide us each day, and prevent us from envying other people’s pennies.


Anthony O. Alcantara

P.S. If you miss me, you can check my blog and say hi.



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