Losses and Gains
Heidi M. Pascual*
Publisher & Editor
* 2006 Journalist of the Year for the State
of Wisconsin (U.S.-SBA)
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In our lives, there will always be losses and gains, big and small. Some are even life-changing that may cause major
decisions which could either be good or bad, depending on outcomes. But just the same, such a change is triggered by
a loss or a gain that is significant enough to move us. What is important is to make the best of the now and consider it a
I lost my father when I was 11 years old. He didn't die but he left our family for another woman. Since then, my mother
had to bring up five children single-handedly. Being the oldest, I had to grow up fast. Poverty and its ugly head became
normal as it is in most families like us. We struggled and fought for our lives. I lost my father, but I gained the strength to
move forward and reach for the stars. I worked extremely hard and lost my youth in the process, but I gained an
education that helped me take the first step toward a successful career.
I lost my mother when she went away to work for her children. I didn't see her for 19 long years, but I gained the privilege
to join her (and my four siblings) in her new world, the United States of America, the land of dreams. I lost her
completely when she passed on eight years ago; but I gained the wonderful memories she left behind and the gift of
music from her genes.
It's not only in the personal realm that I experienced painful losses. I've had my share of losing a job that I love most. But
I bounced back and gained another that allowed me to be my own boss. Asian Wisconzine magazine challenged all my
abilities and knowledge in journalism and computer use. It actually made me a better writer, editor, organizer, and of
course, a better person. I have met a lot of diverse people that I wouldn't have met in my lifetime had I remaineda
salaried employee confined to a four-corner office room. It has been a great journey and I hope to continue doing so for
many more years.
I gained some good friends in Madison, Wisconsin, and it's something that I would cherish for the rest of my life. People
say that true friendship is hard to come by. Yet I found it there. I found a few people who really share my vision for a
community free from prejudices. They helped me find a voice for my people, Asians in America, who'd rather keep quiet
than stir the mainstream flow of things. I'd like to believe that our magazine, in a very small but significant way, made it
happen. I also found my soul mate and best friend in Madison, who's always there for me when I needed a friend most.
Without a family in Madison, I would have been lost in a community that isn't as diverse and liberal as all thought it was.
On a larger scale, as a Wisconsinite, I lost some faith in our state government. When my own government decided to
kill unionism among state employees in order to cut spending, the burden fell on the little people. They can no longer
bargain collectively for benefits they used to receive. They would have to pay more for their pension programs and
health care. Less money would be shared by schools and nonprofits involved in after-school programs. I wonder what
quality of education Wisconsin would have with less financial support. Less money would be available for services to
the poor -- sometimes the only lifeline of these less fortunate brethren of ours. The poor will be poorer; and the rich,
richer, considering the big tax breaks our legislators give them. And, with the new redistricting of the state of Wisconsin,
who do you think will benefit politically from it?
But I gained faith in the masses of Wisconsinites continuing their non-violent fight against the present power since
early this year. They are relentless in their effort to show the world they care for justice and freedom. Their marches and
demonstrations have attracted national figures like the Rev. Jesse Jackson. They have put Wisconsin on the world map
of freedom seekers and voices for justice.
I am proud to be a Wisconsinite and proud to join these voices.