Note from the author, Ike Prudente:
I made-up this story to serve as introduction for students to fractions.
Before founding the MSC Institute of Technology, I was a hog raiser and plant propagator at Brgy. San Miguel, San Pablo City. I had a neighbor who rented out work carabaos. He thought that female carabaos are poor work animals.
“Mahinang humila ang babaeng kalabaw”, he told me. So all his carabaos were males. And he had lots of them. Many were with caretakers who shared the income with him. Whatever savings he had, he used to buy more carabulls.
One day he told me that he feared that when he dies, his three sons will quarrel over his estate. He said: “Ike, lahat sila ay umaasa lang sa akin. Baka mag away-away pa sa partihan ng mana pag ako namatay.” So he prepared a will which he entrusted to me in a sealed envelope, saying “Pareng Ike, bahala ka na ipaalam sa mga anak ko kung papano nila hahatiin ang mamanahin nila sa akin.”
Maybe he had a premonition because shortly after that, he suffered a fatal heart attack. After his interment, I called on his three sons and together we read the contents of his will, which is very short but concise:
“Sa inyong mga anak ko, sa lamesita sa tabi ng kama ko ay may makikita kayong notebook na listahan ng lahat mg mga magaalaga ko ng kalabaw. Tipunin ninyo ang aking mga kalabaw at hatiin ninyo ayon sa aking ipinagbilin. Huwag na huwag lang kayo na magbibili o kakatay ng kahit isa sa mga hayop ko. Isipin nyo lagi na yang mga hayop na yan ang bumuhay sa atin.
“Sa iyo Tomas, dahil marami kang anak iiwan ko sa iyo ang kalahati ng aking mga kalabaw.
“Sa iyo Federico, dahil nag iisa naman ang iyong anak, ipapamana ko sa iyo ang ikatlo nang aking mga hayop.
“At sa iyo naman Horacio, dahil alam kong di ka naman magkakapamilya, ay tama na sa iyo ang ikasiyam na parte ng lahat ng aking mga kalabaw.
“Pinakiusapan ko na si Pareng Ike na pangasiwaan ang partihan ninyo. Paalam at nawa’y pagyamanin ninyo ang aking naiwan sa inyo.”
After reading the will, we all agreed that we will meet again after one week and all will help gather the carabaos so that we can proceed with the partition. On that day, we were all overwhelmed by the number of animals my friend owned. All the sons were very happy when they realized that they are all going to be rich. We counted a total of 179 carabaos!
But then the sons realized almost simultaneously that they cannot execute the will be cause 179 is not divisible by 2, 3 or 9. And they cannot sell or slaughter any carabao. So they asked for my advice.
I told them that because their late father is like a brother to me, I am willing to give them my only carabao. That wil give them a total of 180 carabaos which they can easily divide.
They let the youngest Horacio pick first. He selected the largest 20 which is 1/9 of 180. Then Federico chose his share of 60 heads which is 1/3 of 180. Finally, Tomas counted his share of 90 carabulls which is half of 180. After the sons have taken their rightful share ( 20 + 60 + 90), there were still 10 carabaos left! They were sure they counted their rightful share accurately but why were there 10 left? I quickly calculated that 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/9 = 17/18 not 1.
Then we realized that my friend, although a very good carabao farmer, was not very good in carabao fractions. Then the sons agreed to entrust the remaining carabulls with me:
“Use them to make sure that our children will not be poor in Math.”
I later sold the carabaos, bought several personal computers and established the MSC Computer Training Center.
So if you ask me why we choose the name MSC? To remind us that it came from “Math Sa Carabaos”!
This story is adapted from the 17 camels story which I remember from my 0-year days at the Philippine Science High School