Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Remembrance-Through-Quotes-Tribute to Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

I may have not read her magnum opus and most celebrated work yet, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which I'm convinced will simply be beyond in its spectacularness, originality, and historical value, with such few words of wisdom that I learned from her over time and learning about her life alone, she'd already merited her way to my inspirational-pool.

Her wealth of experience combined with tremendous intelligence and courage made her who she was and is, to me, to us, to the world. Definitely she lived every moment admirably. She is and will continue to be a woman whom everybody can turn to for wit, comfort, and reassurance. 

That was how powerful she was and is, at a stroke of a pen, she can move someone to act, in the most Dostoevskian, and Nietzchean √©lan. 

taken from by Reuters

As a form of tribute, I listicle-d my favorite thoughts of hers:

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain."

"I do not trust people who don't love themselves and yet tell me, 'I love you.' There is an 
African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt."

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." 

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." 

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style."

"Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him."

"Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.

"I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass."

"Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible."

"Nothing will work unless you do."

"It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody."

The weird thing is that she doesn't feel dead, well that's almost the constant state for people who did everything and gave it all to the world, she (and they) will remain ipso facto alive. "I confess, I do not believe in time."-Vladimir Nabokov

If you need more convincing on how great she was and will continue to be, or maybe simply not familiar with her, follow the link.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Excerpts From My School Mandated Reflections: Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar

The seminar’s poster-subtitle is “Avoid getting into illegal recruitment situations and learn more about the proper procedures in looking for jobs abroad. This seminar will be given by authorized representatives certified by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).” Its rationale is noble and is befitting to those who have no common sense and or intentionally deprive themselves of the habit of being updated with “glocal” events. I’m not upset with the speaker, Phica Ripco (not his real name to protect his identity), I think he did a fantastic job, and his intention, of ensuring that we are informed for the sake of keeping us safe was altruistic. 

What I have a problem with is the government who instituted this rule. This move is a highly paternal and or maternal move of a state which has been consistently ranked in Transparency International as one of the "most corrupt" nations on the face of the planet. The nexus between these two factors, corruption and paternalism/maternalism of the state, lies with the institutional or bureaucratic maleficence generated by the symbiotic relationship of these deadly elements. Evidence? It lies in history books and the internet. The list can go on. The Economist recently ranked the Philippines as one of the countries with the "weakest institutions" thus hampering its ability to become a full-blown developed country.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Judge of the International Criminal Court once said that the POEA exit clearances are "unconstitutional" because as guaranteed by the constitution our right to exercise freedom of movement can’t and shouldn’t be impaired, albeit with exceptions, but only when it’s in the “interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law,” as stated in Section 6, Article III of our 1987 Constitution.  It is not the business of the government to attempt to extend its reach beyond its jurisdiction, beyond its borders, for when one leaves this territory it’s her or his responsibility to fend for himself or herself. 

It’s of course common knowledge to every local how Kafkaesque Philippine bureaucracy can be. This continued abuse of the government and of its power must cease, as it only empowers corrupt bureaucrats. 

I was baffled that many of the people in the audiences were shocked to learn things they should already know by now, as a member of a civil society, I kept on thinking how it’s their duty to know these things, does it really have to get to this point wherein the government has to arbitrarily punish those leaving the country with substandard and generalized information so impertinent as enough to constitute betrayal in the realm of its purpose? I think the POEA should be abolished and the money re-channeled instead to our devastatingly poor public education and health system and infrastructure.

Excerpts From My School Mandated Reflections: Sense and Sensuality in the Workplace

Augusto-Rosario Gonzales Theater was the site where the event was held. The subject of this event was workplace ethics, particularly sexual harassment in the workplace. I think it was genius to have a seminar on such an important issue as this one. More vitally in this country where it is taboo to speak of such topic out in public. In the Philippines, just like in other Asian societies, publicly declaring emotions and, to put it more broadly psychology itself, isn’t delineated quite easily by the ordinary person on the street with psychiatry. 

As a result of this confucian attitude, shame is felt when someone is abused, instead of talking about it, the person suffers quietly. That’s why this seminar was so poignant for me because I think in general Filipinos, particularly young incoming graduates like us need to be taught of this reality, coming from a Filipino workplace experience-based illumination. 

The speaker was an alumni of Benilde and of the prestigious Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila or simply PLM. The speaker was canny and encouraged the audience to speak. She also spoke of the dangers of bullying in the corporate world that one must always be vigilant about. At one point she touched on the subject of cyber bullying. 

I was put off by her nostalgia of past studying practices although to be fair this is fairly common among Filipino’s who didn’t get the “privilege” of having access to the internet. As commentators and I always repeat, each generation had their advantages and disadvantages, that’s why I think it’s a huge mistake to guilt-trip younger people into feeling gratitude because Generation X also had their “privilege” the same goes for the Baby Boom Generation, so why are we wasting our time trying to constantly reduce ourselves to the level of the past, why not look forward, and what better way to accomplish that than by embracing the opportunities by making use of them and maximizing every tool we have for the betterment of ourselves, which would lead to overall improvement in societal conditions.

I was displeased with the fact that the event started late. Also that the video she presented to the audience was broken leading one to conclude how anarchic the entire affair was. Although the message of the video was delivered, it was aesthetically disappointing. Overall, I found her talk helpful, and a bowl of common-sense reiterations. A very salient guide for the newcomer in the work place.

Excerpts From My School Mandated Reflections: Strut to Success

The Strut to Success event was held in Angelo King International Center (AKIC) and was organized by a group of students from an events management class (EVNTMGT). Before I share my thoughts on the event, I would like to make a point of clarification for transparency’s sake. I attended the 2nd among three sessions of the event, as they’ve declared, a student only needs to attend one of the three events to gain an attendance point in their report, moreover even if you attend all of the three sessions, you would still be only given one. 

Anyway, I chose the 2nd session because its content was interesting. It was a seminar given by Ren Rigue (not his real name to protect his identity) and Benildean alumni, who was suppose to discuss small capital ventures. He apparently came bearing gifts, in particular, fruits of his labor. Upon entering I saw these beautiful and mouth watering cupcakes, which I later learned during his talk were hand made by her aunt. I got to taste it at the end of the session after he declared them “free and for everyone.” 

Going back, as I was looking for my seat, I noticed how good looking he was, so naturally he was a delight to watch. Though I found his taglish overtly irritating, his message nevertheless, somehow sunk with me. What was his message? "Be entrepreneurial," "Pursue your passion," "Do what you believe is right," etc. Basically, what every book of the self-help genre tells you to do. As he spoke, I kept telling myself, stop thinking of the petite bourgeoisie’s characteristics. "Paul! Don’t be so hard on others!" was the chosen maxim in my head. Did I admire him? Yes, for being cunning, for him pursuing his passion, for his generosity of sharing his stories with us, but I also despised his endorsement of guanxi, and myopic endorsements of “our” ideal future. There were moments when I thought "What am I to learn from this clown?" "Why does he underestimate everybody?" "Why is he judgmental?" "Why does he think everybody is the same?" Then an epiphany hit me, how common psychological problems were among today's Filipino youth, thus bringing forth my shrink mode.

I began understanding where this privileged hard-working party-loving spoiled brat was coming from, he was seeking what Viktor Frankl studied throughout his existence, Logotherapy. He was searching for meaning, unfortunately in his attempt to do so, he had to bring everybody down to his pre-success pre-disciplined truant student days, for in his mind, this road to where he is right now involves going through this initial rough patches. I suddenly felt pity upon this Benildean happy hunky entrepreneur, by the end of his interactive seminar, I had learn from myself and from him already. 

Soon, while I was eating his cupcake I resigned to the fact that I too can achieve anything I want, actually anybody can, one just needs to stop being afraid and one needs to believe in herself/himself. I also wished that one day he would forgive himself and remember that he is different now, so he can let go of the past now, instead of making that a constant point of comparison, he should graduate into choosing better standards. He owes that to himself. He loves to experiment with alcoholic drinks, he loves to “mix-em-up” and “discover nice drinks” I admired his innovative drive to improve the shortage of cocktails in the bar-tending industry. 

An ordinary student would feel hope and optimism from this seminar. I am happy that he is happy (at least on the surface, but subconsciously no, like most people) and that he has achieved what he had achieved. He is definitely successful based on Filipino contemporary society’s definition of it.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

New Olds: Design Between Tradition and Innovation

Kit for members of the "press"

Press apparatus

Prof. Albus explained to us briefly the details of some works, albeit, in an exhausted manner, but excusable, because he hasn't had enough sleep, he later explained.

Is this a menorah? Vergangenheitsbewältigung?

Petra Raymond (Director and Head of Cultural Programs at Goethe) and Michael Hasper (from the German Embassy)

After running some very delayed errands, and leaving myself in an indecisive state whether to attend this event or not, I passively submitted to the subconscious magnet towards the event, my body brought me in front of Yuchengco Museum while I was continuing to ponder, it was almost like my mind being persuaded to treat myself with a visual and atmospheric treat as a fabulous conclusion to a day that can only be described as routine-y, schedule-y and sulky, with violent internal outbursts of misanthropy due this country's Third World public transpiration system.

Earlier that day I saw an invitation to a very sexy event, it was the opening of an exhibition curated by Prof. Volker Albus in cooperation with Goethe-Institut Philippinen. But what made it a boon for me was that the curator himself will do a talk pro bono to invited guests before the exhibit opening proper 2-hours later. So I thought it would be interesting to have for a change-in a museum-a curator walking you through a new exhibit, it definitely caught the attention of my clique-y tendencies. 

It was a nice event, I met some people, discussed topics ranging from nepotism to China, from Nora Aunor (whom I adore more than words can encapsulate) to the state of the Fourth Estate in the Philippines, Third World, today. Thanks to the "independence" of the Blogosphere, which is under threat, a semblance of it is maintained. 

For more information about the exhibit or the Professor, follow the links!