Monday, July 15, 2013

Conversations at the lunch table

  • When I was in my last year of High School, my mom wanted me to go to only 3 schools, the big 3: UP, Ateneo and La Salle. It was her belief that if I studied in one of those, I would easily get a job in London since they are, as she likes to call it, "internationally-recognized." I ruled out La Salle right away, for petty reasons. (I was a Blue Eagle fan in High School, I hated Jerwin Gaco, TY Tang etc, I couldn't see myself going to a UAAP game wearing green, I just couldn't) My reservations for Ateneo was that it was too expensive, my reservations for UP was that it was too difficult. When I weighed my choices more, it just occurred to me that those two schools represent the version of me that I do not want to become, or at least not during College. I knew myself too well. If I went to UP, I would definitely have been a tibak, there is no doubt about it. If I went to Ateneo, I would have adopted the Atenean lifestyle, I would have caught on that Atenean slang and not feel sorry about it. When all I wanted to be in College was focus on getting my writing better and not have to balance all these other activities which could become distractions. I just wanna make clear that I don't want to stereotype schools (I, too, get so mad every time someone defines me as a "religious" whenever I tell them I'm from UST), it's just that I know myself too well; I knew that I had both the tendencies and that I could have gone other way, and I didn't want either. After college, looking at myself now, I think I picked up on both anyway. I slightly practice the lifestyle of a rich girl (even though I'm not), and I have too much tibak manifestations that I wouldn't be surprised one day if I'm kicked off this job.
  • Have you seen the "You had one job" website? (Check it: It's a comic relief collection of things gone wrong because the person responsible for it screwed up his "one job." Now I think it represents a bigger problem of people not doing their jobs well. I've always been against shouting and reprimanding service crews and the like. I once got into an argument with an old lady who was shouting at this poor Jollibee crew because according to her, her order was taking too long. It's a small Jollibee store, bristling with close to a hundred customers, the queues were long and there were just 4 of them taking orders. You could see the staff doing all they can, multi tasking, holding a cup of coke in one hand and punching orders in the machine in another. This was an obvious case of just too many customers wanting too many things from so little staff - and that's not their fault. There are days like that. But when I come to your open, empty table wanting my device to be fixed, I would expect you to get on it right away. Not eat mangoes first, chit chat for a bit and then play Candy Crush when I have been waiting 45 minutes. This is not a case of demand takes over supply, this is just a matter of workers slacking off their jobs. I MEAN YOU HAVE ONE JOB. It doesn't matter whether you're a big shot exec or a middle class call center agent or a below minimum wage earner serving unlimited rice in a Mang Inasal branch, you have to do your job well, or at the very least, you have to try. Pare-pareho tayong nagtratrabaho rito, sayang ang pera ko sa tamad mong trabaho.
  • I have just read today my friend Marian's Young Blood article from 2 years ago, it's a Mother's day tribute, detailing her decision to give up being a full time activist so her mother would not live in fear anymore. (Check it out: I don't have a story as dramatic, or as noble, but mine has resemblance to hers when it comes to hurting our mothers. But Marian's reason was admirable, she continually but unintentionally hurt her mom because she wanted to fight for the people while I just wanted to fight for myself. My mom worked all her life, hopping from country to country as a domestic helper, and then a caregiver, so she could one day whisk us away to a country where we could enjoy an abundant life. We did get that life, very early in our lives, and when I turned 11, all she wanted in return was for me to join her in London so we could all be together. I begged, not now, maybe later, then I turned 16 and going off to college, then I turned 20 and looking for a job, then I turned 21 and became unemployed and in the middle of all that is my mom begging for me to just leave the Philippines and go live with her. But I didn't want to - I wanted to fight for my dream to become a journalist. And until now that she's getting older, even though I've assured her several times that she no longer has to work for me, that I can take care of myself, she continues to offer herself at the beck and call of rich old white people because she's worried I might wake up one day broke and in desperate need of financial support. She worries that I might get sick and because I don't have health insurance, I will need her money so I won't die. Because that's just how life is as a media practitioner, I could wake up one day broke, or sick to death --- and that's the day, that even though she wishes wouldn't come, she continues to prepare for. She's now 52, I'm 22 and unlike Marian, I couldn't tell my mom, "Because I love you," I can just look at her with guilt and say, "I have to do this because I love myself."
How about you, what did you talk at the lunch table today?

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