Saturday, August 27, 2016

Casualties of war

Source: Wikipedia
I just finished watching the movie "Eye in the Sky" starring Alan Rickman and Helen Mirren. The movie was directed by Gavin Hood and was released last April 1, 2016 (New York and Los Angeles). The movie is about Lieutenant General Frank Benson(Alan Rickman) and Colonel Katherine Powel (Helen Mirren) who are facing political opposition about their mission to take out a group of suicide bombers in Nairobi, Kenya using a drone missile strike. The approval to launch the missile was put into hold due to the presence of a pre-teen girl named Alia who was selling home-made bread within the target zone. The two military officers were forced to launch the strike to contain and kill the suicide bombers. Unfortunately, poor Alia was killed during the process.

Before the attack, the movie was able to show the story of Alia. She was an only child of a Nairobian Muslim parent living in poverty. Her father was a bicycle repairman while her mother was in-charge of baking the bread that she sells in the market. In the movie, Alia was being presented as a young Muslim girl who was beginning to question some of the old practices being imposed against Muslim women, like studying (some Muslims countries and communities restrict education opportunities for girls), wearing of dress that will not show any "skin" even in a hot climate, playing or engaging in sports in front of men, etc. In short, she is being portrayed as the future crusader of Muslim women. 

This movie taught me one thing. In the event of war, there is no right or wrong, there are no winners but there are guaranteed casualties like Alia.

War is not the answer. If we don not end war, war will end us.
All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal - John Steinbeck


Saturday, August 20, 2016

To care or not to care

Image Source : Wikipedia
Sometimes we also get tired of helping and caring for others especially if we do not get something out of it. I am not saying that we should expect some reward every time we help other people.  Speaking for myself, the art of giving means focusing on the needs of others before considering our own needs. But I don't believe in giving everything and not leaving something for ourselves. In fact, even before we consider giving part of ourselves to others, we must first fulfill our own needs. I find it difficult for someone to feed the hungry if that person is also starving to death. Feed yourself first. How can you help others if you can not even help yourself.

My mother used to tell me that giving is a form of sacrifice. According to her, when you give something to others, make sure that what you are giving them (be it a tangible or an intangible matter) is not your extras or something that you can do without. Instead, give something that is valuable to you, something that will leave a dent in your heart (or your pocket, he he he)... an ultimate sacrifice like what my mom use to say. I partly agree with my mom, I just don't like the "sacrifice" thing. For me, giving or sharing need not always be painful on the part of the giver. The receiver (or person receiving help) on the other hand should not take advantage of the transaction. The essence of giving is that both the giver and the receiver should benefit from it. The giver should feel fulfilled because sharing is a charitable act, while the user should feel privileged for the unexpected blessings given to them.

But reality doesn't always speak that way. I remember giving alms to a beggar one evening. I gave her a handful of my five peso coin stored in my car's cigarette tray (I don't smoke just so you know) and instead of saying thank you, she asked for more money and excitedly asked me if I have food in my car. I politely declined her other requests and as I drove my car away from her,  I cannot help myself from feeling disappointed. I felt used and betrayed deep inside. That experience also reminded me of an incident somewhere in Manila wherein informal settlers were asked to leave their shanties and in return, they will be transferred to a government funded resettlement houses for free. Instead of feeling honored for such great blessing, these intelligent creatures sold those houses or listed said properties for lease. Probably most of them are back on the streets or probably squatting on another person property and just waiting for another free resettlement houses from our government.

I have encountered so many abuses from those "beggars" and "informal settlers" in my 40 years in this world. Some are unforgettable and some are unforgivable until now. Like in my example earlier, there are "beggars" in my life whom I gave them my most treasured reputation just to help cover up their personal blunder and instead of thanking me, I ended up being the bad guy and they got out of the situation very clean. Some of those "beggars" are still asking me for more as if they are still not satisfied with what I have sacrificed for them. I have also encountered so many "informal settlers" whom after sheltering them with kindness and care during their difficult times, they will no longer remember you after the storm. They will only remember to thank you if they need another support from you.

These past few days, I realized that I have no obligation to help ALL the people in need. Sometimes we should let these too needy people to stand up for themselves and let them solve their own problems especially if they are the ones who created it. Let them take responsibility for their own mistakes. We should learn to pause for a while and start learning to stop caring for others. Take time to take care of ourselves and start living our OWN life to the fullest.It is not being selfish, because you also deserve a break.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

How to get over a betrayal

Traitor Judas Escariot. Image by Wikipedia
Have you ever experienced being betrayed by someone you trust? I hurts right? For some, being betrayed makes them very angry and revenge is their way to get rid of their anger. For some, they just walk away to forget the pain. Each one of us may have took different approaches on how we got over said experiences in some point of our lives. To those of you who got over it successfully without physically hurting others or yourself, congratulations! But for those who are still struggling to forget that person who betrayed them and are still carrying the hatred towards that person in the deep corners of their hearts, I feel for you. I myself still carry some anger towards that person who betrayed me. The wound left by their betrayal was so significant that no amount of forgiveness can erase the pain in my heart and in my mind. Honestly, I do believe in the path of forgiveness, but my inner self is pointing me to the opposite direction which is vengeance… But of course, these things should only cross our minds but getting even or planning a vendetta to the person you hate is highly discouraged. Instead, let me share with you some of my insights on how to get over a betrayal.

1. Keep calm. When someone I trusted betrayed me, my first reaction was to get angry at that person. All sorts of violent things played inside my mind. My immediate objective was to fight back and to get even. In the early stage of betrayal, you will be in a state of anger.  Never make decisions when you are angry, try to cool down. Walk away and find a place or do something that will make you feel relaxed. Go to the mall, watch a movie, go to the gym, or get involved in any activity that will divert your anger away from your situation. 

2. Sleep your anger away. Based on my personal experience, I seek comfort in my bed. After my deep sleep, my mind is a bit clearer. The anger and pain is still there but it is not as intense as it was a day before. 

3. Share your story to your trusted family members or to a person that you consider family.  Sharing and expressing your bad experiences is another way of releasing your anger. I had this experience with my trusted co-employee who took all the credit on a project that I worked hard for and what hurt the most was our top management thought I did not contribute anything to the said project.  At first I did not bother sharing this devastating experience to my friends or to my loved ones, I simply kept the anger and frustrations inside me. As a result, I felt demoralized and I am not motivated to work anymore. Sadly, it also affected my job performance and relationship with my other co-workers. I felt depressed and it eventually spilled over to my personal life. But when I started sharing my experience to my friends, family, and trusted co-employees, I felt relieved because I realized that I am not alone in this situation and most of my friends have experienced the same situation. I don't feel helpless anymore. As such, it gave me the strength to get my acts again and move on.

4. Eye for an eye. Getting revenge is highly discouraged but betraying someone who trusted you is also a no-no. Teaching that person a lesson may be the last resort to get closure. If all Judas, like the one who betrayed Jesus, will hang themselves out of guilt unfortunately there are plenty of Judases out there who still roam freely and ready to attack again. These people must be given a lesson by spreading the nasty things these people had done to you. This way you are warning the people around you so they will not be victimized later on. Don't feel guilty about it, they deserve it, besides you are not spreading gossips… you are actually spreading your real experiences with that traitor.   

There is a saying that ... the saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

There is still time

Photo by A.R.Villamejor
A few minutes from now, the remains of a good friend will be laid to rest and will forever leave this world. I am sad because my friend's death reminds me that our life in this world is not forever and time will come that we have to leave this life unexpectedly like that of my dear friend. I am scared because I realized that death is inevitable, we cannot avoid it and no matter how how hard we cling on to our comfortable life, death will one day snatch us away from the people we love and take away from us the hard-earned fortune, fame and earth-made goodies without any warning. Though I am perfectly aware that life in this world is not permanent, the unexpected death of my friend only fortified my fear of dying. My friend Zsa-zsa, who just turned 36 early this year, died a few hours after she gave birth to her third son. Zsa-zsa is a very strong and determined person, there is always a smile in her face even in times of adversities. I got to know Zsa-zsa five years ago when she started handling our company's travel requirements, she is a travel agent from an established travel agency. Due to my constant communication with Zsa-zsa concerning our company's travel arrangement we soon became friends. During our trips we talked about our families and our jobs and we even planned of establishing our own travel agency after her pregnancy. I still want to pursue that plan, but sadly... without her. Her death has taught me that each second of our life is precious and we should not waste every drop of time not doing the things that we love, things that will make us and others happy. Let us not wait for that tragic moment like what happened to my friend for us to realize that.  

I may be sad because I lost Zsa-zsa, but her lost sparked a flame deep inside me. I am beginning to feel the heat of this flame that is ready to burst, a calling inside me that I should reset my life and take this chance to do the things that I need to do. I also realized that our life is meaningless if we just focus on enriching ourselves and we should not allow ourselves to be stuck on a job or a business whose only purpose is just to make money. Life does not have a price tag that is why we cannot buy it with money. Life is actually free, it was given to us by our Creator to enjoy it and to live it in harmony with all the livings things attached to it. We should enjoy the sunrise and the sunset. We should enjoy the air that we breath, our eyes should feast on the beautiful sky, our body should enjoy the warmth of the sun, we should also enjoy the moonlight and the twinkling stars at night. Zsa-zsa's death taught me a wonderful lesson, that life should not be complicated and let us not allow reality to stop us from pursuing our passion - NOW.  

Thank you Zsa-zsa for helping me realize these things and I hope you are happy where ever you may be. So long my friend! 

 Photo of me and Zsa during our trip in Paris, France

Friday, June 3, 2016

To unfollow my dream. The beginning.

Image Source: Wikipedia
I grew up believing that dreams do come true. I was taught that as long as you work hard, follow your heart's desire, do good, and pray to God, your dreams will someday come true. We were also taught that If you fail once, try again. And if you still fail, try harder. As they say, try and try until you die. Really? 

I just turned 40 last year and I guess there is a truth in the saying that life begins at 40. A few days after I turned 40, I took the time to assess the years that went pass me. I assessed my career, my finances, my family, and my life in general. I realized that the 40 years of my life was not that easy at all, in fact it was difficult and painful most of the time. Living in a third world country like the Philippines made it even more difficult especially for someone like me who was born in a family whose income is just enough to support our basic needs. As a child I enjoyed a little comfort and luxury. I grew up in a state where we do not have the means to buy comfort or even at least try some luxury. My parents are both educators by profession and teachers during my childhood (or maybe until now) are mostly underpaid. My parents' income are just enough to provide our basics.We do not have extra money to buy what we want, we only buy what we need. My father who is very frugal to the point that he will turn away from simple purchases and will do away with life's comfort so he can save portion of his small income. My mother, who I already mentioned was an educator, works multiple teaching jobs - mooning from one school to another. She works day, night and even during weekends. Her income also experienced the same fate, not enough to compensate her effort. Her only consolation is that teaching is her passion. Here in the Philippines, your passion is not enough to feed your family. Sometimes we have to give up our passion because it is the practical thing to do. And that was the philosophy I grew up with and honestly I hate it. 

When I entered college, I took a course that is practical. A course that will help me land a job that is why I took a business course and I majored in Marketing. At first, I am not that enthusiastic about this course but as we go along with the different subjects like Management, Business Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Organization and Marketing, I began to realize that this is the course for me. That was the time I envisioned myself that I will be a successful businessman and I will own and manage multiple companies someday. And from that day on, I was in hurry to finish college so I can already find a job and start saving my income so I can use it to put up my business. 

After finishing college, finding a job was easy but my only difficulty was to accept job offers because salaries for newly graduates was so low, it was just enough to pay for my transportation and for my daily lunch. I had no choice, I took a job with that kind of pay scale. I was unhappy that time for two reasons: first was my salary, how can I be happy with that. Second, since my salary was not enough to cover even my basics so how the hell can I save something for my future business? 

Day after day on my work, my enthusiasm towards my dream was slowly falling apart. Reality was slowly messing up my future plans of putting up my own company. With the amount of salary that I was earning that time it will probably took me forever to save enough to capitalize my future business. Thus, this is when it all began - when I started to drift away from my dream... To be continued

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Duterte Magic

Image Source

Honestly, Philippine President elect Rodrigo Dutere was my most hated presidential candidate. Aside from his barbaric and infested mouth, I am not a fan of his economic platform because most of it is either unclear or very impossible to accomplish. During the campaign period, I am very vocal on campaigning against him. I had shared a dozen or so of anti-Duterte videos and articles and posting provoking comments showing my disgust over Rodrigo Duterte's capability to run our country. I was one with the "silent majority" (referring to the supporters of Mar Roxas) who will do everything to discredit him and sway undecided voters not to vote for Duterte. Unfortunately, supporters of "Digong" have become fiercer and fiercer and the attacks thrown at their presidential bet only made them stronger. At the end, they won the battle and they won it big time.

This recent election , based on my observation, have caused so much divisiveness among Filipinos. I have felt that our nation is not just divided by waters among our 7,100 islands, but we are indeed a divided country in terms of culture, belief, and political views.  The poor economic conditions of some Philippine regions (specially those in Mindanao) have shaped the views of its inhabitants about our current government system and about our country as a whole in a negative way. Sad may it seems, but most of these locals may not academically understand and connect the future benefits of our current economic gains to themselves and to their families. For them, economic growth are those that can fill their hungry stomachs.

The Philippines still has a long way before it can realize its ultimate dream of becoming a full-pledged industrialized nation, but I am happy that we are slowly moving towards that direction. In 1986 we regained our freedom from the dictatorship of the Marcos regime, then we slowly established some social reforms during the time of Mr. Fidel Ramos. And finally we made some drastic economic reforms during the time of Ms. Gloria Arroyo and it was sustained by the current President Noynoy Aquino. The Philippines is no longer called the sick man of Asia. We are now a healthy country. Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte will inherit a far better Philippines as compared to his predecessors. It will be a much easier job for him to sustain the economic growth of this country because all economic fundamentals are already in place.

Election is over and Mr. Duterte is our new leader. I have no more reasons not to support him. Change is indeed coming and I know the Duterte magic will pave way to a better future for all Filipinos in the next six years and beyond.God bless the Philippines.

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