Thursday, May 28, 2009

Under abnormal circumstances

It's 330 a.m. Thursday, it's been a week since I got back here in Dallas and I'm just now slowly coming out of my coma. I arrived last Thursday, went to work half dead on Friday then crashed all weekend. Then on Monday I drove through 3 towns to get to a town called Elmo because my friend Lynn invited me to a Memorial day picnic, which under normal circumstances I would have declined because under normal circumstances I am very anti-social. But because I was jetlagged, I didn't know any better so I showed up and stuffed my face with cajun fried turkey.

I stayed around for 2 hours and tried to fish but fishes were not biting so I left and went to watch The Soloist. I love movies about mental illness, homeless people and writers - I wonder why. I really enjoyed the movie and because of jetlag I ordered pizza, coke and sour patch candy to eat inside. Under normal circumstances I don't buy anything inside the movie theater because for 1. they cost you a car and a home, 2. I don't like pizza, coke or sour patch candy 3. I can't chew bubble gum and walk at the same time -in other words I can't do two things at one time, like watch a movie and eat.

So needless to say, even if I was not jetlagged I could not concentrate on the movie because I was busy picking the pepperoni from my pizza (I only eat the pepperoni) and choosing different flavors from my sour patch candy bag. I love the movie but I could not give a review of the movie because all I could remember now is when Robert Downey said, "Then I don't have a story" when he could not find the homeless man, Jamie Foxx. And that's what I say, I don't really have a story, I'm just blogging now because I can't sleep. The American Medical Association have labeled driving with less sleep just as dangerous as drunk driving, so I better avoid driving and walk to work now.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Simply The Best

This was Tina at my age now but I can only do half of what she does; I can only sweat.

Video Courtesy:theravenphoenix665- Thanks

OFW and Mail Order Brides

Before I left Cebu, I read of Ramon Revilla's reaction to Alec Baldwin's comment : "I am thinking about getting a filipino mail-order bride at this point." Revilla reacted by saying that Baldwin's comment is an insult to the Filipinos, that there would be "mayhem" if Baldwin tries to come to the Philippines. I don't care for Alec Baldwin but is Ramon Revilla insane? hallucinating? deceived? Whatever he's smoking I don't want it.

Very few things make my blood boil but hypocrisy tops the list. Ramon Revilla quoted Republic act 6955 the Anti Mail-Order Bride Law. "Apparently he (Alec Baldwin) is not aware that here in the Philippines, we don't tolerate mail-order bride schemes." Are you kidding me?

Everytime I am in the Philippines, wherever I go I notice white men and Japanese men holding hands with very young women. How do you think this women got this men? Why do you think, the internet cafe business is thriving? That's right, college kids researching for school work, and the out of college girls researching for men. And when I say very young, I mean 18 year olds with 70 year olds.

So what is a mail-order bride? When a relationship between man and woman was not initiated through the casual face to face meeting, the only other means would have been through the phone or through the mail, right? Before the internet, dating service like Cherry Blossoms used picture catalogues to mail out to men who would pay to shop for women who would eventually become their wife, so I dare anyone to defy me to my face and tell me these are not mail-order brides. It's just a play on words, the reality is that 75% of Filipina marriages to foreign men was initiated through personal introduction or through searching the dating sites on the internet. If mail-order brides are illegal in the Philippines then Filipinos having to get out of the country to find better paying jobs (OFW) should be illegal too.

Why do young Filipino women resort to marrying old foreign men? Because in the Philippines it is common for rich old married men to have mistresses the same age as his youngest daughter. So when a 70 year old American comes to the Philippines to claim and marry his 18 year old, it's a gift Mr. Revilla. At least in America, she has the comfort of knowing that she will be able to work even after she turns 29 and send money back home.

Read the Philippines classified ads; must be college graduate, at least 5'3" between 23 to 29 years old. So Mr. Revilla, until you can honestly look at a young filipino woman holding hands with a white man old enough to be his grandfather and answer the question why, then you can honestly say that we don't tolerate mail-order brides schemes in the Philippines.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cebu Pacific and Air Asia

Air Asia's slogan: Now Everyone can Fly. While Cebu Pacific's: It's time everyone flies.

Tomorrow I will end my vagabonding and fly back to the US so I sit here and reflect on some of the negative and the positive of the whole trip. I need to mention that Philippine Airlines lost my business twice because their online booking system refused to take my US issued credit card, while Cebu Pacific’s online booking system has no problem with it.

Last Sunday when I had lunch with my friends they talked about the negative publicity that Cebu Pacific has been getting. They themselves did not experience it, but you see what I mean when I said that only 4% of dissatisfied customers go back to the establishment to get it rectified and the other 96% badmouth it to their friends? I don’t own or have a vested interest with Cebu Pacific, but if what I heard is true that Cebu Pacific has yet to post a profit earning I feel I need to defend Cepac. Rumor has it that because Lance Gokongwei is the only son of the old Gokongwei, and this is Lance’s biggest venture, (big in the sense that even toy airplanes are not cheap) the old man has consistently pumped in millions and millions of pesos into this venture to keep it going.
Something is to be said for the old man’s action; it definitely is good for the flying public.

Of course, I understand that budget airlines can and should strive to do better; cheap doesn’t have to mean sloppy. Which brings me to my next thought – Air Asia. When I flew Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, it was a very positive experience too. Approaching Melaka Sentral by bus from Singapore I suddenly (again) had another anxiety attack. When that happens, my first impulse is (always) to get out, get away, get lost, whatever.

Melaka Sentral is a bus depot but almost like an airport in itself, very impressive set up. To calm my nerves, I had to know I can get out and I had to know when. My choice was to get on another bus and get out and not even stay in Melaka for 2 days as planned because by now, I was already feeling the anxiety building up to an uncomfortable level. Then I saw an Air Asia office tucked to the side of all the bus ticket counters. I went in and was told that I could get dropped right in Kuala Lumpur LCT ( the Air Asia terminal ) by this one bus company –the Transnacional from Melaka Sentral.

When I found out that Air Asia had flights almost every hour to everywhere, I started to calm down. Prayer and Air Asia did calm my nerves, so I decided to stay 1 night in Melaka after all. The next day, I walked into LCT and bought my ticket to Penang. The process took less than 10 minutes, it would have been less had this Asian lady not cut in line in front of me. That part was a negative but not worth dwelling over because I doubt that we can get Asians in Asia to learn to queue. And for Filipinos to queue? Not in your life while there’s Wowowee.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Who can You Trust

Video Courtesy: LadyGreeneyes694

All things work for our good
though sometimes we can't see how they could
struggles that break our hearts in two
sometimes blinds us to the truth

Our Father knows what's best for us
His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grows dim, and you just can't see Him
Remember you're never alone

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don't understand
When you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand
Trust His heart

He sees the master plan
And He holds our future in His hands
So don't live as those who have no hope
All our hope is found in Him

We see the present clearly
But He sees the first and the last
And like a tapestry He's weaving you and me to someday be just like Him

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don't understand
When you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand
Trust His heart

He alone is faithful and true
He alone knows what is best for you
So when you don't understand
When you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand trust His heart

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pictures in review

In any country I go to, I love to loiter around their public market. At an Indian shop in Singapore.

I was crossing the street to eat hainanese chicken rice at this building in Singapore then I noticed the star of David on the wall.

When I leave my friends in Dallas, it's for a short time, but when I leave my friends in Cebu,it's at least for a year.

Chat's cat Tigger, only eats Science diet meals, while our cat here in Cebu eats left over fish bones and has to share it with the resident frog.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I am confused

In 7 days I will be heading out of here going back to Dallas where I would be sitting in my dining table looking out to my patio, wondering: Where’s everybody? Where's the crowing of the rooster and my karaoke addicted neighbors?

Dallas is where I should be because that’s where Chat is and Dallas is where I can work not only so I can have what I need but also, so I can have what I want. Not to mention that my boss is waiting. I am blessed with the coolest boss because she lets me do pretty much anything at my own terms. Yet, in spite of all that I just said, why am I not ready to go back?

Because in Dallas I have to pay someone to help me sort out my inner turmoil, to calm down my anxieties and to help me see why I should pick up my own bootstrap so I can go to work. (So I can pay him.) Here in Cebu, for therapy I only have to watch the neighborhood women saddled with 5 dirty, malnourished kids and a jobless husband, yet, they talk to me with a genuine ear to ear smile. With that I don’t need a therapist to help me put things in perspective; I just bang my head on the wall and say, “ What the hell is your problem?”

In Dallas I drive in relative ease and comfort in my own clean car. But when my car makes a funny noise that’s even barely audible I panic – worrying that it would quit on me in the middle of the freeway. In other words, I have to find things to excite me.

Here in Cebu excitement comes free with a taxi. The other day, on the way back from the youth camp, my taxi driver pulled over on a grassy side of the road, he didn't say anything to me but simply got out of the car, leaned over on one of the back tires and sprinkled it. Then he got back on the wheel and acted like, "What's the fuzz about me urinating?" I sat there and wasn't sure if I turned red or purple. Well, I thought, "Just like death - if you have to go, you have to go."

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


I have patience the size of a pea and more likely to evaporate than stretch. When I took Jordan in from the slum over 2 years ago, the decision was not easy but my consolation was that he was not going to live with me anyway. He was still living with his family but that he was going to spend most of his time with Tom, my American missionary friend. Then last year, I asked my widowed sister in-law to have Jordan live with her and I will provide for food. The reason I did that was because Jordan stayed dirty as long as he was living with his family and also for my sister in-law to have company. He was still to spend most of his time around Tom.

In less than a year around Tom’s teaching and influence you can visibly tell the difference in Jordan. Though broken, he was speaking in English and most importantly, he understood and learned to love and fear God. My part was just to send money here and there. At first I had my sister in-law gave it to him weekly; I wanted him to have money in his hand for snacks and toiletries. Then when I found out that he spent it in one day, I had my sister in-law buy the snacks and gave it to him, and then we changed it again. We experimented on the best way to make him understand the value of money. It worked but only for a while.

To compensate for their absence, long distance parents tend to spoil the kids with money or things. And this is where the problem lies. When I come to town, I take him places, buy him things and make things easy for him. In other words I don’t discipline him and thus undermine the influence and training of Tom and my sister in-law who has to deal with him everyday after I leave.

I also now learned that regardless how retarded a kid is, they're never retarded enough to manipulate you. Jordan has been testing my patience and it’s harder to deal with him now because he is older. And I am too old and brittle to duck anybody’s crap. The other day I wanted to put him right back on the street where he came from but I had to remember that God has been patient with me too, keeping in mind that His goodness and forbearance is what leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). All things considered though, Jordan is still a good kid. My prayer should be for God to give me patience and the ability to nurture, but I find myself praying: God, can I just kill him and tell You he died?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Why Do I Solo

When I was in Penang, my friend Frank insisted that he paid for everything the first day I was there; I can understand one meal but all day? and even for a transformer that I thought I needed? How weird. I did not feel right with that. I always have a problem with that set up. I hate being entertained and catered to – I can only stand so much of that and I cannot convey this to people without offending them.

In 2006 I was in Kota Kinabalo and my friend drove me around and paid for every meal. She won't even let me pay for coffee. When I wanted to spend time at the public market and at the bird farm, she didn’t think it was “good for me”. What? I was planning to stay there at least a week; I had to leave after 2 days because I felt suffocated with the attention. Am I just too independent that this Asian generosity is rubbing me the wrong way?

I used to drag Jordan wherever I went here in Cebu because he just tags along and don’t ask questions. Now that he’s older, he asks too many questions and tries to dissuade me into thinking his way. That's getting on my eggs, it kills me. I have so many preacher friends who want me to come to their church when I am in town but I avoid them like a plague because they always make a big deal out of my presence – “we have a guest from America.” Why the qualifier? Ok, so I nitpick too much.

I still smile when I recall what my friend Jette said because she said it so matter of fact: “You have so many issues, why can’t you just go with the flow?” I quote Dr. Dobson for my answer: “In matters of style, swim with the flow. In matters of principle stand firm like a rock.”

I guess I am not trying to convince anybody but myself: It’s ok I’m a loner, it’s ok I want solitude 99% of the time, it’s ok that I’m not married. And most of all, it’s ok that I am being a butt. Please agree on the last part.