Sir Thirlwall – more ‘Filipino’ than many Filipinos

Sir Zane Martin Thirwall and his wife, Glynda T. Javier.

A local television network and social media reported recently about a small jar containing fragments of the brain of National Hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal discovered by historian Prof. Ambeth Ocampo.

    This generated curiosity, as did the fact that Rizal wrote a third novel, “Makamisa”, although he did not finish it.

    Although many Filipinos did not care about the professor’s discovery probably because they were worrying about what they considered more important, such as making a living, there were many who were intrigued because a foreigner, a Briton, showed more curiosity about Rizal than Filipinos.

    Sir Zane Martin Thirlwall is the executive director of the Technical Fabrication & Construction Company in Al Khobar. The company has business interests in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

    Sir Thirwall, an electrical engineer, studied at Longlands Technical College Middlesbrough Cleveland, England.

    On the occasion of the 162nd birth anniversary of Rizal on June 19, he sent a text message that read, “Happy Birthday Dr. Rizal. Well-deserved celebration around the world to make the 162nd. NOM!”

   NOM is for Nom omnis moriar or “Not all of me will die”.

    In an event where Sir Thirwall was the guest speaker, he was introduced as an “ardent Rizalist… Illustrious Regional Commander of the Knights of Rizal, Middle East and Africa Region (MEAR)”.

    Some time back, he flew 7,410 kilometers from Dammam’s King Fahd International Airport to attend a meeting of Knights of Rizal (KOR) officers and members at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

    With his appreciation for the National Hero, he seems to be a true-blood Filipino. He is civic-minded, patriotic and avid supporter of the Filipino community in Al Khobar.

    He was the first foreign national appointed by a Philippine ambassador as a board member of the largest Filipino community school in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia, the International Philippine School in Al Khobar (IPSA).

    He was also a founding member of the Eastern Province Taekwondo Union, an affiliate member of the Philippine Olympic Committee which develops all nationals in taekwondo.

    The Knights of Rizal (KOR) is the only organization mandated by Philippine law under Republic Act 646 to propagate information on Rizal’s life and teachings.

    Sir Thirwall holds the rank of 5th degree, Knight Grand Cross of Rizal (KGCR), and has been the Regional Commander for the Middle East and Africa Region since March 2012.

    He is a caring and loving husband and father and active in supporting community organization’s activities in sports, music, drama and fashion. He is also an advocate of supporting and enhancing children’s education in the Middle East and Africa Region and in the Philippines.

    “I have been at the forefront of the MEAR Rizal Academics, Talent and Skills Competition since it started in 2004,” he said.

    “We have completed 16 contests, each lasting three days. We have eight to 16 schools competing against each other in the Middle East,” he added.

    It goes without saying that Sir Thirwall has had a checkered career. He has received a Doctorate in Humanities degree (honoris causa).

   There is a reason for his success. As the saying goes, behind a man’s success is a woman.

    That woman is a Filipino, Glynda T. Javier of Ibaan, Batangas. Sir Thirwall met her at the Saudi Aramco in Dhahran where she was working as a nurse.

   They had been blessed with two children, now grown-ups— Zena Maria and Giancarlo.

    Before she headed west to Saudi Arabia to work at the Saudi Aramco, Glynda was working at the Mary Chiles Hospital in Sampaloc, Manila. But she earned her degree from the Southwestern University in Cebu. Her father, who passed away on April 10, 2021, was working in Davao where his brother had migrated and found a job for him.

    On her way to Davao to see her father, Glynda made a stopover in Cebu, which led to her enrollment at Southwestern University.

   Glynda has five siblings. Two sisters and a brother are in Ibaan, one brother is in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and another is in the United States. Their mother followed her husband to the Great Beyond on May 19, 2023.

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