Monthly Archives: July 2006

rainy days and mondays

Is it just me, or is it rainier than usual this year? It rains practically every day, and apparently we’ve had four storms this month, plus the usual suspension of classes and work in government offices (not the private sector though. bleah). Still, every time it rains people are still taken by surprise; at the sound of rain they look out the window with furrowed brows, asking “Ulan ba yon?” as if having a downpour in the middle of the monsoon season is the most unbelievable thing in the world. This will usually be followed with a remark on whether they brought umbrellas that day – either “Hindi pa naman ako nagdala ng payon ngayon!” or “Buti na lang may dala ‘kong payong.” Because there are people who, by optimism or sheer forgetfulness, still neglect to bring their umbrellas. I got the drift about a week ago, having been surprised by a couple of downpours so, and have taken to bringing my umbrella every day. Well, most days, anyway. Sometimes I forget. No surprise there.

But these rains. Yesterday I went to Infanta, Quezon, which, in December 2004, was the site of disastrous flashfloods and landslides that killed more than a thousand people (the link, by the way, will lead you to an article I wrote about the incident. It’s not a case of shameless plugging; it’s just the easiest reference I could think of. It also raises questions whose answers still escape me). It’s just the first time for me to visit the place, and I couldn’t help but look around and imagine how it was when the disaster struck. We talked to Alex, who provided us with a brief eyewitness account. He pointed to the walls to show us the spot the water level reached, to the roof where the waitresses in the restaurant we were in climbed to seek refuge. He used to do the weather broadcast in the local radio then, and he remembered that he did a broadcast around lunchtime. The national broadcast, from PAGASA – your usual rainshowers and gusty winds and the signal number in force. There was no local broadcast. Little did Alex know that at the moment he was doing his broadcast, the mountains were preparing to surge through the town, burying everything on its path.

Other than noting that some of the houses under construction tend to be at least two stories up, I barely saw any trace of what happened almost two years ago. The town buried its dead and went on to rebuild out of what they had. But when it’s raining, as it have been for several days now, they look to the sky and they get worried. It’s not just a matter of whether they forgot to bring an umbrella.

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July 24, 2006…mondaayy…

7:30 AM. I came in to the office to start the media monitoring, which is even more tedious than usual because of the weekend pile-up of newspapers. I swear to myself that I’ll leave early and take advantage of the flexi-sched policy for once, but even as I do I say to myself, yeah right.

9:00 AM. People have been been trickling into the office since the past hour, shaking wet umbrellas and marvelling at the lack of traffic, which is a decidedly surreal thing to happen on a Monday morning. The reason for the absence of the usual Monday morning hellish traffic, you see, is that classes were suspended, either due to the State of the Nation Address or due to the flooding, take your pick. Either way, the rest of us bundy-clock punching people still have to drag ourselves out of bed and pick our way through the flooded streets.

9:05 AM. Precious takes a poll: Which do you want to watch on TV today, SONA news or the Miss Universe pageant? The decision was unanimous: We wanted world peace.

10:15 AM. I finish my first batch of news monitoring, selecting relevant articles and sending them to my client, and now I’m about to start on another batch, this one requiring me to actually read the articles in full and summarize them. Half of the articles tackle the SONA. On the other side of the office, the TV is turned on and people are monitoring the Miss Universe pageant. Yeah, life’s unfair like that sometimes.

11:54 AM. A quick check on inq7.net reveals that Puerto Rico won the Miss Universe pageant. Meanwhile, in my news clippings, all indications show that the SONA will consist mainly of the President’s economic achievements and plans for the future. The vision is reportedly a “First-World Philippines.” It’s like the President is saying, “Ekonomista ako. At ako pa rin ang Presidente kahit anong gawin nyo kaya tumahimik kayong lahat dyan.”

1:22 PM. I’m finished with my news monitoring tasks for the day, but the sounds of somebody getting yelled at in the other room precipitates anxiety attacks and sends me flying to the phone to make that follow-up call I wasn’t able to make in the morning. My contact, whose feedback on a proposal has had me on tenterhooks for the past couple of weeks, tells me that they will still have to coordinate the schedule and will let me know tomorrow…or the next day. I think I’m next in line on the chopping block. The State of the Nation my ass. What about the state of my poor nerves???

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confused na ko ha

It’s part of my job to read newspapers everyday, and yet even I have lost track of how many impeachment complaints have so far been filed against the President. Are we on the fifth? Sixth? Was this latest one a separate complaint or did they just add their signatures to the one set to be filed next week? While the civilian signatories are piling up, what about signatures from congressmen themselves? And while Indonesia reels from yet another natural catastrophe and the conflict in the Middle East sends Filipinos fleeing, and the Mayon volcano brews itself for another eruption, doesn’t the impeachment issue seem to grow a little bit smaller in comparison?

I’m not questioning the intent, of course. It’s just that, well, you know there’s really something wrong with your country if a lot of people believe that the incumbent President may be guilty of corruption and electioneering but are too busy facing other problems (like, daily survival, for example) to bother with it.

anti-social

For someone who works in the communication/public relations industry I’m decidedly not a people person. Really, one of the best ways to ruin my week is tell me I’ve got to attend a social function and hobnob with the people there in the name of fostering good corporate/public relations. Work the room, you know – make contacts, give out calling cards, talk about the company, all while determinedly sticking a smile on your face and occasionally letting out your best society laugh. I’m just not the kind of person who thrives in that kind of setting. I generally end up staying in one corner with the people I came with, nibbling on some pastry and just letting my eyes travel around the room, which is of course not exactly what they mean when they say you should “circulate.”

I don’t even make friends easily; it takes me quite a lot of time to grow close to another person, so it would really be a stretch to throw me into a roomful of people and expect me to establish some sort of rapport with them. With a script or prepared presentation, probably – if I know what I’m talking about. With an interview guide, yes, give me an interview assignment anytime. But with a cocktail/ hors d’oeuvres in one hand and society laugh at the ready, no, I’m sorry, but no.

I’m not a snob or anything like that. I think I’m basically, well, shy (yeah, really!). Whether it’s the result of genetic makeup, growing up bullied by three older sisters, or maybe even growing up nurturing insecurity over a chipped front tooth (oh yes, childhood – a minefield of hang ups) I don’t know, but I’m shy, at least around strangers. Also, my inability to interact in social situations is probably a combination of shyness and a natural desire to ensure that when I say anything it will be the brightest and wittiest thing the room has heard. Unfortunately, and a think a lot of people will agree with me here – the brightest and wittiest thing the room has heard will occur to you long after the perfect moment for saying it has gone – let’s say, while you’re on the cab home, or removing your earring, or lying in bed half-asleep. Or maybe even not at all.

It’s something that one gets better at with practice, I guess. It’s just that I don’t know if I want to go through all the hassle.

Dear Member

I normally delete spam messages outright, but this one caught my eye.

After the obligatory “Prolong your ssex. You have small peniiis? Add 3 inches in lenght!” come on and link to the website (which no, I did not click) came this two-liner footer that seemed to come from some sort of aphorism generator – with a little bit typo here and there. Here’s what it said:

“A sprat to catch a mackerel. Work is the curse of the drinking classes It never rains, but it pours. Lear from the past, Live for today Look for tomorrow, take a nap this afternoon Fogiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the foot that crushed it.”

I love it 🙂

And oh, the email began, right before the prolong your sex thing, with the salutation “Dear Member.” mwahahahahaha.

Yes, that was one junk mail I actually did not mind getting because it made me laugh in the middle of a crazy day. On some days, man, you just take what you can get.