Saturday, 18 April 2009

The early struggles [segment of my journey]

“I used to have this obsession to be different, that I asked myself what should I be dreaming for when most dreams are typical…stereotypicalJ hence I wandered around quite a lot throughout my life, looking for my unique journey…taking on a dream that can only be mine…”

From third year high school towards graduation year, I was on my personal downward spiral...a rebel to almost everything but keeping it on my own. I am even questioning the relevance of the information being pumped into my tired brain :-) but perhaps I am just tired from playing video games and reading komiks with the illusions these stimulateL

After graduation, my family is simply running out of funds to further finance my studies, nevertheless I took the courage to try PBMIT engineering. However, even subjects that are supposed to be easy suddenly cannot be absorbed by my rebellious mind. With all these and the financial pressure, I succumbed and started hunting for a job straight into summer.

How happy I was to land my first job that sounds good to me, besting other applicants to become the "maintenance boy" of Centropark, Rizal Avenue Batangas city. Then reality sets in, my salary is not even enough to sustain myself, I worked 12 hours for around 2PHP per hour! The salesladies are nice and mostly pretty, but no thanks the generator is too huge for me to start-up for every brownout so prevalent those days, worst time was when that beast of a gen-set cut the forefinger of the company driver who was once trying to help me out; what a way to give me such a phobiaL...the boxes are too heavy to carry to the stockroom up the stairs for the wage that cannot even buy me a good lunch from a turo-turo. I wonder how it can be for my colleague on the other store who plans to marry her beautiful saleslady, I kept wondering...

Back to my hometown after my disappointing first city job, I found myself back to the farmworks, and it's worse because I am cursed for having learned to compute how much I am earning for every blisters on my palms, from those liters of sweat under the charring sunlight and the shivers while gathering coconuts to save from tropical rain kept echoing within my brain those of my father's words when he was about to bring me to Batangas for High School education, I am not made for the farm...too lousy to be a farmer and he thinks I am bright enough for the pen.

After that summer of 1991, there I was back to Batangas city for another try, looking for a job to support the studies on what I have left from first year of engineering. Jollibee that has become very popular and offers quite a glamorous part time job those days for teeners opened a branch in Batangas. Wow, the queue of the handsome and beautiful teenagers among ordinary boys like me in Batangas City gymnasium took me 3 hours to get my interview, 10 seconds and it's done. I knew I was too ordinary for it. They never called me.

I ended up selling dummy filter screens for TV, to block the radiation, the proprietor said. I was too naive, I did sell some for the experience and for the money and ehem, I realized I grew tall enough to have my first GF:-) A nice
lady 5 years my senior who’s among the top-sellers of the company, but that's another story, this one's for the struggles:-) That segment brought my wandering soul around town. Then I realized we were duping people and it was painful I was duped too. Nothing that PVC screens can do against radiation. We were selling it for too much promises and price just to remove the glare. I knew I have to quit it.

First batch of Jollibee part timers are about to "endo" and there's Smokeys right across the street looking for service crews. I filled up two bio-data templates I bought from Formosa...I can be luckier this time, with enough height and I have learned to smile nicely as salesman on my previous job. Mrs. Laurel of Smokeys and Jollibee managers took turns to interview me...aha, looks like I am having my revenge this time because both offered me the job. Jollibee compensation and glamour is way better, it was too good an offer then to pass-on for a pride.

The pay from Jollibee part time work was enough to pay for my completion of those subjects I dropped as PBMIT freshman. That was my first time as well to achieve something from work. I was awarded the best dining service crew of 1991! But the managers were disappointed on the rarity of my smiles to the customers; the new store manager ended my contract as they do for most working students. The good thing was into the summer of 1992, I was able to achieve my regular status in general engineering and with me is the wonderful Jollibee work experience of earning enough for myself and my education...and for a few bottles of beer tooJ

The next school year of 1992, my parents who were may have been encouraged by my efforts decided to shoulder the cost on my pursuit of engineering degree against the tremendous odds of family struggles. I was a full time student again, and found out it feels good to be able to make my own Physics formula and get the same answer, played dare game with my friend on technical writing grade and the most memorable was the applause I got on my presentation of Rizal’s virtuesJ

But on the side, I got hooked to another evil that is gambling. It started from some beginners’ luck that put a couple of hundred pesos in my wallet, and nice treats at Wanam noodle-house for my friends. It ended when I started losing big and realizing I was gambling with my father’s blood and sweat in the livestock trading business at Padre Garcia. I am so glad I was able to stop completely, the first time I swore to do so.

However, even if I was able to pass all the subjects to complete General engineering, my motivation remained quite low. When I was about to start on my third year to become a mechanical engineer, my neighbour told me about job openings at Purefoods Flourmill. Nonchalantly, I sent my resume and oh wow, they called me for an interview to work in the laboratory. I knew it’s a serious job opportunity hence on the way for the interview; I tried to memorize as many charming lines as possible on why I should get the job. The long winding rough road from Batangas city to Mabini Purefoods plant went on in a snap, my mind focusing on what to say to the laboratory manager. For having spent quite a lot of time reading books my sister bought from MV Doulus, I realized my verbal reasoning improved quite a lot that I passed the exams, made the interview and landed the job. I know it’s another chapter on my journey towards my still unknown dreams then. My self confidence started to build-up and so I thought…but it was not for long.

I took on the challenge to work all night and attend classes from morning till noon. I was not good enough for it…my mind cannot pick-up anything and I fell asleep in Thermodynamics class once. The choice has to be made and I took a simple logic “I am studying to get a job, but I already have one so why bother? I know of some folks who finished school but cannot get the job I have now”. I made a fateful decision to drop all my subjects and then that was the time when school have seen the last of meL

But I realized the obsession to be different remained within me despite having a decent job in Purefoods. Where can I get my adventure, the extra-ordinary one?
I still cannot fully comprehend what happened to me one day. I have just received my full half month wage the other day. In my head, I am aware of a lot of problems I just cannot solve; at that moment nothing seems to be enough for me. Having worked for two shifts the previous day, I woke up to realize I am late for work, the first time ever in my several months in Purefoods. I felt so discouraged and then I made another more than silly decision; I am not coming for work, I will just ride any ride I can find anywhere, go wherever I may end up to. I ended up way too far, too far and deep into the Bontoc mountains, searching for my adventure, my unique journey my enlightenment, I was waiting for a miracle to come into my soul. Nothing of those came but my sick father who went after me, looking for his son who is lost and nowhere to be found. He and my uncle found me in Baguio when I am also about to go home. I am amazed to my fathers’ instinct knowing where to look for me.

Back into my senses, at least I thought so I reported for work in Purefoods. That was after five days of AWOL which was too much for the manager. My reasons were too dumb for any amount of compassion and I got suspended for one week. How ironic that I was forced to stay away from work for staying away from itJ I was fired after a round of review by the HR vice presidentL. That was despite the petition from my supervisors, a letter from all of them for the manager to give me a chance to prove I have learned my lesson. Nevertheless, I am forever grateful to them for expressing I was appreciated in spite of my foolishness.

Now that I am jobless again and no motivation to go back to school, back to farm works again for a while with the same problems as before. I took another short stint at Jollibee after the summer on a re-contract that I was not able to finish due to an opportunity offered by my sister who got a connection in Lipa city government.

To be continued...

Friday, 10 April 2009

Random thoughts...

We are all good men, either waiting to recognize goodness in ourselves or waiting for our turn to do good deeds, all our evils end when we begin to understand.

Sometimes, errors might be inevitable, but denial is...

“The best decision that can be made is when you can afford it’s failure”

“When you have allocated anything into failure, the best result is when you can count it as a profit of success”

“Anything impossible can only mean it’s possible otherwise simply unnecessary”

I have reached an age to realize, I cannot hate anyone forever that whenever hate sets in it's a queue to find ways how to transform it unto affection until it's done. I hope the other party is willing to help me on it...

Indeed the world is heaven or hell, it's up to your heart how you see it.

Let me take from a song this wonderful phrase "I see heaven in your eyes"; I should say it can only be when your heart must be residing in paradise.

Albert Einstein said:"Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid. Human beings are incredibly slow, inaccurate, and brilliant. Together they are powerful beyond imagination."...then it can be said, when computers start to act like humans and humans like computers, together they are the most destructive combination.

The power of L, makes my wife my life, fight becomes light, yearning is learning, diving is living, posing is losing, beast is least, Neon is Leon....

Facts of life, not all can be rich, the world will not survive if all lives on lots of money, the world of the wealthy is indeed an exclusive club for a small percentage of the population, but the world of happiness in the shared and personal paradise got no restriction...

If I desire a penny and got a dollar, I am rich! Being poor is the other way around. Furthermore, anyone who envy Bill Gates and his likes are of one kind...they are all poor, then some are even worst than beggars even if they drive a Ferrari...and yes I have seen richness in beggar's eyes on a drop of a coin...

God has a lot of tremendously exciting ways to talk to peoples of the world and surely not through the preachers...

Success is friendly to anyone who keep eyes on the privileges while dedicating the whole of oneself on the responsibilities...

Maturity is driven by wisdom which means understanding beyond the usual meanings...The fact that you ask a lot of questions is a sign of a healthy mind, however frustration about anything not well understood clearly signifies that gaining wisdom and enlightenment is still underway...

Genius- the one who's aware of all he does not know and knows how to find knowledge he does not have yet.

Stupid- Pretending to know everything is the worst form of stupidity in this world

Maturity is driven by wisdom which means understanding beyond the usual meanings...

I have a bad memory, but I trust my heart will remind me...

Work cannot take away life from us when we do not take away life from work.

Never look too far it will make you blind, when seeing too much is just like seeing nothing in the dark... Well I should say, do not think about forever, it'll make you lose your life. Son live your life, live it today as if each day is a building block, you cannot miss one it will leave a gap.... Son live your life...light is in your heart, you know what dampens it so put a stop... If you make a choice...I do not say a way to get at it...because it's a choice and it's yours, keep it yours and make it happen no matter what's on the outside... Son live your life...and see you somewhere, let's talk about our times...into the fading endless cycle of life in love.

Power, knowledge, charm...these attributes are not useful by default, in fact on the contrary these tend to be harmful unless you carry and manage these well.

When there's no more between race and gender, religion fanatics dance a boring routine, nationalism and idealism look like a childish posture, the challenges of the modern time far too complex to counter...speeds up life towards the limit, creating wider gap from generation to generation...then when it settles down...what is next...

Someone else mistake is never an excuse to make your own, in fact on the contrary it's your chance to get it right

When one look back at history, it is not the ideology after all, it's how people make it work...

It's not the weather, it's the weathered!Standardization and control must never hamper flexibility, creativity and evolution!

Monday, 26 January 2009

The common man and the global economic crisis

Economic management is a simple thing made too complicated. In reality it is nothing more than keeping a great balance in producing and spending. The classic quadrant of high and low for producing and spending is the simplest tool on which lies the foundation of economic analysis. On a simple thinking, high production and low spending is the best form of economic stability for an economic unit, however putting all the units together we must realize that it must all boil down to the great balance of proportionate production and spending that must be managed in seasons. For one unit, indeed high production and low spending is preferrable but in totality high and high ratio makes a good economy and low / low is the one we call economic depression. Movement from one to another is what we call the downward and upward spiral. Plain and simple, in that way we understand what is happening.

The point of argument is that one should not have so much headache to think why the economy is currently in trouble and what kind of trouble we currently have in this height of technological and industrialization age. It can be simply put that we have reached the point we were too busy producing things that has become mostly not desirable for the needs of the time. When that happened, we began to consume less of those things we spent much to produce that the return of funds to produce more started to dwindle. Economic units big and small, enormous or tiny that failed to detect this trend early enough were doomed to bankruptcy.

Indeed the start of this kind of downward spiral is when collective production becomes more than spending in totality for a sustained period. This is quite a contrary to the other form that our ability to produce or our production fell down so low driving us to shortages. In this particular case, the tyrannical media catching the initial signs advertises the doom to come for the sake of running a sensational story line becomes the assurance that the downward spiral can be sustained for real. This is simply because sounding the alarm and making a loud call for austerity in all and even the most unreasonable form causes less spending while the natural instinct is to produce more, thinking it will save the future. Then collapses of individual economic units ensues, systematically pressing down side by side the collective ability to produce and desire to spend until we get to the point of low / low ratio. To fight back, the only way is to start spending more to encourage producing more in healthy exchange until we get to the point we are comfortable again towards the high / high ratio then we go back to the better problem of distributing the fruits of prosperity which is by the way a constant in the ways of the world.

Certainly, it's a great thing to analyze because history tells us it is inevitable. Understanding can make us to endure because we all know that systematic fall can easily go back to systematic rise and the modern time when we can easily share information can make it less stressful provided not a sector, say a country is too foolish to panic and draw us all into chaos, let us say another world war to fight for resources we thought running out due to little faith to law of abundance.

Availability of information is the strongest weapon and we are in the time when it can be easily shared, with due caution that it can also be easily distorted. Knowing which production must be lowered and which must be bolstered while on the otherhand promoting more spending rather than to stash and hide while managing the transitions in between can get us through this threat with historic ease and wonderful feats...but at the end of the day it has to be said - if and only if we are worthy enough...

To be continued.....