Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Magkabilang Mukha" Poster

"Magkabilang Mukha" Poster, originally uploaded by Spocker.

Next weekend (our weekend of Thursday and Friday) we will be doing "Magkabilang Mukha ng Hustisya" at the International Philippine School in Al-Khobar.

While it is true I am less pumped up about this play than I should be, I am no less proud about the effort put in by the creative team, particularly the young workshoppers who have remained committed to the project since late in March this year.

Kudos in advance!

It's Not the Ball and Chain, But Still ...

So here's the picture of me taking my oath as President of our organization as captured in this post. I wanted to laugh out loud but there was a little whispering voice that said, "It's the ball and chain, matey!"

No, it isn't. But still...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Deathbed Friday Five

I picked this out, from the Friday Five website, which I haven't visited in a while.

I'm posting using the August 24, 2007 set:

Imagine you are on your deathbed.

Recommend to those who remain in your life...

1) One book to read.

The Godfather by Mario Puzo. The rest of my favorites are in series, so it's hard to qualify as "one." A cool read, and at times, could even be as philosophical - as per this quote.

2) One movie to watch.

"Alyas Batman at Robin" featuring Joey de Leon, Keempee de Leon, Rene Requiestas, Dawn Zulueta, and Panchito. No matter how low you go, there is only one place to go: up. And if you love campy movies that really make no sense, it will make your day.

3) One food to eat.

All of it! But seriously, if I'll pick one, I'll pick sinigang na baboy (pork) sa santol. Then back it up with oyster stew.

4) One place to go.

Can't say for sure because I haven't seen all that I wanted to see. But for now, it's Bali, Indonesia.

5) One life lesson to leave behind.

"Whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well."

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sweltering Sentiments

Last night the induction ceremony for our officers finally pushed through after some amount of delay (i.e. the school break for Filipinos, my prolonged vacation right after that). I would be the fourth President of our volunteer organization, and the first to be working on a two-year tenure. Whoo-wee, whoppee-do-do, there's another sight for you: me riding the boss chair! Oh, please don't misunderstand, I don't mean to say I don't like it, but looking at me in the boss chair does look rather funny. I pulled out the old barong we had commissioned when my sister got married last year, and I was rather glad I had reached peak dimensions last year because my current weight status is just as bad, only I'm less healthy now.

It was one sweltering afternoon --- and the "feel good" quotient of the event, at least, helped perk up the mood of many of my fellow Core Group members.

Being in SPA-TDG, until this time, remains one of the biggest privileges in my life. The first question that came to me after I was elected was “How can I continue to inspire the people who until now continue to inspire me? “What can I say that they haven’t heard before?”

I thought about what makes us special, and let me tell you: it is our being ordinary, our being common OFWs that make us all the more extraordinary. We are certainly not geniuses in the sense that Mozart was a genius, Einstein is a genius, Bill Gates is considered a genius.

That we are ordinary makes us capable of valuing the inner genius that is within all our children. I was just speaking with Jun Urbano, our Voice Clinic facilitator recently and he told me about how proud he is of the progress made by some of his students. One student (whom I will not name) was literally crying because she had lost the confidence that she would make any progress as a singer.

Then Jun made a deal with her and her mom that if she didn’t improve after a few weeks, they would call off the lessons. And after those few weeks, she was able to get over her fears and with Jun’s guidance, was able to express herself fully through singing.

The lesson that I have learned is that we can always do something to make ourselves better. We should never let our age, nor our habits, stand in the way of being learners.

Looking back and looking forward, I would like to challenge each one of my fellows to define, and then live out, their personal vision for SPA-TDG. Not only to show up, because I would like to see more of them more often, but to make it worthwhile. During activities, I try to listen. I try to laugh. I try to see through differing points of view. I hope, and I would like to believe, that I work hard on being a good friend to everyone. For in the end, our work here – in terms of how many productions we have completed, how many students graduate, are just numbers.

What’s important --- what really counts, is what each of us carries away from what we are doing. I pray that all of us will treasure what our friendship has built over the past three or so years we have been together. This group started out as a group of parents who had a common vision. In time, we had become friends, and though there have been many instances where these friendships have been tested through our work, we are still here.

Of course, I never stop thinking about the children. It was these children, and still are these children, that provide the impetus for us to keep doing what we have been doing. Almost all of our members had to struggle through life to fight for each inch of enjoyment we enjoy now. While we live our personal dreams here and now, I'm looking toward making the future of the kids better --- if only for the OPPORTUNITIES they enjoy now that we never had.

I still have loads of people to thank, but I think I should do more and say less. They have paved the way, all I have to do is to keep on going and along the way, just screw up as few times as possible.

* * * * *

Inviting the OFW Storm

There has been a lot of comment about this issue about Malu Fernandez deriding OFWs, some informed, some just outright mean, some outrageously funny. I picked out a random post which presents a more or less balanced view.

I have had some time to digest many of the posts in the blogsphere and what many people miss is that it wasn’t the writer’s fault her personal opinions on the issue, or even her own defense, were printed. It was the fault of her editors. I don’t know the branding of the People Asia magazine (as I’m not into glossy magazines – except for the obvious one like FHM, natch), but for Ms. Fernandez’s magazine editors to allow this potentially sensitive issue to blow up in their faces is downright irresponsible journalism. For the Manila Standard to have a brain fart over Ms. Fernandez is just as egregiously stupid. Ah, but that’s Filipino journalism for you, congratulations.

On my part, I found the original article cloying, pretentious, and vapid. It offered nothing instructive for the random traveler. It was more of a travelogue of another social-climbing dilettante – is that all that’s fit to print nowadays? Or are Ms. Fernandez’s friends so well-heeled they could support circulation of obscure magazines?

Really now - so what the f*ck do I care about your travel habits? It would have paid if you had something to tell about the Parthenon or your insights into Greek people, which I’m sure you would have botched hideously just as you have managed to deride your own kabayans. While we Filipinos find some solace in self-deprecation, there are limits to pushing our collective psychological buttons. And her defense was --- well, in the first article she dug her own grave; after she finished writing the second, we were ready to bury her alive in it. Her most recent statement (read this to find out) was, finally, the proper response. Too bad she could have saved herself the public savaging she received for being insouciant, even defiant.

Ms. Fernandez is right about one thing though – traveling with kabayans anywhere is an exercise in frustration. But this is true about Filipinos everywhere --- too much of us in one place at one time can be downright annoying. That’s one of the reasons for traveling --- to soak up your anonymity and to celebrate your uniqueness. No one needs to be reminded about why you left the Philippines in the first place.

However, in her efforts to be flippant or clever (I don’t know which) she just managed to turn her travelogue into a display of her arrant shallowness and worse, bigotry. Sure, she may be great for a few laughs around her so-called well-heeled friends. She can keep them, and they her . As for the conditions in economy class, I would have taken her words and twist them around for her --- if it’s that hard for you to take, you should have gone in First or better yet, don’t even bother going.

A side note to this whole affair was this reality check in the bus this morning (a bit hilarious and insensitive in some way but should drive home the point). If Ms. Fernandez was only aware of the many sacrifices OFWs undergo to sustain the economic conditions that support the lifestyle she and her cronies enjoy, she wouldn’t have written her snide comments at all. At least Axe and Charlie, while repulsive to her pretentious “patrician” nose, are infinitely better than the smells associated with other nationals. So I don’t want to be racist here, but South Asians have hygiene and culinary habits so different from those of the Filipinos they might as well live on another planet.

In short, mababantot sila. As in, uh, well, napaka. Our favorite busmate is nicknamed “Masala Boy” but since we wanted to remain speaking in code, we referred to him as “The Sarciado Kid.” I have nothing against chicken masala (a practical recipe, and to be fair, here’s one for sarciado as well), I sometimes binge on this kind of food (when my health allows me), but here’s the thing: I don’t want its smell on a person as the first thing to greet me on my workday. The man’s aroma filled our van from anywhere he sat. And that’s saying something, since we had another fellow passenger who was our previous favorite when referring to unpleasant smells.

Today, our normal seating arrangements changed because one of our Pinoy colleagues missed work, so I was all alone in the fourth row, with two places available beside me. We were about to pick up another Pinoy (who normally sat beside me) but apparently his alarm clock didn’t work (or most likely, he was just too darned lazy to get up), so we left him behind. Sarciado Kid was our next pick-up so it was guaranteed he would sit beside me as the other three rows had only one place vacant and there were others yet to look for seats.

Oh no, tatabi siya sa akin! Huwag po tiyong, huwag po! Ayan na, ayan na . . . AYYYAAANNNN NAAAA!!!! Umupo na po … how do I handle this correctly? Let me see, a-ha, kanta ba o tulog? Mmm… matutulog! Matutulog na lang ako! So I pretended to be half-asleep, as most of us were, though normally I like having conversations on the morning drive. Please take note that I have been to garbage dumps, have cleaned poop of adults and kids (as well as those of pets) have been around decaying corpses (a story for another day), and the like. This is just to qualify my saying that the sleep mode to ignore the inevitable wasn’t enough to do the job.

Nanunuot ang amoy niya, ang grabe! Kapit siguro hanggang kuko! NOOOOO!!!!! I was just glad I was on the end of our van where the air conditioning was stronger. The direct blast of air from the vent offered that enough amount of relief. Otherwise I don’t think I would have survived. I started out by feigning sleep --- just to make it through I actually managed to fall asleep. Hmm... or maybe the man managed to knock me out. One thing I could say as the last guy to step off the bus this morning was: Ang galing mo men!

So see, let’s be glad that fellow Pinoys try their darndest best to smell better than they normally do --- at least, as a people we have that concern over how our “public smell” affects others. And yes, at times being around our own people becomes a tedious chore in itself, but it’s just like doing the laundry to get fresh clothes --- there may be some unpleasantness in the act itself, but the end result almost always provides the most intense satisfaction (note: I have gotten addicted to the fabric softener smell - Downy is the best, in my opinion. So if a girl wants to attract me, well, you know. So now there's an idea for you.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sports Stops, or What Comes to an Empty Mind

I love talking about sports, but I hardly chime in with my own personal opinion on this space. Maybe it's because there's a lot of trash and speculation out there, and what's more, one is likely to get his eyes gouged out over a sports opinion than over one's politics.

If you don't believe this, try any random football (and for you Americans, it's soccer) match and spout vitriol in your section when the home fans are celebrating a goal.

So now the Celts, one of my favorite all-time sports franchises (though they really s*cked the past few years), added Kevin Garnett, did a 180 on the youth movement and have a totally gutted roster. Oh yeah, they added Eddie House, a career 41% shooter with a shoot-first-ask-questions-later game, and Scot Pollard, a center who averaged less than 5 minutes per game last season, and whose claim to fame was screaming "Hey kids, do drugs!" on national TV. NIIIICCCEEE. And please, don't tarnish Reggie Miller's legacy by bringing him out of retirement.

I'm intrigued, of course, and while I feel good about the C's it's still a toss-up if any of their new power trio falls to injury.

Shaq gets Penny back, even for what is essentially a try-out until January, the Cavs have done squat, and Kobe is still steaming for major help. Eddie Jones joins the Mavs and Chris Webber is contemplating on joining him. The Warriors have given Richardson away for an unproven draft pick, and two black holes with no D (Randolph and Curry) are paired in New York.

Lots of talk on these stories --- I'm looking forward to the season.

BTW, referees do fix games, so this whole Refgate in the NBA is just par for the course. Yes, it cheapens the game, but one can never divorce gambling from sports. He was just too stupid, or too greedy, or both, to get caught.

So the Philippines ends up with a 9th-place consolation at the FIBA Asia Tournament. Time to face reality, folks. We do have good individual players, but with the way the team is constructed, we don't have enough juice to beat better-prepared foes.

Recruiting should start at the high school ranks (junior and senior year), and training should start from then. We should also dispense with the PBL as a junior league for college kids and instead subject the whole collegiate level to deeper competition and higher stakes. Make the whole thing national. With national exposure and TV coverage, it would make sense for a young player to stick with his regional school rather than go to Manila for a crack at the big time. Sure, it may weaken the big school programs, but anyhow, I don't believe for one second that the UAAP and NCAA leagues are amateur at this point - athletes are just recruited like hired guns to puff up the pride of the alumni.

Let the PBL be a junior league for the PBA discards and retreads, and --- if they can pull it off --- it should serve for a regional recruiting base for talent not scooped up by the schools. Start with 24 signees from the amateur/college ranks and about 12 players from the pro ranks. The pros should be released by their clubs and should play full-time for the program. The "A" squad plays in the PBA while the "B" development team plays in the PBL, and occasionally, against the college teams. The "C" squad (the youngest) plays full-time against university-level teams to hone their skills. International exposure is a must. Teams sent to international play are interchangeable, and only the best combination should be sent to tournaments that have significance for Olympic or World Championship competitions.

Commitment for the young players is for four years while the pros are for two years. The pros need a shorter time frame so they can still work on their careers. The young ones should receive some academic instruction as well, mainly to prepare them how to spend money, manage themselves in front of the media, and most of all, to give them the mental capacity to appreciate the nuances of the game. Sorry, the skillz are not enough to get you over the hump. One can have all the talent, but without focus it means nothing. The student-players get credits in general studies, and in the event one gets cut from the team, he will certainly have a flock of suitors for his services. He can then play out the rest of his college-eligible years.

The TV ratings would work incredibly well --- international teams can come over for exhibition matches, and maybe the Philippines can host an international-level tournament in between PBA conferences. Plus, all the sponsors can come out in full force for the team.

But this is all-so-simple, which is why the head honchos never latch on to it.

Meantime, today is the anniversary of SHARE, so happy anniversary guys!

Speaking of some sports stories --- during the Renascence period of SHARE (1992-95) we had some pick-up games with the graduating peer counselors of LSGH and got our asses kicked. Chuck Encarnacion had an unconventional jumpshot, but that dude was unconscious from 12 to 15 feet. Mon Barredo had some skills but his ballhogging doomed us as he got into a shooting contest. Jacky Plana led the PCs and killed us in the paint - it would have been great to imagine had Jacky gotten two or three inches taller, he would have had enough elevation and handle to dunk... It was sort of funny to remember my trying to elbow my way in there, though the younger guys were a bit unsettled that I had some vet moves in boxing them out for rebounds or going for loose balls.

Then there was this game in La Salle Lipa ... Gerard and Feds were matched up against Robert and me in some friendly competition. The game was getting more intense when I dove for a loose ball and went out of bounds of the concrete court. The ground was wet, and the grass even made it more slippery. I slipped all the way on my bottom and jammed my left knee underneath a concrete bench. For my valiant effort, I received a gash across the knee, not to mention scrapes everywhere.

The cut looked worse than it felt, but I think I managed to bleed all the way while the guys semi-dragged me to the College clinic. My friends ribbed me all the way, and even the nurse couldn't decide whether to be angry or to break out in laughter.

Looking back, it set the tone for a really bad weekend, at least for me (one of those really bad weekends - I manage to remember them because I had so few). Oh, well. I talk a bigger game than play it, anyway.

Music trip: I'm into some classic rock right now, and stumbled across some old hits from the Rolling Stones. It's totally inappropriate, but the tune is catchy, and while the overt message may seem wrong, it is spot-on on the inner motivations of people and manages to reach a scathing commentary on modern society.

I remember Jay Pascual popping in his "Interview with the Vampire" CD (a good selection among the rest in his ginormous collection --- even back in the day when cassettes were still holding off their coming obsolescence) with the cover version of this song by Guns 'N Roses. He let it rip during one of those rare times we were together for a speed trip. It did seem that he was channeling his inner Brad Pitt during the drive.

At least we didn't NEARLY fall off a highway construction like we did during the time Jay, Des, and I did a trial of the partially completed C-5 highway. We sped on one of the incomplete northbound interchanges (instead of taking the safe service route, naturally) and were surprised to see a mountain of earth instead of clear road. Jay braked hard and we spun oh, I don't know, maybe 540 degrees.

The adrenaline rush was exciting, but I would exchange that for living, because the fall would have ended our lives right there and then.

Maybe we would have, and perhaps I'd be blogging from some place down south, if you get my meaning.

Back to the song ... the original is a lot cooler, and though Axl Rose in his prime could pull off more vocal acrobatics than Mick Jagger, and Slash could let 'em rip like Keith Richards, the G 'N R boys could not have matched the coolness of their seniors. Well, after all, after 45 years, the Stones are still rocking (and they are not).

(M. Jagger/K. Richards) (The Rolling Stones)

Please allow me to introduce myself -
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man's soul and faith
And I was 'round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain
I rode a tank
Held a general's rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, what's puzzling you

Is the nature of my game, oh yeah

I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made
I shouted out,
"Who killed the Kennedys?"
When after all
It was you and me

Let me please introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached Bombay

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what's confusing you
Is just the nature of my game

Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
'Cause I'm in need of some restraint

So if you meet me - have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I'll lay your soul to waste, um yeah

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, um yeah
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, um mean it, get down

Woo, hooh - Oh yeah, get on down
Oh yeah
Oh yeah!
Tell me baby, what's my name
Tell me honey, can ya guess my name
Tell me baby, what's my name
I tell you one time, you're to blame

Ooo, hooh
Ooo, hooh
What's my name
Tell me, baby, what's my name
Tell me, sweetie, what's my name?
Ooo, hooh
Ooo, hooh

Oh, yeah

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Rescued from the Trunk...

I just had to post this, for old times' sake. Back in the day, doing lectures for the SHARE guys was an exercise in pompousness - I can't believe I originated most of the statements here. But then again, we did take the process seriously, or at least that was our verbalized intention. Those were the days I was the resident factotum of the organization - doing the write-ups, etc. etc. so stating the obvious was just par for the course.

(Small voice: You had no life then, Chief. Um, oh yeah, you still have no life now.)

And yes, of course, I miss SHARE. It's celebrating it's 25th anniversary on the 15th.

Glad to have been part of it. Still hope it was around...

And on to the lecture:


A. Interviewing Purpose

The purpose of any interview is to get as much information as possible from the subject in relation to one's need. This is why there are job interviews, news interviews for coverage and for features, interviews for surveys. The bottom line of each interview, then, is information. No matter what kind of impression the interviewer may have of the applicant, if there is no supporting information, then the interview is insufficient.

B. Interviewing Personnel

The personnel involved in interviews really depends on the balance of people who need to draw the information from the subject, the nature of the decision to be made on the matter, and the actual number of people available for, and capable of, administering the interview.

In SHARE, the normal procedure is to have three people per applicant. This makes sure that there are several views available of the interviewee and at the same time, there will be no deadlocks should the interviewers disagree. This also removes the need for another interview and deliberation follows after the interview. However, in the absence of people available to interview, the two-member approach is preferred. Interviews done by one person are subject to debate, no matter how the rest of the organization trusts the judgment of the said interviewer.

C. Preparations Prior to the Interview

The interviewers must understand the kind of standard to be used in the interviews. In this manner the interviewers may place additional emphasis on particular matters, such as communication skills, time, etc. This would also affect the duration of each interview.

The panel must also have a set-up as to who will be in charge of the interview and be responsible for keeping it organized. The rest of the panel will be there to support the main interviewer's goals. The interviewers must also agree on their roles, i.e., who will draw out, who will throw the main question, etc.

It will also be helpful that prior to the interview, the interviewers would have already reviewed the applicant's application form. This will be vital in drawing up the interview approach and will also give the panel ideas on what questions to ask.

The panel must also be prepared to take down notes. This will assist other SHARE members during deliberation in evaluating the participant. These notes will also serve as reminders to the interviewers of their impressions of the applicant. Each interviewer must take note of his/her impressions immediately, even if they don't come out as organized as one would like it to be. While the panel may assign someone to be secretary, each interviewer must still take down notes.

C. Interview Approach

When interviewing an applicant for SHARE, there are no axioms or fixed formulas involved in the procedure. The interview may choose any approach; i.e. being poker-faced and strict, being friendly and accommodating, being terse and distant, etc. Take note, however, that one's approach constitutes about 50% of the effectiveness of the interview. The applicant must appreciate the importance of being at one's best during the interview, and at the same time, be as open and sincere as possible. It is the main interviewer's responsibility to create this kind of atmosphere. He/she must discuss this with the rest of the interviewing panel.

D. Interview Format

The interview may be divided into two parts. The first is information gathering, where the entirety of the applicant's pertinent information is reviewed. The application form's format is already covers a lot of the information needed for the interview. All the panel has to do is explore such information. This will then lead to validation, which covers going in-depth into the answers of the applicant. The interviewer is advised to exercise his/her critical thinking/analysis of the answers and how they relate to one another and to the whole of the impression that the applicant is making. One may be wrong, which is why it is important to write down both what the applicant is saying and what is one's impression of the applicant. These are two different things. While the deliberating panel will respect the interviewers' impressions, being there on the scene, there must be proof of these impressions.

E. Some Guides for Deliberation

These are some of the guides/important things to take note of:

1. Interest

1.1. The applicant must have interest in the organization, either through this application or through previous associations with other organizations. The primary related fields the interviewer should look through are the following :
1.1.1. facilitating in seminars
1.1.2. counseling/self-help
1.1.3. teaching/tutoring
1.1.4. outreach/community development
1.1.5. religious groups

1.2. Involvement in performing (singing, acting, etc.) groups is also positive, but is not a primary consideration. We must see the participant in the short-term, because a long-term involvement is not dictated by any forces but that of the individual's interest.

1.3. An applicant with no experience whatsoever but has the sufficient interest and willingness to invest in S.H.A.R.E. is also very welcome. In fact, these applicants are more welcome than those who have prior experience and were referred to us but don't really have the necessary interest in the organization.

2. Time

2.1. Gets there on time for the interview. This is a good starting point to see how the participant is taking the interview seriously. At least he/she has managed the time well enough to be there for something important.

2.2. Has time to devote to the organization. The ideal would follow this situation: is not a major officer in another organization, no pressing academic or professional requirements, no major commitment to be with the family on weekends, no major relationships/commitments. The ideal of course has exceptions; the balance must weigh out in favor of participation in S.H.A.R.E. While we must respect an individual's credentials with other organizations, it is with S.H.A.R.E. that we should see these credentials validated. A non-participating skilled member will be negative in the short-term and may not mature in the long-term.

2.3. Knows how to manage time well. This is where we see how the individual manages his/her time among all the many commitments he/she may have. What is a good measure? See how much the individual gets time off to attend to hobbies and other pursuits. If the applicant is interested enough, S.H.A.R.E. can squeeze into this free time.

3. Willingness to be trained. The applicant must have the willingness to have another point of view presented to him/her. This especially applies to those who have received training in our kind of work (i.e. from the LSGH Peer Counseling Organization) or have a different frame of reference that we have (those who come mainly from non-Lasallian schools). The applicant must have the kind of openness to the training method, meaning he/she can maintain attentiveness throughout a set of lectures, and also be willing to undergo structured experiences.

4. Communication skills. The applicant must have the capacity for self-expression.

4.1. He/she must be capable of verbalizing his/her ideas and feelings; if necessary, to carry on and gets his or her message across. Fluency in English is a plus, but not a prerequisite, since we also conduct our activities in Filipino. Fluency in both languages is ideal. Academic excellence is not an automatic precursor of verbal skills.

4.2. The applicant must also know how to listen. Though listening skills will be part of our training program, the applicant must also evince these skills. At least we wouldn't have the problem of maintaining the applicant's attention during the training. Listening skills also enhance the applicant's ability as a facilitator and most especially as a counselor.

4.3. Third, it would also be advantageous for the applicant (and for S.H.A.R.E.) to have writing skills. This is an asset since we need creative minds in developing our programs. Other artistic skills are also a plus.

5. Stability in personal and family relationships. The applicant must have a considerable amount of stability; meaning he or she must enjoy healthy heterosexual relationships, and have a stable circle of friends.

5.1. Though the presence of a fixed peer group (barkada) is not necessary, it can help in the applicant's emotional maturity. This, however, may result in a set of conflicts/freedom of identity once the applicant becomes a member. The interviewing panel must be wary of this.

5.2. In family relationships, the applicant must have a healthy relationship with parents and brothers/sisters, because this helps in forming a well-adjusted and integrated personality.

6. Work ethics and etiquette

6.1. Humility. Can work with others, is a team player, knows how to live up to a certain role.
6.2. Professionalism. Can differentiate personal and work issues; adheres to conventions agreed upon; can accept constructive feedback and criticism.
6.3. Service values. Is willing to give of one's time and ability for no reward of personal popularity or material gain. S.H.A.R.E. will not be a group simply to make friends or to have people for leisure activities alone.
6.4. Diligence in preparing written work.
6.5. Can maintain seriousness. Can distance oneself from one's emotions from the work at hand, stays in focus.
6.6. Ability to empathize. Related to service values. The applicant can see it from the other person' side.
6.7. Flexibility. The applicant can adapt to different kinds of people and situations, and if necessary willing to get his/her hands dirty in order to accomplish the job.

Love Denied

One of our Saudi colleagues is crushed by the prospect that he is not allowed to marry the woman he loves because of some arrangement with the tribes. As a non-Saudi, I don't know the mechanics to this whole thing, but I surmise it has to do with the "true" Arabs and "Arabized" peoples. I'm not certain if it has something to do with the Sunni/Shi'a sectarianism, and I'm too embarrassed to ask.

Or, for those who find it easier to put it in fictional terms, it's the Death Eaters opposing a marriage of a pureblood to a Muggle or Muggle-born.

I guess it's the same kind of torment in Indian society when one wants to pursue a "love-match" instead of marrying to secure social and financial respectability.

It's hard to say something about this. On the one hand, love is the single greatest ingredient to a successful marriage. On the other, who's to say that love is necessary to beget a marriage, and perhaps it's the other way around?

Still, if it were possible to rise as if on wings over these hurdles . . . yes, I believe I'd leave my colleague to dream and let that desire for love shape him as a sword through a forge. There is still that voice that whispers, the hope is still there.

(Words and Lyrics by Brian May / QUEEN)

There's no time for us
There's no place for us
What is this thing
That builds our dreams
Yet slips away from us?
Who wants to live forever?

Who wants to live forever . . . . . ? Oh....

There's no chance for us
It's all decided for us
This world has only
One sweet moment
Set aside for us

Who wants to live forever?
Who wants to live forever . . . . . ? Oh....
Who dares to love forever . . .
Oh, when love must die?

But touch my tears with your lips
Touch my world with your fingertips

And we can have forever
And we can love forever
Forever is our today . . .

Who wants to live forever?
Who wants to live forever?
Forever is our today . . .

Who waits forever anyway?

Postscript: When the first "Highlander" was released, I was 13 or so. I saw it on the big screen - I'm not sure if I watched it first with my parents or if my brother and I snuck away to watch it by ourselves, even though it was an R-rated film. I remember the song as "Heather's Theme" and until now it captures the bittersweetness of unfulfilled or unrequited love.

Now, time to decapitate a few people . . .