Sunday, October 23, 2011

Musical Optimism

When all else fails, roll out the old show tunes for a pick me up. If we had no performance management training today, I would have stayed home. The weather has gotten to me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Manhattan, in a pond at Windows to the World Park in Shenzhen.
Listening to: "Oceans" by Pearl Jam

The end of a workweek brings with it a certain kind of sadness.  The finality of the day summons all the ghosts of Things Left Undone, with the prospect of Things To Do still peeking at the horizon.

For a lifer like me, the end of work for the day is a sudden deflation of my self. My raison d'etre, so to speak, has ceased and the Case of the Big Man can now conveniently go into the closet.  Without a life to which I can look forward, the end of the work week can be maddening.  This is amusing and a bit of a pain in the ass at the same time - there was a time when I was the acme of indolence, existing on the point of letting things be - and even then, the remarkable thing that defined me was my own indifference.

What am I without this job?

The romantic in me would go jump up and down and say gardemit, give the old F**k you to the Man and get back, yeeeaaahhhhh.... get back to where you once belong!   Find the spaces within and nurture the bridges to fill those gaps.  Find love.  Find fulfillment in writing the fantasy novel to end all fantasy novels.  Do something.  (Cue in Dick Dastardly, snapping at his canine sidekick, "Muttley, do something!"  "Muttley, HELP!)  Be involved.  Wallow in weltschmerz.

Smack myself in the head and find joy that work this week ends! (It doesn't really, I'm administering a training tomorrow).

Friday, October 14, 2011

Food Sampler

Last night was my first "cultural" experience in Riyadh, in the sense there was something different other than just strolling through the mall and finding some architectural feature (which, over here, is probably a sail and a boat, and then, a sail and a boat).

Hamming it up with staffers of the Japanese Embassy at the ASEAN Festival.
I was invited to a food festival by one of my former colleagues and his new friends here in the city at the Royal Embassy of Thailand.  My role was a food sampler (a small joke at my expense.)  Well, it wasn't really a food festival but actually the cultural festival for the entire ASEAN, in cooperation with the Japanese embassy.

We arrived a little bit late for the start of the festivities.  Riyadh's Diplomatic Quarter is a whole new community in itself, so being there is like being separated from the rest of the city.  After some twists and turns we found our way to the embassy and mingled with the rest of the crowd.  It was well represented by staffers from all the participating countries, plus some guests from other embassies.  I'm sure somebody looking for a different kind of fun wouldn't want to be there.  As we stepped in, three statuesque blondes in high heels, one wearing a sequined gown to boot, were walking away from the embassy.  Automatic minus points.  Still, quick thanks for that unique sight.  Haven't gotten that kind of view since my last visit in Dubai.

Anyhow, almost all of the ten ASEAN countries had food booths set up in the front yard of the Thai ambassador's residence.  Noticeably absent was Myanmar, which was only selling novelties and other gift items, and Vietnam, which had its big flag left all alone in an empty booth.  (Edit:  of course I forgot about Cambodia and Laos, both of which did not participate in any way.  Maybe they don't have embassies here.  I don't know.)

Monday, October 10, 2011


One of the few times I felt harassed while living in Saudi Arabia happened earlier tonight.  While it may be par for the course for some other people, this is not the way I envision living in Saudi Arabia would be.

My colleague and I were bothered by a gathering of pre-adolescent Saudis outside my home.  Normally I ignore these groups of youngsters and stay away a good distance to avoid any unpleasantness.  Today, (well, tonight, actually), however, they gathered in front of my building on some kind of bonding thing.  They could do that all they want, but I as sure wouldn't want to be around when they are there.

It just so happens there is an abandoned work site almost facing our building on the other side of the street.  These kids gather there and look for something to do - because life otherwise for them offers nothing new.  In the land of so much wealth, many of these kids end up poor.

When we first made the turn we saw almost a dozen kids gathered in front of the house, and my instinct for self-preservation - the same which makes me want to avoid crowded places - rang out a strong alarm.  Incidentally, we have no street lights on our corner and our house has a very small fluorescent lamp on our front stoop.  My colleague, who was driving, asked if we should stop and I said, keep on going.   We turned a corner and saw another car in our rear-view mirror make a stop at the house.

After we made another turn (less than two minutes) it was put-up-or-shut-up.  My colleague had to pick up his daughter from the sitter and then his wife from her place of work, and I had no more excuses to prolong the wait since it was almost Isha prayer and soon every one will either run toward the mosque or away from it.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Plain Inspiration

Happy birthday John Lennon!  You would have been 71 years old - you were in the same generation as my father so I guess he would never have made you one of his musical idols.  That man is strictly in the Frank Sinatra-Bing Crosby-Nat King Cole mode.  I'm glad to say I followed your music even before the Internet made the musical landscape a virtual gobbledygook or a wonderful kaleidoscope of invention, depending on your place in the spectrum.

I would have wanted to post "Imagine," your most popular post-Beatles song, but that piece of cream puff has been suborned by the overly-romantic who look upon the ideal but do not think about the details in getting there.  (Parenthetical thought: such cynicism! and coming back with a timely vengeance, I should say!)  "God," however, is downright self-indulgent and thus almost offensive to those with narrow minds, while "Mother" is even more treacly and sentimental (and since my parents gave me a different upbringing, good for me!).  So I choose this song, which is fitting since we're all slaves to the grindwheel called Necessity.

Someday they will call us salt of the earth.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Another Year

So it's the fifth of October again and another year of my life has passed.

Every year continues to be a blessing. As the years pass, I am filled with happiness that in the midst of all the difficulties in the world and in my life there are still reasons for me to go on. For friends, family, loved ones, and even strangers who greeted me on my birthday, thanks. Your kind words and intentions are always a bonus.

All around, the world is in flux.  Revolutions rage, economies rise and fall, the world weather has gone haywire, technology is moving leaps and bounds.  Loved ones gather round and support one another as people fight off the inevitability of death.  Or as they welcome the coming of new life.

On the other hand, life has become a steady drone for me.  I welcome the regularity of the desert in Saudi Arabia.  Work is now a familiar face, a worry that is rather welcome than feared.  I like the constant pressure that each day brings.  Though at times my mind is sapped, as it is now, to look for something new, I thank the silence that comes from having my mind go blank.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The What?

It's easy to be caught up in a wave of pessimism when things don't go one's way.  The world is imperfect, and by following one train of logic, the world is filled with imperfect beings.  From there, one can infer that the imperfect being is oneself.

Reviewed word today - saw a re-run of the "The Big Bang Theory" where Sheldon Cooper uses the word weltschmerz -  the melancholy feeling that stems from seeing one's imperfections and the imperfections of the world as reflections of one another.

I am not about to be taken in by that kind of feeling.  That's the sure way to failure and oblivion.

"The only unbearable thing is that nothing is unbearable.”
― Arthur Rimbaud

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


We need pressure from everywhere - pressure from within to prevent being crushed by adversity, and pressure from without to keep from exploding from our own problems or ego.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Never (Gulp) Again

Oh yeah, before I forget, something about our history.

I would normally put in something about the evils of the Martial Law period.

But no, some events and times must be put up with to educate the body politic.


Yeah sure.


This story could have been about me, under slightly different circumstances, just a few years back.  Here I was talking about temperance and the first thing to put under control is eating.

Anyhow, I found some of the comments more interesting and no doubt not everybody wants to troll on these kinds of pages, just to share an opinion.  Funny how we could have an opinion about everything and then choose to ignore the right of others to express their own.  Just a thing with this "information age" - too much information, not enough discernment.  And this isn't even a fingernail's worth to all of the other comments and tweets about everything that is happening.

Maybe it would be nice to turn it off.  If only I could.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Temperance and Uncertainty

"Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on your heights. How the mighty have fallen!". - 2 Samuel 1:19

A lesson for all OFWs is temperance.

It is always easy to think the world revolves around one's problems - the next bill to be paid, the next problem to be hurdled, the next loan to be taken out with all the accompanying guarantees. Life seems to be always about worry.

Worrying about the future, the unknown, the prospect of being powerless to stop the tide of the future. The odd thing, worrying always paints the future to either negative or positive prospects but trivializes the present.

Which leads us to my little additional realization for today - there is no antidote against the coming of the future.  Problems, worries, consequences - we have no control over them.  They come because they must, because with every effect there is cause. What we do control is the cause - our present. The vista of the future pales in comparison with the wonderment of the present - of being in the Moment, of seeing life as it is, and letting the world and one's self be.

Instead of appreciating life from our mere personal lens, we begin to understand the essential relationships that exist among us.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Winning Dirty

Sneaky smart of Floyd Mayweather in his fight with Victor Ortiz.  Details here.

Never liked the fellow, always thought he was much more gas than substance.  But he was firing away and clearly outclassed the competition.  Makes the cheap shot somewhat anti-climatic.  Actually, it makes the guy downright boorish, arrogant, and unsportsmanlike.  Made the headbutt by Ortiz in the earlier break in action almost justifiable.

But that's sport, not life.  No one minds a sneaky-smart fellow from grabbing such opportunities afforded him even if he would get them later on.

So, congratulations for the meantime to new WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr.  Now if both he and Manny Pacquiao get off their tremendous backsides and get a fight done.

Go on, let's go dudes.  No one would mind if somebody would pull off a sneaky-smart move again.  At least the other guy can actually smack a few hard hits in return.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wish and Hope, Pray and Weep

I wish there could be something said 
For the consciences of those with good intentions
Not that I have surfeit of any. 
Still, it would be nice to know 
If I could turn my life around 
On the strength of wishes and prayers. 

We all know very well 
That faith may grant us the reprieve 
To sleep soundly at night - 
But tomorrow, our quandaries still exist
Nothing has changed from the time we slept, 
Nothing has come about from wishing and hoping. 

Sometimes, though, the state of mind we have 
Prepares us for the inevitability of failure -
Saying, "such was not meant to be."
It was a nice ride, but one ends up with nothing 
Nothing to show for the depths of despair fathomed 
Nothing to show for the power of miracles expected 
Nothing to show for the oceans of tears shed. 

Life can sometimes be awfully cruel
That the things we enjoy are signs of her kindness. 
Against the stark bleakness of loneliness 
Truth, Love and Beauty find spaces to bloom. 

Before we latch on to passing fancies 
Or future glories that we will someday reap
Never let the slow escape of air from our life 
Overtake us, and leave us gasping us air 
Wishing and hoping, praying and weeping 
That we will never be condemned 
For the sins of our apathy and neglect.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Interesting that the word "stake" - even with its various contexts - purports to some form of action being taken. Staking a claim.  Playing for high stakes.  Drive the stake through the ground.

I've had an off week - I know this because I know I underperformed on my old standard.  Part of it is some stress from last week, I would surmise.  But mostly it's because my passport is missing and my residence permit (iqama) has not been processed.

I am in a whole boatload of trouble, if things don't get resolved quickly - at the very least, our people should find my passport.  This incident is part of the sickness that ails this company - still, I wouldn't go so far as condemn the whole building for a few rotting walls.

Or would I?  Should I?

So now this game has even raised its stakes - the better I get, the more challenges I have to hurdle.  And keep on hurdling.  Also, have to drive a tough stake into my indolent hide.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Thought Intrusion, or a Safe Title To A Rambling Post

Almost two years ago, I wrote this piece on the suddenness of death and endless possibilities of life.

Still way further back, another piece I wrote six years back talks about how some things and people take on added importance in our lives, and the degree by which they enrich our lives is somewhat miraculous.

I realize I have been going on for such a long time. I don't know who it is out there that is reading this blog ... if what I am writing is doing something for you, I am glad and you are most welcome even if I don't receive your thanks.

But I am still pleased to tell my stories, if only to indulge my penchant for telling them.

Last Tuesday, I attended my first Toastmaster meeting in over a year. I was a charter member of our company club and was an integral part of the organization during its initial years, but my interest has waned as work and other projects took precedence. Also, something about the way our club was going on irked me. This may have more to do with me and my state of being than what was going on in general.

I'd rather keep the name of this new club to myself for the meantime. This is a club older than the one I used to attend, and is a more distinguished club because of its diversity and (most likely) more talented pool of speakers. Still, the air of informality in the club was both refreshing to me and at the same time, was an awful turn-off. This isn't a show-and-tell or a recital in school. Such things allow some pettiness. This is supposed to be a professional organization.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Quasi-Quiet Time

The day is about to end though I have to say it ended much earlier.

Spent most of the day on the tube watching the last few episodes of "Game of Thrones." I've read the first four books and now working on the fifth of "Song of Ice and Fire" (the first novel of which is the source material of the HBO series), so I'm not really at all surprised at how it would go. The show is largely faithful to the source material, which is a good thing. I've seen the show twice over now and it's still good.

It's good to just unplug from all the work-related stress and kick back. Anyhow, trying to keep Monday from coming too soon, and work will be back in a fury.

Vacations like this one actually ruin the whole thing for me - it's long enough for one to get lazy, but not long enough for one to do something creative. I can't travel out of the country because my work documents aren't ready yet, which pisses me off. Out of my control though. Makes the prospect of working closer to the Philippines a lot better. Still a pipe dream at this stage, though.

One objective at a time. Inhale, say once, exhale. Only the passage of time teaches one the virtue of patience. Sure, I'd like my life to get somewhere else pretty darned fast, but there's always causality - one thing must be done before it leads to another, before I get to the desired goal.

I was about to get into some bit of gardening but I realize I am getting into a lot of unnecessary metaphors. The vision has been stated, just get it done.

All of a sudden, I'm excited for Monday to come. Bring it on.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Where is the Ticket Cutter? Oh, There.

Now this idea of metering is something new.

I have to concede I like the Euro way of approaching prostitution - as an essential evil. That's not to say I condone the practice, just that like other issues, the practice can be regulated and contained.

I could imagine the same being done in the Philippines - and with the way things are done over there, it won't work. Some smart fellow would steal the meters and make a mark-up, or the tickets will be counterfeited. Such is our way.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

End of Discussion

Sometimes, doing the wrong thing earns you some amount of fame. Up to you if you call it wanted or unwanted publicity.

I insulated myself from much of outside news these past few weeks so I could bring myself to concentrate on work. Pinoy netizens were all agog about a student's essay on the English language. Worth the furor? Hardly. What is more revealing is that the Manila Bulletin mutilated itself by removing it from its servers.

I don't know Mr. Soriano personally - maybe in person he is respectful, refined, keenly observant, and boringly likeable. Maybe that is why his lack of intellectual depth is coddled by a content-hungry site like the Manila Bulletin. His article has enough candor and self-deprecation that it actually hooks the unattentive reader into his premise - English is important because it is essential to success and worldwide discourse; Filipino is our identity and we have trampled all over it, and we have to use it to survive in our own country whose masses are less educated for not being able to converse in English. Feel guilty for not being able to speak well in Filipino, but be thankful that you're a good English speaker.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Staying Live

Eid Mubarak!

Just keeping this blog rolling, just staying live until something more important or momentous comes up.

I am back in muggy Dammam for the Eid Al Fitr holidays, though at least it's no longer as humid as it was during most of the summer. It has dawned upon me that there is so much me that is into Dammam-Khobar. Despite that Riyadh is a World City in terms of its economic, political, and cultural influence, I am still at heart one with the Eastern region of Saudi Arabia.

For those who want a better explanation of what Eid is all about, this is not the place to do it. Suffice to say comparatively of the two great religious festivals of the Muslim faith Eid Al Fitr (as opposed to Eid Al Adha) follows a period similar to Lent in the Christian faith, but its celebration is closer to that of Christmas, where Eid Al Adha follows a period closer to Holy Week in nature, and is apropos celebrated like that of Easter. For me personally, I would rather celebrate Easter more than Christmas, but maybe all those companies and businesses have got it right - Christmas sells better.

On the 1st of September the new order in the office would have reached one month. It was a so-so month, Ramadan being what it is. No developments, no promises. I feel sad for a member of our team who had to leave the Company involuntarily (the new PC for getting sacked), and I don't want to go into the justifications for his departure. Everyone has his or her truth when telling their side of the story. As far as I am concerned, the current order has to be a bit tougher for the Filipinos. As the ranking official left - the former "Godfather" also exiting the company "officially" at month's end, this strangely gives me some extra amount of motivation. Konting tiis lang, mga kabayan. Kailangan natin 'to, masyado tayong nag-relax. Gitgitan na ngayon.

Some love-hate involved with this holiday - it's fun to kick back a little, but I am not too impressed. It's the just the way I feel, no offense to those who devoutly follow the rule and are truly appreciative of what Ramadan is to their faith. It's the same way I feel about major Christian holidays - maybe I'm just channeling my inner Scrooge.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Flicking the Blade

I had actually meant to post my latest rant TODAY but I forgot to change the dateline! Tsk tsk. That's been how long I've been meaning to write, or at least put something down.

Somehow there is some balance in between work, not working, and finding something creative to do. Work is fine, or to use a swordsman's words, the blade remains sharp through gritted, and the blows come swiftly as if the weapon were part of my arm. Still easy knocking that down, not requiring a great lot of effort, though I wish I would. Put in a better effort, that is.

Not working means finding sleep since my mind is active almost all the time. There is always something that engages me, even by just thinking. In the longest of my ruminations I somehow come out with a mishmash of half-baked epiphanies, a few more bits of my symphony of gratitude to God, and all those precious to-do lists to tick off when I arrive at the office.

I do need a hobby. Not just this one, of course. I still shadowbox, but not enough to satisfy me.

Let me mark this space again - later today I will officially begin my duties under another formal superior. Let's see what happens next. I sincerely hope my daft parts don't come out of the woodwork and start experimenting again with my balance. I don't believe so, but this will be my systems check.

Grasp the hilt, feel the weight of the sword, and flick the blade... swing, step, parry ...and the dance continues.

Just a random rant - since I am getting loopy right now - I sincerely HATE all the bandwagon fans in football. Especially if they're ignorant. I can stand the frontrunners, but for the rest? Find something else to give meaning to your lives, you voyeurs. But all the same, these are the people who buy all the tickets and the merchandise just to prove their fandom.

Yes, I think it's just about time to sleep. Sword into the scabbard now.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Move It. Move In.

I'm moving. Yes I'm moving.

I've been saying this for the last thirteen days and yet nothing has happened.

I have finally equipped my own flat - I don't have everything yet, but I do have enough for my bedroom - except that I don't feel like moving in.

Work has been the center of my small universe and somehow it isn't the same when you close the doors and go home. I am squatting in a friend's flat - but I know this wouldn't last forever. I have to leave.

One of the reasons would probably have to do with the fact that my bathroom isn't completely fitted after I replaced the toilet. I would have to get that finished ASAP. But being indolent when it comes to these matters I will probably procrastinate, again.

I am thoroughly enjoying Riyadh - there is a lot of charm in this city and I haven't gone around a lot yet. Never mind the malls, even though it would be great to walk around in free air-conditioning. But, as of yet, there is still no place where I would hang my hat and call home.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Solemn, Fail.

The thoughts themselves have faded into the cracks,
Stilled, unseemingly by the mind eager to please.
The morning runs at inspiration have run out of breath ---
The evening jaunts into ecstasy have gone haggard and dim.
Such lies we feed ourselves, never setting foot on truth's hallowed ground
Once the exuberance of ignorance palls, night comes a-stealing
Taking the wonder and smothering it with worries and dreams.
For dreams push ever forward, ever taking us from the moment
While worries burden us with the convenience of the mundane.
That tail of starlight will leave us eventually feeling flush
But when we close our eyes the dream offers no comfort
For life, ever constant and ravaging, invades our helpless nest.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sudden Death

A man died in front of our factory as a result of major road accident. Another one may yet die from his injuries.

The highway that fronts us is a major road traveling northward and eastward - it is well-paved but does not have the features that makes other highways safer.

Death is like a thunderbolt - or in this case, like an accident that happens in a split second.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

After Hours

my background music: Bamboo

I am staring at the screen and no words come to mind.
Blank, devoid of anything original.
My only wish is that I had exchanged this lack of spark for endorphins from exercise rather than a long day of discussions.
But I am getting used to this.
If only I can settle my moving in to a new flat the soonest.
Yeah, maybe that will turn the trick.
Finally, payday is coming round the block.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

From the Heights

This is the sunset view from a hilltop overlooking the city of Cairo. I took this with my cellphone camera during my last trip to Egypt Dec 2009/Jan 2010. Not a great shot, given the limitations of my lens and the overall lighting. I just like to think what the view means - a) I actually got to travel to Egypt, even though it was mostly for work, and b) The view from any height has a sense of majesty.

It was Father's Day last Sunday and I found little time to think about my own father. It was almost half a lifetime ago when he passed away, and yet pausing to think about him on some basis is like looking at myself at the mirror for ten straight minutes. I don't have that kind of vanity. I just fall into the habit of acting and speaking the way I remember him doing. To honor him is to do right by what I was given. I may not have had the privileges of some, but I was privileged with the desire to learn.

So what's the connection with Egypt? Nothing really, except that I am happy to cross it off from the places I want to visit. One takeaway from being an expatriate worker is to enrich one's life and perspective from the viewpoints of one's hosts. Egypt takes pride in its ancient traditions. This is all well and good if that legacy is still active in this current generation.

Monday, June 20, 2011

On the Rails

I arrived in Riyadh in the full eye of a sandstorm. I traveled on Saturday afternoon from Dammam and was due in Riyadh in the early evening.

It was my first real ride on an independently-powered train (as opposed to the light rail systems used in mass transportation) and I would say IT WAS A BLAST.

Not an earthshaking thing by any means of course, but it satisfied my initial curiosity about trains. It also helps that some of my most enjoyable moments in movies are about trains or had trains as settings: Silver Streak, Murder on the Orient Express, Narrow Margin, Manchurian Horror Express (outside the Philippines, it was known simply as "Horror Express"), Before Sunrise, and Unstoppable, among others.

Of course it isn't as cool as the movies make them out to be, but Saudi trains are fine by me. Even better than cramped airplane seats. One can complain about the speed but trains are really safe and the best mode of transport overland. I can only deplore why trains are not better utilized in the Philippines but that is a story for another day.

My recent posting is more operational and conceptual - a fact that dawned upon me the first day I came to work. After several years of being in this line of work, deciding what to do becomes less of a chore than proceeding on how to do it, and how soon. Which is the fun part - my brain will take a little backseat while I stick my nose into all the goings-on.

Yes, things could go so wrong. Life has a way of righting the ship, or to use my railway metaphor, derailing is a normal part of life. Getting on the skids may be really tough, but it is important to stay on track and keep on chugging.

If you ask me the homesick question, I have found a wonderful answer: I always yearn to be beside the people I love most. For now I am taking a break from them. They are not encompassed in my immediate space, but they are still there, just the same. The countdown has started.

As for the Philippines? Never mind.

Postscript: I am aiming for a sort of travelogue but then I realize I'm not yet sufficiently mobile to comment. They say Riyadh has its own unique wonders. Let's see.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mr. Potatohead

I have lain back several times on my hotel bed in this short week. Being in control of the TV has been a bit of a new thing again, really. Mind you, I have been sort of a couch potato in Manila, though mostly not in front of the TV, but the PC. Watching the tube means I only get to watch what the others get to watch. That means anything my nephew was watching - Playhouse Disney (Disney Junior) Nickolodeon, Animal Planet, Disney Channel, or whatever educational DVD that is playing.

Watching TV here can get to be cloying, since local content is something I don't understand and international content is limited to movie re-runs or watching CNN, the latter of which isn't so bad but one can get heartburn from watching all the depressing news in the world. The hotel does not carry Filipino channels except some public announcement channel - either based in Kuwait or Dubai. Watching that kind of stuff felt quaint, like seeing the plays I produced (haha, even I would say that my work is less than satisfying, at least for me).

Getting back control of the TV? I was expecting to be wowed, as all couch potatoes would, even though secretly in the back of their minds they know they would be disappointed.

Yup, you guessed it. TV has officially become boring.

Now, if only the hotel could hook up wi-fi access in our rooms instead of just the lobby cafe...

In Search of Models

I'm reading on the La Salle Centennial and I feel proud to be part of that heritage. It isn't just about basketball, of course. My road led me to almost becoming a La Salle Brother, once upon a time.

I am almost tempted to criticize something, as is my normal thing. It is no longer as droll to dwell on something one wants to change when the viewscope needs some cleanng. Yes, some inventory required in my life now.

For now, I will be content with what I have been given. Woody Allen puts it simply - eighty percent of success is showing up. All I have to do is be here, right now, present in body and in mind.

Can't worry too much about the state of the world. The world has gone on millions, billions of years without our intervention as a species. It will unvariably find a way to balance the equation even while we try our best to despoil it.

Can't worry about the state of the land in the Philippines. One day, if I ever get possessed by some need to validate my values, I will run for public office. Everybody's a critic now you can hardly find anyone who wishes to perform. Am in no rush to join that queue, so many others think privilege should come first.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Returns

I shut down writing on this blog while I was in Manila. For those waiting on me to update on this space detailing my life in the Philippines, well, so sorry, this is supposed to be my expatriate blog, not a life journal (though of course it has been, like so, for a long time).

Facebook is the culprit. It has managed to make a mess of the long form of writing. It gives everybody a chance to express an opinion without thinking that stuff through. Fortunately for many, that is just enough for the kind of expression that they need.

I arrived in Saudi Arabia on Sunday morning around 3:00am local time, made my way out of the airport with six others who would join our company at 4:30am, and arrived at my temporary accommodation at around 5:00am. After a short nap and a shower, I immediately reported for work that same morning.

There is enough excitement in me to get started on my job, but I am realist enough to admit that this initial enthusiasm is not the best tool for me now. It should, naturally, fuel my drive while I am adjusting again to life in the Middle East. As with all things, excellence cannot be guaranteed by wishes and words, but must always be validated by action, day in and day out. I can occasionally let off the throttle to give me some rest, but I am ready to blaze some trails.

I won't be defined by my job. Perhaps my reluctance to do exactly so put in me a position to squander a lot of opportunities. I have put myself and others to grief for that - be that as it may, I have squeezed as much comfort and lessons to ensure that I will not be a cautionary tale. Some of the good I put into my life had made that possible, for which I am grateful.

For the next months, while I regain my bearings, I will aim for the job to define me.

There are no red shoes to wear, but in case I am lonely, I will close my eyes and tap my heels together three times, and think to myself, "There's no place like home..."

Keeping my fingers crossed.