ganito kasi yon : more awkward situations pinoys confront everyday

[ Note :  The video above has nothing to do with the post, just touched me in a very positive way. here’s hoping the pain and misery following the massive floods back home is minimized, and that a sea change on our pork barrel culture starts to happen.  Yeah, right.  Btw, “ganito kasi yon” is Tagalog loosely for this is the short explanation.  Thanks for reading! ]

CALL US A lot of things, but don’t call us Pinoys (also known as Filipinos) anti-social.  We smile and laugh easily, engage with other people like it’s second nature to us, are great listeners, and can easily wriggle out of a potentially embarrassing situation via diplomacy or tact.

But more than all these, Pinoys are good talkers.  We love to show our facility in English to fellow English speakers (maybe sometimes too vigorously), love to show how we can discuss government and politics, even if we sometimes don’t have the slightest idea of what we’re talking about, and even use the smallest excuse to show off our familiarity with international showbiz, cable entertainment and even socially relevant issues where our region is concerned.

Trouble is, no matter how sociable we are, how cosmopolitan or how well we pass ourselves off as citizens of the world, there will always be aspects of our culture that will remain imprinted on our collective selves.  Conversely, there will be aspects of other cultures that will grate on us, simply because, like the proverbial fingerprint, no two cultures are alike, although on surface we may seem similar.  Whenever we confront face-to-face other cultures, there will be an inevitable clash, and it will be folly for us to compare these cultures with our own.   At the same time,  when these cultures try to compare ours to them, it takes every bit of our strength not to react negatively and instead tell them, live and let live.

Below are just a few examples of how these awkward situations surface whenever different cultures clash.   They are not theoretical or abstract  scenarios but actual vignettes of what happens when what we consider questionable (or sometimes disgusting) happens to be completely acceptable in other cultures.  And vice versa.

it's just more fun ! :)

it’s just more fun ! 🙂

Unwashed hair.  Let’s talk about our hosts first.  Because it’s a temperate climate here, dreadlocks and braids are acceptable hairstyles, especially among those who pursue the so-called alternative lifestyle.  Frankly, it’s a look that fits a certain body type and personality; and if you can wear a mop on your head and pull it off, well kudos to you.

Unfortunately, it’s a style that precludes daily washing of your hair, and such lack of washing is aggravated by the volume of hair and the resulting need for grooming.  It becomes worse when the temperatures rise and the owner of the hair adds sweat to the natural oils trapped in his dreadlocks.  I think you begin to see (and smell) the picture.

Now, about us Pinoys.  Washing our brown bodies is a daily essential, and our hair is no exception.  We like to smell good not just for ourselves but especially for those around us.  We think nothing of anointing ourselves with lotions, colognes, perfumes and other fragrances twice or even thrice a day, especially our ladies.  Does it follow that we should expect others to do the same?

Sorry kabayan but the short answer is no.  I have a dreadlocked colleague who is otherwise a decent chap and pleasant enough, but even in the cold weather, his hair is beginning to reek.  I thought that it was just me being an odor-sensitive Pinoy, but a tactless workmate hit it right on the nail : he mentioned that even with a hairnet and cap, it looked (smelled) like Dreadlock Guy hadn’t washed his hair for a week.  And with winter ending soon, the warmer weather was going to make it worse.  Now the million-dollar question is : who’s gonna be the one to tell Mr Alien Predator  (of the famous braids) that the hair ain’t helping his social life??? 🙂

kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap :(

kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap 😦

Corruption and lack of honesty in public service.  As they say in all democratic countries, public service is a public trust, although in many developing countries like ours, this rule is usually honored in the breach.  In those same free states also goes the saying  Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There’s more : Graft exists in all societies, to the victors in public office belong the spoils, and if you want to avoid more trouble, think twice before reporting a crime to the police.  We’ve all known these truths to be self-evident back home, so much that a political career untainted by corruption is probably beyond comprehension, it’s simply inconceivable to us.  And yet, whenever a New Zealander asks me any detail about how pervasive corruption is in our political culture, I hasten to justify it, explain it away, or compare it to other countries where dishonesty is tolerated as much as it is condemned.

The truth is, we accept the evils of crony capitalism and the old-boy network as part of the necessary evils that make modern government work, as long as it doesn’t offend our sense of proportion or some vague moral boundary (a line which I think was crossed by that Pinay found to own 28 houses in the Philippines and several more in the USA).  But the moment people in other countries try to pass judgment or tsk-tsk the way our government  runs things, the usual instinct is for Pinoys to circle the wagons and defend ours as the Confucian way of governance (which usually means look the other way or your time will come, mwahahahaha).

digital stealing.  We like to do the right thing, watch movies as they actually come out in the moviehouses, borrow DVDs from the corner rental, and wait for the clearance sales on movies we missed.  But the temptation to go to the dark side is too strong sometimes, when people give you the latest, unreleased films on their flash drives, when they talk about the newest pictures even before the reviewers do, and when a lot of people do it, you begin to wonder if it’s worth being one of the good guys.

It’s even worse back home, where frankly speaking everything can be downloaded without paying for it if you know your way around the internet, intellectual property is a joke, and paying for licensed software is something only big companies do.

Don’t think that Kiwis don’t know that Third World countries do this with impunity, because they automatically assume that Asians use software, listen to music and watch movies without always paying for it, and that’s putting it mildly.

To them I fashion, as usual, a defensive response.  The day will come when everything on the internet will be shareware, free-to-use and for everyone to download as they please.  Besides, I like to delude myself into thinking that the world is divided into two : those who pay for stuff and those who can’t afford to pay for it, but ultimately still end up using it, I mean who doesn’t depend on gigabyte power these days?

What I mean is, those who pay for movies, music and software, unless they opt for a lifestyle change, won’t consider downloading it illegally, while those on the other side of the fence have much more important issues of survival and won’t  have the money or inclination to buy the digital stuff.

Yes, we Asians download stuff like it’s the most natural thing, without even considering paying for it.  We watch the latest movies and listen to the latest hits, and only pause to buy the movies or music as an afterthought,  And software we buy, if we buy it at all, is of the bootleg variety.  But we also have mortgages to maintain, rents to pay, groceries to shop, tuition payments to meet, and yes, bills to pay.  These, out of a puny paycheck that’s running on fumes.  Is it still a surprise then that I can hardly think of respecting intellectual property?

If it sounds like I’m justifying stealing things I should be paying for, I’m not.  But as sure as the sun rises at dawn and sets 12 hours later, movies, music and software will always be stolen (or copied, as simple as that) outside the so-called Western world.  It’s just a fact of life.

Now, how do I tell all these to my Kiwi hosts and keep my straight face on?

the nature of the beast called Candy Crush Saga

it's completely free... before you're hooked.

it’s completely free… before you’re hooked.

WELL, IT’S no big secret but I’ll say it anyway.  The only bigger passion of Facebook now than tracking its stock market share price and accumulating advertising revenue is push, push, pushing its Facebook games and the crown jewel of  the showroom is, of course, Candy Crush Saga (CCS).  You can’t argue with 45.6 million monthly users, with apps on Facebook on PC and laptops, iPhones, iPads and Androids.  In Hongkong, where the game is mindbendingly popular, it’s estimated that one in seven inhabitants are players.  Can you imagine that?

...and it only takes a few minutes to turn you into a Candy Crush Saga addict. :(

…and it only takes a few minutes to turn you into a Candy Crush Saga addict. 😦

I’m embarrassed to say that nearly every free moment of my time is consumed by the black hole that is Candy Crush, it absorbs not only all light and energy but emotions and focus as well.  Any time of the day or night, as long as a moment can be spared, I give it to that accursed game that is, dare I say it? NEUROTICALLY ADDICTIVE.

Now I know why so many people are online in Facebook, yet you don’t hear a peep out of them.  They say an average Facebook person has 400 friends.  You can bet your bottom peso that if you’re Pinoy or Kiwi, at least half of those are CCS players, and at least half of their time online is spent on the game, if not more.

yeah, right.

yeah, right.

It’s not a difficult game to learn to play.  In fact, a seven-year old could easily start playing and enjoying it, because the objective of the game creators and administrators is simply to draw in as many players as it possibly can, without qualification and without exception.    It only takes a moment to step back and realize that, more than selling our personal data to marketing and direct sales companies, using face-recognition technology on all our pictures for national security purposes, and amassing enough advertising earnings to become the most powerful company on Earth, it’s capturing the hearts and minds of each internet using country via Candy Crush Saga that is the prime directive of Mark Z and Friends.  There is no limit on what the game can do.

The game starts out free; anyone can access the game and get hooked.  After a few “levels” or challenges you reach new scenarios where the rules of the game become progressively harder.  Along the way, you are encouraged to ask for help finishing levels from friends who are also CCS players.  The subtext here is that if you want regular access to help, then you should be prepared to “invite” Facebook friends to start playing the game.  This is why the average Facebook user gets annoying invites almost daily from people who otherwise wouldn’t give him or her the time of day.

Still can’t get enough help from your friends?  This is where the paradigm shifts.  For a few cents (from your credit card of course) you can purchase special virtual “tools” that help you surmount obstacles, finish challenges and complete levels that would otherwise take you longer.  Hours of repetitive play become minutes, minutes of finger-numbing techniques get accomplished in seconds.  The precious eye-hand coordination required to succeed in CCS become superfluous, assuming of course you’re willing to shell out online cash everytime you’re stuck in a level.

It looks harmless, innocuous and wholesome, mainly because of all those multi-colored candy, the whistles and string-quartet minibytes of sounds that accompany every action you perform and the congratulatory vignettes of concertos every time you finish a level.  Additionally, your feats (with your permission) are also broadcast long and loud all over your personal FB network, whether your friends care or not.

But it is the same appeal to the senses that FB has so craftily employed to hook you in deeper and deeper.  The same bells and whistles of color, sound and reward-for-achievement that Facebook uses remind me of slot machines and one-armed bandits that are scientifically tweaked to tap into your subconscious and use every neural trick to unlock doors in your inner child, inner addict and inner hedonist.  By the time you’re aware, you’re already locked in.  It’s done so subtly, so gradually and so slowly that very few realize that there’s actually an effort to do so.

Just yesterday, I spent probably an hour on CCS, the time flew by before I even changed from my work clothes.  I did a few chores after that, watched the news while playing, set the game aside during dinner (raising eyebrows from Mahal who also plays) went back to it before calling it a day and thought and dreamt about it before waking up to (guess what) maybe a half-hour of the game.  See how bad it is?

[ By the way, in case I forgot to tell you, you can buy anything that you see on the Candy Crush Saga screen.  You can buy tools, you can buy lives, you can buy extra time to finish a level, you could probably even buy a date with the Candy Crush game creator to pick his brain for trick and tips on how to finish levels sooner. But I’m not that desperate.  Yet. ]

And even if you don’t give in to weakness and continue relying on your hourly fix of five free “lives”, Facebook has every imaginable kind of advertising to bombard you with while playing, tailored to your race, gender, location and even age, not to mention your Facebook interests (learned through your Personal Information section).  Sure you enjoy yourself, but I’m sorry to say at what price?  Figuratively you’ve compromised yourself, and you’ve sold and resold your soul to both Candy Crush Saga and Facebook many, many times over.

The only reason I actually have time to do this is I’m stumped on a level (Level 65) and I’ve run out of lives.  I need to wait for a helpful FB friend or friends to bail me out, or replenish my lives before embarking on yet another mindless hourlong session of CCS.

If you haven’t yet been convinced that there is a sinister directive of world domination behind this game, let me tell you this : Candy Crush Saga was invented a year plus ago, but there is as yet no one who has finished completing all the levels.  This because levels are still being created, currently at around 300+ levels, and there is no end on the horizon.  They have not yet finished creating the game.

Facebook aims to hook more and more players, until it reaches YOU.  Forewarned is forearmed.

Thanks for reading!

reminders for the visit home

almost there... almost there... kill me, please :(

almost there… almost there… kill me, please 😦

I COULDN’T believe it, but there I was.  Dusk, microwave-heating sun long gone, and barely moving, waiting for our ride, and I was perspiring.  Not the ga-munggo (beadlike), slow-drip way, but sweating buckets, just idling my engine and revving my pistons.  I didn’t know which was more unlikely : that I was nearly suffocating without the maximum Philippine heat, or that I was no longer used to weather here.

I am literally embarrassed to tell you this, but the tropical paradise that I thought would be an unexpected treat, after leaving late-autumn Wellington, wasn’t the purely pleasant experience that I thought it would be.  Not only does the climate average around 10 to 15 degrees higher, the humidity or water droplets in the air is doubly stifling, almost like the air is sweating right along with you.   This partly explains why, even after sunset, and despite just staying in place, my sweat glands were working overtime, on practically every square inch of skin available.

Curiously, all around me were kabayan, fellow worker ants and others just trying to survive, and they weren’t sweating a bit.  In fact, some looked quite comfortable in the last heat wave of the day.  Just a bit bushed and lonesome for home.

Lesson : You live or die with the temperature-cum-humidity.  You can take refuge in the air-conditioned hotel room, mall and rarefied resto function rooms, but if you want to be true to yourself and your motherland, spend a few hours each day under the Metro Mania sun, complete with muggy air, soot and carbon monoxide.  It’s good for sustaining your gratitude for living in your adopted land.

What I won’t forget about this trip home was the fact that I suffered a permanent gout attack that last the duration of the two weeks plus here.  I don’t know which factor was responsible for it : the airplane food I consumed, the free alcohol during the same flight, the extended period of time I spent on my fat behind, bloating the blood vessels coursing through my legs, or my recent lack of exercise.  Or a combination of some or all.  Whatever my legs looked like those of the Jollibee mascot or the stumps of a sumo wrestler’s, resulting in restricted mobility.  My gait was labored, and every step was an ordeal, whether we were checking out the latest 1st class imitations in St Francis Square, enjoying the newest extensions to the Pasig malls, or looking for cheap DVD copies in Greenhills.

What’s worse, the inflammation wasn’t subsiding any time soon, and the usual trick of drinking water by the giant glassful wasn’t working.  My brother prescribed gout medication and it eased the pain somewhat, but since I arrived and to this day, my lower leg and ankle have been numb, tender and unable to bear the usual weight of a slightly overweight, middle-aged Asian, that’s me.

Lesson : Make preparations and allowances for your ailments, conditions and particular quirks of your body.  The usual medications might not be available, you might require a strict diet regimen that your hosts and the local milieu cannot provide efficiently, and the climate, drinking water and time zone are a triple whammy combining to convert pleasure into torture.  NOT the sort of Facebook posts you’d want your 800 friends to see.

Lastly, Mahal had her folks, six brothers and sisters, dozen-plus nephews and nieces to visit in various parts of Luzon, there were old cronies, contemporaries and buddies to look up and pester, and an election that just happened to be taking place while we were here!  So much to do and not enough time, obviously, to do it in.

Lesson : You can’t do everything, much as you’d like to do so.  Focus on what you intended to do in the first place, which is family, friends, and the agenda attached to your trip, whatever that is.  So pick your spots and fight the battles that count.  You can’t win them all, because winning the war is the prize that matters.  You can’t please everybody, keep the big picture in mind, and begin with the end (of the trip) in mind.

Most of the above sounds easier than it actually is, and doesn’t talk about anything you don’t already know.  But forewarned is forearmed, preparation is the key to victory, and all that.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you, because all my travails can still serve as a bad example.  And all that.

you don’t alter your pinayness, you alter yourself to fit being a pinay

NOT ONLY did esposa hermosa not find a recent article I read about bridal tube feeding an alarming commentary on the lengths women will go to look “acceptable” on her wedding day, it actually inspired her to do something similar to fit into a picture-perfect party dress that she declared was the ONLY outfit that would satisfy her norm in looking good for an event.  I didn’t believe there was actually a pop culture adage to the effect that you don’t alter (a certain fashion designer’s dimensions), you alter yourself to fit (that designer), certainly commercially-conceived consumer hyperbole, but I saw it brought to life by esposa herself, declaring a one-day fast (save for smoothies and crackers) just to look fabulous (she already looks fabulous to me) for said event.

Which just brought to mind the various pressures women are subjected to just to prettify themselves and therefore give themselves the veneer of acceptability (let alone beauty) in civilized society.  It would all be very well in absolute terms, but we all know that men are not subjected to this pressure to paint our faces, finger nails and toe nails, put on at least half a dozen different substances on multiple layers to moisturize, lighten and strategically shade spots on their faces, specifically eyes, cheeks and noses;

Routinely in weddings, debuts and formal occasions, nobody gives us men a second look (even in our supposedly virile 20s, 30s and 40s) with our beer bellies and five o’clock shadows, but these same men would thumb their noses at their mates if the latter came out with anything less than flawless complexions and hourglass figures.

Obviously with my resume’, I can only speak for Pinays, so I hope there are some parallels you can draw if you’re other-Asian, Caucasian or of some other persuasion.

Depending on the amount of time a poor girl has before a big event, she can either pick out an outfit she’s never worn before or buy a brand-new one, usually worth several paycheques, pick out or buy shoes that match said outfit, replenish her store of makeup and hair care products or outsource the hair-and-makeup job to a professional who’s paid by the minute, and don’t forget the sidetrip to buy accessories, real jewelry and fashion jewelry, all the above to attend an event that besides the celebrant, no one will remember, to partake of food that will be a distant memory the morning after, and attended by people half of which she doesn’t even know.

And her boyfriend / date / partner?  He gets to wear the same suit he’s worn for Junior-Senior prom, graduation, his wedding, and probably the same suit he’ll be buried in (sorry to be morbid).  A sprinkle of face powder, deodorant and some after-shave, if he’s saved some from last time comprises the full range of aesthetic preparation he will undertake for the same occasion.

Nothing new for him, but hopefully everything will be freshly laundered.  All he needs to do is keep his shirt free from wine and ketchup stains, prevent scuffing the dull sheen of his loafers, and comb his unruly hair every now and then to avoid negative comments about hair gone awry.

On the other hand, his mate, harrassed Pinay, has a thousand-and-one items on her inbox.  Hair in place?  Check.  Face perfect?  Awesome for now.  Gown, bag and shoes coordinated? OK.  Now just hold that pause for the next three hours for the pics and Facebook posts so we can get this show on the road.

Sigh.  It’s hard enough to be pretty and sexy.  Harder when you’re young and eligible.  But it’s truly a challenge to be all that, and Pinay.

nibbling at the realities of a pinoy fortysomething dieter

the lunch I bring to work, twice a week (sigh). the sausage roll is a concession to the rice-free and meat-free qualities of my new diet guidelines. 😦

YOU KNOW you’ve reached that netherworld of neither-old-nor-young when health and fitness has supplanted sports and entertainment as your top Yahoo! article topic; when the holiday/birthday/media extravaganza all-nighter has become rarer and rarer, almost a thing of the past; when you scour Facebook and alumni updates for news of lifestyle diseases whose incidence seems to increase every year; and when the concept of a healthful, nutritious and energizing daily diet is becoming less and less theoretical and more and more inevitable.

Before I continue, a little bit of domestic background : esposa hermosa enjoys twin humongous advantages that abandoned my ship a long time ago.  She will eat what she fancies, and what she fancies she can usually cook.  On my end, I can no longer eat with reckless abandon, and even more sadly, I have no notable culinary skills save boiling eggs or opening sardines or pork and beans.

But even this disparity of gastronomic fortune has further gone against me : esposa has recently laid down new guidelines to which I w0uld do well to adhere food-wise : at least two riceless meals a week, at least one salad day, and beloved greasy Pinoy breakfasts of Mighty Meaty, sinangag (fried rice) and tostadong itlog (fried egg) limited to one weekend day.  In addition, I’m to discard the daily ice cream habit (sob) and step up my fruit and veggie intake, as if the previous rules weren’t punishment enough.

The crime?  Long years of excessive, irresponsible eating,  sedentary weekends and an infatuation with beer and pizza for any and every occasion, a love for pastries, pies as well as all things sugary and starchy.  My personal chef and nutritionist has gone so far as to say that observing my formerly irresponsible diet has become a matter of life and death, so that what I eat (or not eat) for the next few years will determine if I live the balance of my life healthily, if at all.  Now that’s an incentive for me to eat wisely and well.

Fortunately, she has the discipline and creativity to prepare our meals.  Given the option to observe her rules at home or for my baon, I happily opt for the latter, knowing that I have work to distract me during my shift.  That’s why my colleagues look on with amusement at my colorful lunches. each hue of the rainbow represented in my salad, each fruit in the painting transferred to my lunchbag.

That’s not all.  Remember the illegal greasy breakfasts?  Swept under the rug, they’ve now been replaced by bran with fruit bits, cereal with berry, and multi-flavored oatmeal.  Regardless of the variety and the effort to prettify my morning repast, I can’t help but recall the spartan breakfasts of Dad and the regular fare in all those rest homes and retirement villas manned by my caregiver kabayan, when they talk shop among each other.

The bland menu and what passed for food that I thought I would never even consider eating, I now had to include in my regular schedule of consumption, if I wanted to clean out my indoor plumbing and purge myself of the poisons of all those fats and sugar accumulating years.

My chef, nutritionist and diet constable is not totally unreasonable though.  If I’ve been a good boy during the week, I get my just rewards, be it a Kiwi Big Breakfast, a Double Down at KFC or dimsum and noodle festival at Asian takeaway.  It’s a worn-out cliche, but I have to say it : Let us eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!

belated happy birthday Noemi Bolaños !

Noemi with hubby 🙂

ADD TO our great frustration of never being classmates with Noemi our frustration of not seeing her at our 35th anniversary high school reunion. It would have been great to see you batchmate, and be regaled by all your stories about carving out the career of a lifetime in Arizona.

I met all your kabatch and close friends though, as you will see in a thousand and one Facebook uploads shortly. There wasn’t enough time for every batchmate to update everyone else on his/her life, but you probably guessed that already.

I can assure you though that at one point or another during the reunion, a lot of us thought of you and wished you were there.

Belated happy birthday Noemi (6th July), so sorry for the missed greeting, and many happy returns!

YLB Noel

reunion alert !

thanks Wikipedia for use of this pic !

LET’S SEE.  Have teeth done?  Check.  Visit in-laws?  Check.  Update eyeglasses? Check.  Wow, I’ve been a responsible balikbayan this visit home.  But there seems to be something I’ve forgotten, whatever could that be?

OMG, I almost forgot, we’ve got to get ready for the 30th anniversary reunion of our high school batch in good ol’ St Jude Catholic (SJCS), later today in Pasig City !

Seriously, it will be great to see friends we haven’t seen for a very long time.  Since graduation in fact, so that makes it an even 30 years and change.

Many have gone into the family business and built wealth anyone can be proud of, others have carved out careers that are cornerstones of their communities.  Some have searched for fortune and adventure overseas, and have returned home heroes with tales to tell.  A few, well a select few have outdone themselves to be the very best in what they do, in the particular field they have chosen.

I was lucky enough to have furlough and a little savings set aside for such an event, particularly since I missed our 25th anniv celebrations.

I may be biased, but despite the size of our high school class, a lot of us have kept close and in touch through the years.  The amazing tools of internet, Facebook and connectivity have made the task of staying friends so much easier.

The real magic though will be the face-to-face affirmation of the friendships we have nurtured all these years.  Some may have hibernated, but today is the time to dust the cobwebs off.

That’s what reunions are for, after all.

Thanks to our batch officers led by President Roderick Ko Pio, and I sincerely hope we all have a wonderful time!

YLB Noel

belated happy birthday Kathryn Que !

Dragon baby Kathryn in one of her many trips abroad, I think she’s based in Chicago USA..

INTERNET AND FACEBOOK bring to life the science fantasy of not only returning through mileposts of time, you can also freeze memories and, in special cases, bring them forward to the present.

Even before I had the chance to reconnect with Kathryn my friend from fourth or fifth grade, I already preserved good memories about her.  We weren’t BFFs or anything, but it was remarkably easy to remember her.  She was like me one of the smallest in class, so we always had to sit in front, she was one of the prodigious note takers on whom a good portion of the class depended for accurate recording, this was way, way before the era of iPads and touchscreen tablets.  And lastly, she was one of the friendlier classmates we had, with whom we exchanged more than just routine conversation or humphs and grunts, and more like how your day was going and wonder how long the rain was gonna last.

Years and years later, we were amazed to know that through instant emails and status updates, she not only remained the same person we knew from SJCS, we also retained the same golden memories that we knew about each other.

The only slight difference in the time intervening being that, she evolved into the successful career person that we always envisioned her to be.

So sorry to have missed your birthday (18th May) big time Kathryn, thank you for being the same wonderful classmate we’ve known through the years, hope you had a wonderful birthday, and many happy returns !

YLB Noel

happy birthday Atty Elizabeth Cueva !

Atty Lilibeth with her best pal Bijou 🙂 happy birthday again 🙂

ATTY ELIZABETH “Lilibeth” Cueva is probably on her own one of the best reasons to maintain a Facebook account.  From across thousands and thousands of miles she manages to show you she cares for various aspects of your life, and how generous she is to share with you aspects of her own.

All this without us having had the pleasure of seeing her face-to-face for quite a number of years now, and if you don’t mind our saying so, the pictures do quite flatter her.  The years have been kind to this kind soul, and she shows no signs of yielding to the ravages of Father Time.  If Lilibeth were a garden, then she would dazzle us with fresh vibrant blossoms every year, so mesmerizing that we would get lost in such a garden without even realizing it.

If out of her many gifts and talents we were asked to pick one that best represented her, it would probably be her almost effortless way of being happy, and making everybody else around her just as.  How does she do it?  We’ll figure you out someday Counsel, but for now just let me wish you a super happy birthday, regards to Bijou your pride and joy and God bless you always !


Why I’m not destined 2 B a Facebook person

He lets me visit his page but won't accept my friend request 😦

NOW THAT’S pretty hypocritical as hypocritical gets (the title above), if you ask Your Loyal Blogger.  I mean, I use FB everyday that the Lord has made, depend on it for the messages that mean most to me as if my life depended on it (and it does), get updates from friends, friends of friends and relatives, not to mention people I’m interested in ( stalker alert ! :p ) and lastest but not the leastest, rely on FB for the two current loves of my sedentary life, Tri-Peaks Solitaire and Egyptian Pyramid Solitaire, I’m red-faced to admit.

In short, I’m starting to be one of those people who consult their Facebook pages morning noon and night, use it for almost every aspect of their lives, are as comfortable in the virtual world as they are in the real, can’t imagine how they existed before it, and are part of the unnerving demographic who would readily give up alcohol, showers and SEX (caps mine) rather than go without the internet.

That last group, of lifers that go without a life, has so floored me that I’m reproducing the money shot of the short report below :

New research suggests many people would rather give up alcohol, showers or sex than go without the internet. More than one in five men and women would become celibate to remain online.  10 percent would give up their car, while seven percent would rather give up showers for a year.

Like the DJ who alerted my attention to it says, it’s the last two categories of hermits that we can all do without, but what about that first huh?  Methinks that group was prepared to go without the nasty anyways, and surfing eBay, Google, imdb and mugglenet 24/7 were just added incentives.  But to each his own.

I love keeping tabs on my friends’ latest pets adorable tricks, or the most recent milestones of my contemporaries’ kids, but my voyeur-exhibitionist balance isn’t quite 50-50.  Don’t get me wrong, if ever I’ve done something to be proud of, passed an exam, lost some weight or finished an endurance festival, you’d be the first to know and I’ll satiate you with dozens of pics popping up on your screen.

But everyday pictures of how thoroughly I brushed my teeth (not all the time), what I do at the mall (groceries and picking up leftover sushi from esposa hermosa, shhh) and what’s left for me to do when superbored (rearrange my toy collection, run around the block again, sigh) aren’t exactly compelling details and must-see viewing for the YouTube addicts out there.  So they will remain unchronicled and unvideoed, to my everlasting regret. 🙂

Additional reasons for not being a compulsive FB post-er and page-clutterer:

I don’t want to fill up your page more than it is already.  It’s already filled up with good causes, cute videos and timely reminders from well-meaning people.  Well, well-meaning and good intentioned is fine with me, as long as I don’t have to do it all the time.  And you remember what they said about the road to hell right?

I already blog so much it’s not funny anymore.  Sorry for that, but it’s become a regular thing for me now.  The wordpress and facebook sites are connected, and each time I post a blog, it comes out on my FB page, a necessary evil offered up to the altar of interconnectedness and social networking without which we could not thrive in today’s universe.  So if I add anything beyond the blogs, sobra na po.  But thanks for bearing with me.

I’m on a low broadband plan.  If you’ll believe it, there are no TelstraClear cables around where I reside, and the explanation I got from the Pasig call center sounding helpdesker is that while they’re striving to extend their coverage, for my particular area they’re “riding” on their friendly competitor, Telecom NZ.  That means the usual 60-gigabyte plan I’m on has been down to 25, which is the maximum allowed (there are limits on how much you want to help your business rival, after all).  For my compulsive blogging alone, that’s stretching it, and there is the usage of other people in my cave to consider.  Don’t forget Yahoo!, chikka and all the other strings that attach me to the Philippines and wherever home is, sniff sniff!

I don’t know what your definition is of a Facebook person.  For all I know I may already be one.  But as far as I’m concerned, my Facebook activity has already reached the upper limit, and if I should reciprocate what I see on other people’s pages, I think I have to respectfully decline.  I hope that doesn’t stop you though from doing what you’re doing, cuz I love visiting your Facebook page !

Thanks for reading !