The most egostistical, arrogant, and idiotic thing to say ever! (in the Philippines, in my opinion)

Here in the Philippines, we have this age-old idiom about experience.

in our native language, it sounds like so: “Papunta ka pa lang, pabalik na ako” (You have only begun your journey, I am on my way back already). To me this is one of the most egotistical, arrogant, and idiotic things to say ever!

This short statement implies to the person you are telling it to that they are nothing compared to you, that all he knows adds up to nothing compared to you, that he should bow to you because you are his senior, egotistical.

It’s very arrogant since the statement has an air of arrogance. It’s supposed to convey “you still have a long way to go” but “I am better than you, rookie. If you ever want to be anything, be like me” or something like that also tags along.

It’s idiotic because if you are still alive and still talking to me about being “on your way back”, then that only means you have stopped the pursuit of knowledge. If anything globalization and the advancement of technology has taught us, information about a lot of things in this world and beyond it come at a neck-breaking speed. What you have learned today, can be obsolete in a week or even days. If you give that crap statement then I shall laugh at your face. You’re still alive and have already given up on the pursuit of knowledge and experience. I pity you, you started your journey long ago and only coming back now learning a few snippets. What you have learnt in your lifetime, I can have in months.

I acknowledge that the combination of fervor for knowledge and experience are essential for all people, but please. Don’t brandish your experience to anyone, especially those younger than you. I’ve seen it countless of times, the junior outshines the senior in no time and the senior gets kicked to the curb. That statement also connotes insecurity, the main fact that you used that on anyone was because you already felt threatened by that persons potential, and used it to diffuse his confidence and boost your own.

To be fair, that “Papunta ka pa lang, pabalik na ako” thing I have not heard in a long time. I guess it was more for the generation of our parents who absolutely were forbidden to go against their elders.

In any case, peace 😉

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We are not poor!

Who says Filipinos don’t have money?

I am writing this post while in the middle of a very busy mall. It is father’s day. And I am telling you this place is packed! Everybody’s eating, and everyone’s taking advantage of the free wi-fi service with whatever device they have (that includes me right now).

And this isn’t one of those upscale malls like Glorietta, Greenbelt and whatnot. No. I am here a mall located in the province of Rizal.

Who says we Filipinos don’t have money? We can afford wi-fi capable stuff. We can afford to celebrate father’s day. The parking lot is also packed full, so we can also afford to buy automobiles.

Were not poor. We just love to spend our money first and then think of necessary expenses and (if any) savings. We’re not poor, we just spend too much that when it comes to important stuff (like school, everyday food) we don’t have enough.

Yes the foodcourt is packed with people, but not everyone is eating, and some are eating just snacks. Everyone’s taking advantage of the free wi-fi service simply because not everyone can afford data charges on their handheld devices or to have internet access put-up in their homes. The parking lots are full simply because it’s a small parking lot, and that a significant portion of this has been dedicated for motorcycles (the cheaper alternative to four wheels that we Filipinos prefer nowadays.

In reality, we’re just kidding ourselves.

Peace 😉

 

I have gone to the other side

Yes, I have gone there and am here now. I have bought a netbook and using it to write this post.

Yes, I was one of those who kept saying “why bother buy a small cheap-assed netbook when you can buy a laptop for just some more cash?” Phooh, I admit it, I was wrong. I am sorry.

For the sake of fairness, I didn’t buy just any netbook. I bought Acer’s Aspire One 725, the latest of their outstanding netbook class and the predecessor of their very popular and lauded Aspire One 722. It’s super light (well compared to my clunky dell inspiron) and sleek, and shiny, and sexy, and easy to use, and fast, and clear, and uuuhhhhhh….

Sorry about that. I’m not gonna pretend and really know about the specs (I’m not really sure if the AMD C-60 APU and Radeon(tm) that comes with this thing are really good and powerful. But I am gonna say that I am happy with my purchase. Why? I’m taking up graduate school. I need a device that let’s me create Powerpoint presentations and then easily be able to hook it up a viewing medium for presentation to my peers. I need a portable computer light yet powerful enough to do computations both for work and for school. I need a computer where I can just plop down virtually anywhere (well, anywhere with a wi-fi connection, free more preferably) and update my blog coz ideas just come zooming in this messed up mind of mine. And i need something that I hide easliy considering my very long commute from home, work and school. Oh, gaming capabilitie would be a definite plus. Yeah.

I still keep hearing nay-sayers tell me that the price I had to pay for this thin piece of awesome was too much and that I could have already bought a cheap laptop. Whatever, I have a laptop already (remember my clunky dell inspiron?) and carrying those heavy things on my back or shoulder are hard. I just need a portable computer and I am so much happy with what I got. Definitely. No doubt. Unless it breaks down easily. Hope that doesn’t happen.

Peace 😉

 

 

The great equalizer

Basketball. Yep, good ‘ol pick-up basketball.

After having to deal with various (and painful) wounds in my feet (at the same time!), I finally found myself back in the village’s basketball court to play with my neighbors.

You literally get to see people from all walks of life in the same court. Like today, there was me the bank credit analyst, a graduate of very good private schools in the country, starting my MBA studies in a week. Then there’s the guy who has 3 kids, no stable income, never even got to college. There’s a guy (the biggest of us all) still supposed to be in high school but acts like if he has been a man for about 10 years yet still hides from his mom when he smokes a cigar. Then there’s a guy older than me but has a mind and body structure of a dimwitted teenager (plays like a 10 year old to boot).

We play with each other as equal basketball players, cancelling out our social statuses. Here you forget about the risk ratings you have to render, you forget that you cannot buy milk for you three young kids, you forget that you cannot get into a decent college, you forget that you are already very old. Here a guy that can’t even read properly can call the analyst as “bobo” (stupid in Filipino). Here the dimwitted old guy can make a big shot and be celebrated by his peers. Here the analyst can actually use his size and strength (yeah, I have those too) to get his job done.

You see it everywhere. Not just basketball, but in all of sports. It brings people together.

Peace 😉

(I do not own that picture up top. Those are not us playing ball).

Definition of a terror high school english teacher

Ah, the great social network connections. Connect with old friends! Connect to make new friends! You can now even get offered a job because if a seeking employer happens to chance upon you on LinkedIn (true).

On Facebook, you get suggested “People You May Know”, right? I opened my account one day and then my eyes suddenly dart to this portion. Right there, the damn system suggests to me one of my most hated teachers in high school. Her subject? English.

I didn’t hate her because she taught english. I hated her because she wasn’t any good at it but feels otherwise. She was what we young boys back-in-the-day used to call as a “terror teacher”. Definition? Not really good at the subject, intimidates students so they think that she is.

As I stare at her smug, smiling face in her profile picture I cannot help but remember my most hated memory of her: I didn’t do her assignment that we compile all the damn simple short stories she keeps handing out to us. Why didn’t I do it? I thought it was stupid. I cannot read those thing properly if I did that. Turned out I was the only one in the class who didn’t do it. She got pissed man.

What was my punishment? She ordered me to make a report, in front of the class, about a  topic she has not yet discussed, which was not in her supposed lesson plan for the term, on a day’s notice. Suffice to say I bombed the presentation and she got a good laugh at my expense (yes, she’s that evil).

I got so riled up about it that I wanted to write her a long message. I wanted to tell her that i was an editor of the official literary publication of our college. That I am currently a credit analyst for a universal bank, and part of my work was to make write-ups about client’s financial statements. That I am soon to become a credit analyst for an international insurance company doing basically the same work, but at a much larger scope. That I relished reporting in college, and presenting things that I have prepared for does not faze me.

I wanted to tell her that through all those, I will never say that she somehow inspired me in any way. But I didn’t send her that long message. I deleted it. Because like it or not, as much as I don’t want to admit it, but she did help me somewhere back in those days of hell. She inspired me to show her and others like her that I am better than what they say of me.

I breathed a sigh of relief. I did somehow get some semblance of revenge from this. I graduated from high school in 2003. She listed in her profile that she last worked in 2003. That was probably the best memory I have of her, she getting booted out of school. Whatever.

Peace 😉

(I do not own the picture).

Real life movie scenes

 

Or, things that happen to you in a day that you thought could only happen in a movie, or something in TV.

You ever see a scene where a group (like in a big concert crowd) all raucous and excited, very noisy, all of a sudden shuts-up in unison because of shock? Here’s my story.

I was still a kid back then and a member of a huge community called Youth for Christ (the Philippines is a predominantly Christian country by the way) and we were all gathered for a conference. Hundred of teens, high in excitement, and then we’re told that Gary V. was the night’s very special guest. Now Gary V. (or Gary Valenciano) is a big star here. Many popular songs, great performer, and very vocal about his religious beliefs (see why he was the special guest?). Some of his best songs have religious themes.

We get very elated and wait for the night’s festivities to come. A cancer survivor girl belts out some inspirational songs with her still powerful voice. We applaud her but still a frenzy awaiting the very special guest to come to stage is creeping among the ranks. Then the girl goes:

(these were based from what I remember of the time)

“Okay YFC! Are you ready for the next singer?”

(We think it must be Gary V.) (shouts)

“He is a very talented singer!”

(Gary V.’s one hell of singer) (louder shouts)

“He is very religious like all of you!”

(He is definitely religious! It must really be Gary V.) (ground-shaking screams)

“Everybody! Put your hands up for -”

(livid teenagers)

“PIPO LINA!” (no diss on the guy, but…)

Silence. Utter silence. I swear to God, it lasted for at least 5 seconds. Shock. We didn’t know that one. To this day what happened then still gets us to a laughing fit. In the end we got to watch Gary V. live.

Fast forward to a more recent event.

I was stuck waiting for a bus to come. Traffic was held up because of a mass meeting of one of the largest and influential religious groups (Yes, we have a lot of those here in the Philippines) and a lot of us were already irate. Consider this, we were all tired from work and we have been standing close to an hour just waiting for a bus to come.

The streets were relatively devoid of vehicles, just a passing car from someone who actually does not care about the high prices of oil in this country. But then a scooter with two people riding (a guy driving, a girl holding on to him for dear life) traverses the road.

With the popularity of motorcycles and scooter here in the Philippines, some have an actual proper sound system installed. This particular scooter was one example.

As the duo, moving very cautiously despite the relatively open road, was about to pass us group of stranded commuters, the driver decides to crank the volume on his sound system. It was also in time for the start of a new song and it blares out Marry Your Daughter by the McKnights. The way the girl was holding on to her guy, the slow speed of their ride, and the fact that nothing else can be seen on the road drew our utmost attention to the two. It was like watching a TV commercial for a scooter. That lessened our burden during that night.

Or when I was as senior in High School. During a trip for our CAT class (military training, a requirement here in the Philippines). We were playing paintball clad in our military inspired uniforms. We were in our base, and our company’s CO was giving orders to me and some other cadets. Then, boom! (or more like splat!). A thick, pink (yep not even red) liquid covers the left side of his face. That was Saving Private Ryan-esque. One minute he was barking out orders, the next he’s gone (to the holding zone for those “killed” in battle).

Those events may sound corny to some but they really entertained me. A break from the everyday rigors of life.

(Again, I do not own the picture in this post).

Peace 😉

The Potato Chip and the Tall Man

I am not really complaining, just thought it was sort of funny and ironic.

One faithful night, I was watching Mega Factories (I think) in National Geographic and this episode was featuring the Frito Lays factory during the fourth of July crunch. They showed how those delectable potato chips are made from the selection of prime potatoes, peeling, cutting, frying, seasoning and packing.

I was impressed by the efficiency of their factory line. I was also drawn to how meticulous their system is to providing just the best chips for the American people. Somewhere during the process, a machine selects chips that have been fried and have some dark spots in it takes it out of the line to prevent it from being packed. The supervisor that was facilitating the tour of the factory picks up a potato chip, round and without any burnt marks, and declares it “a perfect potato chip.” Wow.

This past week, during my hiatus from work, I bought some Lays potato chips for me to consume preferably while watching TV. I open a bag, dig in to the luscious chips, and about the fifth chip I pick from the bag has a burn mark on it. I immediately remember the what I watched in National Geographic about how these are supposed to have been picked out of the line. Needless to say I finished the whole bag (they are still the best commercial potato chips) and saw quite a number of chips with burn marks.

I live in the Philippines. I bought that bag of Chips here in the Philippines. That bag was marked Export . So it seems that what was not acceptable to be sold to Americans (probably to prevent having to throw some otherwise perfect potato chips) were packed for export to other countries. Like the Philippines.

So being the informative fellow that I am, I tell this story to my colleague at work. She responds with “Baliktad eh no? Pag nag-export tayo yung pinakamaganda lang.” (It’s different from us, right? When we export we only send the best quality products.)

What’s funny and ironic about this is that here in the Philippines, when we say export quality (such as mangoes, pineapples, tuna and what-not) are the best of the bunch, picked meticulously in-line with the foreigners preferences. I commend the American thinking that only the best be given to their people while also commend the Philippine attitude of only giving the best quality to other people.

Come to think of it, this can be traced to the Philippines’ affinity to the American culture, that things Imported from them is good for us. Hey, it’s business.

This can be also viewed in terms of Sports. The world’s best basketball league, features stalwarts such as 3-time NBA MVP Lebron James and 2010 FIBA World Basketball MVP Kevin Durant no name a few. But they also have the best players of other countries such as Dirk Nowitzki, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Ricky Rubio, and Yi Jianlian (hell even Hamed Haddadi of Iran). Only the best can play in the USA.

But what do all of us do? Players from the USA that weren’t quite good enough to play in the NBA travel overseas because they know that foreign teams would still be ecstatic to have them play for their teams. Some are even naturalized so they can play for that country’s national team. The Philippines is one such country. We have a Marcus Douthit. Former draft pick by the Lakers, decided to Play in Europe, was once again courted by the Lakers but was cut. He played in the D-League and Foreign countries and had a fairly decent if not good career. Now he is an integral part of the Philippines Mens Basketball team.

Every year, the country’s professional basketball league the PBA adds imports to beef-up the rosters of teams and add some flair into the league. This past conference, it was highlighted by the two best imports Denzel Bowles (named best import but has not played in the NBA yet) and Donell Harvey (who was signed by different NBA teams but never really played any significant minutes).

I don’t hate America. I just find it funny that we Filipinos generally embrace the American culture so much that we forget that mostly what we get from them are things (or players) they deemed not good enough for their standards. Be it the Lays potato chips or Marcus Douthit.

I do not own any of the pictures in this post.

Peace 😉