mga kwento at haka-haka ni kakang pepe

Friday, May 26, 2006

Worth waiting for?

It is officially the start of the GSS (great singapore sale). Other than Christmas season, this is the time of the year when 23,000 retailers, not only the big boys of Orchard and Marina area, but heartland shops as well, slash prices up to 70% that's proven to attract even tourist to this synthetically alluring place. The 8-week conspiracy, which incidentally coincides with midyear school holiday, rang in $5B and 1.6M tourist last year. They expect to better that this year. Giving a high on an already buoyed economy.

I've been here for a decade and yet this sale doesn't really draw me out of my scrimping. Of course it is a different story when it comes to necessities or luxury items that I've been eyeing for quite some time. It's a trap going out on a sale. The pace is dizzying and the odds are, you will end up like a mindless mink grabbing things on impulse, specially with my wife and kids in tow.

You don't have to be liquid to really splurge. Plastic currency or credit cards are very much available. Having at least 5 seems to be a norm. Pwedeng kaskas muna, which is something we are trying to avoid as much as possible. I live with the mantra of using credit cards for convenience and not for credit. We keep track and set a reasonable cap on expenses when using plastics. Roll over payment is definitely out of the question.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Perfection is the natural consequence of eternity

Albeit there is always the fear of the unknowns and of the future, I have no qualm about growing old. I just hope that I would be given enough playing time by Almighty Coach to fullfil my destiny--whatever that is.

Not that my joints are squeaking and seem to require WD40 like a rusted hinge (nor my spare tire begins to manifest slowing down of metabolism, nor my muscles begins to sag like a laundry on a pole), in fact I never felt healthier. I can still **** like a stallion (remember Demi describing Robert in Indecent Proposal?) . It is just that gray hairs begin to unabashedly show here and there. But who cares anyway? Que sera sera !


After much deliberation and lobbying, lumabas na rin ang pinakakaasam-asam at pinakakaabangan-abangan kong promotion. It's long overdue btw, I should have had it months ago. I'm a step higher into the foodchain and much closer to pan. Resilience is one of my virtue and I know I can stand the heat. I just wish that ingrained dirt and soot in the system don't really rub on me.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cheers to you St. Arnould!

If you ardently believe that an apple a day keeps a doctor away, hear this: two glasses of beer a day promises eternal life. At least that's what the Hoegaarden brewer from Brussel, the beer capital of the world, claims when visited by the thirsty traveller.

I've been drinking beer since time immemorial (in moderation that is) but only few days back that I come to know that Brussel is the place to go if you're goddamned crazy about the beverage. Beer is literally the air that they breath in this face of the earth. Yeast is in the air and can be added to the beer by simply exposing the brew to the atmosphere. I wonder how it affects feminine hygiene?

The place boasts of 80 (brands or types?...I'm simply can't recall)! No other country, even those with far more breweries, has among its native styles of beer such diversity, individuality, idiosyncrasy and colour. Nor does any other country present beers so beautifully. Belgian brewers often use wired and corked Champagne bottles, and serve each beer in its own shape of glass, ranging from flutes to snifters and chalices. It is something of a Belgian speciality to bottle beers with a sediment of live yeast, so that they can be laid down to mature. This technique is usually indicated on the label by the phrase "re-fermented in the bottle".

They even have a patron saint for brewers, Saint Arnould. He was Bishop of Metz, a neighbouring place. During a cholera outbreak, he suggested drinking beer instead of water, preventing further spreading of the disease. St-Arnould's day is July 18. Remember to tip your mug to him on that day!

I remember working in Pinas where the ability to drink seems to be a requisite, at least for the company that I worked for. We had this chauvinistic, silly toast to liven up the crowd, especially when most were tipsy. Most often than not, bottoms up follows.

To the wound that never heals!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Halo-halo Espesyal

They come in all shapes and sizes, filling up almost every available space. Almost every domestic helper here in Singapore is expected to pay homage to Lucky Plaza during Sunday. That is if they're lucky enough to be given an off day. Most would probably hang around the place. A spillover crowd would be seen along the stretch of Orchard road. Others are probably having tryst at some place or another, most of which would probably illicit.

The whole place is a perfect pandemonium. The neverending stream of chattering blends into the air like the humming of the bees.

Everytime I visit the place at this particular day, I can't help but scan the faces. I can't help but think how they or their loveones are coping up with the distance. These are the mothers, wives, sisters or what-have-you of someone back home. This is their supreme sacrifice.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Cut Both Ways

Finally, juvenile welfare bill is now a law. It's long overdue anyway. Detaining minors with hardcore criminals is not a way to rehabilitate them.

This law will however embolden criminal minds to use minors as runners and hitmen. It is easier to cajole someone young and hungry to do stupid things once he or she knows that the stakes are low. I'm not sure if there is a law exponentially increasing the penalty for using minors as puppets for unlawful ways. There should be one.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Vesak Day

Jurong East If you cannot stand the heat, stay away from the kitchen hit the waves. Which exactly what we did yesterday, albeit an artificial one. BTW, yesterday happened to be Vesak day, celebrating the birth of Buddha and the 2550th anniversary of Buddhism. Buddhist makes the majority here which naturally makes it an official holiday.

It was a day worth celebrating. Yesterday was the fiesta of Nuestra SeƱora de los Desamparados in Santa Ana--the place in Manila where me and my wife grew up. It was also on this day, 18 years ago, that my wife gave me her sweetest "oo na nga, sabi".

Jurong East We really had a blast yesterday, specially the kids. Jurong Swimming pool is only a bus ride away about half an hour from our place. Entrance fee is a measly (considering the facilities) s$2 for adult and S$1 for children. Food is also not a problem as the place is just a spit away from a hawker centre. And surprise, surprise! We discovered that there is this stall selling cheap, yet damn good curry fish head and curry chicken. They are also selling Thai style fried bean curd which is heavenly!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The best way to a man's heart

Whoever said it's thru the stomach should calibrate the eyesight and aim a little lower. Dahil kung talagang totoo 'yon, matagal na siguro akong sumama sa nagtitinda ng prawn noodle na dinayo namin ni esmi kaninang lunch time.

Heto na yatang recipe ng River South (Hoe Nam) ang pinakamasap na pork rib prawn noodle na natikman ko dito sa Sg. Sa pagkakaalam ko, 1971 pa itong kainan na ito. Sekwet daw ang recipe kaya kahit na anong lakas nila, iisa lang ang branch nito na matatagpuan sa Tai Thong Cresent sa tapat ng Jackson Kopitiam sa may Machperson. They keep it within the family, ika nga.

Payo lang kapatid: kung plano mong kumain dito kapag lunchtime, agahan mo.

Mabalik tayo sa koneksyon ng puson at sikmura. Ano nga ba? Wala yata. Pero good brownie points kung masarap magluto si kumander.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Rough Trade

Minsan sumasagi sa isipan ko kung heto ba talaga ang trabahong gusto ko (na para bang may choice ako). Hindi sa ayaw ko sa career ko. In fact, it's fulfilling in more ways than one. Neither that I feel I'm a square peg in a round hole. On the contrary, kakapalan ko na, I know I'm born to be one.

Okay din naman ang pagiging engineer. Tama lang ang sweldo para sa disenteng pamumuhay na may konting luho. In a way glamorous din sya. Para kang nasa pedestal kapag may mga problemang nagagawan ng remedyo. We are the ones splitting the hair and peeling up the onion ika nga kapag may mga issue. But do we really make a difference? Siguro.

Napanood ko yung Rough Trade segment ng Nat Geo tungkol sa mga sperm donors sa Europe. Langya, the guys are earning 35k euro a year. Very 'noble' ang dating, a ticket to immortality. Though implied, I know they do the harvesting DIY. If they can find more creative ways to extract it, malamang mag-impake na ako. ;p

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Election Day

A couple of weeks back the parliament was dissolved and the stage was set for today's election. After a week, though the walkover in favour of the ruling party failed to regain instant majority during nomination which was always almost the case, it is still is considerable. About a week was set for the campaign. Astonishing! Election campaigning seems to be the air that every damn politicians in Pinas is breathing. At any rate, the ruling party will still be in power, no question about that. It's only a question of how big is that majority. With last quarter's growth of 10%, considering the affluence of Singapore, the economy is upbeat. Unemployment is at its record low.

Mudslinging and wild accusations, which is so fcuk!%& common in Pinas, is in check here. At one time one group of the opposition tried to do this type of thirdworld politicking but was quickly reminded that unless they can prove it, he might as well stick with real issues. Unless you really have a beef that you can prove, legally that is and not thru publicity, you cannot go around with wild allegations here in Singapore. They will surely haul your ass to court and end up most probably with only the shirt on your back. Libel case will burn your house to the ground.

Votes will be cast until 8pm and the count would practically be over by 10pm, not considering overseas votes. With a good margin that makes overseas vote worthless, the result will be out by dawn.

Tang'na! Sa lupain ng ginto't bulaklak, counting votes is for the books. And even though it takes eternity, everyone is expected to question the result!

Monday, May 01, 2006

They learn much more and I'll never know

Examination week is a stressful season here in Singapore not only for children but moreso for parents. I promised myself that though I want my children to be the best that they can be, I won't rob them of their childhood and go easy on them. But whether I like it or not, I have to tweak that a bit. The future is so competitive and I know that to give them a good fighting chance to really succeed, I have to be involve and push them harder to realize their potentials. Not that there's little between their ears, in fact my kids are above average. Something that they inherited from me makes me real proud.

A colleague sent me an email containing quotes from some known personality to remind us that it's just a means to an end.

As parents, let's be a good coach:

"A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are."
--Ara Parasheghian

When your child face a difficult exam :

"Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."
--Michael Jordan

Whatever the end results are :

"The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you the world is transformed."
--Jiddu Krishnamurti