Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No. 400

Just to get over with it.

One would think you would need something important to say to get what you need to say, said.  (Was that clear?  Hmmm.... yes, it is.)  But, as Twitter has proven, you can be as trivial as you can bring yourself to on the Internet.  As some people may have already said elsewhere, the quality of journalizing has gone from "reflecting on recent events and impressing upon oneself or others a lesson" to "posting your thoughts online as quickly as possible" to finally, "I have nothing else to do and I'm doing this to be with the 'In Crowd'!"

I mean, would you really care that I just took a dump on an eastern-style toilet struggling to just keep my waste from spraying all over because I overate at lunch and ate a bad pear?  Would you really care that the front side of my pants (specifically my groin area) is all wet because I was stupid enough not to bring toilet paper to aforementioned toilet?  Or that I had to run in between two toilets because some other people just happened to take a dump/read newspapers/God knows what, like, hey, mastrubate in the other available toilets?

Sure, while people won't generally go that low to Tweet or to post updates on Facebook, sometimes, it just isn't that important.  The readiness of thought becomes more of a commodity than the depth and beauty of it.   While this instant messaging has its own uses, I'm sad that the days of digesting words --- or marveling at the intricacy of well-written sentences --- have simply passed.

The lesson and the challenge then is to weave magic around the most trivial parts of the day and make them magical.   Now that's tough.

What Darker Days May Come...

Statement of the Makati Business Club


The arrest of whistle-blower Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada Jr. and the filing of 16 criminal and civil cases against him and members of his family are blatant acts of harassment with the object of suppressing the truth about the overpricing and bribery that attended the NBN-ZTE deal.

It is highly ironic that while Mr. Lozada's testimony is now being used against him, the persons implicated in his testimony are still immune from prosecution. No less than a Cabinet member, former NEDA director general and now SSS president Romulo Neri, testified under oath that then COMELEC chairman Benjamin Abalos had offered him a bribe in exchange for the facilitation of the approval of the NBN-ZTE contract. And yet, the Ombudsman has yet to file any charges against Mr. Abalos.

The Makati Business Club joins former President Corazon Aquino and the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines in expressing our full support for Mr. Lozada and his fight against corruption. We remain hopeful that despite current setbacks to hold erring officials accountable before the courts of law, there will come a time for these officials to account and for truth to triumph in the end. We call on the Filipino people to remain vigilant against all efforts to use our justice system to intimidate whistle-blowers in order to suppress the truth.

29 April 2009

Copyright 2009 © Makati Business Club - re-posting to spread the word!

Postscript - I was skeptical of Mr. Jun Lozada from the very beginning, because he said little that was different from what was happening.  What has made his journey unimaginable to inspiring to challenging is the crucible of spin doctors, harassment, character assassination, and now criminal charges that the government has arrayed to discredit him.  Hindi na nakuntentong pabayaan dahil eleksyon na next year.  I am so ashamed and dumbfounded people find excuses for the GMA administration because they have been conditioned to distrust everyone else.  Such cynicism is one of the greatest atrocities that our leaders have perpetrated, first with the Estrada administration, then pushed to the limits of decency by the Arroyo administration.  One can only hope that there is some learning or development we can glean from this.  


1. Nagdiriwang siguro ang mga relihiyong nagbabawal sa pagkain ng baboy. Mabuhay ang swine flu! Ibagsak ang mga oink oink!

2. Sadista lang siguro o mga kontra sa Celtics ang natuwa nung ma-injure si Kevin Garnett at di na makakalaro sa playoffs. OTOH, hayuf si Derrick Rose, idol!

3. Ewan ko lang kung proud pa rin ang mga Indiano sa style nila sa election. Sino bang engot ang mag-suggest na lagyan ang mga hinlalato nila ng indelible ink? Sa posing tuloy nakangarat sila. Panalo!

4. Sabihin nating ma-jinx natin si kabayang Manny Pacquiao, pero magkano kaya ang tinaya nina FG, Chavit, etc. at makakaya ba ni Pacman na matupad ang hiling ng mga ugok na sugarol?

5. Set na ang mga timers: kung kailan mahe-headline ang mag-asawang Judy Ann Santos at Ryan Agoncillo dahil sa gulo sa kanilang relasyon.

6. Saan ka makakapanood ng hero movie na papalakpakan mo yung kontrabida (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) ? Idol kita, Liev Schreiber (just stop appearing in crappy remakes like "The Omen"!), panalo ka bilang Sabretooth! Downside - mukhang advance copy with incomplete special effects and canned music ang napanood ko (hehe, wala pa nga sa mga sinehan, eh). Upside - panalo ang pirata ng pelikulang ito.

7. Ayaw kong mang-api (pero gagawin ko pa rin, hehe, 'lol!) pero ilan na kayang admirers ang pipila para maging syota si Susan Boyle? Ang siste, ilan kaya sila bago lumabas si Susan sa "Britain's Got Talent"?

8. Taong nagpakatotoo: si Nicole ng Subic "rape" case (ay, hindi pala rape, consensual sex pala). Tunay siyang mukhang pera. Pasipol-sipol (pa-dedma epek) - gobyerno ng Pilipinas. Lusot kayo mga tsong! Iwas-gusot sa mga Onaks!

9. Hirit na makukulit na sektor: dagdagan ang party-list representation (kahit walang matibay na pruwebang nailunsad nila ang mga isyu na kani-kanilang "marginalized sector")! Ang kanilang premyo - si "Terminator" Palparan, magiging Congressman.

10.   Bagong drama sa TV - suicide ba o homicide?  Nag-umpisa sa "ayan, nasampolan ka na" at "KARMA!", ngayon, misteryo na.  Ano na nga ba, Kuya Ted Failon?

Tatawa ka na lang minsan kahit mag-isip ka ng masama sa iyong kapwa. Kaysa naman maiyak ka at ma-depress.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Panalo Ito

Tunay na Lalake Blog

Alam naman natin panay gagaguhan ang site na ito, pero panalo siya sa akin. Ito ang Manifesto ng Tunay na Lalake:

1. Ang tunay na lalake ay di natutulog.
2. Ang tunay na lalake ay di nagte-text-back, maliban na lang kung papasahan ng load. Gayunpaman, laging malabo ang kanyang mga sagot.
3. Ang tunay na lalake ay laging may extra rice.
4. Ang tunay na lalake ay hindi vegetarian.
5. Ang tunay na lalake ay walang abs.
6. Ang tunay na lalake ay hindi sumasayaw.
7. Ang tunay na lalake ay umaamin ng pagkakamali sa kapwa tunay na lalake.
8. Ang tunay na lalake ay laging may tae sa brief.
9. Ang tunay na lalake ay di naghuhugas ng pinagkainan o nagliligpit ng kanyang mga gamit dahil may babaeng gagawa noon para sa kanya. Mas lalong nagiging tunay ang pagkalalake kung di niya kilala o di niya maalala ang pangalan ng babae.
10. Ang tunay na lalake ay di nagsisimba.

Kapag ginamit ang ganitong batayan, lalung-lalo kung dinagdag pa ang kung anu-anong shit, dahil mahilig ako sa showtunes at mahilig manggaya ng sikat na sayaw noong '80s (para manggago at mang-inis man lang ng ibang tao), eh mukhang hindi ako tunay na lalake.

Talo din ako dahil mahilig akong matulog sa opisina (hmmm, consideration dahil hilig ko rin ang tumambay imbis na pumasok).

Kung may extra points ang number 8 at mga usaping kababuyan, swak na swak ako.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Surviving Saudi Arabia, or the Economic Laws of Expatriate Employment

(Note: This entry was inspired by a speech delivered by Robina Gokongwei-Pe, journalist and entrepreneur, at the commencement exercises of the University of the Philippines-School of Economics, April 25, 2008.)

I have just celebrated my five years in Saudi Arabia, and while this may not be a worthwhile milestone to my seniors who have been here longer, it is also a significant milestone since this is also the longest I have spent with a single company.

Through the ups and downs of my employment here, including my weight and my waistline, the main quality that has allowed me first to endure, then to enjoy, working outside my native land was the value of persistence. So it is said, “Persistence is the twin sister of excellence. One is a matter of quality; the other, a matter of time.”

In persisting against the difficulties of working in a different culture with several other nationalities, the lessons of schooldays past have impressed upon me the unique situation which befalls expatriates in Saudi Arabia.

Given this world climate where institutions among our top corporations and banks have collapsed in the face of recession, I also would like to share these lessons with you, and you can verify it against your basic Economics textbook.

#1 THE LAW OF SUPPLY AND DEMAND – The standard law of economics, it is simple to note that the demand for affordable workers, plus the continuous supply of higher salaries being paid here than in our home countries, have made employment in Saudi Arabia. While this gives us the confidence that we expats will always have a place here, this also means that this demand, while still strong, may not last longer than we think. We have a joke among my colleagues in Human Resources that he who supplies the money can make all the demands.

#2 THEORY OF COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE – This leads us to the second rule – competitive advantage. In order for us to retain the demand for our services, we have to continuously upgrade our own skills, not only in our given profession, but more importantly, in the way we communicate and present our ideas. Being in Toastmasters, among other things, can help us sharpen that edge.

#3 COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS – We all know that there is a labor market out there that is calling out to be filled. However, even if there is sufficient demand, or even if there is competitive advantage, there are built-in costs to changing jobs. For those who recall their choice to work in the Middle East, the transition entails so many sacrifices.

For those who have no families here, being without family is a hardship many cannot endure. For those who do have families here, flexibility is now a premium.

For those who think that they are moving to a better position with higher pay, the uncertainty in this world market gives one very obvious lesson: today you may be in a better position, tomorrow your company may close. Conclusion: if you are in a stable position already and are experiencing sufficient work satisfaction, there is no need to change jobs, no matter how high or attractive the offer may seem.

#4 THEORY OF OPPORTUNITY COST – The next rule is closely allied to the previous one. When considering our careers long-term, we would always consider the packages being offered to us. A better package from another company is an opportunity to make more money, but taking the first offer means we will lose out on better offers that may come along. Or leaving this job means losing the opportunity to be promoted six months down the line.

In the past few years, I have noticed so many people readily switch jobs, going from one company to the other in a virtual criss-cross of the Gulf countries, sometimes not even completing their contracts. One lesson future employers will note here is that this kind of employee cannot be expected to stay. No employer will dare hire a perpetual nomad, because he will think the employee will leave after a while.

This now leads to Rule # 5 or LAW OF DIMINISHING MARGINAL RETURNS – After so many years of moving around, you have gone down in market value, because you have not steadily built a career. You may rake in quick gains, but in the end, your long-term value as a professional will diminish.

Finally, there is rule # 6 or THEORY OF MARKET COMPETITION – Building a career requires a combination of hard work, patience, and oftentimes, just good old-fashioned luck. However successful we may get, we still cannot be too comfortable. We still have to learn new things. We have to face challenges that did not exist in our work environment before. And sometimes, there are just others who will take what we have worked so hard for away from us, fairly or unfairly.

What to do with that? Nothing – it’s just a reality of life. Thriving with competition makes us better competitors – whether at work or in public speaking, or even in talent shows. We compete because this world is based on competition, but at the same time, as long as we are focused on our objective the quick wins are not as important as the long-term victories. We get by as well through cooperation and collaboration.

Surviving in Saudi Arabia is not only for the expatriates, but for the Saudis as well. This is a lesson they can learn from the professionals who have helped build their country.

Persistence, patience, and curiosity – they are among the tools we can use in furthering our careers. Remember, whatever works for you, your career is only one component of your search for happiness. But that is a story for another day, and for those colleagues who have persisted despite the odds, or because of them – congratulations!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Padayon sa Pabrika

Walang kasintamis
Ang tagumpay ng pagpapawis
Ang amoy ng usok
Ang kaluskos ng makina

Hindi man ako ang siyang
Obrerong nagsisikap at naghihirap
Ramdam ko ang sikdo ng kanyang puso
Dahil ako'y hingal
Sa pag-akyat ng hagdan
Papuntang opisina

Minsan aking nakalimutan
Ang halaga ng paghahanapbuhay
Sinayang ang aking oras
Sa gawaing mali ang landas

Sadyang ganyan ang ating buhay
Hindi maiiwasan
Ang ganid
Ang sinungaling
At matapobreng amo
Lahi man natin
O iba

Wala mang dagliang
Dahilang makapagsaya
Ako'y nagpapasalamat
Ang trabahong siyang tunay na grasya.
Tulad ng mga nagbabanat
Ng buto at kalamnan
Tuloy sa padayon
Dito sa pabrika -

Sa pabrika ng ideya
Magpapanday ng sariling layon
Kahit di maaninag
Ang liwanag ng umaga

Monday, April 13, 2009

Moving (and Moving On)

The days of spring here are moving on a glacial pace now that the school holidays for the Pinoy kids are on and most of the families I know have made their plans for their annual vacations.

I guess the pace has caught up to me as well. Been in some knot of emotions about how things are going on in the office. I don't like nitpicking about work; being employed is a blessing in these tough times and whining about work seems ungrateful.

However, it is true - I hate the whole situation about my job. It is only my sense of equanimity, or perhaps those bills gnawing at my insides like army ants, that has kept me on an even keel. Certainly I could do with better management, but as Johnny Rico says in "Starship Troopers" - "I'm your guy, until I'm dead, or you find someone better."

Trust me on this one, I'll be dead before they'll find someone better. At least for the price they're paying.

I have made peace about this situation but I need to do more. If I don't excise the negative influence it has over me, it will poison the rest of my life.

As it is, I feel that I am not a good person right now. At least the kind of good person with whom I am comfortable. Much too self-absorbed, methinks. Not even giving time to the people I have professed to care about.

The only bright spot in all of this is that I have moved offices (yet again), so that I can improve at the very least, my "physical karma."

But I'm marking myself down here, I must put myself in a position to move on. I'm too old to be acting like a petulant child.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Flashback to an episode one might have seen on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, or Animal Planet : the she-wolf, back from a successful hunt and feeding, makes her way to her cubs, and she regurgitates the chunks of meat from her stomach to feed her young.

As life goes on, events keep on happening, some good, some bad, some with purpose, some without, some planned, some surprising.

My life IS. There was the struggle to say what I needed to say - on the other hand, the more I lived the ideals by which I wished to live, the less I wanted to say things about them. I wanted to make my life THE STATEMENT -- and it worked for a while.

For quite some time, yes. Yeah, and Facebook is cool too.

But I need to express my feelings as well --- for my writing, just like that she-wolf, keeps on regurgitating chunks of my life for me to sort out.

Sometimes blogging is flagellation --- and the ones who don't notice aren't living their lives. But I do, or at least I think I do. This internet footprint demands a bigger span, and so I must.

I can't say that it would be the same ME on this space. Certain events - and people - have made my life much more interesting. In time I will write what I believe is reasonable exposure for me and for them (them to be more carefully handled, of course).

So here I am again.