The story of the feather pillow

 

I have been longing to tell this story that I heard from the previous parish priest in Manggahan, Cavite. And now is just the perfect time.

There once was woman who approached a priest and said, “Father, I need to confess about having spread gossips about my friend. What should I do?” The priest then said, “Go grab a feather pillow, climb up to the belfry’s peak, tear the pillow and spread all of its content and go right back here.” 

The woman surprised about the priest’s weird instruction, still proceeded anxiously and went to grab a feather pillow and followed just as told by the priest. After a short while, panting heavily after running up and right back down, she happily told the priest, “Father, it’s all done, just like you have said. Now what?”

Smiling, the priest then said, “Go out of the church and gather every feather that came out of the pillow.” The woman’s eyes widened in disbelief and blurted, “But father, that is just impossible, some of the feathers were blown by the wind so far from the belfry and so far away from the church’s ground. I just can’t collect every feather even if I wanted to.”

Miss, that’s exactly the same thing you did when you spread the gossips about your friend. No matter how you try getting everything back, you just can’t do enough to recall what has been said”, the priest simply replied back. The woman shook and bowed her head in regret.

I can very well relate to this story especially during the time when I was one of the board members of our village. As much as I’d like to unify the eering officers, I just cannot. So much have been said already, unfortunately, not to the concerned person but to other people in the village. This made one issue which may have been resolved if timely discussed among the people involved. Unfortunately, it became one that cannot be fixed anymore as each of those who have heard about it re-told the story to others as well but this time most likely with a twist; it’s either more or less of the original story thus complicating everything in the process.

Getting hopeless and fed up, I finally decided to quit. But sadly, it didn’t stop there. Until now I am affected. I hate to think about it, but most likely, I’m also a victim of loose tongues and idle minds. Bad. Very bad. I don’t know now, what I’ll do next, but we’ll soon see. 

***

This story is also applicable to the current hot topic in Philippine media – the Hayden Kho/Katrina Halili sex video scandal. It’s a pity, but the video has spread rapidly, thanks to the producers of these pirated copies. This is one hopeless case. Even if our law enforcement agencies, the OMB (Optical Media Board) and our beloved Congress gets to round up every bit of copies and stop its further proliferation, some of it will likely remain inside hidden in private hard drives or even in the innocent looking minute flash drives. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

 

 Mood: 4/10 Honks!

The prancing horses are limping

The recently concluded Spain F1 race was once again disappointing, well, at least for a Ferrari fan like wifey and I; and of course, for the rest of the Tifosis. Needless, to say it’s more disappointing for the Ferrari team itself whom I’m quite sure has high hopes this season to start it with a more convincing performance to make sure that it stays at par with team McLaren and grab not only the constructors’ championship but also the drivers’ championship – an which Massa missed to take home after McLaren’s Hamilton scored points on the last race of 2008 leaving Massa behind by just one point.

This season though, McLaren has its own share of dismal performance and in fact the 2008 driver of the year had to settle for 9th place during yesterday’s Spanish grand prix. Moreover, its second driver Kovalainen even retired during the early part of the race just like Ferrari’s Kimi Raikonen. With these results, fans like me now wonder what is going on within this more experienced teams that this year, they haven’t challenged team Brawn so far.

What makes this even more interesting is that team Brawn is a new kid on the block amidst the F1 big boys. Team Brawn was formed by Ross Brawn (an ex-Ferrari big boss) after Honda decided last year to permanently take their hands off the prestigious Formula One race due to several reasons that were hounding their team, one of which is the obvious non-performance – even just compared to it’s Japanese counterpart, Toyota; and of course as an effect, corporate sponsors probably stopped renewing their contract, which during the on-going recession a loss of even just one major sponsor is a big blow especially to a team who is engaged in one of the most expensive sports in the world.

Honda’s pull out was quite a surprise, although rumors about that decision had already spread around the F1 community. And that for a moment, left both Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, basically jobless (but still millionaires nevertheless). Then came Ross Brawn to the rescue. I don’t know what actually took place or if Ross Brawn has anticipated everything that he was able to start up the whole team (engineers, R&D, mechanics, sponsors, logistics, etc.), but whatever Ross Brawn did was all perfectly executed. Proof of that? Brawn has been winning since race one and its driver, Jenson Button stepping up the top position (with Rubens Barrichello, at some point) of the podium without any of last year’s champions either on his right or left side. And to think that Jenson was never seen in the podium in 2008 (or so I think).

The on-going success of team Brawn is what makes every follower and/or fan of F1 wonder what is making this newbie zoom past other matured teams. Was Honda cursed then and did Brawn’s entry to F1 casted the bad eddies away? Is Ross Brawn some kind of F1 magician who adopted and turned a dying team into one team to beat by just a flick of its magic wand? Or is it because his team’s most contested and controversial double diffuser a very big factor which is leaving the competition behind? Whatever that is, it is just making the prancing horses (and the rest of the teams) to start limping behind.

***

Don’t get me wrong, although I now have all my respect and admiration for team Brawn, I’m still a Ferrari fan especially now that I won’t be any guilty cheering for a team whose one of its major sponsors is AMD. Go figure.

And by the way, this blog was edited while getting my car washed at a Shell gas station in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. Which reminds me to get one more of the Ferrari toy. Hahaha. 

 

Mood:  3/10 Honks!

Learning spirituality from a boxer

 

One thing is certain today and until a few more days ahead – everyone will be talking about the recently concluded Pacquiao versus Hatton match in Las Vegas. Of course, the Brits will be cursing, while we Filipinos will be full of pride and praises for the Pacman who overpowered and humbled the Hitman just before the second round was finished, leaving all doubts that the last Pacman versus Golden Boy match last year was won just because the latter wasn’t at its peak performance anymore.

However, while almost everyone was getting ready with this fateful match, I on the other hand felt something when I saw Manny Pacquiao enter the ring and perform his routine in one corner by kneeling and bowing his head in prayer at least for several seconds despite the excitement of everyone around and inside the ring. I’ve watched almost all of Manny’s match wherein he got victorious over his opponents; and every time the camera captures him in prayer, I question the sincerity of his action. I always wonder if this is just for the show to get sympathy and support from his fans or if he does pray fervently for divine intervention during all of his boxing matches.

Well, my realization about Manny’s display and declaration of his faith in God was somehow confirmed today just like how he confirmed his superiority over other boxers he’s been paired with. The doubts I had about his faith were erased today. I realized that if there’s one good example of how the saying “Do your best and God will do the rest” applies to real life, then it is very well exemplified by the best pound-for-pound boxer.

The Pacman’s discipline to endure months of rigorous training in preparation for a boxing match and his willingness to trust his coach – Freddie Roach – and taking every opportunity to hone his skills are proof that on top of being faithful and submitting to the will of God, he still makes it a point to do whatever he can on his end and probably letting God fill in the voids that he may have missed. That to me is active spirituality, and I really hope that this aspect of the Pacman will inspire everyone to follow suit.

I am a boxing fan of Pacman, I’m now a believer of his spirituality as well. And while I know that it is highly unlikely for this to personally reach him, I’d still say my own, “congratulations Pacman! Once again you made us proud!”

 

Mood: 2/10 Honks!

 

 

Let’s buy pork!

 

Everyone is panicking right now because of this swine flu virus. It’s been in news for days and it’s sad that this virus has killed so many people in Mexico where it was suspected to have originated. Of course the Americans, being paranoid by nature, has made all the necessary efforts as well to contain this virus from spreading especially that the risk is so high considering the high influx of people coming through the Mexican borders, legally or illegally.

Here in the Philippines, the Department of Health together with other related agencies is already in high gear to prevent this disease from entering our country. And while watching the news tonight, I learned that the price of pork has gone down at a very steep rate because people have avoided buying it. This one made me smile – evil, maybe – because all of a sudden I remember that it is during times like this that it is actually perfect to do just the opposite of what most people do. Let me explain.

I read some time before (when the news of the recession first came out) about Warren Buffet encouraging investors to buy stocks while the rest are trying to sell theirs with the hope to save what is left of their plummeting share values. The moment after I read about that radical idea, I realized that it complements some of my similar thoughts:

  1. It is safe to ride airplanes days after one has crashed because every airliner at that time will be taking a closer check of its fleet;
  2. And for the same reason, it is also safe to board ships days after one has just sunk.
  3. It is safe to visit the malls days after one has been bombed (like the Glorietta incident) or vandalized because every security guard will be on its feet and will surely pay more attention with the way they conduct their inspections.
  4. It is safe to buy vehicles of the same brand after a recall because the manufacturer will make sure that the present problem doesn’t get out of hand and that its sales won’t be affected any further.
  5. It is safe to eat at a restaurant after a fly has been found taking a leisurely dip at the soup because most likely management will be on the lookout not only for flies but other things that a customer would hate to be in or on his food.

The above stated advice of course should be followed only after careful considerations of several factors that may affect the decision making process. Like one should check if the Airline Company, mall, car manufacturer or restaurant involved is reputable otherwise they might just not even care even after something bad has happened. It is also of course highly and always recommended to check WHO gave such advice in the first place. Hahaha. So do you think you’re going to buy pork now?

 

 

 

Mood: 2/10 Honks!

There’s a word for it: Stroboscopic effect

 

I’ve just watched the live Bahrain F1 race and during one of the laps I saw a shot of Felipe Massa’s Ferrari overtaking the Fischicella’s Force India car which is actually one of the exciting moments of the race – watching a red bully battle out with a fighting underdog. The shot also shows something that made me remember what was one of the things that kept me wondering if there’s a word for it; fortunately indeed, it has.

This is called the Stroboscopic Effect which was answered by someone when I posted my query (more than 5 years ago, if I’m not mistaken) in one of the automotive forums that I used to frequent – Autoindustriya.com. Here’s the definition according to Wikipedia: … It also accounts for the “wagon-wheel effect“, so called because in video or motion pictures, spoked wheels on horse-drawn wagons sometimes appear to be turning backwards. In a sense it can be compared to the audial effect called beat.

So there you go, the next time you see a wheel, especially those running fast, and wonder why it is running backwards for moment despite the forward motion, always remember that there’s a word for it. It is called Stroboscopic effect.

***

While finishing this post, I suddenly remembered that my wife mentioned about our baby having this fascination of watching the wheels of the vehicles right beside us every time we take a trip. And it may be because of this the same phenomenon that fascinated me when I was a kid. Even until now, this seemingly forward-reverse movement of the wheels still attracts me like magic shows do – Life’s simple pleasure.

***

I won’t blog about the recent F1 race but instead I’ll direct you to Allen on F1 for the updates. I myself am going to check it out to know why there’s so much controversy with this one part of the Formula 1 car, the diffuser. This is a part that has been blamed by some of the teams, especially the former front runners – Ferrari and McLaren, as the reason why the newest team – Brawn – has dominated the first four races of the 2009 season. Hmmm, interesting, isn’t it?

 

 

Mood: 2/10 Honks!

ABS-CBN: Confusing media

I was watching prime time news last night and this might be one of this week’s top news – the Ted Failon issue. This is shocking as any other news delivered by ABS-CBN.

I was never a fan of Ted Failon, but what I find sad and sickening about this story is the confusing message that ABS-CBN, his own network, is trying to communicate. While they posted this appeal on TV, and of course in their website, “We appeal to everyone to please respect the privacy of Ted Failon. His wife is fighting for her life”, they were the first one who reported unconfirmed and confusing statements live on TV Patrol. So where is the respect in that?

In my opinion, this just goes to show the real intent of prime time news delivery: to capture audience attention, to claim they got the freshest, and never ever the least, to top the ratings. News reports don’t care whether you’re an ordinary man on the street or the one who used to deliver the news live on TV. Forget about real sympathy, compassion and respect to privacy; these aren’t among the considerations. Sensationalized news is the name of the game. And to think that ABS-CBN call themselves Kapamilya.

If ABS-CBN is really true to their words when they call for respect to privacy, they should not have prematurely reported this news. They should have let this pass for a while, set everything straight, and let Ted Failon talk about it at a later time whether he is guilty of the allegations that he shot his own wife during an argument or if his wife attempted to commit suicide due to financial woes – as reported in their website.

A true kapamilya doesn’t broadcast his own family member’s problem, be it major or minor, until such time he says that he is ready to do so. A true kapamilya should not say any allegations, especially on live TV, just because they’d like to let the public know (and just because Ted Failon is a public figure). A true kapamilya should protect the interest of his own member until all the facts are straightened. A true kapamilya shows respect first when they call for everyone to show respect.

 

 

Mood: 4/10 Honks!

 

Be a pro-earth Christian this Holy Week

I don’t know how to react exactly to last night’s news. The TV patrol reporter introduced the news, “…dagdag pasanin na naman sa mga deboto (additional burden again to the devoutees)…”; at that point I was expecting to hear something really bad. To my surprise, the well-emphasized “pasanin”was just about a Php 20 (less than USD 0.5) fee being asked by the DENR at the foot of Mt. Banahaw for those visiting it this Holy Week. The fee they say is for the maintenance of the environment.

 

I can’t help but shake my head in dismay for such news exaggeration. I also feel pity for those people who were interviewed and answered as if they are being individually extorted of thousands of pesos. Hey, if you reached Banahaw, donating Php 20 I know isn’t something that will deprive you of anything at all.

 

The DENR has all the rights to collect such fee. It is already a fact that even those with good intentions to take their religious panata (vow) have intentionally or unintentionally left their garbages up in the mountains. It is sad that others aren’t aware that whatever they have brought along with them should be properly disposed of. I’ve been in Mt. Makiling once and I saw that there are indeed people who patrol the area just to remind everyone that trashes shouldn’t be thrown anywhere. I also heard from some of my friends who are into mountaineering that it is a protocol to pack and bring every trash and have it disposed properly once they went back down the mountain.

 

So instead of feeling paranoid about where the donations go, let’s give DENR the benefit of the doubt. Besides, it’s Holy Week isn’t it? It’s un-Christian to think bad about other people just as it is un-Christian to leave those garbages behind after you have prayed all day. And do you still remember one of your grade school’s classroom poster, “cleanliness is next to godliness”? Well, I just hope so.

 

 

***

Wed want to have our kids see trees when they grow up, dont we?

We'd want to have our kids see trees when they grow up, don't we?

Here’s a timely tip coming from Greenpeace – green vacation tips:

  1. Unplug appliances at home: Save energy by switching off and unplugging all electrical appliances you before you leave your home.

  2. Reduce waste: bring your own bag when you go out, say no to plastic – straws, bags and sachets.
  3. Bottle your own water. Bring your own refillable container instead of buying plastic bottles that will go straight to a landfill when you’re finished.
  4. No natural souvenirs: Do not disturb the natural ecosystem by bringing home sand, rocks or shells for decoration.
  5. Be green even if the hotel isn’t – Turn off lights and air conditioning when you leave the room.

***

Have a green and Holy Week everyone! (quit that smile, there’s no pun intended).

 

 

Mood: 2/10 Honks!

 

We need more Chip Tsao

 

I was in the gym last night trying to lose some weight and stress when this news about Chip Tsao caught my attention. I knew it; this one will be on air for some time. Filipinos are once again pissed and we are once again united.

This news has been all over the networks and yet the memory of my Bloody Bisaya blog is still fresh in my mind. Call me insensitive and unpatriotic or even someone coming from Hong Kong, but I’m actually not. I’m just once more amused about how most of us Filipinos became suddenly defensive of what was written. For the nth time we cry foul.

We once again resent the fact that someone from abroad wrote a discriminating article against us. We readily get angry. And most likely, I bet, some militant groups are once again wasting their time painting their white or red banners and forming the ever pitiful effigy to be burned in front of the erring nation’s embassy. The words ban, persona non-grata, and my ever favorite, apology, will be in every news, editorials, blogs and other media there is. Once again, this for me is pathetic.

What’s even more pathetic is the fact that even our politicians whom we expect to display diplomacy and composure during times like this has lose it. I saw on Mr. Golez, on TV, who even wants this issue get over with by having a boxing match with the infamous Chip Tsao. Why? Is it because such act will immediately get approval from what he considers masa? Hmmm. We might as well expect more politicians to jump into the bandwagon and get down to this level…election is just around the corner, remember? What a perfect issue to get voters’ sentiments. Chip Tsao has just become a cheap (and even effective) campaign material.

That’s why I see the need to have more Chip Tsao. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Obviously, “we” are once again united. We are now quick to stand up and say we are discriminated – as if we don’t and haven’t. What was written by Chip Tsao is like an early Holy Week reflection material for us. For a moment, let’s look in the mirror. If we can’t honestly say that we haven’t discriminated or ridiculed someone (especially other races or minorities), then stop that false patriotism and stop being offended.
  2. With election time fast approaching, we now can clearly see how our politicians will deal with this issue. If we have the proper discernment we’ll easily spot those doing nothing but politicking. Let’s cross them out of our list. If we don’t, sooner or later, we’ll read or hear from someone saying that we are a nation of dumb voters.
  3. This issue is a wakeup call to everyone. Let’s face it. It doesn’t even matter what nature of job we have, whether you’re an engineer, nurse or a decent caregiver, we are still working for others. It gets even clearer once we get out of the country and start working for other nations; we basically have become their servants. Just in case you don’t know, your manager is someone else’s servant. Yes, even your expat boss is someone else’s servant (though he gets way higher salary).

I know and feel that having someone write something downgrading against a nation or race isn’t any good. It is an uncalled generalization that pierces each and everyone’s ego. But this for me isn’t a reason for most of us to fret over it. Going to the streets, calling for public apologies, banning products, etcetera, for me is counterproductive. It exposes even more how emotionally frail we are. Writers such as Chip Tsao must see something we don’t or have chosen to ignore. So instead, of crying and shouting like babies with tantrums, let’s take the criticism openly and do something worthwhile to correct it.

 

  • **

I heard Chip Tsao has apologized already. Now, being a nation known for as the only Christian nation in Asia ready to forgive? Just something to reflect on while we enjoy the beaches during our vacation next week.

 

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Valor for sale

Photo by: CheriGaulke

Photo by: CheriGaulke

One of this week’s news struck me a bit. It is about the payment for our Filipino war veterans. I’m not an expert nor have I followed every development regarding this issue. However, I’ve heard about it for years already and I’m troubled every time this news reaches me.

Like every other Filipinos, I knew one person who was a veteran of the World War II – my lolo Jose. When I was a kid – and even until now – the thought of him fighting in the front lines during the war always makes me proud. I used to brag about him while I was in grade school as if I was the only one with a veteran grandfather in the class. That admiration grew more when I matured enough to understand further what it takes to be in a war, be able to survive it and more importantly, win it. So needless to say, I remember him every time I see the living bemedalled veterans on TV. And whenever I see images of aged, wrinkled and frail Filipino veterans I always feel sad about their current plight.

But despite my compassion for them whom we all consider as heroes, I can’t help but wonder why others are demanding payment for their services during the war. What I find more irritating and disappointing is that some won’t even accept the lump sum coming from the recently approved stimulus plan by the new US President Obama because they think that they deserve more in the form of a monthly pension. I’ve also read somewhere that the reason why some of our veterans are so intent on being paid is because it was promised to them during the war – thus, they defended the nation and helped the Americans in the process. But isn’t it the same as what mercenaries do? Or isn’t this simply implying that their valor is for sale?

I actually would like to think that I’m misinformed here, and am willing to stand corrected if someone can shed light why our veterans deserve to be given a pension. But then again I’m just basing my opinion on what I’ve been hearing and reading from the news. So either I’m plainly wrong or some individual or group is exploiting our veterans’ situation just to make money out of it. I’m just hoping (and would like to believe) though that what the tri-media are trying to relay here isn’t the collective stand of our beloved lolos (and lolas) who really dedicated their own lives in true service of our country and its allies even without being paid – and that to me is a real hero worth bragging for.

Rest in peace, lolo.

 

Photo credit: CheriGaulke’s Flickr

 

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

A week(end) of everything…but work

 

This must be the longest week I ever had. This week felt like it was a 24 X 7 plus 1. I don’t exactly know if so many things have happened or it’s just so much time has slipped by. It must have been the latter but then again it could have been the former. Either way, it’s a shame that both of it have been mostly done in front of the IBM’s flat LCD and inside the cold gray cube.

That’s the problem when there is imbalance between time and tasks. It is during these conditions that nothing gets done productive. Condition 1: Having less (or the feeling of it) time but with multiple tasks is confusing or worse, panicking. Condition 2: While having more time but with little or no task on queue at all is just pathetic. If you ask me, I prefer Condition 1.

Since being idle nowadays is as predictable as sunset, this is when having an initiative and a bit of creativeness sets one person one step ahead of the other. It would also help to do at least a short time planning just to preserve self-worth on a daily basis. And that is just what I’ve done so far…so far.

The good thing is that in spite of lull in workloads, the resources at work still remains abundant – which is both a good and a bad thing. It’s like staring at an apple in the Garden of Eden while wondering if God will ever snooze – the temptation to cross the fine line is always there. For starters, the internet connection is always on (and to mention that it’s way faster than outside) and the printers are functional and readily full of papers. Now if that doesn’t get your mind immediately full of wild ideas, then something is wrong with you. I know that google-heads are green with envy by now.

It is during these times when good judgment and some work ethics come handy. In my case I try to kill time by taking online trainings that will contribute to my upskilling. I likewise try to be involved in activities that the company offers. But let me make it clear that I’m not saying that others aren’t doing the right thing or mine is better than theirs because each has its own definition of getting busy.

Skillsoft Books24X7

I have never appreciated the availability of this site more than now. Although I’ve used it years before for my researches and book references when I continued my schooling, since weeks ago I started using it again. And this week my usage got more frequent than ever.

My search for MBA tags brought me to results other than books. I find that there are online courses, learning guides and assessments available. What made it even more interesting was that I’ve read and learned about lots of good stuffs with regards to writing. I’m excited to share it soon as this was once my problem when I made my thesis – or I just didn’t have enough time to research then. Now I got what I wished for. Ti abi.

Financial readiness seminar

I can’t exactly remember when I attended this one but I was once again among those inside the packed training room. It was estimated that there were at least 300 attendees who listened to the Colayco foundation’s Executive Director Mr. Bengco speak about finances. He spoke a lot of things which half I dismissed and half I noted. Part of the things I got so interested and got me musing is when the foil about ways to get rich was shown. It contained only five. The crowd’s excitement of knowing what the five ways are immediately died down when most of us realized that the first four isn’t just possible.

  1. Inherit it
  2. Marry it
  3. Steal it
  4. Win it
  5. Earn it

So earn it will be.

A reminder of a bedtime story

The long week got longer than it should be after I was once again reminded of a bedtime story – The Rabbit and the Turtle. I’m assuming by now that anyone old enough and anyone reading this blog knew about this tale.

It happened during our company’s Smashing Couples badminton match. After I saw the line up where my partner and I were included, I had high hopes that we do have the chance to at least reach the finals. And what inspired me more was when I learned who will be our first match. “We’ve beaten these guys before, we can do it again”, I confidently said to my team mate.

The high ego was short lived. After piling up some points ahead on the first set our opponents consistently capitalized on our unforced errors and soon enough confidence was on their side. The first set reached deuce but the next set was crushing to the rabbits.

I came out of the badminton tournament with the line, “and the moral of the story is…” echoing in my mind. Damn turtles. Hahaha. Just kidding.

Congrats Richmond and Arlene.

Everything that flies and crashes

To enthusiasts, this is another anticipated week for the flying community. And even if I won’t be able to attend the 13th Philippine Hot Air Balloonfest – for several reasons – I know that hundreds of people are either already at Clark or just on their way while enjoying the SCTEX drive.

Unfortunately, while everyone at Clark enjoys the breathtaking sight of balloons, skydivers, airplane exhibitions and everything that flies, two places abroad experienced separate plane crashes. One was in Buffalo, New York that claimed 50 lives when a commuter plane went down, initially due to icing, to one of the houses. Another plane crash landed at a London airport which thankfully just had minor injuries to its passengers.

It’s a pity but it seems like Capt. Sully’s heroic Hudson River landing a couple of weeks ago was negated in a way by two succeeding crashes. It could really be disappointing if further investigation on these accidents will point to the root cause of poor maintenance. And it could even be more disappointing if it was due to recession. It’s a stretch, but hey, it’s not that unlikely.

 

Happy weekends, still, everyone.

 

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks!