Monthly Archives: December, 2013

My Christmas Story

Let’s just call him my artist brother.  He is the middle child while I’m the fourth of five siblings.  When we were much younger, we’d always fight.  I was easy to be pissed off while he was the “bully.”  You know, that kind of sibling who would tease you and annoy you whenever they have time.  But even when he was taller than I am that time I would challenge him into a fight.  I wasn’t afraid to retaliate.  But I was not the type to hit or punch or kick somebody but more like I will scratch your skin with my fingernails to hurt you.  I remember I’d cry out of anger.  I’ve learned to curse out of anger. So resentment would arise.  I hated him.  For he was a pain in the neck.

When we reached adolescence (he is three years older than I am), I don’t know what happened, the fight and misunderstanding became more less.  Instead of initiating trouble, he’d just do an act of “running away” from me when I was angry.  He no longer had the time to provoke me.  He’d rather stay away and maintain peace than to see me arguing with him.  Until it stopped when we started working.  There were still some misunderstandings but no more of that “brutal” fights.  We’ve become more “civilized.”

Now that we are so old right now, things, of course, are different, thank God.  My brother, who in the past was a very impatient person and would easily get upset when he could not open a canned good with a can opener, has suddenly, to our surprise, developed this talent in cooking and baking.  My brother, who in the past was lazy to cook his own food or even help in cleaning the house, has suddenly, to our surprise, now know about marketing particularly what and where to buy ingredients and the principle of when and why a certain kind of spice is used for this particular dish.  It’s a miracle he can do all that now!

Now living independently, he would just visit us during special occasions.  And yesterday, December 24, to celebrate Christmas, he cooked for all of us.  I assisted him by washing the cooking pot, frying pan, knives, and other cooking tools that he would be using.  And as I observed him performing his culinary skills, I couldn’t believe that this was my brother.  Getting his hands dirty and wet while preparing the ingredients and stuff then standing for so long so he could monitor the progress of his cooking.  He was doing it effortlessly!

Maybe his girlfriend has a good influence on him. Because ever since they’ve been together there has been tremendous improvement in his ways and character.  Maybe it was his own decision because I think he has a more positive outlook in life than I am now.  I don’t know.  I could only guess.  But what I am sure about is that something miraculous had happened to my brother.  We were never close so I consider it a miracle how natural we are when we get to talk, no feeling of awkwardness.  It is a miracle that we could talk as brother and sister now, talking in harmony, talking about shallow topics to the most profound without getting into a fight.  I couldn’t believe that this was my brother.  My brother who once saw himself as the “black sheep” in our family.

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the boy who cried wolf

A shepherd’s Boy was tending his flock near a village, and thought it would be great fun to hoax the villagers by pretending that a Wolf was attacking the sheep:  so he shouted, “Wolf!  Wolf!” and when the people came running up, he laughed at them for their pains.

He did this more than once, and every time the villagers found they had been hoaxed, for there was no Wolf at all.

At last a Wolf really did come, and the Boy cried, “Wolf!  Wolf!” as loud as he could:  but the people were so used to hearing him call that they took no notice of his cries for help.  And so the Wolf had it all his own way, and killed off sheep after sheep at his pleasure.

Moral lesson:  You cannot believe a liar even when he tells the truth.

The Trees and the Ax

A Woodman went into the forest and begged of the Trees the favor of a handle for his Ax.

The principal Trees at once agreed to so modest a request, and unhesitatingly gave him a young ash sapling, out of which he fashioned the handle he desired.

No sooner had he done so that he set to work to fell the noblest Trees in the world.

When they saw the use to which he was putting their gift, they cried:  “Alas!  Alas!  We are undone, but we are ourselves to blame.  The little we gave has cost us all:  had we not sacrificed the rights of the ash, we might ourselves have stood for ages.”

Moral lesson:  When the rich surrender the rights of the poor, they endanger their own privileges.

The Fisherman Piping

A Fisherman who could play the flute went down one day to the seashore with his nets and his flute; and, taking his stand on a projecting rock, began to play a tune, thinking that the music would bring the fish jumping out of the sea.

He went on playing for some time, but not a fish appeared:  so at last he threw down his flute and cast his net into the sea, and made a great haul of fish.

When they were landed and he saw them leaping about on the shore, he cried, “You rascals!  You wouldn’t dance when I piped:  but now I’ve stopped, you can do nothing else!”

Moral lesson:  The whole world doesn’t dance to our own tune.

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

A Wolf once found a Sheep’s skin, and, thinking he would have an easy way of getting his prey, wrapped himself in it and slipped into the sheepfold with the flock, intending to kill all he wanted during the night.

But soon after the Shepherd had made the door fast, he found he had nothing for supper, and, in going in with an ax to kill a sheep, he mistook the Wolf for one of them and killed him on the spot.

Moral lesson:  The wicked often fall into their own traps.

Taken from “Aesop’s Fables,” Copyright 2010 Heinle, Cengage Learning.  First Philippine reprint 2010.

acts of dishonesty

Philippines is considered to be a third world country.  When you say “third world,” it means that we are poor.  Or a country that is still under the process of developing.  But with the recent turn of events that shocked the nation, I am declaring here that my beloved country is not poor.  We are just a country filled with dishonest leaders.

From my generation until today’s generation, the clamor of public schools and state universities for an increase in education budget is continually being ignored by our national government.  The reason has always been the same:  There is no enough budget.

But when our President went to a meeting in South Korea instead of using that money to help the people in Bohol who were traumatized by a scary earthquake last October, destroying their livelihood, their heritage, their lives, the reason the executive secretary stated was:  “We have lots of funds.”  He said that “the government has earmarked P12 million for the President’s two-day visit to South Korea,” adding that the assistance for the earthquake victims as well as to the damaged structures would come from the government savings.

Now let’s review.  According to our government, there is no enough money to increase the budget for the education sector due to various reasons and they could come up with a long list.  Take note, NO BUDGET.  But when concerned citizens complained about the President’s trip to South Korea amid the tragedy in Bohol, his right-hand man was quick to defend that there is money to cover everything.    Because of so-called “GOVERNMENT SAVINGS.”

Our public hospitals and medical facilities here are in a poor state of health.  Due to long neglect, its facilities and services are becoming ugly and inefficient.  Equipments are screaming for upgrade.  Comfort rooms are filthy, smelly, and terrible.  Cockroaches and pesty rats are constant but unwelcome visitors of patients in these hospitals.  And though the problems are already apparent, the government’s excuse is that they cannot do something about it as of this time.  The reason has always been the same:  There is no enough budget.

But when Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona was impeached by a majority votes by the Senate committee, years later–because of this Janet Napoles controversy exposing the alleged involvement of some senators and congressmen in malversation of funds–it was revealed by Senator Jinggoy Estrada that they received P50 million each from the Aquino administration for voting to remove Corona from his post.  And this was reluctantly confirmed by Senator Drilon after being grilled by news reporters.  Looking confused, he said that the funds were not meant as “rewards” to the senators.  “They were meant to help the government meet its spending targets.”  Strangely, Senator Estrada clarified that the P50M was not a bribed.

The Social Security Systems has announced that it will increase its premium or the amount of contribution of its members by next year because of the institution’s “unfunded liability and to prolong its life for four more years.”  Meaning, there is insufficiency of funds.  So the management, as a quick-fix to the problem, passed the burden to its SSS members–mostly composed of ordinary workers–by shouldering the payment of its liability.

But amid the so-called financial deficit, SSS board members received P10 million performance-based bonus based on an incentive system covering state-run corporations.

With all these twisting and turning situations, former First Lady Imelda Marcos was right when she said that the Philippines is a rich country pretending to be poor.  But let me edit that.  The Philippines is a rich country after all and it’s already obvious–bright and clear–and yet our leaders continue to fool us that we are poor.

faith

I have this nasty habit that when I leave a company or a job, it is only natural for me to distance myself or leave those officemates I’ve met—friends or not—behind and just move forward.  I also delete cellphone numbers of former colleagues—friends or not.

So when former colleagues Mercy and Natalie months after I resigned were requesting for a get-together, I declined right away and told them the truth (the good reason and the real reason) even if it would hurt them.  And they respected my decision.  Respect they did for they never texted me since that day.

Days turned into weeks.  Weeks turned into months, I deleted their numbers because I considered their numbers inactive numbers already.

One day, I received a text message from an unknown number.  Though the number was not familiar, the message felt familiar.  Plus it dropped hints of who the texter was.  My guess was right—it was from the Mercy! I was really flattered that she never stopped trying to reach out to me.  After all these years, she kept my number.  She expressed how much she misses me, that Natalie also misses me, but Natalie misses me the most.  So when she requested for a reunion together with Natalie, I immediately obliged. Because I no longer remember the issues I had that led me to cut my ties with them, I got excited to see them.

Two and a half years seem like a long time.  So when we finally saw each other, their happiness and excitement to see me was to me really surprising and at the same time, comforting.  Because when I used to be with them working in one company, they were loving people in their own unique way but they were not what I would call the hugs-and-kisses type of friends.  Like me.  What I meant was, we were just not like that to each other.

So when they saw me, they were so happy to see me that they kissed me on the cheek.  Their smiles, too,  I won’t forget.  And Natalie, oh Natalie, she almost cried upon seeing me.  Natalie was my closest friend.  She, too, kept my number after all these years.  She even said thank you that I agreed to meet them.  If there is one thing that I discovered about Mercy and Natalie—it is their faith.  They never let me go as their friend even if I’ve let go of them.  It really felt good to be appreciated and treasured!

Hope to see them again.  And I will make sure that I’d be the first to text them.