“bakit may mabilis maapprove, merong matagal?”

Dear Kuya Noel : sabay-sabay kaming nag-apply ng One-Off Resident Visa na tanging pag-asa namin maPR dito sa New Zealand. May mga nauna na sa amin, wala pang anim na linggo pa lang ay approved na. Kami naman ay pang-apat na buwan at di pa nakakatanggap ng positive news. Bakit kaya?

Salamat, Naldz

***** ***** *****

Dear Naldz,

Unang-una, di ako immigration adviser na aasahan mo ng maganda at mapapakinabangang payo. Lahat ng nandito ay haka-haka lamang at galing sa sarili kong karanasan. Hayaan mo na lang akong magbigay ng opinion ko.

SA POTENTIAL NA 200,000 kataong applicant sa One-Off Resident Visa pathway na binuksan ng gobyernong New Zealand nung mga huling buwan ng 2021, mahigit kumulang na 41,000 ang mga na-approve o nabigyan ng bagong simulang mamuhay sa bansang New Zealand.

[Out of a potential 200,000 applicants under the One-Off Resident Visa pathway opened by the New Zealand Government late 2021, approximately 41,000 have become permanent residents and given a new beginning in New Zealand.]

Iba-iba ang mga pananaw kung gaano kabilis gumalaw o mag-process ng mga application: may mga nagsabing usad-pagong ito dahil sa kung ano-anong mga dahilan, may mga nagsabing dahil handa ng NZ Government sa agos ng mga libu-libong application, dali-dali itong tatanggapin at aasikasuhin para wala nang backlog o trabahong di natapos bago mag-eleksyon na paglalabanan ng mga partidong Labour at National.

[Opinions differ on the speed of the processing of the applications, some have said that it’s too slow for various reasons, others have said that because Government has anticipated the large volumes of applications, the latter will be processed and decided on at a high rate to avoid backlogs, hopefully before the next national elections. ]

The only feedback I can give to you Precious Reader regarding probably the biggest event in recent NZ migrant history is the little I hear and read about, and that’s not much. Personal experience, hearsay and word-of-mouth are limited in information value in the bigger scheme of things, but it’s better than nothing.

Some applicants have had the best surprise of their lives, becoming permanent residents three to six months after submitting their applications. Some of these successful applicants have used the settlement option, under which permanent resident status (PR) is granted to temporary visa holders who’ve stayed in New Zealand for at least three years legally. others have been awarded the prized PR based on their income and skills, supported by strict documentary and related evidence.

More than half of the total number of applicants however have remained waiting while their applications continue to be assessed or information is gathered on their cases. There seems to be no noticeable difference between applications approved early and those still pending.

So as we asked above earlier: Bakit may mabilis ma-approve, may di agad naapprove?

Staffing problem. Malaking binawas ng empleyado ng Immigration New Zealand, ang ahensya na nag-pa process at nag-a approve ng mga application. sa libo-libong applications na sina submit sa IMmigration NZ araw-araw, 658 lang ang tumatanggap nito. information gathering, assessment at decision making ang mga masalimuot at matrabahong steps o hakbang na ginagawa bago makapag issue ng visa, at di madaling matapos ang mga ito

We’re not defending the efficiency or lack of it when it comes to visa processing, but given all the current problems like the pandemic, staffing and others, Immigration NZ is probably doing its best.

I.T. / server problem. To process such a huge number of applicants, having a database and IT server to receive, process and store such a massive amount of data is indispensable. Without it, the entire execution of the One-Off policy would be set back by months if not years.

Early on when the One-Off Visa pathway was introduced, the system and more specifically the server managing access to applications and the massive data involved broke down and both applicants and Immigration NZ staff were unable to use and access the online system essential to processing operations.

Such a basic and important need for a service that would facilitate jobs needed for nation building (construction, health care and aged care) seemed to defy common sense and planning. Thankfully, the problem was fixed but time was lost in the meantime.

Sheer number of applicants. Because of the large numbers of applicants, there will be challenges resolving and processing all of these, as the bigger the amount, the greater the possibility of processing cases that require more time, information gathering and assessment.

It’s obvious that not every case will be the same, even though the principles behind the One Off policy have made it easier than usual for deserving applicants to get residency. But to avoid fraud, mistake and inadvertent approvals, rules need to be followed.

And that’s what’s taking more time, in many cases.

***** ***** *****

konting hintay na lang Naldo, aani ka rin sa pinunla mong pagod, hirap at pangarap.

Kuya Noel

“thank you for saving my life” (na may bonus na paalala pa)

[ in my haste, I forgot to ask for a pic with Doc, next time I won’t. thanks and acknowledgment for the pic to verywellhealth.com! pls refer to previous posts for backstory to this post, thanks for reading! ]

KUNG TUTUUSIN (in the final analysis), my lifesaver wasn’t the ONLY one, although he spotted my problems, gave me my options (or lack of same), and in the end, gave me the likeliest scenarios (not pleasant). The OTHER lifesaver was the one in Christchurch two and a quarter hours away, who proceeded from the first one’s analysis, fixed me up and gave me my health back. With his hands he literally saved my life, but without the guidance and planning of the first, I wouldn’t have been saveable in the first place.

Of course, in the first, I’m referring to my cardiologist, and to the heart surgeon who mended me in the second. At the time of this post, I haven’t met the surgeon since my surgery, but I’m meeting the cardiologist, 76 days after the fact.

***** ***** *****

I don’t care much if there’s a trainee cardio with him, the nurse and the rest of my family.

Hello Doc and thank you for saving my life, (Noel’s words in italics) I say as soon as I enter his office.

With an almost imperceptible nod as if to discount the magnitude of his work, he barely acknowledges our generous greeting, says You were lucky, being in the right place at the right time. (Doc’s words in boldface) Motions me to a seat next to the examining stretcher, and I sit.

If I recall, you said I was in the sh*t, but still OK to work?? I ask him half-jokingly.

Yes you were, well enough to work, but concerning enough to monitor your breathlessness, tiredness and capacity to cope with work and physical activity, says Doc, who at the last moment figured out that something else was bothering me, an infection that was aggravating my already compromised heart.

Remember I said you were lucky? Well you actually had another problem that put you in double sh*t, that’s lotto-level lucky.

Yes I remember, I remember! Related to my dodgy heart functions, an embolism had formed somewhere else in my body, which if untreated would’ve brought me even closer to Heaven (or the other place), so that I was actually in the perfect place to be saved at the time I needed saving.

Blunt and spare in words, but my cardiologist was 101% on the money, accurately predicting when my cherry would pop, correctly assuming I was a walking time bomb, and sending me to the cardiothoracic operating theater in Christchurch (the only one within 2 hours by car) with minutes to spare. I would take his sticks and stones all day and all night, 24/7, for what he did for me.

***** ***** *****

He consumed my medical file and read me like a book in half a minute, but to complete pleasantries, asked me about my post-surgery physio rehab (I was on sked), my meds (which I took religiously) and present and future stresses that I would need to deal with inevitably. Ho-hum.

Time to cut the tension.

Doc, you probably get this all the time, but when can I actually start having boom-boom? is the elephant in the room I manage to squeeze in, immediately feeling the heat from Mahal’s flushed cheeks.

Doc immediately rolls his eyes and makes a fist telling Mahal, because I’m the doctor I can’t hurt him, but will you punch him for me? to which Mahal nods yes.

But Doc I protested, next time I want to visit you with a new baby (gesturing to our toddler daughter).

Doc makes double fists this time. Your wife will have something to say about that. Besides, you’ll be busy looking after your heart.

His voice was stern, but I could see the beginnings of a smile forming near the corners of his mouth. He approves.

Thanks for giving me a second chance Doc!

call of duty : isang liham para sa ating bagong ambassador (a letter to our new ambassador)

[ it’s not always saluting the flag during Araw ng Kalayaan, awarding the MVPs, champions and Mythical Fives during Labour Day sportsfests, or pinning the sash on Binibining Pilipinas New Zealand for His / Her Excellency. May our new Ambassador live up to the expectations of kabayan! ]

AMBASSADORS, IN pursuing the interests of diplomacy and liberty, have been known to hide and protect potential hostages of terrorists and unfriendly states. They’ve also helped their nationals avoid certain imprisonment and torture. In fact under the surface of formality and tradition, ambassadors will do anything if it will help their citizens, while saving face for the countries they represent.

It may not always need to be that dramatic. Every now and then though, a change is needed.

***** ***** *****

Every six years, coinciding with the change in administration back home, the Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand finishes his / her tour of duty and goes home back to base, and a new Ambassador is appointed to take his /her place. As a knee-jerk: Who will be our new Ambassador?

Before asking and answering the question above, the typical Pinoy in NZ should probably be thinking about the question: what kind of Ambassador will be good for the Pinoy community in New Zealand ?

This is how we see it: first, the Philippine Ambassador (“Amba”) on paper is supposed to represent the government of the Republic of the Philippines and its interests on New Zealand soil. Having a Pinoy representative in New Zealand is supposed to make things easier and to symbolize the formal relationship between the two nations. The amba, although a real person, is really a living symbol of friendship, history and the legal links between two countries.

In practical terms however, the Amba is much more than that.

Sya ang takbuhan twing may problema sa Pinoy community. Twing may sakuna, aksidente, nadisgrasya, ang Embassy ang hinihingian ng saklolo. Twing may funding o pondong kinakailangan para sa proyekto ng migrante or residente.

With this in mind, this is the job description that will hopefully live up to our kabayan’s collective dreams and aspirations:

an ambassador that will immediately articulate the interests of the Pinoy community in New Zealand. Sometimes, the interests of Filipinos are best expressed as a community: protection against crime, improvement of social services and government services, or improvement of basic programs that intentionally or not, target Filipinos as a group. Officially, the Philippine ambassador is hands-off on these matters, but in practice, he or she can make unofficial pronouncements regarding these matters, as mass media pay attention to anything he or she says.

Now, the party in power may or may not listen to what the Amba says, but because it becomes a public issue out in the open, Government will be forced to at least address the issue, or at least go through the motions. By merely making noise, the Ambassador can make a difference.

an ambassador that won’t tolerate any slight or insult or implication of racism against the Pinoy community in New Zealand. In fairness to the previous Amba, AmbaGary Domingo, he has on at least one occasion, spoken out strongly against what he (and many kabayan) perceived as a slight manifested against Filipinos in New Zealand. Unfortunately, since then the energy has recently shifted against Asians, specifically Southeast Asians like our kabayan, especially in the USA. If the anti-Asian mood finds its way here, the new Ambassador will have his/her hands full. One tip: no anti-Filipino speech or acts must be tolerated and the response must be swift and decisive.

In cases like these, the Amba’s acts can be official, but it’s limited to the releasing of official statements. But as mentioned above, it’s better than nothing.

an ambassador that will move at light speed to provide rescue and assistance to Pinoy victims of disaster, accident and all sorts of unexpected misfortune. There have been numerous instances of catastrophes that have befallen our kabayan, and not all of them have been purely because of nature. Sometimes, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, a misappreciation of the weather and its effects, or just plain rotten luck have caused fatal consequences. Add all these to victims of storms, floods, tsunamis or landslides. There are so many causes of serious injury and death, and each one of them requires a lot of help.

New Zealand’s public services are more than adequate for rescue and first aid, but caring and miscellaneous assistance after-the-fact will usually still be needed, and the Embassy through the Ambasador’s leadership is best suited to fill the gap.

The grim tasks of requesting for search for victims in the case of accidents in the wild or at sea, sending remains home in the case of deaths, and the provision of medical care when urgently needed are things only our Embassy can request our host nation, all the while speaking with bereaved families and the professional media in New Zealand and the Philippines. It’s not an easy job, but someone’s got to do it.

***** ***** *****

One thing for sure: here in Aotearoa, the new Ambassador will find his / her plate full. All the time. But all our new Ambassador needs to be up to the job is one tiny job skill : Mahalin nya lang sana ang ating kababayan (just love our countrymen and women unconditionally).

It will be enough, Your Excellency.

ang tanong hinggil sa inuman na mahirap sagutin ng bawat OFW

(Note: Long ago I asked myself and drinking mates the uncomfortable question: do you drink your favorite drink because of the taste, or because of the feeling it gives you? Depending on your outlook in life, and the older you get, the more you gravitate towards either the first or the second reason. But that’s a different story.)

MOST PEOPLE drink alcohol for multiple reasons, but in my experience, the reasons are reduced to two main ones: (1) to get a buzz, and (2) because it’s almost a requirement on social occasions.

Sa OFW (overseas Filipino worker), there are variants to these reasons, and I’ll explain very quickly: (1a) very often, getting a buzz means momentarily forgetting problems and issues back home, and (2a) when you’re abroad, there aren’t a lot of alternatives to drinking. In fact, for an OFW, you drink almost out of boredom, when there’s almost nothing to do, and drinking alone, or drinking with mates, if you’re lucky, is the only show in town.

Baggage. You leave a lot of baggage when you become an OFW, whether it’s the emotional, financial, or relationship type of baggage. Baggage or bagahe is the collective term for the problems or issues you leave behind physically once you board the plane or ship, but which you actually bring with you wherever you are in this world. whether you’re a health professional, merchant marine or building contractor, you’re never without worries and concerns 24/7, and sometimes the best way to momentarily forget these is through the contents of the brown bottle or markang demonyo.

Quite a few things happen after the first and second drink: your brain starts to get foggy, your thought process slows down, your tongue loosens and inexplicably you become more sociable. A common side effect? You forget the most urgent and immediate issues of the day, how much you need to send home, the problem child that’s giving your spouse (or carer) a headache, etc. etc. Instead or being a cause of concern, you sometimes welcome this temporary lapse of memory while trading risque stories with colleagues, if only for a moment.

Of course the problems don’t go away if not worsen while you drink, it’s just that, before you sleep, you can pretend you are free of these problems, never mind tomorrow, and never mind the inevitable reckoning when you have to confront and face these problems.

inuman tayo p’re. not only is alcohol drinking a rite of passage to manhood, it’s frequently the best and only way men (and sometimes women) get to know each other. As touched on above, a couple of drinks are usually enough to turn even the most formal long-sleeved office worker into a casual, sleeveless after-hours guy with an I-don’t-care attitude. It’s a universal vice, that of tolerating so-called “social” drinking for the sake of bringing together people who’ve nothing in common into, by the end of the evening, best of (drinking) buddies.

So that, even on religious, official and civic occasions, there is the actual event itself, and the drinks afterward. What isn’t tolerated during the first becomes accepted in the second, it’s a free-for-all.

So that, by the time you become an OFW and live or work all over the world (even where alcohol is strictly prohibited), drinking to be sociable has become so granularly a part of you that, literally, it’s in your blood. Basta may inuman, dadalo lahat (ng kalakihan). May konting handa with a wink becomes code for inuman ang kasunod pare, one to sawa. Regular social drinking (which unfortunately can upgrade to binge drinking) becomes the highlight of the week, the month, and possibly the entire year you’re away from home. Sigh.

***** ***** *****

Which now brings us to the question no OFW wants to ask, which is why do we drink? We know it hardly solves any problems if at all, and the health consequences are too forbidding to consider.

By the way, you’re probably wondering why after all this time, we suddenly thought to ask this impertinent question. I’ll tell you why, Precious Reader / kabayan. After our life-saving surgery and even shortly before, some two point five months ago, we faced the option of rejecting the firewater after more than 30 years of running it through our liver and kidneys. We weren’t getting any younger, and as shown by our health issues, we weren’t helping our organs any.

The result was for the same period, we haven’t touched any form of alcohol, not attended any event which would expose us to the temptation, and not even going near the Wine & Beer section of the supermarket, despite all the deals, specials and colorful packaging.

Anyway, to make a long story short, we’ve had less headaches on weekends, no more binge eating that makes up pulutan whenever we have somebody over for beer, and our post-surgery recovery has been stress-free.

We’ve never been a problem drinker, or even a habitual drinker much less an alcoholic, but just the same we thought it was time. Are we a better person for doing it? Only time will tell. Time being alive, that is.

Back to our question five paragraphs earlier kabayan. Do we drink to be more sociable? Do we drink to get that buzz and sound cooler to the opposite sex? (Wait, with OFWs there’s nobody from the opposite sex 😦 ) Do we drink to forget our problems, even for a moment?

Or for some other reason : maybe none of the above. Or most likely, maybe all of the above.

Thanks for reading, mabuhay!

“nambabae kasi…” atbp halimbawa ng pagiging mapanghusga tuwing may minamalas na kabayan

[ this post is in Taglish. ]

MADALAS AY twing may naririnig tayong positive news tungkol sa kabayan sa New Zealand, sinasalamin natin ito sa positibong pananaw sa ating mga sarili (positive self-image). Example: kung may matagumpay na yumaman or aktor na kinilala sa showbiz sa NZ or iba pang bansa, ang instinct natin ay sabihing ah, dahil Pinoy yan. Mahusay ang kabayan ko.

Natural lang ito, as we are all too willing or quick to project the good we see back to ourselves, when we see a familiar feature (such as being Pinoy) in others. We have a tendency to highlight the good we see in the media when it serves to remind us of ourselves.

Unfortunately, we are just as quick to dismiss news as NOT representative of ourselves when negative news involves our kabayan, even in everyday circumstances common to average individuals similar to ourselves in social, religious and financial standing. The saddest part is these kabayan could be our friend, colleague or even hero but for an accident of fate or timing. Just as we are biased in favor of kabayan in good times, we are biased against our countrymen in bad.

Again, let us give you examples Precious Reader:

dati na yang masama at di talaga dapat pagkatiwalaan.” these involve crimes of theft, esp by kabayan in positions of trust. Itong mga huling buwan ay may mga nahuling may “malalagkit na daliri” habang inaalagaan ang kanilang mga senior citizen sa rest o retirement home.

Hindi yan ang ugali ng Pinoy na pinagsasamantalahan ang kahinaan o katandaan ng taong dapat nilang alagaan at protektahan, ang pinakamadalas kong marinig sa ating mga kabayang napakabilis humusga.

Hindi naman natin ang alam ng situation ng kabayan para gawin nya yung nagawa nya. Di basta-bastang sisirain ng kabayan ang pinaghirapan na career at permanent resident status (kundi pa citizen) dahil lang sa halaga ng ninakaw. Baka naman may dahilan para maging desperado ang kabayan sa ginawa nya.

Ironic, but the authorities in New Zealand are sometimes more understanding of circumstances that may have caused our kabayan to commit the crime concerned.

“nambabae / nanlalake kasi yan kaya (fill in the misfortune applicable). buti nga.” It’s becoming more and more commonplace to justify a kabayan’s misfortune by making conjectures about his/her marital or relationship status, using the above phrase.

I’m not sure if anyone here was born yesterday, but is anyone reading this faultless, immaculate and therefore able to judge everyone else? In the first place, if we may borrow and paraphrase from the Good Book, all have sinned and fall short of the Divine standard. If we use one’s marital or partnership status, present or past, as an accurate measuring stick of “deserving” accidents or misfortune, then maybe a lot more people would be getting hurt or suffering bad luck. Because at one point or another in our lives, a lot of us have made mistakes.

We don’t always know the full backstory behind every person’s marital or relationship status, and for that reason, maybe it’s not a good idea to pass judgment. This is especially true in our ethnic community, where summary judgment is often accompanied by malicious gossip and character assassination, the shoot-first-ask-questions-later method that is unfortunately very difficult to undo. Maybe it’s just me, but if you’re not gonna help, might as well not do anything na lang.

pumatol yan sa ibang lahi, wala syang dapat sisihin kundi sa sarili nya dahil sa (fill in the applicable misfortune)” This applies not just in romantic relationships but in ordinary platonic and business relationships as well. For starters, it sounds egregiously racist, an irony for us Pinoys who claim to be victims of racism often and always.

It already sounds outrageous, the implication that we Pinoys can do well and get along only with ourselves. Without using empirical evidence, in fact the opposite may be closer to the truth: we Pinoys often get along better with other races and when we are without countrymen (or women). And yet, the moment something negative and tragic occurs, we blame the difference in cultures, the clash of civilizations. How about simple mistakes, or the clash of personalities and moods?

The sooner we accept that we Pinoys never fall into bad situations in a vacuum and need understanding without judgment, the better. Our kabayan need not just our help but to be free from our bias and prejudice. Only then can we as a community in New Zealand truly progress and be proud of ourselves as an ethnic group.

Mabuhay, thanks for reading!

ito ang mga kapansin-pansin sa pamamahay ng OFW sa New Zealand

thanks and acknowledgment to etsy.com!

MATAGAL-TAGAL NA RIN ako sa New Zealand and I confess at least three-quarters of my free time I spend either with family or other Filipinos, call them Pinoys, kabayan, they are my own. By force of habit or because of circumstance, I hardly socialize with other races. These are what I’ve noticed, in the decade-plus I’ve spent here.

thanks and acknowledgment to theselfworthcoach.online for the pic

walang nasasayang. takeaway boxes, used batteries, hand-me-downs, even leftovers from last week. As long as it can be used, reused, consumed, eaten, it will not be binned (thrown away) and discarded, weeks, months and years may pass but that achara (pickled papaya or pawpaw) that was lovingly gifted from several Christmases ago is still there in the dark corner of the ref (fridge) that’s by-the-way dark because nobody’s bothered to change the fridge bulb.

The practice of saving everything is a throwback to Pinoys inheriting the tendency of the previous generation to never throw away anything that might still be salvaged for alternative use or to give to the junkman (magbobote) for a few pesos. And THAT generation owed it to the postwar generation that never had enough of basic supplies and equipment, so that anything that could be used to improvise or build (or invent) something was kept in storage. All the way to the OFW’s garage where, on a rainy weekend, things could be sorted, repaired and organized for younger members of the family for future use.

thanks and acknowledgment to nzcatholic.org.nz!

religious images, mini statues and all sizes of rosaries. Even if you no longer follow all the rules, rites and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, you still attend Sunday Mass and give uncommon respect to priests nuns and working members of the Catholic religious, those who spread the Good Word and do good works in the name of the Church. In your living room your family displays at least one or more printed image and one or more figure of the following: The Sacred Heart of Jesus or Mary, The Child Jesus (Sto Nino), the Holy Family, your patron saint (whose feast day falls on your birthday or that of your spouse or child).

Three hundred years of being a Spanish colony, during which the Pope was as strong economically and militarily as any king or temporal ruler is a historical reality that dies hard, and 80% Catholicism for most OFWs is probably the tradition that dies hardest. We still think that the Pope is infallible, that priests and nuns should remain celibate for life, and in between Heaven and Hell is a purgatory to prepare us hopefully for the former.

inuman sa garahe . unless it’s an extra special occasion, the males of the house will not waste hard-earned income going to the pub for drinks especially with fellow kabayan. Of course the beloved tradition of drinks and alcohol is never abandoned, but why spend the extra 25% when you can drink at home? Now instead of disrupting the rest of the family, Filipinos often bring the inuman (drinking session) to the garage which is a fixture in many New Zealand homes, an annexed shed originally for the car but used as an activity room or repair shop of the mechanically inclined.

You will usually find the garage full of kabayan ready for inuman, complete with karaoke, videoke and pulutan, staples of every Filipino merrymaking. No closing time, no bouncer, and only the inevitable call from the better halves to finish the songs that remind us of former loves and former lives.

thanks pinterest.com!

en op kors… lahat ng ebidensya ng hilig sa basketball. Basta may damuhan or kapirasong semento sa harap ng bahay ng Pinoy you’ll inevitably see the basketball goal, usually made of fiberglass so the occupants can pass endless weekend afternoons shooting jumpers, layups pretending to be last-second heroes of their favorite NBA/PBA playoff teams.

Pinoys are eternal basketball fanboys and girls, a throwback initially of American origin but now with a distinct Asian flavor. Basketball courts dot every street corner and sandlot back home in the Inang Bayan, and though rugby union and rugby league is king here in New Zealand, basketball is now one of the more popular sports, aided no doubt by the Filipino migrant community.

Inside the Pinoy household are further unmistakable signs of adherence to the sport: cable TV is always trained to the nearly year-long NBA basketball season schedule, shoe racks are adorned with basketball shoes endorsed by single-name star athletes including Giannis, Damian and Steph (Nike, adidas and Under Armor) and of course, the ubiquitous NBA2K22 video games on multiple platforms.

Every city and large town in New Zealand has at least one yearlong basketball tournament competed in by multiple age groups, and the champions of these usually meet annually in a sportsfest usually held in a host city. There are other events like volleyball and golf, but basketball is king and the top draw. Basketball fosters competition, but also friendship and camaraderie among all Pinoys in Aotearoa.

ang dahilan kung ba’t di lahat sa NZ health system ay puri : di pinagkakait ang healthcare part 3

(di halata pero ang laki na ng pag-improve ng kalusugan ko rito)

[Note : please refer to first and second blogs about my recent heart surgery kabayan, maraming salamat po!]

DI NAMAN LAHAT NG KAILANGAN ng may sakit ay abot-kamay sa New Zealand. Tutoong sinabi ko Kabayan / Precious Reader na sinwerte ako at halos binangon ako sa hukay ng NZ public health system, dahil halos nasa bingit na ako ng kamatayan bago ako nabigyan ng surgery, medisina at post-surgery care na mahirap pantayan ng ating pinanggalingang Pilipinas.

Marahil ay kung nagbabasa kayo ng peryodiko (na ngayon ay napalitan na ng website at phone app) alam nyo na panay batikos ang health system ng NZ kailan lang, wala akong reklamo dahil buhay naman ang nakataya, pero di ko paksa itong mga kakulangan ng mga ambulansya at first-responders, di ito ang sakop ng aking personal na karanasan.

[kakambyo naman tayo sa Taglish mga kabayan]

The overriding principle in the NZ public health philosophy now is unless it’s a matter of life-and-death, major medical treatment is first-come-first-served, and the line has built up some time ago. Don’t misunderstand please; every effort will be made and no expense is spared until the patient is well.

But in my case, I would have waited around six to eight weeks for a surgery had my situation not been worsened by life-threatening heart infection. like the other patients in my ward, I would have been on standby, but I wouldn’t know exactly when I’d go under the knife.

The sad part is, for the most important surgeries, only the most competent and experienced staff are trusted. And almost certainly, those staff can only be found in the major medical centers in the big cities. I know, because I was based in a town that didn’t have a surgical team, or at least a surgical team that could handle my case.

Di ko alam kung ganun kalubha ang kundisyon ko na di kaya ng ospital namin, pero sa mga nakita ko, medyo luma na at pinagdaanan na ng panahon mga pasilidad and equipment nila. It’s true; while the better equipment, staff and facilities can be found in the big cities, the same can’t be said for the smaller cities and towns. There just aren’t enough medical professionals and facilities for the smaller hospitals, and patients with serious cases have to be sent there.

Di naman lahat bad news dito sa post ko: dinala ako ng libre ng extended ambulance mula sa aking hamak na barrio hanggang Christchurch, aabot ng libo sa metro ng Uber kung may bayad. First class din ang coordination at communication ng cardiologist at nursing staff ko sa home base at sa cardiothoracic team sa Christchurch, di nila ako pinabayaan mula sa admission 1.5 months ago hanggang ngayon na may post-surgery consultation pa ako.

Puno ang mga kama ng aking ward at nung nadischarge ako, lampas 100% ang occupancy ng ospital, kaya nadagdagan ang problema sa delay of medical services sa lahat ng ospital nationwide. Ito ang pinakamalaking suliranin ngayon ng NZ health system bukod sa doctor and nurse staffing.

Nung linipat ako sa Christchurch hospital, anim ang maximum occupancy ng bawat kwarto sa aking ward, pang-anim ako sa room. Nung linipat ako sa post-surgery, apat ang max sa room ko, pang-apat ako sa room.

Libre lahat ng meds, libre lahat ng gamit, mababait lahat ng mga nurse at doctor, at bawat ward ay may Pinay na kabayan kang makikita, kulang lang talaga sila. Alam ko to dahil andami ring mga nurse’s aide na undergrad at di pa registered nurse na halos tutoong nurse na rin ang trabaho.

Kakaalis ko lang ng Christchurch nung nabasa ko sa news website na 120% ang occupancy ng ospital, nung ward mismo na iniwan ko. Tuliro at tameme lahat ng medical staff, at nagpasalamat kami ng mag-anak ko na natapos agad mga procedure ko.

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O, yan. Ang gusto ko lang naman ay balansehin mga sinabi ko nung unang dalawang kapiraso ng humahabang kwento ko bilang pasyente sa New Zealand public system. May maganda, may di maganda. Pasalamat pa rin tayo.

Thanks for reading, mabuhay!

kung kayang magbigay nang walang panghuhusga

TO DONATE TO PICTON CRASH VICTIMS : Give a Little page, givealittle.co.nz

[ PAUNAWA : A very sophomoric attempt at reaching the greatest possible number of kabayan using our beloved Tagalog, please be gentle in judging (pun intended)]

ALAM NG KARAMIHAN NG ating mga kabayan na bukod sa ating sariling lahi, dalawang lahi lang ang mas malaki sa atin sa New Zealand, kung bilang ng migrante (migrant population) ang sukat.

Dahil dito, di ko na babanggitin kung sinu-sino sila. Malamang Precious Reader ay kilalang-kilala mo na sila.

Gusto ko lang kumpirmahin sa ating lahat na marami tayong negatibong mga pananaw o opinyon tungkol sa kanila: di magandang mga asal, pagiging mayabang, or mga prinsipyong di laging nakahanay sa ating Pinoy values (di ako makahanap ng eksaktong pagsalin sa Tagalog) tulad ng pagiging materyalistiko, walang takot sa Diyos, etc.

Tama man o mali, napansin ko na kapag isa sa kanila ang nasapitan ng trahedya o sakuna, walang sabi-sabi at nagbibigay ng tulong at saklolo ang buong komunidad sa mga sinawing palad.

Personal naming nasaksihan ito sa aking mga kaibigan sa Pilipinas at dito na rin sa New Zealand. Di namimili at di humuhusga itong lahi; basta nangangailangan ng tulong ay binibigay ito.

Dalawang lahi ang aking tinutukoy. Yung isa pang lahi na mahihilig sa mga maaanghang na ulam, ganun din. Mayayabang sila at akala mo kung sino kapag nagmamamalaki , walang pakialam kung ang nagyayabang sa harap ng kalahi o hindi, ay nagbubuklod din sa mga panahon ng trahedya at sakuna, walang pinipili bago tulungan.

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Sana ay ganito rin tayo. Sana ay huwag na tayong mag-comment ng maaanghang or masasakit na salita sa social media lalo na kung walang pagkakataong sumagot ang mga biktima o pamilya ng trahedyang ito. Ito ang klase ng aksidente na bangungot sa kahit sinumang apektado, lalo na kung halos lahat ng buong mag-anak ay maglaho sa isang pikit-mata lamang. Lahat ng mga detalye ng kakulangan at pagkakamali ng ating kabayang pamilya ay naisiwalat sa peryodiko ng New Zealand , at alam na natin mga pangyayaring di na sana nangyari.

Pero nangyari na. At wala nang dapat gawin kundi ibigay lahat ng ating kayang ibigay, dahil sobra na ang pinagdaanan nitong pamilyang ito.

At kung pwede sana, wag na muna husgahan ang ating pobreng mga kabayan.

Amba Gary : a personal glimpse

Was it really six years ago? our first meeting Jan 2016, right after this blogger completed a half marathon 🙂 thank you for your service AmbaGary!

[Note : Was lucky enough to be asked by Filipino Migrant News publisher / editor Mel Fernandez to write about a personal experience with an unforgettable individual. Please read on here and in the next site, friend! ]

TIMARU – If there was any schedule-squeezing to be done in order to meet a new heavyweight of the New Zealand Pinoy community, it was on that day in January 2016 to be sure…

[ to read on, please click here ]

Mabuhay, thanks for reading!

mga leksyon sa pagitan ng buhay & kamatayan (lessons learned between life & death)

apologies to my visitors for not asking permission before using pic, hope masks partially hide you guys

SO MANY LESSONS, many of them simple, a few of them commonsense, some of them complicated, that I learned from my brush with eternity last month. What started out as a odd sound in our heart turned out to be an issue that threatened to affect our existence.

If it wasn’t for the insistence on checking and double-checking why things weren’t working out the way they did, the vigilance of a doctor, and finally sticking to our gut feeling, I’m not sure I would be here talking to you kabayan.

To summarize. I needed urgent surgery to repair a valve in my heart, but it wasn’t so obvious until the problem almost became life threatening. Because of the following things I did, the problem was identified and helped doctors help me survive:

Know your medical history. From around five years ago, my heart started producing a funny extra sound called a heart murmur, which is not that unusual but could be a sign of something going on with your heart. It’s not enough to cause immediate alarm, but something the doctor asked me to monitor. Because of that advice, when a problem finally happened, I was no longer surprised and was able to deal with it.

One of my children has a heart murmur, nothing to worry about in their youth, but just the same something to watch over just in case something happens. Wala namang mawawala.

stay fit. Di naman kailangang magazine superfit and body beautiful tayo, but it helps your general health if you stay within the window of healthy weight and exercise regularly. Not just that, it helps you fight the trauma of illness and surgery and helps you recover faster from the challenge of so many meds to take and the stress of staying in the hospital, which are all essential if you want to conquer serious illness.

And about my personal experience with surgery and meds. A lot of the trauma and stress linked with surgery is co-existing with the pain inconvenience and recovery of surgery, which when you think about it involves invading your body, opening it up and either repairing or replacing a diseased organ. That’s a big deal for anybody.

listen to your body. I was sick enough that the doctor was recommending that I be scheduled for surgery, but not sick enough that i was booked for urgent surgery, meaning I had to be literally short of breath and so weak that doctors had to operate. Best case scenario, the in the public health system, was two month from now. Tough luck, the doc says, but the subtext was obvious: beggars can’t be choosers.

Meantime, I had the nagging feeling I had to tell the cardiologist I had experienced chills and low-grade fever twice in the last week, nothing serious but enough to tell him. He told me initially that it probably had nothing to do with my heart, but before I left his office he changed his mind and ordered a blood culture test. It shortly revealed that, aggravating the situation, the part of my heart that needed surgery had been infected, and I moved up the queue, from two months, to one week from diagnosis. All because I couldn’t ignore fever and chills. I’m no medical psychic, and the doc needed a battery of tests to confirm my gut feeling, but out of everyone in this world, you are the best judge of what’s happening in your body. If there’s something that’s bothering you about your body, don’t ignore it.

Time is very important. I didn’t realize it, but by the time I was ready for surgery, I was very ill. Doctors are usually up front and direct about your chances and the situation before you, and in my case I was told that the infection had reached my heart. I wasn’t told of what would happen if I didn’t have the surgery as soon as possible. but consider: I was transferred from my small-town hospital to a major hospital 24 hours from the time a decision was made to do so, and from there, I was scheduled for the surgery within 72 hours. Just to make it more interesting, a labor strike also on schedule, and there was a chance my surgery was gonna be postponed. No way, the lead surgeon said, are you kidding me? That’s when I realized how close I was to joining Dad, who just left us two-plus years ago.

So in my case, each day delayed was a day that further jeopardized my health. but it could’ve been worse. For some patients, hours were precious. And further complicating some cases were the fact that if your cases weren’t urgent, you had to join a long queue. Understanding the time element in health is important.

So, these are my lessons learned during my almost-instant surgery. I’m none the worse for wear kabayan, but it could’ve been a different story. Learn from my experience, without paying tuition fees!

Mabuhay, thanks for reading!