Monday, October 11, 2010

A Minute for Goodwill

While on my way home from work this afternoon, I decided to pass by the ATM counters inside the Eunos MRT station to get me some money. There were two long lines of people trying to do the same, and being it the rush hour we were all naturally just dead tired from work and agitating to go home and hit the bed. But an Indian guy was noticeably more agitated than everyone else, sweating profusely when in fact the airconditioning inside the counters was on full blast.

The man was standing in line right beside me, queueing nervously along the crowded counter next to mine. When it was his turn at the counter, he turned to me and said, "brother, could you kindly help me get some money, I do not know how to do it."

It dawned on me that the guy doesn't know how to read. He knows how to push his digits against the keys but he knows nothing about what's written flashing towards him on the screen. He said he only needed $20. I thought, well, what robber would get only 20 from a stolen ATM, when the least amount on the option says $50. He can very well just push that if he was only trying his luck! So I helped him through it, but let him key in his PIN, which I guess he just memorized by repeatedly doing (as opposed to actually reading and getting familiar with the figures themselves). The poor guy's PIN was 123456.

He turned around and said thank you after getting his cash, finally relieved of his ordeal.

I ended my long day tired but smiling, knowing there is some stranger out there thankful for a gesture that took me less than a minute to do.

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Eating Well

Food here is nothing less than excellent. That, together with total lack of any regular  exercise, is exactly the reason why I gained a few inches on my waist. I better start running again, coz I know I wouldn't be able to run away from these!

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Three and a Half Weeks

It's been almost a month since I hopped on a plane from Manila to work here in Singapore. It was on my yearly wish list, but I never really thought I'll actually get a job here, much more to settle down and live here, but here I am now trying to adjust to a life in a mega-city known for efficiency and plenty.Of course there are moments when I miss home, the chaos of Manila,chicharon and adobo and Lucky Me Instant Pancit Canton, and my previous life of not constantly bothering to check if I have clean clothes to wear, or remember if I have ironed out dress shirts to make myself look at least decent amongst a designer wearing crowd each morning. Right here I must do everything on my own, all the way down from buying my own food to doing my laundry weekly. But it's a small price to pay for all the amazing things I've seen thus far, the warm and friendly people I've been meeting, and the confidence that only working in a global environment can provide. I've wanted this moment to happen to me, and now I am actually living it. I know that no matter what happens, this was one plane ride I'm glad I took and didn't miss.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Taking Risks

It's been more than a month since I've written anything on here. Although there's plenty of things to talk about, the drive to blog just wasn't there. There were moments when I didn't even want to log-in. I didn't even write about my birthday, or even the disappointment I felt not getting a job I thought I wanted to do back in Makati. I needed a jolt, some kind of push to get me writing about stuff again.

Something happened the past three weeks that gave me a big enough reason to start running my fingers over the laptop keys.

First, and most important of all, is that I'm able to sleep at night for at least a week straight without fail. Now this may sound inconsequential to some, but for someone like me who worked the graveyard shift for the past 7 years it is a HUGE change.

And now talking about change, my life completely turned upside down in a fast whirl of events within those three weeks too! One evening in Manila I was surfing the web and got reminded of a friend who works for this certain company. I went to their website and saw a job posting abroad that is in line with what I currently do. I decided to give it a go. I was prepared to risk and gamble because I felt like I needed to.

Within a week they were interviewing me over the phone. The next week I was flying in for a hectic day seeing me do a panel interview and a training demo, and only last week I got official confirmation that I got the job, got approved for an employment pass (in just half a day!), resigned from my old job and needed to fly back immediately. Tomorrow I'll start with my new job, officially become an OFW, and become part of the big professional Filipino work force in Singapore.

I'm excited about this change alright, I'm excited more about expanding my horizon. I remember just a few weeks back I was a defeated soul back in Manila, sulking about not doing enough to nail what seemed back then was my one great chance to get out of the work-related rut I was in. I felt like I was stagnating, not learning anything new, not looking forward to being at my desk of 5 1/2 years. And now in a fantastical stroke of good luck, I am here starting a life that seems too bright to be true. And I am positive it will only get better. Truly only through risking will one know what fate has got in store.

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Life That I Have by Leo Marks

The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours

The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours. --Leo Marks

I was watching CNN's report on Chelsea Clinton's wedding when they mentioned that the bride and groom recited this poem to one another. A lakeside wedding, with the sun setting at a beautiful country estate, to the person you've known for 17 long years...i think it's just absolutely sweet.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Seen Around the Metro: Cold, Yummy Things

Guess what my favorite is. 

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My Two Seconds of Fame

So I watching TV at our house in Pampanga last Sunday when I started getting phone calls from people saying they saw me on TV. All I could do was let out a nervous giggle. Unfortunately for me I missed that segment. But then a friend of mine had the brilliant idea of downloading the file from god knows where so they could post it on YouTube. Good thing they didn't yet. I'm getting ahead of them and posting MY cameo here, haha! I'm throwing in a picture of me with Coach Rio for good measure!

With Coach Rio dela Cruz after the Independence Day Run. 

Find me on the video!

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Travelog Series: Macau June 2010

We originally intended to just fly to Macau and explore the place. But then after reading more about it, we found out that a day is actually enough if one's not really intending to spend a fortune casino-hopping. Told yah I'm a thrifty traveller! Spending doesn't appeal much to me. :)

It was actually a good decision to spend more time in Hong Kong than here. The casinos were spectacular sights, and we of course tried our luck inside one for good measure (I lost 120 pesos! ). But then after the rush of gambling fades, and the awe from looking up to all things made of shiny glass and colored concrete dissipates, one realizes that unfortunately, there are better places to visit than Macau. Either that or we went to the wrong places.

But of course there were highlights to this leg of our trip! Places not really on the guidebooks, not exactly mapped out on one of those booklets they hand out at the airport. We found those places, ironically, when we got lost.

Some of the more interesting things I saw, captured using my point and shoot camera.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Travelog Series: Hong Kong June 2010

Hong Kong was never really a place I was excited to see. I’ve always thought of it as just a huge city with nothing really much to offer but expensive shopping and tall skyscrapers. I saw those alright, but then what I discovered was that there’s more to Hong Kong than the usual clichés. Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of stories about items going on sale for as much as 80% on a good season, but then I really am a thrifty traveler, and shopping doesn’t appeal much to me when I go visit a place. The most that I’ve shopped was when I went to Thailand, and even then I just bought a handful of trinkets and sweets to give away, an overpriced souvenir hat from a tribeswoman, and a nice yellow shirt that says “I conquered Chiang-mai” written in the unmistakable and wiggly Thai letters. 

So when my travel buddy Marie volunteered to book a flight for us to Macau, I bought in because of the cheap flight and the appeal of being away from work. I haven’t flown out of the country in a year and my first thought was that it’s going to be nice to just be at an airport again. I suggested we go to Hong Kong by ferry and check out the place as well.

Back Story: There’s something about airports that appeals to me. It’s my happy place. I remember being at the Frankfurt International several years back on my way to Brnik, alone and clueless and naturally petrified at the enormity of the place. I’ve been to Narita Airport in Japan for a trip to Tokyo prior to that, and that airport is intimidating, but nothing compares to the German behemoth.  There was traffic inside the freaking place! Golf cart-like vehicles full of old ladies plying all over its winding length, bicycles carrying airport personnel pass by at an almost regular interval. I will never forget the sight of an Emirates Airline flight crew walking the hall to their gate, and thought I was watching movie stars in crisp uniforms. Those gals (and the pilot) were all just gorgeous. A fleet of gigantic 747’s just right outside the window, duty free shops that looked more like enormous shopping centers, people of every possible nationality milling about, probably as amazed as I was of the place. Imagine a 23 year old from the third world, being thrust into such a scene. It was for me, such a magical, and needless to say, unforgettable time.  Thus my love affair with airports began.  

I was blown away by this mega city. I love it that it is a place that effortlessly blends both old and new. Combining tradition with technology, and old school beliefs with a futuristic outlook towards everything.  It is cosmopolitan in every sense of the word, but then it is also old world, the charm of its history highlighted more against shiny metal and glass towers as high as the eyes can see. You get it not just in some designated corner of the city (think Manila’s Binondo), but you feel this vibe in just about every place you go and visit. 

Hong Kong under my camera's eye pales in comparison to actually being there experiencing the thrill yourself. Here's but a tiny fraction of the things I've seen.

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