September 2004


Alex D' Great I’m still trying to get grip with the fact that Alex, my 2nd child who will be in primary 1 next year, has to wear prescriptive glasses because of astigmatism. A condition wherein the cornea is oval and not spherical, and thus, creating more than one focal point, resulting in blurred vision at distance or near.

I guess parents like me would understand how I’m feeling right now. We are all hoping that our kids to lead normal (superior would be most welcome) lives. A slight deviation, no matter how trivial, no matter how rectifiable, is a source of anxiety.

The condition was first diagnosed when he was in kindergarten 1. Last year we were still in denial, that since me and my wife have 20/20 visions, it’s not possible the he could have it. Maybe the diagnosis was wrong. We ignored the idea of getting him the prescribed glasses.

Then came this year; it was the same thing, and I’m beginning to notice that indeed, something is wrong with my kiddo’s eyesight. It broke my heart seeing my son grapple with figures otherwise crystal clear to me. How I wish the condition is transferable. I would be more than grateful to trade places with him.

Here in Singapore, it is compulsary for a child to have eye check up in school once a year–it’s free, by the way. They recognized the fact that eye problem can hinder the child’s learning progress, besides the fact that the condition may worsen if left unchecked.

LASIK , a surgical procedure intended to reduce a person’s dependency on glasses or contact lenses, is available here and in the neighboring Malaysia. We just have to wait till he is 21, by then, spherical deformation has stabilized and this permanent solution is applicable.

an old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lesson…



Inconsequential that I finished reading the book on a tuesday. It’s a story of a dying man’s view of life (and death) in general. Among other things, it says that only after we accept that dying is for real that we begin to live. We begin to focus on things that really matter and eventually found happiness and contentment.

The book also vividly narrates how terrifying Morrie’s last few days were, and only the old man’s peace with his existence softened the blow. I felt a pit on my throat everytime i came accross the phrase choking to death .

Memories came rushing back. Somehow, Morrie reminded me of someone very close to my heart, someone I’ll remember till the very end. I remember my father…

He drove me to the airport in 1996, the year I decided to leave Pinas for Singapore for a greener pasture. At the time, he was still the man I used to know, a man with strong hands– callused by hardships in life.

It’s funny that I finally became at peace with my father when we were distant to each other. Even more when we had his stroke. I began to hug and kiss him everytime we meet. Tried to be as close, figuratively and literally, to him. Those were precious moments, inhibiting affections would really be a sin.

“Maiintindihan mo rin lahat kapag may sarili ka ng anak,” my father used to say, specially when we were in the middle of an argument. Trust me, there is so much truth in this!

Year 2002, we were planning to have our vacation in Pinas on the month of November to celebrate my father’s birthday. Although I kept denying it even to myself, I knew my father’s time was running short. Then he had a stroke–his 3rd and final. Multiple nerves broke loose and he was in coma. My sister broke the news to me.

I was in frenzy trying to get a flight home!

My brother told me that it was a hopeless case, they were taking him out of the ICU–a decision, I knew, even my father would endorse. I swear that during same night, while staring out our window thinking of him, reminiscing the days we had, thinking of what could have been, a lump of cold wind enveloped me for few seconds. I knew it was a hug from him–bidding me goodbye.

Love one another or perish…

My wife and I ended last week by watching The Terminal last Friday night. As usual, Tom Hanks was at his best acting, while Catherine Zeta-Jones was just drop-dead gorgeous. Other than it’s really a hillarously entertaining good watch worth of your money (or cinema voucher for our case–points accumulated and exchanged for cinema tickets, courtesy of my corporate credit card), there’ s not much i intend to spill. You may end up cursing me, in case you haven’t watch it yet but intend to do so.

Life is waiting…or about it.

This is the theme of the movie that struck me to be absolutely true. At any point in time, we are waiting for something or for someone.

Okay, i’ll be a bit nasty and share with you an excerpt from a dialogue between Victor (TH) and Amelia (CZJ), just a teaser…

V: We are all waiting for something.

A: What are you waiting for?

V: I’m waiting for you.

Naks! Drama di ba?!

the dreaded R (retrenchment) or the judgement day finally devoured some of the guys here in our company. those who got the sack were given two hours to gather their personal belongings and leave with escort. mostly, they are from the upper echelon (directors, managers), some from bloated departments, whose job scope became redundant due to merging, consolidation, restructuring, blah..blah…blah!

btw, did you know that in the olden days, your employer will literally put all your personal belongings in a sack when they kick you out? that’s where the idiom “getting the sack” came from.

enough of the trivia…

it’s no secret that there will another one coming and everyone is brazing themselves as the scope and magnitude is totally unknown. we are not out of the woods yet! probably the management is still waiting for the manufacturing forecast or lockview, as the they call it, before they decide which department the axe will fall and how hard.

it’s so unlikely that i will get scathed. but what if…just what if? everything is possible in this crazy world. my paranoia maybe totally uncalled for. but what really if?

ahh!!!!….

by profession (or i’m cursed with it), it’s my second nature to think in a “flow chart” manner. i have containment actions, long term plans, plan B and related craps that i can think of for every conceivable scenario in my life.

i’m a control freak!

in a way, i know it is good and beneficial. but it can really be annoying and depressing…even for me. sometimes, too much of a foresight can rob you of the opportunity of “living in the moment”, which can really be a bummer.

“you worry so much..”, do you believe that these are the exact words my eldest son Arthur, who is turning 10 next year told me?

so, what if the axe hit me?

definitely i wouldn’t be sitting on my ass , splurging on my severance pay. i would definitely be combing the pages of the recruitment section, calling prospective employers, sending out resume, networking with friends. i’m assuming that i will be up and about the following month.

tanginangyan!

it is driving me nuts musing with all my “what if’s”. i might as well focus on whatever crap that i’m doing, continue praying and let HIM take care of the rest.

there is a rumor brewing that our company will have a retrenchment exercise. i’m not sure about the veracity of this, but I believe that if there is smoke, there is fire. if that’s the case, this would be the second in as many decades of our company’s existence in this liliputan country.

who cares?! not me for sure.

first, I’m protected by quite a number of line of defenses. for sure they wouldn’t dare touch the engineering department. it’s not only that we are understaffed, our department also doesn’t rely much on the demand and supply thingy. we do the same amount of shit (profanity borrowed from a moron here in our office) regardless of that dumb trend, which by the way, has it’s peaks and troughs all year round–year, after year, after year. second, if meritocacy would be the order of the day, as it was and will always be–as reiterated by our MD, it is so unlikely that I will get hit (magbuhat ba ng sariling bangko?..hehehe!).

honestly, i wouldn’t mind staying. life here is not as stressful compared to other companies on the same industry. but I wouldn’t mind getting the pink slip either, it would be a breather after toiling here for almost nine years. i know of few companies who would be more than happy to take me in, but can’t do so because of their tie up with our company. a change in environment would be good, specially if it comes with a good severance pay. a precedence of a month’s pay for every year of service plus 3 months pay would be princely.

patapos na ang fiscal year dito sa company namin, and as usual, appraisal period na naman.

this past couple of years, we have been using an objective type of appraisal system based on declared goals and objectives, which must tangible and quantifiable. it should be well in chorous with the immediate group’s G&O. the same system is used to gauge performances of management employees, from the CEO down to the lowest level (management level lang ha!).

di na kasama sa barometer kung palagi ka bang late or sandamakmak ang sick leave mo.

there’s a saying that no such thing as a perfect system, but at least this one minimizes the subjectivity. something that would keep you focused and motivated.

so what’s the implication?

kung puro fa-cute ka lang, you would be exposed and (probably) weeded out.

on the other side of the coin, every year would be an uphill climb because once you hit your target, you are forced to up the ante the following year.

scary, right? not really!

it’s a strategy game (at least for me), just know the rules and go around it. a caveat though, you must be craftier than your boss to execute this manuever. look at the trend of every attributes and haggle for the barest minimum. Of course, you should do your homework and be damn prepared to defend your case. also, expect some arm twisting from your boss and exercise due pliancy.

do I sound immoral or unethical? i don’t think so! anyway you will be putting the same amount of shit (read: work), yet reaping more.

so what do you get for all these chicanery?

not much really.

dito lang naman nakasalalay ang year-end bonus, salary increment at stock options mo.

for the umpteen time, someone blurted out a phrase i’ve been hearing eversince i was a kid. this time, courtesy of fionski.

“nasaan si pilar?”

obviously because of my name. pepe happens to be my real name–not my nickname, petname or pseudonyme.

it had also become a routine hearing this question:

“talagang pepe lang, hindi jose?”

i’m not sure if younger generations, or at least few generations after me, got hold of the book. that book was actually the source of this butt.

initially it made me blushed (and very anxious…damn it!) when i was younger. but as i get older, bolder, and cheekier, i became so accustomed and rebut it with ease.

“pepe lang po talaga ma’am, huling tawad na!”

“wala pa nga akong pilar, naghahanap pa.”

oh well, a rose by any other name…

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