How to Survive Family Bankruptcy

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We all want financial stability in our family. We all wish for a stable job, stable income, and enough savings to secure our family’s future. But not all people are fortunate enough to invite financial stability in their lives. In fact, there are millions and millions of individuals who are already exhausting their credit limits of their credit cards, taking cash advances from one credit card to make monthly payments on another, getting calls from collection agents about delinquent accounts, and drawing on their savings to cover daily expenses. If you are in any of these situations you know where you are heading.

Financial experts have identified many reasons why people fall in to these situations. Common causes of such are:

  -Spending beyond your means.
  -Poor management of money and poor financial objectives.
  -Resorting to loans for every financial dilemma.
  -Compulsive behavior like addiction to vices, drugs, gambling and shopping.
  -Unexpected life events like death or sickness of a family member.
If you’re already in the bleak of bankruptcy, financial experts' advice that you follow these steps:

    1. Examine your household spending. The best way to solve any problem is to find the source of the problem. The reason why most people become bankrupt is because they are spending more than what they are earning. By examining your expenses you can actually eliminate unnecessary purchases.

    2. Avoid another loan. As much as possible, refrain from using your credit cards or resorting to another loan just to cover-up your mortgage payments. This may satisfy your immediate requirement but in the long-run, it will only burn your pockets even more.

    3. Force yourself and your family to save. Define your financial objectives and inform your family about it. If one member of the family saves and the rest spend inconsiderately, your efforts to financial stability are useless. Challenge yourself and your family to save a little, in any special way, on a daily basis.

    4. Talk to your creditors. Tell them your situation; show them hard facts so they will understand your financial dilemma. Most creditors will offer special deals like reduced interest rate, longer amortization and other special package to help you around.

   5. Pay, pay, pay. If your family’s saving activities paid off and actually resulted to extra cash in your budget, allot it immediately to your loan payments so that your loan balance will become lesser and will surely lessen your interest expenses.

OFW: Modern Export

Lack of job opportunity, peace and order issues, corruption in government, limited social services, etc. are the main motivators why millions of Pinoys leave the country in order to seek better opportunities. Though, majority of Pinoys abroad are working as domestic helpers and other blue collar jobs, there are also a growing number of those working in the medical scene such as nurse, caregivers, medical technologist. In the IT industry, there are programmers or system designers. For the maritime industry are the seamen. Also in the list are the entertainers and casino dealers who make full use of their brains, hearts and hands to deliver their jobs. These Pinoys working outside the country, often referred to as OFW or Overseas Filipino Workers, are keeping the country’s economy afloat due to their hefty remittances.

Our OFWs are favorites among foreign employers because of their quality of work and their hard-working nature. The domestics and laborers are the country’s most famous export. Aside from the fact that they are educated (most of them are degree holders) they are also cheap – a bargain. These laborers are also superstars like Flor Conteplacion and Angelo Dela Cruz to name a few, because they were in the news for being abused by their employers or threaten to be killed by the harsh natives of those foreign countries. Domestic helpers who go to Europe are mostly teachers, med technologist, and nutritionists who sacrifice their diplomas for a low-end job just to earn a living. Not only a servant and governess rolled into one, but also a substitute mother to their children or a loving companion to them who can speak straight English (as compared to other Asians) – what a bonus. For countries like Hong-Kong, Malaysia, China, Japan and other non-English speaking countries, Pinoy domestic helpers also act as English teachers to both children and parents. 

Election is just around the corner. The future of our OFWs will depend on the leaders that we will vote this 2016. Let's vote wisely.

Nation of Servants

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I know every Filipinos here and abroad have already read the discriminative post of Chip Tsao entitled "The War At Home". It is so sad that Pinoys are once again belittled by other nationals especially by fellow Asians.

Millions of Pinoy parents are spending thousands or even millions of peso just to send their children to school. Some of them even sold their most prized properties just to send their children to college. They have sacrificed so much for their children's sake of earning a college degree. But at the end of the day, after more than four years of school work, of years spent studying English, Physics, Algebra, Biology, Computer and other academic subjects, most of them will just end up working as maids or domestic helpers in Hong Kong or UK. Sad, but their dollar earnings are more than enough to pave away their degrading plight abroad. They would rather set aside their "pride" and "reputation" than to work in a respectable Philippine job but end up with an empty stomach.

This is a harsh reality that we have to face. We are indeed a nation of slaves because we are slaves to the poor economic and social systems in our country. We are slaves because we are allowing our county's economic and social managers to be lousy with their jobs. We are slaves because we actually voted these corrupt officials and allowed them to rule our lives. I was very angry with the words of Chip Tsao, but some of his statements are correct. Indeed, there are 130,000 Filipina maids working in Hong Kong, it is also true that they are earning a cheap monthly labor of $ 3,580 as compared with other workers in Hong Kong. With regard to his Filipina domestic assistant named Louisa, a degree holder on International Politics, there are millions like her who have respectful degrees in medicine, education, and science who are working as slaves for other Asians. Yes, it is a shameful dilemma, but what can we do? We can always file a diplomatic complaint or shout on the streets to protest other countries that mortify our fellow countrymen abroad, but how sure are we that it will change the impression of other nationals towards our OFWs? I am not saying that Chip Tsao is right. Just like you, I am against his style of stating facts with sarcasm. But we must also look at the facts. Yes, the truth always hurts. This is why we are all hurting.

The War At Home
March 27th, 2009
Written by Chip Tsao

The Russians sank a Hong Kong freighter last month, killing the seven Chinese seamen on board. We can live with that—Lenin and Stalin were once the ideological mentors of all Chinese people. The Japanese planted a flag on Diàoyú Island. That’s no big problem—we Hong Kong Chinese love Japanese cartoons, Hello Kitty, and shopping in Shinjuku, let alone our round-the-clock obsession with karaoke.

But hold on—even the Filipinos? Manila has just claimed sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands, complete with a blatant threat from its congress to send gunboats to the South China Sea to defend the islands from China if necessary. This is beyond reproach. The reason: there are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as $3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong. As a nation of servants, you don’t flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.

As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil. I summoned Louisa, my domestic assistant who holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila, hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture. I sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell every one of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of the Spratly Islands belongs to China.

Grimly, I told her that if war breaks out between the Philippines and China, I would have to end her employment and send her straight home, because I would not risk the crime of treason for sponsoring an enemy of the state by paying her to wash my toilet and clean my windows 16 hours a day. With that money, she would pay taxes to her government, and they would fund a navy to invade our motherland and deeply hurt my feelings.

Oh yes. The government of the Philippines would certainly be wrong if they think we Chinese are prepared to swallow their insult and sit back and lose a Falkland Islands War in the Far East. They may have Barack Obama and the hawkish American military behind them, but we have a hostage in each of our homes in the Mid-Levels or higher. Some of my friends told me they have already declared a state of emergency at home. Their maids have been made to shout “China, Madam/Sir” loudly whenever they hear the word “Spratly.” They say the indoctrination is working as wonderfully as when we used to shout, “Long live Chairman Mao!” at the sight of a portrait of our Great Leader during the Cultural Revolution. I’m not sure if that’s going a bit too far, at least for the time being. 

Chip Tsao is a best-selling author and columnist. A former reporter for the BBC, his columns have also appeared in Apple Daily, Next Magazine and CUP Magazine, among others. 

Parenting and Fatherhood

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William Jackson Smart, a single dad and a Civil War veteran, was the inspiration behind "Fathers Day". His wife died in 1898 while giving birth to their sixth child. He worked hard to raise his children by himself.

It was said that in May 1909, one of Smart's daughter named Sonora Dodd - who was already married and a mother that time, heard a church sermon enumerating the virtues of motherhood. The sermon was in line with Mothers Day, a newly established American holiday during that period. Since Sonora's mother died young and it was his father who really took care of her and her siblings, she lobbied for the establishment of a similar holiday dedicated for fathers. It was in 1972 when the Father's Day was recognized as an annual US holiday.

We were made to think that majority of the tasks involved in raising our children is the sole responsibility of mothers. Our society typically suggest that Fathers should hunt for food while mothers were left at home to nourish their children. This is no longer true today, Fathers are not only tasked to provide the material requirements of their family but they also have a responsibility in the value formation of their children.

Good fathers not only tell us how to live - they show us.

Remembering Philippine President Corazon Aquino

Corazon Aquino was the first female President of the Philippines. She inspired the Filipinos to stage a bloodless revolution in 1996 which toppled the regime of President Ferdinand Marcos who ruled the country for 20 years. That peaceful revolution popularly known as EDSA Revolution or the People Power Revolution inspired the world and led to the rebirth of democracy in the country. The revolt led to her installation as the 11th president of the Philippines. She also became Asia’s first female president and became a world icon on women empowerment, democracy and peace.
She received numerous awards during her time such as:
  • 1986 Time Magazine Woman of the Year
  • 1986 Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award
  • 1986 United Nations Silver Medal
  • 1986 Canadian International Prize for Freedom
  • 1986 Nobel Peace Prize nominee
  • 1986 International Democracy Award from the International Association of Political Consultants
  • 1987 Prize For Freedom Award from Liberal International
  • 1993 Special Peace Award from the Aurora Aragon Quezon Peace Awards Foundation and Concerned Women of the Philippines
  • 1994 One of 100 Women Who Shaped World History (by G.M. Rolka, Bluewood Books, San Francisco, CA)
  • 1995 Path to Peace Award
  • 1996 J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding from the U.S. Department of State
  • 1998 Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding
  • 1998 Pearl S. Buck Award
  • 1999 One of Time Magazine's 20 Most Influential Asians of the 20th Century
  • 2001 World Citizenship Award
  • 2005 David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Awards
  • 2005 One of the World's Elite Women Who Make a Difference by the International Women's Forum Hall of Fame
  • 2006 One of Time Magazine's 65 Asian Heroes
  • 2008 One of A Different View's 15 Champions of World Democracy
  • EWC Asia Pacific Community Building Award
  • Women's International Center International Leadership Living Legacy Award
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize
  • United Nations Development Fund for Women Noel Award for Political Leadership

Her reign as the 11th president of the Philippines was not smooth sailing. Seven coup attempts infected the country. These military insurgencies collectively impaired the Aquino government, even though it survived, it terrified investors from doing business in the Philippines. As a result, the economy slowly deteriorated.

The Aquino administration was also stricken with series of natural disasters The 1990 Luzon earthquake left almost 1,600 dead. The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo was the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century, killed around 300 people and destroyed agricultural lands in Central Luzon. The Tropical Storm Thelma (also known as Typhoon Uring) caused massive flooding in Ormoc City in November 1991, leaving around 6,000 dead in what was the deadliest typhoon in Philippine history.

It was during the term of Corazon Aquino when brownouts became prevalent and it was also during Aquino's term when MV Doña Paz sank, which killed more than 1,700 people and is considered the worst maritime disaster in Philippine history. The disaster occurred in December 1987.

After the end of her term in 1992, Aquino retired to private life but continued to play an active role in the political scene. She was a major player in the second EDSA Revolution which ousted President Joseph Estrada and led to the installation of the current president - Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

On March 24, 2008, Aquino was diagnosed with colon cancer. By July 2009, Aquino’s health condition became very critical and it was known that Aquino and her family had decided to end her chemotherapy sessions and other medical interventions. Yellow ribbons, her political symbol, where tied along light posts and street railings in major highways throughout the Philippines.

Filipinos hold hands as they held prayer rallies and healing masses for the former president. Once again, she proved to the world that she can unite the Filipinos.

Aquino peacefully died at the age of 76 on August 1, 2009, 3:18 a.m., at the Makati Medical Center.