Guys don’t worry. As far as I know, Paul Sargei Azurin is still alive. He’s just really MIA because of his community work in far-flung areas with poor cellphone signal and no internet connection.
Anyway, it was my dear friend & protege Sargei’s birthday two days ago. We tried calling him to greet him a happy birthday but alas, he can’t be reached. Several people have also greeted him on Facebook, no response. Busy-busy ata talaga ang lolo natin.
Tonight, his other two closest co-teachers (Patty and Abe) and I bonded over dinner. Nasali siya sa usapan. And then we can’t stop talking about how much we miss him! Kulang ang summer sa Brain Train Sta. Rosa nang wala si Sargei!
Achtung! Sargei and I
It’s an open secret that Sargei is “my guy”. As in he’s one of my favourites, even if he has had a lot of bloopers. Irvin told me that he noticed I’m often biased for Sargei. I don’t know why, but he has really endeared himself to me. So I was surprised when I learned that Sargei is often misunderstood and people get offended by him.
Tonight, as we remembered and missed Sargei over dinner, we had a run through of his famous lines, guaranteed to offend people who do not really know him.
I was telling Sargei how fond Randy is of ladies who are ladylike and gentle. And then…
Sargei: Eh Ma’am kung mga ladylike at demure pala ang type ni Sir Randy, ba’t n’ya kayo nagustuhan e ganyan kayo?
At ang gusto mong ipahiwatig Sargei ay?…
Sargei was directing a short play. He was inviting me to do a cameo role.
Sargei: Ma’am, sali ka sa play namin. Saglit lang ang rehearsal, promise.
I: Naku Sargei busy kasi ako these days…
Sargei: Ma’am sige na. Kasi lahat ng artista ko puro estudyante. E kelangan namin ng matanda na. E ikaw lang ang kilala kong matanda na.
Boom! Ang galing ng convincing powers, ‘di ba?
We were teasing Sargei because apparently, our driver Dodong scolded him for not being “frefared” (Dodong’s version of “prepared”) when they went to visit a school during the time they were doing the marketing of Brain Train. At that time, Yaya Isay was pregnant (unplanned) with Dodong’s baby.
Irvin: Naku Sargei buti pa si Dodong, “frefared” lagi sa mga byahe ninyo. Ikaw lagi kang hindi “frefared”!
Sargei, rolling his eyes: OK lang. At least hindi naman ako nakabuntis!
Uhm, connection Sargei? Hahahaha!
After some time, Dodong and Sargei met again. Yaya Isay has just given birth to her and Dodong’s child. With a huge grin on his face, Sargei excitedly greeted Dodong…
Sargei: Kuya Dodong!!! Nakita ko na ang anak mo…puro rashes!!!
Yes, ganyan talaga. Wala man lang, “Ang cute!” o “Ang ganda!” Rashes talaga ang binati! Hahahaha!
When we were doing BT@20: Going Neh-shu-nehl, Sargei lived with us in our house. He was roommates then with Irvin (who also used to live with us).
Sargei: Naku Sir Irvs, ubos na pala ang shampoo mo!
Irvin: Ha? Hindi, marami pa ‘yun!
Sargei: Hindi, ubos na talaga! Kelangan mo na bumili nang bago!
Irvin: Pa’no mo nalamang ubos na?
Sargei: E ako ang nakaubos.
Irvin: Grabe ka naman! Libre na board and lodging mo dito tapos tingin mo libre rin toiletries mo?
Sargei: Oo Sir, parang hotel!
Sargei was telling me that one of his new rakets was hosting. He was proudly telling me that he thinks he’s doing a very good job. Since Irvin was also a professional host, I asked him to compare himself to Irvin.
I: Sarge tingin mo, level mo na si Irvin sa hosting?
Sargei: Tingin ko po.
I: Sino sa tingin mo ang mas magaling sa inyo?
Sargei: ‘Yung totoo Ma’am? Tingin ko, ako.
I: O talaga ganun ka na kagaling? Pa’no mo naman nasabi?
Sargei: Eh mas charming ako kesa kay Irvs.
I: Bakit naman?
Sargei: S’yempre po kasi maganda ang built ko e siya mataba siya!
Irvin’s reaction when I told him about this conversation: Isang malakas na halakhak!
Looking back, onga, may pagka-tactless nga ‘ata si Sargei, hehe. But I haven’t been offended by him because it’s either I am tactless myself or because I just know Sargei too well. I think it’s both, actually. But let’s focus on the latter reason.
I am proud to say that I love Sargei because I know and appreciate the real him.
Yes, he may be tactless, but he’s the most honest person I’ve ever known. I love him because of that refreshing honesty that came with the candor many people frown upon.
Other people may also get annoyed by his being overcompetitive. But that competitive spirit of him is truly inspiring! He’s passionate about the things he does, and it’s contagious! Lethargic people around him suddenly do not want to become mediocre anymore.
And even when he’s bragging about his abilities, he’s also the most humble person I know. He commits errors, yes, but he is quick to apologize for any mistake. He does not fabricate any excuses. He would also readily accept a scolding and not bear any grudges. He just moves forward and tries to rectify his mistakes.
Now, it’s getting clear to me why I love Sargei despite and in spite of what other people may think of him: Sargei is one-of-a-kind, and he has a pure heart.
Sarge, kung nasan ka man ngayon, know that we are with you in spirit on your birthday and all the days to come. Don’t ever, ever change, because we love you just the way you are.
Ay wait. I think Randy will love you even more if you wake up earlier than usual.
Happy birthday, Sargei!!! We hope to see you soon. May our virtual hugs keep you warm always!