No Country For Old Men

2 09 2010

We all have heard stories of rags to riches. Sadly most of the time, only the stories are passed on.

Today I helped my aunt buy a two bedroom condo for her child. In one of the booming cities in the Philippines. After signing the cheque she turns to me and says “My daughter is lucky don’t you think? I got her a condo, you know when I got married I only had 300 pesos to my name”

So let’s take that into retrospect, during the time she probably got married, a car would cost 500 pesos. So in present time currency, she had 420,000 pesos. So, how many of you would get married knowing you only had that much? Would you take the risk?

At the same time, I gave her and my mother a run down of some of my future plans. I was blessed enough to be able to buy a smaller, one bedroom unit in the same place. But my plan was, I’d live in it till someone rents the place and move to an even smaller condo in a less prestigious area. So we talk about the possible places I can live in. I suggest a certain condo that I guess would be close to living in a shoebox. And there it was, protests. “You’ll get stuck in traffic going to work” or “You can barely move in that condo, just turn around and you’ve gone from kitchen to your bed” etc etc. Well the answer my answer to them is simple, “that’s part of life, that’s how it is when you start”

I’m young, I can wake up an hour earlier than a 40 year old guy without it affecting my health. I can fit in a small space, I don’t have that many stuff/ furniture yet. I have one parking slot? Who cares, I have only one car. Take it as an investment on yourself. Suffer now when its easier, so that when I hit 40 or older, I can afford a place that can hold all the furniture I’ve acquired in time. Live nearer my work place so I can wake up later when my body can no longer handle the strain.

Let’s be honest, through the generations people have become softer. I hear of teenagers now who over price their books for school when asking money from their parents probably so they can afford buying expensive things or eating at better restos which their normal allowances could not afford. Well in college I ate at the cafeteria almost everyday so I can budget my measly allowance enough that I could still grab a few beers on the weekend or save up for something I wanted to buy. But as the title of this topic implies, its nothing compared to what my father went through, for two years, studying as a government scholar in Dijon, France, he ate nothing but eggs and milk every meal. Simply because government living allowance was small, he needed to budget for school supplies, subway tickets, electricity, and well.. Cigarettes. 730 days of eggs and milk. I’m surprised he’s not lactose intolerant. You’d be surprised how many ways my father can cook an egg.

So who’s to blame? Is it society who pushes people to spend beyond their means? The recent economic crisis was brought about by people who took loans to buy expensive luxuries they couldn’t afford to pay back. Or can we blame our own parents who seem to love us too much and want to give us everything they can. Keep us from having to suffer like they did. Will cradling us in their arms do as better?

Our world, humanities progress depends on the peoples will to dream and work hard for it. The desire to struggle, to sweat it out for a better life. Now the younger generations tend to take the easy way out. Work in a call center and get paid a lot. Come on, 30,000 starting salary is enough to sell out your brain so that it’ll be stunted to just reading a script over and over again? Study nursing instead of being a doctor since they get paid more abroad? Hell, we even have doctors who become nurses. Don’t justify it by saying “well I have a family to provide for, I need the money” Gokungwei had a family to provide for, so he went from selling tires – selling at the market – inventing his Jack and Jill chips – Rubina food corp and now Robinsons development corp. Yes we may not all be as good or lucky as him, but we can at least try.

Sometimes I fear that progress will become slower as we go down generations. Ask the Wright brothers what their dream was, they’d say, “we will build a machine that can fly like birds”. Ask Napoleon what his dream was, he’d say “I want to conquer the world”

Ask a teenager now what his dream is, “I’d like to buy a Ferrari”



8 08 2010

In my previous post I also mentioned Ms. O but I will delay her story for something I deem more important.

The other day I collected my mail from our lobby receptionist. There it was, another placard from UNICEF saying “Champion of Childrens”

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that you appreciate my monthly donation. But let’s be honest, every month you send me these things. Let’s give it a conservative estimate that this costs you 20 pesos per person, then let’s give it another estimate that there are only 1,000,000 donors.

20,000,000 pesos a month to say thank you to us.

You could have put up schools for these children with that money. I’d rather my money be used to educate or help these unfortunate people rather than giving me a pat on the back. Couldn’t you just have someone call me? Or maybe get those unlimited text messaging services, connect the phone to your computers and mass text us. There are other more cost efficient ways to show your appreciation. It may be less personal than a template snail mail but you’re a charity organization. Help the kids not me feel better

I’m sure these kids appreciate what we are doing. Use our money wisely

Commitments, Appointments, Time in General

6 08 2010

Today I met two interesting people. Mr. A and Ms. O

Mr. A was my morning appointment. A supposed airconditioner installer. Nothing out of the ordinary when I opened the door, a man in a faded button down shirt, jeans and leather shoes. (The shoes should have given me a hint of what’s to come)

So we get down to business, he explained everything clearly and completely, sometimes too much in my opinion, overload on the technical jargon tends to enter one ear and instantly exit the other.

Then suddenly it happens… Our conversations takes a sudden turn from simple aircon installation to globalization. What the hell is he on?!

So after the initial shock, I had to ask him, “are you the operations manager?” Thinking this would at least justify the sudden outburst of knowledge. He replies with a small laugh “oh hindi, ako po yung president ng company” (oh no, I’m the president of the company) and so there we go, never judge a book by its cover. To make matters even more incredible, I escorted him out of the lobby of our condo (naturally I should, he owns the damn company) and there it was, a nice white BMW pulls into the driveway and his driver opens the door.

But this isn’t what amazes me the most about him. When I called up his company I was fortunate enough that he was the one who answered the phone, so he entertained my questions and requests. Soon after we set up a meeting. I did not know then that he was the ultimate boss.

so here’s the thing…

First, he wasn’t suppose to go to work. He actually had fever.

Second, I spoke to him and we set the meeting with each other, he could have sent someone else, but he didn’t.

Lastly, he was on time. Down to the last minute. How many heads of companies do you know are on time? More often than not, they believe they’ve earned the right to be late, extend their golf game, or just simply woke up late.

Mr. A reminded me of old men, palabra de honor (not sure about the spelling). A man of his word. When, where and who was all there, no excuses.

Time is gold as the cliche goes. but its spot on. Most people move their schedules to maximize their time and productivity. Screw it up once and the day goes down the drain. By the time I wake up in the morning, I already know how my day will go. more often than not, if you schedule a meeting with me on the same day, I’m not going to make it. If you don’t show up in one, chances are ill be staring at nothing for that hour and imagining how to get back at you for wasting my time.

We aren’t high school or college kids anymore. We barely have enough minutes in a day to finish all that we want to. Value your time and value that of others. If yours isn’t, maybe theirs is.

Patience is a Virtue

2 08 2010

Be patient… Be a patient…

Wait for the world to “cure” you is the exact mentality that promotes mediocrity and laziness.

Think out of the box, stop waiting. Progress is made by people who make things happen, not by those who wait for it to happen.