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?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What's been going on? Let me tell you what.

I've been neglecting this blog for a while now. I would like to say it's because oohh I'm so busy I don't have time. But really, I have time, I just never get the right energy to sit down and write a

Well, that's gonna change today. If I write news everyday, then there's no excuse for me not to write thoughts everyday. I used to do it when I was young, before I grew old and formulated too much opinion. When you try to read back entries on this blog, you could easily judge me as being too angsty or sad and I would believe you. That was the time when I thought you could only write things that are consumable by the general public. Well I'm doing that for a living now.

So for my personal pleasure, I'm just gonna write things here that are consumable by me and by select few who could be going through the same things.

So how do we start?

    • Ah yes, I would like to tell you that I have now spent 2 years and 9 months in this job and I'm having the best time. I like this job, specifically my SONA and Asspil job. At this point in my life, I would like the two of them to become my identity. It's through the stories we tell that I get to introduce myself and be proud by it. The proponents of Mass Communication defined the Media as the fourth estate, a vital role to democracy, a checking function of the government and the conscience of the populist. I really do think we're acting like we're the fourth estate (well of course, sometimes we betray that oath -- but there's more of that to come here in this blog). I guess what I'm saying is --- I dreamed, since I was like 9 or 10, to one day tell stories which make a difference to even just a handful of people and I think I'm doing that -- well, mostly. 
    • Speaking of this job, my researcher and I are working on this highly academic piece on PNoy's State of the Nation Address, which is fine for the most part except that the lack of visuals is stressing. It's bad enough that I'm the SP with the mediocre visuals even for stories that are so easy visual-wise, it's worse every time I'm the SP who produced another story that, as my PM likes to put it, "only good on paper." I'm looking forward to finishing it to get to the 2nd story, which is fun -- a social play of sorts of us being Pinoys, but the thing is, it doesn't have visuals too. Or maybe I just have to settle with being the SP who's bad at visuals. Maybe I can make a genre out of that. Or maybe not.
    • So excited for my out-of-country trip this month. It will be my first time in an Asian country outside of the Philippines. Last night, I tried on clothes and mapped my outfit for the 5 days we're staying there. I was so excited that I texted my friends who I will be traveling with to tell them I have decided on the 4 out of the 5 outfits. I said it ranged from "hipster" to "lander" -- if it's not a dress with a low back, it's a short skirt or it's a spaghetti strap. I remember being the tomboy high schooler who wore endless t-shirts and the cliche converse sneakers. Somehow, I just grew out of that and became the tomboy yuppie with short skirts and dresses. Like I said, I think quota na ko sa pantalon for a lifetime.
    • On my bed sits 3 Esquire issues, 1 Rogue, 1 Time, all of which I bought in a span of a week. I just like the feeling of hugging the brown bookstore paper, with knowledge and insight beckoning and all that. So far, I've finished half of PNoy's as-told-to bio, a quarter of Karen Davila's tete-a-tete with Bianca Gonzales (why I only read a quarter is something I would rather discuss in its own entry) and a half page feature of this exhibit we went to last month which featured blown-up photos of grocery items like cheese and bacon. I can't help but think that just as I've lost the enthusiasm to blog, I've also lost the zest to read. Which is the combination that would destroy the very core of who I am, so I'm citing it to the ever reliable "Oh I'm so busy I don't have time."
    • But really, the explanation for that is because I'm watching FRIENDS rerun again. It's the sort of thing where, if you start from the very beginning, you can't break that pattern in exchange for another activity. No, if you're not occupied with work, you watch FRIENDS until you get to the end of series -- there's just no pausing in between, it goes against the spirit of watching it. So you would think that after I was done with the series finale, I could go back to doing the other activities but what did I do? I watched FRIENDS again, back to the first season, just because.
    • Last week, I purchased an oven toaster. I was just supposed to buy a bread toaster for french toast and bagel purposes but I decided to buy a mini oven toaster instead so I could heat food. I thought I was wise. But as I learned the hard way this morning, in between waking myself at 5 am and hurrying for the call time which is also 5 am - there are some hurdles to this oven toaster: 1.) It's too small, I cannot put in tupperwares more than 2 inches high 2.) It's too small, I cannot heat spaghetti and toast bread at the same time. Now I feel like a complete fool.
    • Yesterday, while in a cab, I told my friend Justin, "Bling Ring, Before Midnight, Brocka restorations, Cinemalaya, it's a nice month for film!" He looked at me and asked why I classified Bling Ring among the films I mentioned. So we went into the whole debate on whether the Bling Ring is actually a good film or that it's just what it is because it's a Sofia Coppola film. Justin thinks it's the latter, I defended it as being a mockery of Hollywood, an exaggerated documentation of the events, which in turn makes it into a sort of satire, deserving of its critical merits. Of course, the conversation went haywire and before we got off the cab, we were arguing whether "Before you Sleep" is a "classic flick" that can be categorized with the likes of "Sleepless in Seattle" and "City of Angels." We didn't reach an agreement on that either. 
    • So to end this blog for today, I would like to leave you with a glowing recommendation of Tea and Co.'s spicy tuna pasta. 

*SONA - State of the Nation with Jessica Soho, a program airing on GMA News TV 11
* Asspil - Assignment Pilipinas, a segment within the program
* SP - Segment Producer
* Tea and Co. - A milk tea / pastries / pasta cafe in front of GMA Network owned and named after reporter Bernadette Reyes