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From Where We Sit

Not all dreams come true

Anton Ng

When I was four years old, I dreamed of becoming an architect so I can design a house for my mother. As soon as I realized how hopeless the sketches I made looked, that was the end of it. I also dreamed of becoming a rock star; heard my own signing voice and never dared to sing in the showers again. Dreamed of becoming a professional basketball player but I could not even get any respectable playing time in our barangay basketball league. There were many other different careers I aimed for while I was growing up – and being a certified public accountant was definitely not one of them.

Good thing, back in those days, nobody told me that I can be whoever I want to be and that if I put in the work, persevered and devoted my time and energy, I could make my dreams come true. As we go through life, we are constantly reminded of how cruel and unfair the world can be; that in a world where people have different goals to pursue, their quest to reach their dreams may cost you reaching your own. You might have lost your scholarship because somebody else’s unqualified nephew took your spot. How about receiving a failing grade because you did not reciprocate the sexual advances of your professor? How many plans and dreams did the collapse of Enron crush? Imagine being a Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher who dreamed of winning a World Series game but somehow lost because your opponent was cheating.

During the past several weeks, there was a big controversy surrounding MLB. A team from Texas, the Houston Astros, was found to have cheated their way to being declared as the World Series champions in 2017. They cheated with the help of technology to steal pitching signs used by their opponents, the Los Angeles Dodgers, during the championship series.

Coaches, players and even senior officials of the organization were found to have participated, in one way or another, in this scandalous activity. Many sports pundits were pointing at the culture within the organization as the driving force. The win-at-all-cost-and-we-are-smarter-than-everyone-else mentality has led them to believe that they can get away with it, and the everybody-is-cheating-anyway mindset is probably how they justified it to themselves that what they were doing was okay.

These acts of cheating, corruption, nepotism and the likes, have direct and indirect implications to somebody else’s life, and to somebody else’s dream. In the perpetrators’ desire to pursue their own dreams, somebody else’s was destroyed.

This reality should lead us to the conclusion that in this world, dreaming is not enough; having a clear goal is not enough; persevering and never quitting are not enough; hard work, talent, intelligence, skills, time, effort are never guarantees that you will reach your goals; that you will never experience heart breaks; that you will get your desired results; and that you will be rewarded. All these can never guarantee success, but we should still do it anyway. We should still pursue our goals, especially those that help provide for our own needs, our loved ones’, our community’s. Dream of them, persevere, put your effort and time in these pursuits because what else are we supposed to do in this life? At the end of the day, we may or may not achieve what we have set out for ourselves. Somebody, or maybe even our own selves, have done something that prevented us from achieving our goals. Hopefully, knowing this reality would not crush our spirits to continue to pursue the same thing or other things. May we never be too naïve to think that we can achieve anything that our hearts desire and would be devastated when we cannot; nor may we never be pessimistic to even try pursuing anything in this life because “none of it will come true anyway,” for where is the joy in that? May we all have enough courage to pursue our dreams, whatever the results of that journey would be; and may we all have enough resilience and love to go through our failures until we start our next journey once again.

It is now my kids’ turns to have their childhood dreams of what they want to be. Ballerina, fashion designer, model, vlogger, doctor are just some of the careers that, at some point of their very young lives, have been identified as a possible future career. I never promised them anything but my love and support, whether those dreams would become their realities or not.

Anton Ng is a Partner in the Audit and Assurance division of P&A Grant Thornton. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading audit, tax, advisory, and outsourcing firms in the Philippines, with 23 partners and more than 900 staff members. We’d like to hear from you! Tweet us: @PAGrantThornton, like us on Facebook: P&A Grant Thornton, and email your comments to or For more information, visit our website:


As published in The Manila Times, dated 22 January 2020