mga kwento at haka-haka ni kakang pepe

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Week That Was

Hail to the king!

Monday was my eldest son's 10th birthday. I took a half day off to prepare a little something for the family to share and (hopefully) made him feel pretty special. Arthur somehow outgrown certain type of toys so I just got him the "Counter Strike: Condition Zero" computer game (not the pirated one, btw) that he drooled for and keeps him occupied this past few days.

I took every opportunity on that day to tell him how much we really love him, hugs and kisses were aplenty. For the upteenth time, I explained to him the burden of being the eldest and hopefully, he takes it more of a blessing rather than a curse. He is well aware that the cudgel is his.

Working girls ulit...

Monday was also my wife's first day on her new found job after a hiatus of about two months. If you frequent my blog, you should have known that she was retrenched 'coz of petty office politics last year. Indeed, windows are opened once a door closes. It was the catalyst to this blessing. She was able to get the same salary package, a 5 day week in a family run accounting firm relatively devoid of corporate politics and assholes. She also considers it a "fringe benefit" that her office is just a 10 minute walk from mine which allow us to have lunch together. On our "first lunch", we pigged out on my favorite fish head curry that is really to die for. She's hooked.

We had some misunderstandings mid of the week but since there's no condition, circumstance or problem that love cannot solve, ruffled feathers were stroked and soothed easily. Actually, it was more than ruffled feathers that were stroked and soothed..;)

Our hearts and prayers are with you...

On a poignant note, the father of my kumpareng Jong left us to be with our creator. I hope you find solace and peace on this very difficult time. I'm not sure if it fits, but since it was your birthday yesterday, happy birthday na rin parekoy.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Instant Noodle

Lazy sunday, my usual sunday...

Instant noodles na galing pang Pinas ang inalmusal ko, Lucky Me La Paz Batchoy to be precise. Although nag-improve na ng konti ang buhay namin, hindi pa rin namin inabandona ang pagkain ng instant noodles paminsan-minsan. As a matter of fact, parati kami may imbak at sa tuwing uuwi kami ng Pinas, siguradong may bitbit kami nito pabalik sa Singapore.

Instant noodle ang sinasabing de facto national food ng Pinas. Medyo nakakainsulto lang kapag sa bibig ng banyaga nanggagaling, pero ito talaga ang realidad. Mataas na kasi ang poverty rate sa atin kaya naging patok ang instant noodles, na bukod sa mura at malinamnam ay puwede pang pang-ulam. Dehins na mahalaga kung nutritional ba o hindi, sapat ng malamanan ang mga kumakalam na sikmura.

Target daw ni GMA na kalahatiin ang poverty rate ng Pinas before the end of her term. Pero sa going rate ng fertility ng Pinas, in absolute value, mas marami ang tirik ang mata by that time.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Lateral Attrition Act

This new ratified act is expected to add teeth in the fight against graft and corruption in revenue-collectiong agencies, particularly the Bureau of Custom and Bureau of Internal Revenue. In a nutshell, it states that personnel of these agencies may be sanctioned administratively if it falls by 7.5% of the target. Au contraire, they will get a windfall if they exceed the target by 30%.

I'm skeptical...

These brigands are not even covered by salary standardization, which means they get a relatively higher salary than other civil servants. Is it cunning to dangle this carrot just to motivate them to do their work properly? My golly, they are already paid to do this!

Okay, let's give it the benefit of the dumb and say that it will do the trick for these marauder, but who will set the tax collection target and make sure they challenging yet realistic enough? It might only legalize graft and corruption. Who will be entitled to share from the excess collection? Will this include the BIR commissioner and other top officials of the bureau? This may give rise to conflict of interest.

I honestly believe that most of these people are well-meaning. But the system of these revenue-generating agencies is rotten to the core that you want have a chance to be the good guy. This postulate can easily be validated by getting any corrupt official, say someone from custom, to work in another country like Singapore where a good system is in place. I bet you my balls, this guy will surely toe the line, else, calaboose and hefty penalty is in the offing.

Why not attack the root cause, in this case the system? Get someone, preferrably a consultant from the outside, that will put the system in a microscope. It's a daunting endeavour to try to look at the system and revamp it as a whole. The system should be broken down, for the purpose of analysis, into its component where it is easier to disect. In engineering principle, we call it "process mapping". Make the review dynamic and should be looked at every 2 or more years, or as necessary for fine tuning.

"Carrot and stick" approach is one way to enhance these agencies, but a robust system must be in place.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

For Better or For Worse, But Not For Good

"Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life God has given you in this world. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your all your earthly toil" --- Ecclesiastes 9:9

Nakita ko yung pasage na 'to sa Daily Scripture sidebar ko at hindi ko naiwasang di pagmuni-munian. Double-edged and somewhat ironic kasi ang dating n'ya. Parang nanunuya na parang uplifting. Sabagay, medyo wretched ang mood ng Ecclesiastes, aasa pa ba?! Bakit nga ba ganoon?

Kung si esmi ang premyo ko sa pakikibaka ko sa mundane existence ko, does it go without saying na ako rin ang premyo n'ya? Knowing na paborable sa lalaki ang society, specially during the olden times, this may not be the case sa context ng passage.

Nung isang gabi nga pala na-feature sa Rated K ni Korina Sanchez yung lalaking may tatlong asawa. Amazing din naman! Hindi lang magkakakilala yung tatlo, naging magkakaibigan pa. Ibig bang sabihin nito na mas paborable sya ng nasa taas? Nakatatlong reward sya, ano?!

But seriously, and I've been telling my wife about it, that I cannot visualize myself without her. Siguro nga, totoong very much bearable ang buhay ko dahil sa kanya at sa mga bata. Naging meaningful, ika nga.

Minsan napag-uusapan namin kung hindi s'ya ang napangasawa ko, sino kaya o nasaan kaya ako ngayon? Minsan din naitanong n'ya sa akin kung mag-aasawa raw ba ulit ako kapag nauna s'ya (knock on wood..tok tok!). Sabi ko hindi na, I've learned my lesson well (sabay tawa).

Of course, alam nyang biro lang yon....

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Mind Your Own Business and Scratch Your Own Galis

As usual, I was again late for my lunch. I was in the thick of my engineering evaluation and also had to wait for lunch buddy, Danny. I went back to my cubicle to get rid of my "cleanroom" uniforms and change to my street shoes.


Some of the guys here chose to have packed lunch and decided to have my cubicle as their picnic ground. It certainly left that spicy pungent aroma that hovered for few hours and loathly made everything to smell the same, including me. Wince. Anyway, there's nothing much I can do about it (except to blog) but I'm hoping, though improbable, that they will ban eating in office cublicles. It wouldn't be also wise to tell them off. Firstly, that office cubicle is not exclusive to me, I'm sharing it with 3 of my colleagues. Secondly, it might create unnecessary friction that wouldn't be beneficial at all. And thirdly, I definitely can live with the discomfort.

Me and my buddy Danny (Pinoy rin sya) don’t usually take our lunch with our (chinese) colleagues. Other than we are not usually amenable to their choice of place and food, we prefer our flexible lunch time. It's also annoying that they usually chitchat in their own dialects which just alienate us. It suits us fine to keep our distance, during lunch that is.

Those "picnickers" didn't ask me to join them for lunch at all. Honestly, I wasn't really offended, just can't help to compare it vis-a-vis with our very own culture. Here, it's to each his own. For us Pinoy, no matter what we are munching, it's penultimate to mortal sin not to offer it.

The same is apparent between neighbours. Unless your house is on fire, or stinking because you stop breathing and is on the late stage of decomposure, it's rarely that your next-door will knock on you. Distressingly, they might get a third party to do this, usually the police. The most of the rub that you can get is the casual "hi" or "hello" inside the lift (elevator) or the lift lobby.

I long for the warmth of Pinas!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Typically Tropical Weekend

Nung sabado, just right after breakfast, naligo kami ng mga bata sa pool. Syempre pa, tuwang-tuwa ang mga tsikiting ko. I'm determined to make their childhood memorable and fun, with me in the picture, as much as I can. Quality and quantity time ika nga...

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Looking at the Bright Side

Lately, l had this sinking feeling that depression, or what I thought it to be was getting the better of me. For me it is a cycle, though not clinical in nature to require professional help, that I have to deal with once in while. I guess it was compounded by the fact that I'm getting bored living and working my @ss off here in Singapore, feeling like a square peg in a round hole. I just don't fit in, or so it seems. Maybe it was the post holiday sydrome, or the middle age sydrome (technically I'm still in my youth if you go by the definition that youth is up to 35), or a combination of one, two or more factors.

But if I really take stock of my life, it's far from the quagmire that I'm feeling or trying to portray. I'm in good health, save for my allergic rhinitis and hearing problem (I'm failing on high frequencies) which I came to know only during a routine executive medical check up last year. I guess it’s an occupational hazard spending donkey years with industrial machines that belch high frequency alarms that will drive you nuts. I have a relatively good (paying) job more than enough to put food on the table, a loving and charming wife, three beautiful kids (they're quite a handful,btw). Madrama lang siguro ako minsan.

Anyway, I'm picking up the pieces recently and promised myself to look at the bright side. With recent tragedies, you can really see how precarious life is and if I delve to much feeling sorry for myself over trivial things, real or imagined, I may not have enough time to be a better person that I'm trying to be, to show affection to all those that I love and to enjoy life to the fullest.

A good dose of positive thinking and prayers really do wonders!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Matriarch...Kwentong Pinas

Nanay, Abby and me
This is my beloved mother (with me and Abby), my Nanay Choring. She is one of the reasons I miss being home. The seven of us are all grown up (the youngest being 33) but she is still our primary source of wisdom and strength. Something she rightfully earned with hardwork, love and dedication.

Simplicity and frugal living best describe her way of life. I asked her what she wanted as pasabulong, guess what she requested...dried seed ng bell pepper. Binisita n'ya kasi kami rito last June and was delighted to see those bell pepper. Tatanim n'ya raw....hehehe!

I used to snuggle with her (and eat whatever she cooks) everytime we come home and usually have that nirvana a baby in her arms!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Babibee...Kwentong Pinas

Jollibee with Abby, Alex and Sallie
Pinoy blood really run in my kids veins, or rather in their taste buds. The whole time we were in Pinas, I loss count of the times we visited Jollibee. I know that there were also countless times, with their doting tito's and tita's, they absconded just to have their fill and for that, I'm very much thankful to all my siblings. Not that I saved few bucks (eating out is really not that painful on the purse in Pinas) but for the love and attention they showered my kids with. It would have been sweeter if Jolibee didn't delist my all-time favorite on their spread, the Aloha (remember the burger with a slice of pineapple and bits of bacon?).

This picture was taken during Abby and Alex birthday celebration on our second day in Pinas. Thanks to my Ate Dhea for taking care of the logistics . Dispensa to all my kumare's and kumpare's for not letting them know, it was a haphazard event. So much for the alibi, I'm still indebted to all of you. Forgive me for the time being, babawi na lang ako (gasgas na yata ito...hahaha!).

The party was hillariously fun, the kids really loved it! It was capped with me dirty dancing with the Jollibe mascot, can you believe that!

Monday, January 03, 2005

Kamag-aral kita lamang ng unang pasukan, magkatabi pa tayo ng ating upuan...

How time flies....

Parang fresh na fresh pa sa akin ang mga panahon na nag-aaral ako, ngunit heto't dalawa na ang nasa elementarya ko. Talaga yatang di na maawat ang pagtanda ko tropa.

First day ng klase dito sa Singapore ngayon. Primary 1 na si Alex, samantalang si Arthur naman, primary 4 na. Ilang panahon na lang at binata na ang mga kumag na ito.

As usual, very much involve ako sa pag-aaral ng mga anak ko. I'm making sure that they are well prepared for school. Good education ang legacy na gusto kong iwanan sa kanila kaya I make sure that I play my part well. Isa nga 'to sa mga dahilan kaya di ko maiwan-iwanan ang bansang ito. Alam kong I'm giving them a headstart kung dito sila makakapag-aral. In fairness sa bansang ito, na boring maganda ang quality of education dito at hindi kamahalan. Kung sa atin ay itinaas na sa 65 ang class size, dito naman ay tinatarget nila ang less than 30 at talaga namang mapapataas ang kilay mo sa facilities nila. Nagkalat lang sa canteen at sa mga shaded area ang mga computers with internet access na pwedeng gamitin ng mga studyante.