A quotation from the dollar man

By Herbert Vego

LUCKY ME. A vacationing friend from New York City has just gifted me with a US $100 bill. But it made me wonder why the portrait of Benjamin Franklin has stuck on the obverse of the bill –since 1914, according to Google. Since he was never President, it’s probably to remind the Americans that he was the principal author of the famous “Declaration of American Independence” from British rule in 1776.

By then, Ben Franklin had made himself famous as a printer, newspaperman, inventor of lightning rod, book author and United States ambassador to France.

Having read his biography, I cherish one of the many quotations attributed to him: “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

As one of the wealthiest Americans in his time, he might not have done what he preached. But Ben Franklin had such a special ability to deal with people that we Filipinos of this generation could learn from him. Thus, I am devoting today’s column to this man whom I first read about in high school.

While still a boy, so his biography goes, Ben Franklin realized that many of his traits and characteristics were harmful to his ambition. Some boys, awed by his family’s good fortune, were uncomfortable because of their notion that he was “aristocratic.”

And so, he vowed to train himself on how to win friends and influence people and eventually wrote about how he did it.

I surmise that Dale Carnegie (1888 – 1956), the American author of the best-selling book “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” learned from him.

Franklin taught that while talent and competence at what he did was of paramount importance, it was often not the difference-maker in terms of success. After all, how many talented people have exploited their talents to the hilt? He noticed that many talented people in his time – such as artists and authors — had been surpassed by their supposedly inferior competitors in terms of public acceptance; they didn’t seem to have a way with potential patrons.

Those frustrated talents, Franklin observed, often grumbled about receiving before giving. It should be the other way around in the beginning, he corrected, if they wanted to gain the attention of a prospect. Happy patrons would not hesitate to prioritize grateful service providers and merchants.

In his “Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and Other Writings”, he wrote about an incident with “a gentleman of fortune and education” who had opposed his appointment as clerk of the General Assembly of the Pennsylvania House. Ben knew that this person could give him trouble later on. And so, he aimed to convert an enemy into a friend. He wrote him:

“Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him expressing my desire of perusing that book and requesting he would do me the favor of lending it to me for a few days.

“He sent it immediately – and I returned it in about a week with another note expressing strongly my sense of the favor. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility. And he ever afterward manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.

“This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says, ‘He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.’ And it shows how much more profitable it is prudently to remove, than to resent, return, and continue inimical proceedings.”

Thanks, Brother Ben, for those words of wisdom on why we’re better off making a friend than keeping an enemy.



BASED on an information from the NGCP-Area Control Center (ACC), “a tripping incident involving Circuit Breaker 11, Circuit Breaker 12, and Circuit Breaker 13 at the Panay Power Corporation” was the root cause of the unscheduled power interruption the other day.

Here’s a Facebook statement from MORE Power, Iloilo City’s distribution utility:

“We would like to clarify that MORE Power’s Line 2, which is connected to Circuit Breaker 22, did not experience a trip. Therefore, MORE Power’s line is clear.

“Currently, we are coordinating with NGCP-ACC as to the root cause of the unscheduled power interruption.

“If you are still experiencing no power in your area, please send us a direct message through MORE Power Iloilo.”

Last Monday at 5:50 p.m. power failed at the Megaworld, Mobile, City Proper and Molo substations.  But this was shortly restored at 6:54 p.m.

Another good news is that MORE Power has consistently lowered its rates in seven straight months. According to Niel V. Parcon, vice president for corporate energy sourcing and regulatory affairs, for the previous month of July, it went down to P11.41/kWh from June’s P11.65/kWh.

He traced the good news to the declining prices of coal and lower generation rates by power pants.