Sunday, December 27, 2009

Kiss my ass

While I may not be a big fan of an unlaced up Manny Pacquiao, I become an advocate when he is on pre-fight mode and when he steps inside the ring. I was once an athlete myself but quite far from the phenom that he is. Talent is one thing but to be willing to invest in the mental and physical demands of elite level competition is what truly separates the men from the boys.

Recently, a lot has been written about Pacquiao's unwillingness to give in to the dictates of his possible megafight adversary and the latter's promoter. To think that Pacquiao is poised to lose an insane amount of money, he just would not budge. The $50 million being dangled is not enough for the high school dropout to be pushed around.

Paquiao may have had a history of compromising his principles: in dealing with contracts, showing loyalty, and so forth, but it does not necessarily mean that he will always violate them. Change is possible. Principles can be rebuilt.

For standing his ground this time, I admire Pacquiao. He showed that it does not require advanced education to have principles. Most of us, even the most educated among us, will find the $50 million out of the window incomprehensible. Pacquiao chose to walk off rather than kiss ass.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy holidays!

Happy holidays, everyone! I hope we are all having a grand time with family and friends. Make the most out of it. It does not usually last long.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Love at its grandest

Inay, my grandmother-in-law, passed away three days ago, after years of confinement to her bed. The hip injury, four years earlier, greatly affected her quality of life. To be honest, I thought her death was better for her; it put an end to her agony.

I was with a client when Shiela informed me that we needed to rush to Inay's place. Apparently, my grandmother-in-law died in the arms of her caregiver while the latter was trying to feed her. My wife was restless, and I had to calm her down. Since I had no plans of rudely disrupting my meeting, I discreetly sent a text saying that we will go soon after I finish. Of course, Shiela could not wait and went her way.

Anyway, I ended up telling my client that someone in our family died; nonetheless, we could still continue. My rationale: Life must go on for the living. We will pay our respects, but whether we go sooner or later, nothing else could be done.

When my wife got to Inay's place, most of the members of the family were already there. Regardless of my grandmother-in-law's lifeless condition, the family wanted to be with her. It did not need to be a life and death situation for them to act hurriedly. Clearly, the family was drawn together by flesh and love.

As an outsider myself, I could feel the outpour of very strong emotions. It was not just customary; everything was genuine. I wish I could declare the same for my own family. Inay was bedridden for the longest time, yet her children persisted to extend her life. Definitely, another first for me.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Who's bad?

Driving on our way home, my wife and I leisurely exchanged ideas about the most recent fight among our folks. What else is new? Domestic chaos is like seasoning to some members of our family. For this reason, I once said to an inquisitive former girlfriend, "Please do not ask anything about my family. I have nothing to be proud about."

Growing up, I learned to be immune to disorder and have even perfected the art of detecting any upcoming red flags. It may be unhealthy, but in my case, it was essential. Time always proved me right.

A few years ago, I got entangled in an affair involving my folks, something I have been vehemently avoiding like a plague. Since my old self knew nothing about retreating, things became a lot messy. Although I was not into it to win the battle, I was engaged to enlighten the guerrillas about the shameful turn of events.

In the heart of it all was my grandmother. She was infamous among her children because of the way she treated her father, husband, and kids. Anyway, my contention was for the children not to take revenge. If they want to distance themselves, then go; however, to treat a person horribly is barbaric. I suggested that if they cannot embrace their mother like a human being, at least, care for her like a pet. Yes, a brutal analogy indeed. If they cannot love her, respect her. Sadly, they did not get my point. I became the bad guy.

I am no saint, but the aforesaid gruesome event is something that the elderly should never show their kids. When faced with similar circumstances, you would not want your kids to do the same. Now, the cycle has been repeating itself again and again among siblings because they did not have a better example. Could it be common sense not being common after all? Values formation? Blinded by what? Ruled by whom?

I have not seen my grandmother in years. I respect her. I love her, but I had to distance myself because I love my wife and kids more.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Way out of stress

We all have our unique ways of managing tension. My style is to not think about the source of anxiety, but it does not work all the time. It never will. Life's problems are so complex; you cannot simply ignore them.

Whenever my stress level rises, I seek refuge either at the spa, for a decent Swedish massage or the gym. The latter does not involve any cost; hence, I can engage freely. On the other hand, a trip to the spa usually requires a bit of negotiation with my financial officer, Shiela. I almost forgot, she also happens to be my wife.

It has been two months now since I last went for a massage. Surely, I miss the euphoria of a relaxing touch therapy. Lately, however, I have been indecisive. The negotiating part, as mentioned earlier, is another form of stress. Additionally, someone talked me out of it.

Shiela usually deals with tension by harnessing with her loyalists. They conspire their way out of her misery. Could have they, at some point, plotted against me? Just kidding. Anyway, if the committee could not convene, my wife would end up finding solace... at the spa. The irony of it all! Poor me, she stashed away all the loose change.

Then, there are those who walk their way out of anxiety. Some people pop a pill and sleep on it. While others bake and mix flour with anything, one batter after another. How about you?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Women and their fallible instinct

My wife and I exercise a system of open privacy. We enjoy unrestricted access to each other's letters, emails, phones, wallets, bank accounts, and so forth. It did not happen overnight though. It was more of an evolution, mainly a result of my unspoken approval.

While our practice is not universal, neither of us complained about it. If you have nothing to hide in the confines of your relationship, overriding the rules of privacy may appear suitable. However, it has its demons. I am afraid it is too late to exorcise them.

The riddle with open privacy, especially when the parameters are not clear, is context. Without a clear understanding of the circumstances relevant to an issue, instinct eclipses logic. Humans are supposed to be cognitive beings. Things are not hard-wired in us like animals. We have to gather information and process them through volitional effort.

Often, my wife and I get into disagreements because of our flagging system of open privacy. For instance, should you nag about a text message that no one has control over? Anyway, I do not see myself winning any of our trivial battles because she will always choose to believe in what she thinks. Maybe all she sees is my past, or should we start talking about PRIVACY?

My stock picking argument: History is not an indication of future performance.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tell Me Your Name

By Jose Mari Chan

Tell me your name you're lovely
Please tell me your name
Just when I thought
This would be one of those boring games
You walked into these feelings
You looked at me and smiled
My heart unfroze and started going wild

Can you imagine this
The confusion of
First love's kiss
A return to wondering
If the magic of love was this
You merely said hello
And my mind did a stop and go
Can it possibly be
The future for me is you

Tell me your name
I must know
Won't you tell me your name
I'm not insane
Just frightened that you might go
Don't go please stay beside me
Wait until I can tell you all my schemes
Chasing rainbows spinning dreams
Finding someone to love like you

I'm not insane
Just frightened that you might go
Don't go please stay beside me
Wait until I can tell you all my schemes
Chasing rainbows spinning dreams
Tell me please your name
Tell me

*A friend's favorite

Monday, October 26, 2009

Controlled playfulness

Are you married? Tired of having the same homemade toast for breakfast? It should not be the case, right? Maybe there are mornings when you are in a rush that you end up skipping the most important meal of the day. However, have we not been told to eat breakfast like a king? If you have to get your fill somewhere else, you better be sure that it does not make you tepid about homegrown stuff. Granting that you are also being treated in a regal manner, but should not there be only one true queen for a king? As for liquid meal replacements, they could be downed in a jiffy. While their pitch is convenience, the bloating and gas could leave a trace of the past. Now, where is your beloved toast? I hear you saying that you are not tired of it. Good! A bit of cereal here and there in order to break the monotony, but you are married.

Pardon me for the play of words. Sometimes I like talking semantics, especially when they are meant to justify a wrongful act. I know I should not. If I have been pretty successful toeing the line for millions of seconds, why lose my footing now? I must admit, I have played with emotions and hurt the owners in the process, but time has changed. I am no longer a jock and should not be playing ball. However, a recent event called me out of my retirement. I thought it felt exhilarating to be warming up my previously inactive muscles. Fortunately, my sense of balance is in place. It is good to be thinking these days. Neither do I want to see my wife nor someone else's family wounded.

Play time is ending soon. I just have to continue exercising controlled playfulness.

Friday, October 23, 2009

To Realize

To Realize
The value of a sister/brother
Ask someone who doesn't have one.

To realize
The value of ten years
Ask a newly divorced couple.

To realize
The value of four years
Ask a graduate.

To realize
The value of one year
Ask a student who has failed a final exam.

To realize
The value of nine months
Ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.

To realize
The value of one month
Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.

To realize
The value of one week
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize
The value of one minute
Ask a person who has missed the train, bus, or plane.

To realize
The value of one-second
Ask a person who has survived an accident.

Time waits for no one.
Treasure every moment you have.
You will treasure it even more when you can share it with someone special.

To realize
The value of a friend or family member

*The origin of this letter is unknown.
**A forwarded email from Dad 3, I thought I should share it with you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Over salmon

Just had dinner with my wife: salmon, salad, rice, and dessert (chocolate, a household favorite). It left me satisfied but not full, just the way it should be. Yes, appetizing too for it was not one of my Shiela's cookings. Kidding aside, in our household, whatever is on the table will get into our stomachs. I will always give my wife an A+ for her efforts; they will always count. As for results, she is getting there. (Good thing we are not talking business here; otherwise, she will have to pack her bags.)

Shiela and I had a good conversation, diverse yet related. We talked about global warming, the flood that hit our country, life after the calamity, my propensity to use my charm to woo the unsuspecting, and so forth.

The flood was like no other. It was unfathomable. In fact, some parts of the country are still under water. Indeed, the misfortune could strike us again. However, I was quick to point out to my wife that the rainbow is our living reminder that we will not be totally wiped out. What about global warming? Probably, it should be called global warning: The earth will be getting hotter by the day. No more floods, only this time a burning furnace.

With regard to my wooing the unsuspecting(s), my faith has just been tested again (again and again). Fortunately, I have been rekindling my relationship with God; hence, my thoughts and actions are more cautious. Like a baseball player, I would prepare (be tempted) to bat but not go for the full swing. I do not expect a home run anymore. Why step into the diamond in the first place? Anyway, the thought of the burning furnace is helping me win by default.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

FB and I

Late last year, my stepsister talked me into setting up a Facebook (FB) account. I gave in but it was short-lived; I did not really see the value of FB then. Recently, I was forced to reactivate my FB account because of a good friend who moved abroad. Now, I find it more worthwhile as pals from long ago started touching base with me. If not for FB, I would not know that I have quite a number of friends.

Great job, Mark Zuckerberg!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Drama prince

Watching the tail end of a drama series wherein the husband loses his wife to an illness brought me back in time.

Not so long ago, I lost my aunt Cely to cancer. May her soul rest in peace. Anyway, for a moment, she was a surrogate mother to me. A good mom to a (prodigal) son. However, at that time, I did not fully appreciate aunt Cely's deeds. I must admit, I was a very difficult child. Sorry, tita. I may have mindlessly forgotten to say it, but I honestly do love you.

I vividly recall one depressing morning when our family gathered at her place to pray. As she laid in her bed, my mom started praying. Tears were flowing except mine. I was breaking down inside but held back. I wanted to be strong for aunt Cely. I did not want her to feel helpless, although that was really the case. It came to "amen," and I hurriedly went for the sink to wash away my tears. I remember crying like a baby. Her time has come.

As written in my previous posts, I do not believe in grieving over the death of a loved one. I did not lie. On the other hand, the drama series made me realize that I am human after all. I went through sorrow once before; the thought of it happening again... I do not want to entertain it. I simply cannot.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I phone home

Out of necessity, I always carry with me two phones: for work and personal use. The gadgets are not much to speak of. They are the cheapest and most basic units available in the market. In fact, I would often joke about them being anti-theft. While I can afford to lose my phones, the crooks will surely be reluctant to pocket them.

As far as technology is concerned, my needs are simple: My phone has to be capable of voice calling and text messaging. Anything in excess is too techie for me. My wife twice tried to persuade me to graduate into something decent, only to see me rush back to convenience store-available models. I just could not market fashionable phones to my conservative self.

One of our staff members, maybe the most techie one, carries something 15 to 20 times more expensive than my ever reliable poverty-edition phone. Of course, hers came with all the bells and whistles. Pretty techie! Last week, however, she got too techie for comfort that we almost sacked her. Like a paparazzi, she used her beautiful iPhone to sneakily photograph one of our VIP clients in a very defenseless situation.

Should we blame technological advancement? It may have contributed, but I do not think so. It is not the machine but the operator.

My phones, as I have said, are cheap and basic. Yet, sometime ago, I used it to travel continents to hurt someone I love, my aunt Janet. I regret falling victim to the power of technology. Even more, I regret having acted in such a way. It could have been someone else, all the same, I should not have been wicked. We have kissed and made up, but like shattered glass, it could not be fixed to perfection. How sad, we could not get back where we left off.

I learned, painfully, that both man and machine should have signal.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Marriage as a partnership

Nine years ago, I decided to exchange wedding vows because I thought I finally found someone capable of handling a difficult man like me. I did not err. It was the right decision; however, it was a selfish one. It was all about me.

Marriage is a partnership. The parties involved are supposed to complement each other, not to exploit one's weakness. On that criterion, I am not a good partner. I was not.

My wife and I are now treading our 10th year. While I am unlearning selfishness, I am slowly developing into a proper partner. The once thorny relationship is progressively turning rosy.

More than me, we.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

To be at one's beck and call

Around 8am yesterday, my phone rang. It was my client. I had to ignore him. I could not be bothered. It was a public holiday, so I decided to sleep in. A few minutes later, I got another call. Half asleep, I crawled toward my phone to check on the caller. It was the same client. My wife suggested that I take it, but I reasoned that the client was not on my calendar. Shortly, I was back under the sheets.

An hour later, I woke up of my own accord. Fully conscious, the first thing I did was return my client's call. He did not pick up; I expected that. I sent him a text and got a reply. Everything was okay. We have an appointment on Monday.

Most of my clients are rich and powerful. They are used to calling the shots. People around them are supposed to be submissive, or else... the highway. The perks of affluence. However, being their contractor, I do not allow them such luxury. I do not mind taking the highway, and I let it be felt. I am never at their beck and call.

A friend once said, "Most people would be willing to pay if only to have a 15-minute audience with a VIP." Unfortunately, I am not most people. In fact, I usually make myself scarce. Regardless of who the client is, I will have to get back to them if they wish to rearrange an appointment. I am sure they hate it, but they will have to get used to it.

We do not need to be affluent to have dignity; however, we have to realize it.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Greed over less

I worked a total of 71 hours last month, roughly 3.55 hours a day. Meager, yet I whined about being used up. Last May (my best and most productive month), I logged 51 hours and still complained. Could it be laziness? Not quite. I am an Ox.

My goal is not to work long and hard. I despise it. I prefer short and sweet. The vision is to get as much done through others. The route will allow me to accomplish more in less time. It has to be; otherwise, I will see myself as a failure.

I reckon that I should be more appreciative of the fact that I am able to get by.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Segregated standards

Stefanie, my kindergarten daughter, is enjoying every minute of school life. I thought she would give her teachers and classmates hell, but she proved me wrong. Her discipline in class is nothing short of immaculate. Stefanie must have left the chaos at home, like most of us.

I must admit, I used to follow different sets of ethical standards: professional and personal. It was never my intention to be a better person outside our family home, but it somehow exhibited. Segregated standards, anyone? Quite shameful!

If I am capable of forming business partnerships, I should be able to strengthen basic bonds with relative ease. As approachable as I am at work, regardless of my mood, my family should have an even better access. A staunch professional ally, I should be able to display unimpeachable loyalty to my spouse. If I could lead a team, why cannot I lead myself?

Stefanie is a preschooler. I am not. She will learn ethics soon. I may not see soon anymore. I have to do good now. Just good.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mind of a married man (?), part 2


Wife: My husband and I need to talk.
Husband: If it is not a matter of life and death, it could wait. After checking my email would be good.

Wife: I really need to talk to him. As a matter of fact, it has to be now.
Husband: I will be done real soon. In the meantime, I will have my wife jot down the agenda. She can send it either through fax or email.

Wife: I cannot seem to get through my husband's mobile phone.
Husband: I just could not be bothered. Either I am in a meeting or mating. If I am idle, I still could not be bothered.


Wife: It is my friend's birthday. I will bring my husband to the party.
Husband: I might be sick on the said date.

Wife: My folks are expecting us.
Husband: They are our folks. If we cannot make it, they will surely understand.

Wife: My husband rarely goes out on socials. He is all work.
Husband: My work is public. My socials are extremely private. I work on both occasions.


Wife: That client could not be ringing my husband. My husband is no longer connected with the company.
Husband: Women are instinctively smart.

Wife: Of all the women he has worked or partnered with, I do not trust them all.
Husband: It is never a good idea to mix business with pleasure. Never again (?)

Wife: Business is good. My husband seems to be straight.
Husband: It is good to be straight. I still miss the days though.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mind of a married man (?)

The language and scenes below are not suitable for young audience. Parental guidance is advised.


Wife: Men are totally wrong. Household economics is never easy.
Husband: What is so difficult to accept is having to provide for someone totally unrelated to you.

Wife: My husband can do whatever he wants as long as I have his ATM card.
Husband: My wife can have all my cards. I have a "guerrilla" fund anyway.

Wife: He cannot fool around. I have his cash.
Husband: I am not a dirty old man yet. I do not need to pay.


Wife: I fought with my husband earlier. I am going to shop and unwind.
Husband: Good thing my wife nagged me again. I have every reason to come home late.

Wife: I cannot count the number of times he has lied to me. He will never change.
Husband: I did not lie to my wife. I kept mum.

Wife: He should have told me.
Husband: My wife does not want to hear what I have to say. She said so.


Wife: My husband has a taste for women.
Husband: A healthy diet calls for variety. I should not be having toast every morning.

Wife: Marriage and monogamy are inseparable.
Husband: To have several relationships is polygamous, to have just your wife is monotonous.

Wife: He is having an affair. He lied to me.
Husband: I am not lying to my wife. I am lying to my fling.


Wife: I am willing to give him a second chance, if only to save our marriage.
Husband: My wife loves me so much. She will always be willing to forgive me.

Wife: Sorry means nothing.
Husband: We are going out on a date later.

Wife: My husband has changed. I am so happy.
Husband: Women are totally wrong. Although it is not easy, men are capable of change.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Liar, liar, pants on fire

I caught up with Jen, my brother's girlfriend, on YM (Yahoo! Messenger) yesterday. She was upset that Paolo stood her up for a date. She was told by the latter that, at that very moment, we were having a meeting at my place. Funny, my calendar indicated, "REST DAY." In any case, Jen chatted away in disgust like a steam locomotive. I was astonished and did not have the chance to mention that I was in fact using my wife's YM account, but I was quick to point out that there was no meeting. Thinking she was venting to my wife, Jen kept on.

In the middle of our steamy conversation, I phoned Paolo. I needed to check his whereabouts before I report a missing person. Realizing that he was home and resting, I went back to Jen. I suggested that she pay my brother a visit; however, she declined. Either she did not want to invite herself or she did not want to be astonished herself! Just kidding.

The problem with lying, especially when it involves other people, is synchronization. The set of circumstances above is a classic. A classic disaster!

I used to be a chronic liar boyfriend, but I would always get away with my charade because there were only few characters involved. More often than not, it was a one man show. When pushed into a corner, my code was to stick to the lie. Like a prisoner of war, I would rather die than talk. Maybe I have been watching Rambo too often. Anyway, I always thought that women would prefer to trust in the fib and lie to themselves than to believe in the obvious and get hurt.

To confess is ideal; however, denial is the deal.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Follow through

I have added a Followers widget upon the suggestion of a visitor, Martinasensational. Somehow she enjoyed reading the posts.

Thanks, Martinasensational.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Stage fright

I used to be active in the lecture/seminar circuit. From 2000 to 2006, I took on all opportunities to strut my stuff. Being marketing-oriented, I thought it was good for enhancing my credibility. It surely did.

My introduction to the field of public speaking did not come easy. Firstly, I was not born with the gift of gab. I was definitely not a natural. Secondly, I was one of those who would rank speaking as one of their greatest fears. I could be quite eloquent in front of family but never in public. Keep in mind that I am a social misfit. Fortunately, I was able to mature.

After my last major talk, a national convention, I got bored stiff. I saw nothing but the checkered flag.

For months now, my friend has been persuading me to get back on track. The money is decent and the idea of educating others is exciting; however, my drive is suspect.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth

For several months now, Paolo and his dad have not been in speaking terms. It was something that the latter did (or did not do) that hurt my brother. I must admit, Paolo has every reason to feel upset. On the other hand, acting not to tear down the wall that estranges them from one another is questionable.

As a big brother (on the short side :) ), I am quite nosy. Hence, ever since Paolo's rift with his father, who, incidentally, is also my Dad 2 (remember him?), I have been talking my brother into humbling himself so they could patch things up. I did it before with Dad 2 when I came over to him and shook his hand. Of course, you could not expect me to be intensely warm after more than two decades of avoiding each other. My approach was casual, but it was genuine.

Regardless of one's inadequacies, we have to show kindness. No one is accountable to us; however, we will always be accountable for our own deeds. We should not weigh the hurt that we have received. Our concern should be: the favor that we are willing to return.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

It is not always bread

I must be getting too old. Nicole and I were joking the other day about how I sound like whenever I start giving out my sermon. Given the physical distance between us, my guidance can only go so far.

Nicole is in the middle of a grand vacation, shopping until her legs give in. She must be enjoying every minute of it, while the rest of the world is in recession. Like normal ladies her age, she salivates over the latest trends. I just have to remind her often that there are greater things in life than suitcases of LVs splurged with stuff. Anyway, my mom and aunt Janet are there to guide her... where the good stores are.

At the most, maybe, we will get to enjoy life's pleasures for 100 years. If, and only if, we exceed the normal life expectancy and remain Alzheimer-free for the rest of our years. Thereafter, it will either be an eternal bull market or the greatest depression (for-)ever.

Without being hypocritical, I too strive for comfort; however, I also do appreciate that living is about equilibrium. Hence, I will always be here to temper my daughters' addictions. I do not want to see them drunk. I desire that they be in their senses.

The goal is not to put our monies where our mouths are. The goal requires no cash, only righteousness.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The taxman

I just hung up with our accountant; the tax conversation was short and sweet. As always, before settling our corporate obligations, I would make a final run through of our income statement and compare notes with her. She suggested that we look for further adjustments inasmuch as we worked hard. As if we were making tons.

It is not our intent to cheat the taxman. Cheating is when you break the law. We are merely exercising the legal options available to us and taking advantage of the perks offered to corporate entities. Who am I to complain? I am nice, but I am not stupid.

It may be unknown to a lot of individuals on a paycheck that, at the end of the day, they are actually paying more taxes. Start with the income tax withheld even before you get hold of your money. Work overtime and you get taxed harder. Spend or stash your funds in the bank, either way, the taxman gets a cut straight away. On the other hand, corporations have the luxury of maximizing revenue through tax remedies. Talk about leniency.

I agree, the system could be a lot fairer, but who drafted it? Your guess is just as good as mine.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Though you're far away, I am here to stay...

For the last time, Michael Jackson has made it into the news, big time. The King of Pop is gone. The networks were quick to come up with documentaries about the King. Shortly, grief and tribute flooded the streets. For sure, sales of Michael Jackson memorabilia will be a hit at the box office.

I wish the King of Pop were still alive to witness firsthand the flow of love and support. It would have been overwhelming to be given accolade when it meant the most, not during one's funeral. Sadly, his last years were marred with hurt, isolation, and financial troubles.

I rarely go to funerals. I choose not to conform to tradition. I believe that it is immaterial to show concern at an inappropriate time. I have always argued with my mom and wife about such customary practice. While it is good for show, the dead will never know.

I am a big fan of Michael Jackson, but I am a bigger advocate of not waiting until the final curtain to express one's love. By then, it would be too late.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Once a pitcher

Apologizing after being on the offensive makes me feel so uneasy. To humble myself and ask for forgiveness is not my style. My approach is to make amends through actions. On the other hand, if I choose not to reconcile, it will automatically be a written off relationship. Either I have too much pride in my pocket or plain genetic predisposition.

Last year was the start of a new beginning. I slowly changed for the better. If I were to sum it up, my evolution took a little over three decades. I am thankful that it did not take forever. Still a lot of fine-tuning to be completed but I am glad to have finally learned how to admit my guilt. The channel is now static-free.

Lately, my communication with Dad 1 has become personal. After 35 years and a chronicle of an unpleasant past, Dad 1 relayed his apology. I did not expect it and found it unnecessary. I would have been content with a silent advance. However, he opted to execute something unfamiliar.

What can I say? Honestly, it felt good. It was noble. It healed my scars. Now, I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end. I thank Dad 1 for being Mr. Bean.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Not entirely pessimistic

According to a recent U.N. report, one-sixth of all of humanity is now hungry.

Not long ago, Ms. E and I were exchanging ideas about global undernourishment. Being the Good Samaritan that she is, Ms. E kept insisting that the pandemic could be resolved if governments and citizens of the world would all contribute to proper social programs. As far as Ms. E was concerned, "nothing is impossible."

Unfortunately, my position is different. I am not being pessimistic; however, nothing in this world will curb hunger. It is not my opinion. It has been written, and it will be done. How can we argue with that? I told Ms. E that we have to be realistic about the case; otherwise, we would all be frustrated.

Why do you think we deteriorate as we age? Another friend of mine once brought to mind that "aging" makes it easier for us (and for those who love us) to accept death. Straight-forward yet infallible. Similarly, at present, there are about 1.02 billion hungry mouths to feed. We can always reach out, but the course of our being will never be derailed.

I pray that if we have been undernourished in this lifetime, may the next be a festivity.

Monday, June 15, 2009

"Jock" of all trades

I went off to work today around noon. It is one of those lazy days. Not willing to jump out of bed and start my day as a proper provider, I had to drag myself and address my ambivalence. If only Adam held onto righteousness, we would not be needing to toil.

Four productive hours later, I was on my way home.

The streets were quite busy, as office workers queue up at atm machines for their half-month's worth of honest labor. I recall those days when I was one of them, looking forward to emptying my bank account twice each month.

For years now, I have been working for myself. My responsibilities have changed considerably. Frankly, it could get scary at times, when you consider the men and women who are expecting you to fund their accounts so they could feed their families. Yet, I prefer to take on such risk than to be on the other end of the table.

It is cool to be a jock, but my vision is to own the team.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Negotiate and live

To the untrained eye, my Stefanie is a pain. She will assert herself and argue. She will prove her point to the last breath. For her, it is "my way or the highway." Yes, it gets to my nerve. Why let a 4 year old run your house? Now, this may sound ironic but I think Stefanie is doing an excellent job.

In life, we are always negotiating. Depending on where you are coming from, you will either be viewed as demanding or obedient. The way my daughter carries herself, people will see her as someone who can throw the nastiest of tantrums. As her dad though, I am proud of her conviction.

Shiela and I do not know how to spoil Stefanie, but we can be democratic with our household management style. At times, we want our daughter to be a part of the decision-making process to produce a more positive reaction. All the same, we recognize the occasions when a directional style would suit Stefanie best.

In the real world, I want our daughter to continue negotiating. I want her to perfect the art of the deal. It will be useful in life and in business.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Band of the brothers

I thought I would never get to bond again with my cousin, Jay. For almost ten years, I have been detached, by choice, from my folks. The once stone-hearted me could have actually gone forever, but I am as soft as jello now. Long and forgettable story.

I remember him being a college freshman or so building my first website. Now, he has made it into a career. Excellent job! I even recall, a... er... forget about it. You could not fault young men flooding with testosterone.

Anyway, in a recent trip, we were able to relate as "siblings" again. Although this time around, my influence as a big brother leaned on the good. None of those screwing around like there was no tomorrow. No more wham, bam, thank you ma'am episodes. Instead we talked about the years that have gone by, family, parenting, career, business, values, future, and life in general.

We are presently exploring business opportunities. It is on its way.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Goodwill Bank

Today, a client was stood up by one of our most reliable consultants. The client was 20 minutes early, while the bugger was an hour late. I was there. How do I explain that one lapse? Nada!

To someone who has not seen it all, having to deal with an irate person is one horrifying experience. Fortunately, I have this uncanny ability to lead someone out of control to reach a calm and logical state. Why? Because "irate" is/was me, often describes/described me. Good to have one foot inside, in a good way that is.

Anyway, a couple of hours later, I received a call from the (already) cool and collected client absolving our company, my partner, and me. The productive resolution was expected after all the apologies (both in person and over the phone) and refund offer: the very least that we could do.

I just finished writing a letter to the client, for send-off on Monday. I have also enclosed a spa gift certificate. Why? Because we care to do more. As I always say, when dealing with non-clients and clients, "lose the argument but win the goodwill." It has always worked.

With regard to the consultant, she used an overdraft. She will have to clear it, together with the attached indirect costs. Otherwise, her credit rating will be damaged.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In love and irrational

After four years of lust-hate relationship, I finally bid farewell to my partner-in-crime. Had I listened to my wife, the send-off could have been much sooner and less hurtful. However, I was madly in love then; I was irrational.

When you are taken with something, reason is often thrown out of the window. Passion is not always malicious, but it could reign over you. I must confess, for a moment, I was a submissive slave. Worst of all, I took it beyond plain appreciation of beauty.

My partner-in-crime kept me company whenever I was away from home. She made me feel so secure. Yes, I cared for her a lot; she was my baby. Our companionship was like no other, but life is no fairytale. People change.

Apart from having to pull back because of the times, I am now more logical. No more high-maintenance. Goodbye, classic car.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Under the weather

I have been down with the flu for three days now. I tried going to work early today, only to find out that it was not the smartest thing to do. I felt like a zombie trying to fit into life. Again, driving was not at all fun. Anyway, I safely made it back home.

Whenever illness strikes me, I would recall exactly how mom's nursing routine was: the icy water rubdown, bottle of coke, and so forth. I think vinegar rubdown was also part of the treatment. Nonetheless, mom's care always made me well.

Where mom left off, Shiela has taken charge. I still get the same pampering, the loving touch. I should get well just the same.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Retiring with stepmom

Not all stepmoms and stepdads are witches. My Dad 3 is a kid in a big man's body. Who could not love a child? Although inherently naughty, kids are positively pure. Likewise, stepmom is proving to be not the monster that I once painted in my mind as a child.

Stepmom is supposed to be a total stranger, but she is the least of it. Unknown to me, all these years, I have been part of her life as a wife to my Dad 1. I thank her for that. More importantly, I appreciate her efforts to connect with my family and help me understand my roots.

Over lunch one time, stepmom unveiled her true character.

In me, stepmom saw a young Dad 1. It must have scared her. Seriously, it was an invaluable genetics-learning session, with emphasis on exploiting the good and departing from things that could jeopardize my marriage. I could only think highly of her for drawing from experience, painful and otherwise; it showed her vulnerability. She was determined to mold me into a better person, son, spouse, and father.

Stepmom, similar to Dad 3, is kind-hearted. She is a loving mom. I hope Dad 1 realizes, while there is still time, that retirement is better with family than in a faraway place. In some respects, I am different. I will leave work for home. I will find happiness in Shiela; my wife will never be alone.

Not all spouses are like stepmom. Even in the middle of a chilly european winter, Dad 1 will surely feel the warmth of stepmom's love radiating from New York. Pure luck!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sharing Stefanie

My Stefanie is into the habit of sharing all her things with us. From food to toys, even paper cut-outs, nothing escapes the chance for her to do a good deed. There is no way we could turn her down, especially when she drops her infamous "it is good to share" line. Shiela and I could just shake our heads every time we find ourselves overwhelmed. We taught Stefanie the virtue, but we did not realize that she would take it faithfully.

Honestly, I often get irritated having to keep all of Stefanie's hand-me-downs or being forced to try whatever she is nibbling. I have to be careful though not to make her feel dejected. I may find it trivial, but to Stefanie, to someone who is sincerely sharing all that she has, it means the world to her.

In one of my consulting projects, I have a legitimate area of profit enhancement (on top of my fixed revenue); however, I chose not to pocket it. Instead, Paolo and I decided to pass them on, one hundred percent, to our team of consultants. My former business partner, who heard of the give away, could not comprehend my act. He questioned me for obvious reasons.

Paolo and I have our motivation. Like everyone else, we need to make a living. Nonetheless, we would like to see more plates that are just as moderately full. We do not expect gratitude from our team. Seeing them spend 15 working hours in a day to make our client happy is enough expression of thanks.

It is definitely good to share. If a 4 year old can do it, we all can.

Friday, April 24, 2009

P.L.O.C. and my friend

I feel sorry for a friend who, since May of last year, has not found his way back to the workforce. Nine months earlier, he had a job that fit him like a glove: great title without the responsibilities; average pay, commensurate to the tasks; security of tenure for as long as he could dance to the music; and, so-so organizational skill requirement. Mind you, it was a top management post.

Then, here comes me, the problem.

I had a client who was looking for a managing director, someone capable of running the show for one of his start-up companies. Since my client was trying to carve a niche in an industry, he needed an out-of-the-box marketing guy with an entrepreneurial mindset. Long story short, he decided to explore talks with my friend (leading to employment) despite my clear indication of the latter's weakness: organizational skill.

Nine months later, the better-paying/high-profile/ultra-demanding job proved too much for my poor friend. To my client, it was a very expensive experiment. The endeavor did not take off initially, but my client was able to confirm the viability of the business model. Not willing to give up, the latter reaped through the former's successor.

I feel guilty seeing my friend desperate to find work; I know I am partly to blame. I thought I have been of help moving him into a professionally run organization, doubling his salary, unleashing his potential, and securing his family's future. I was wrong. He was comfortable in the previous rut.

Organizational skill was my friend's demise. I should have known better.

As manager, every element of the sometimes taken for granted "P.L.O.C." has to be ingrained. Planning, leading, organizing, and controlling have to be learned (yes, they can be learned) and perfected. Otherwise, one would be better off down the corporate ladder.

Now, my friend is my problem. He sent me a text the other day; he was depressed. I am afraid I cannot help. He has to pick himself up first before I could.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Foundation of trust

Kids are really fortunate. Mistakes committed, either because of ignorance or adventure, are readily forgiven. Moreover, being young allows for ample time to recover.

Growing up, I was quite mischievous. Well, who among us did not go through such a phase in our childhood lives? Anyway, I am glad to be over the once embarrassing and forgettable chapter.

As an adult, I am lucky to have developed friendships, although few, laid on foundations of trust. All made possible by my early renewal, timely remorse.

Recently, I needed to post a bond for an undertaking. It was US$10,000.00 worth and needed a co-signor, a trusted ally. Without any hesitation, a friend casually signed up. He did not even read the documents; my word was enough. In another occasion, a former business partner transferred his shares of stock to my new group for nothing. Then, there are those who would literally and insistently offer their cash for use in exploratory ventures.

Trust is not about leveraging. The lever is trust.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Social curfew

Sometimes I wish I had more friends, sometimes even more. Most of the time though, I am fine with just a few. Strange, but we all are in our own peculiar ways.

Earlier, Shiela and I were invited by a good friend to Hard Rock Cafe. Being a predictable bloke, I politely excused my wife and me. "Thank you for the offer, but my little girl (4 year old daughter) will be a hassle," I told my friend. With all those alibis, I am surprised to be receiving genuine invitations still.

How am I going to explain it? Let me start by saying that I prefer peace and quiet. Lazy too, yes. Parties have never been my thing; I am a boring guest. I do not smoke, drink, or do drugs. I fancy to be home rather than out. Would you believe my wife gets her girl's-night-out but not me? I pass. If I do not, it will always be fishy. ALWAYS...

I could be pissing off my friends because of the social curfew. I reckon they are extending latitude more willingly rather than lose one good brother. I may be missing the action but not the true friendship.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Blood compact

Paolo and I worked out together for the very first time today. It has been weeks since he last went to the gym, so I suggested that he take it easy. Except for the difference in exercise intensity, our routine was pretty much the same. Talk about buddying up and sweating it out.

Our partnership started early last year when we put up an outsourcing company. Although the timing was not the most ideal, having to suddenly face the global economic turmoil, the collaboration was a winner. In him, I found a business partner worthy of my trust. Clearly, a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

The initial litmus test paved the way for another team up towards the end of 2008. The new industry was foreign to Paolo, but I had the patience to guide my brother. It was enough that I saw enthusiasm, commitment, and trustworthiness. All good. Hopefully, nothing wanes.

Until then, no sweat.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Risk to benefit ratio

How should a husband and father react to a woman who says, "I will not take you from her?" Obviously, the statement gives consent to fool around or continue to do so (whichever the case may be) without any strings attached. Perfect offer, right? To the loving family man, it should not be.

Thankfully, at this point, I could confidently say, "I love my wife and kids more than my ego." Either I am aging or simply getting better at warding off temptations, bottomline: I am learning to conquer an extravaganza once characteristic of my youth. I have to acknowledge that it was not a flawless deflection; the little devil in me still had to evaluate the risks and benefits.

I pray to be just as steadfast when the next hurdle comes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Giving men the opportunity to fish

The global economic crisis has left a lot of people jobless and without food on the table. Really depressing but the scenario is inevitable. Otherwise, the prophesy would be a farce.

To come to somebody's aid is always good. It gives people hope. However, it is always better to bail-out those who are also helping themselves. Only then will it be truly rewarding, for both.

Ages ago, I was a recipient of an opportunity to make a difference in my life. With the generous guidance of my uncle Andy and aunt Janet, they set the stage for a comfortable future. Words are not enough to thank them.

For years now, I have been striving to pay it forward by lending others a hand. I do not have the means to give away fish, but I try to share the waters with them.

In a couple of weeks, my brother Paolo and I will employ a team of consultants for a long-term project. The group is composed of hardworking individuals, some without work while others with little to speak of.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Facing the Giants

"In his six years of high school football, Coach Grant Taylor has never led his Shiloh Eagles to a winning season. When faced with seemingly insurmountable professional and personal crises, the idea of giving up has never come easier. It's only after an unexpected visitor challenges him to trust in the power of faith that he discovers the strength to persevere." - Facing the Giants

A wonderful and inspiring film. It would be selfish of me not to share it with you. Make time to enjoy it with your friends and families.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Nicole, I thank God for you

Nicole, I thank God for you.
We all thank Him for you.
Your mom and I were very young then.
It seemed like an accident but your were never one.
You are precious gift.
You will always be.

Life is sometimes harsh.
I wish circumstances were more favorable.
You were never at fault; I have been deficient.
I beg for forgiveness.
Calm will come.
We will get there.

Stefanie, your kid sister, yearns for you.
She loves you dearly.
You will always be her big sister.
I was a stranger to my siblings.
I pray that things work well between the two of you.
Love will bind you both.

Dad does not care less.
I am careless.
Dad is naive about relationships.
I did not have a template.
Dad is learning.
I will overcome.

Tomorrow is a new day.
A brighter day, especially for you.
I wish I could walk you through.
Nonetheless, make good of it.
You are allowed to make mistakes.
The blunders will make you a better person.

Nicole, I love you.
I thank God for you.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lessons from Mr. Bean

My little Stefanie is so fond of Mr. Bean. Being a kid, her attention span is supposed to be short but not when Mr. Bean is clowning around. She simply goes gaga over him. I could only wonder why.

I was never a fan of Mr. Bean. I thought of his humor as off the wall and boringly stupid. Maybe I was unfair to have pre-judged him without much consideration. I have not even sat down in any of his shows.

One day, Stefanie dragged me to watch what she dotingly called, "her favorite;" so there I was, a trying-to-be-supportive dad, about to agonize over the antics of the man and his tiny car. To my surprise, bit by bit, I was being consumed by Mr. Bean. I took a look at my little Stefanie and saw the smile of the happiest kid in town. In no time, we were both laughing silly.

Mr. Bean does not talk much. He speaks mainly through his actions. As it is, my Stefanie loves him. Mr. Bean gives her joy. (I am sure my Nicole would love him too.) What more if the character could articulate through words?

In the real world, a lot of us are so un-Mr. Bean. Instead of holding people in our arms, we drive them away. Many of us use the gift of gab to inflict the deepest of wounds. What beauty does it bring? It is a shame I had to learn from the mum Mr. Bean.

Life is too short not to let people know how much we care. Let us not miss the opportunity in this lifetime. Be someone else's Mr. Bean.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Greed is not good

If you have dabbled with stocks or are still invested, absorbing paper-loss at this point, you should be able to relate to this story.

The stock market is not for the faint-hearted. If you could not swallow volatility, better stick to other instruments. While stocks have the potential to generate an obscene amount of cash for savvy investors, a wipe out of one's nest egg is not uncommon.

Last year, I was able to pull the plug early enough to avert any loss. It was not a perfectly timed exit though, as I saw some of my stocks rise shortly after I unloaded. Had I stayed invested, I could have made another 10% killing, at least. As my stock broker friend would always say, "you should never look back." Luckily, I did not and went my way to cash in my chips. The market went on a free fall in next to no time.

A social contact, several years my senior, was unfortunate to miss the mark. She lost millions on a particular favorite, speculative stock that we both invested in. I sold after gaining more than 400% while she held on. Now, she is whining when she could have been smiling.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I am back

It was not until middle of last year when I stumbled over web logs. We set up a new company and were looking for cost-efficient marketing avenues; hence, the birth of my first blog. Although the site was very corporate and marketing-driven, I enjoyed every bit of it. In fact, blogging rekindled my passion for writing.

I have been writing for publications since 2000. From being a neophyte, I evolved into an experienced, paid writer. It was a hobby that generated frequent loose change for a budding writer like me. Even so, I took pleasure in seeing my works either put into print or sent to your mobile phones. My photo that accompanied some of my articles was a bonus for the readers. :)

February of 2006 was my last published article. I lost interest and decided not to renew my contract. The fire was gone. What was once an art form for me has become a chore. Believe me, when you have to beat deadlines, it becomes one.

Now, I am back. After a two-year hiatus, I am excited again, although in an entirely different setting. I hope this one is for keeps.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On time(x)

My business is largely dependent on proper scheduling. While it is no longer as chaotic as before, it could still be stressful on occasion. Good thing, appointments are the only pressures I have to deal with, and since they are self-imposed, they are variables that I can manipulate. However, what I have no control over is the attitude of the party involved, especially on the subject of punctuality.

A friend of mine said it perfectly, "lateness is stealing other people's time." How many of us are in the wrong of robbing others of a luxury that we cannot afford to repay? Frankly, I would rather be cheated monetarily, knowing well that there will always be tomorrow to recover, than to be robbed of time that will forever be lost. How about you?

Over the years, I have learned how to deal with people who are inconsiderate. I have not mastered the craft yet, but I am getting there. Unlike in the past when I would wait miserably for an appointment to show up, I leave. If one does not appreciate my business, I would gladly take it somewhere else.

I am not a big fan of wrist watches; I only wear one on important events. (Incidentally, I would like to thank Mr. M for the constant supply of Timex watches. Timex keeps me on time.) However, I still do make it on the dot. And if Mr. Z, the tycoon client of mine who has businesses the world over, can make it early all the time, no one has an excuse. Actually, it is not the watch but the respect.

Respect is permanently inherent in meetings, whether business or otherwise.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I am not independent after all

For seven years of my married life, I have not exercised my faith. Except for the rare, half-hearted prayers, I could not be bothered. I pretty much relied on my own abilities. Things were going well, why fix it. I was independent, I thought.

I have nothing against those who do not recognize the existence of an even Greater Being. I, at some point, have also embraced the axiom: Comfort is achieved through hard (smart) work. Spot on, in earthly respect. However, is it the true essence of life?

Eight years into my marriage, I became conscious of the creature that was me. I learned to appreciate all that there is to life and beyond. My relationship with God, family, and the lives I touch are of significance now more than ever.

I know I exist for a reason. A journey defined by righteousness is life's essence. I would like to work hard and smart for it. The path leading to the One who blew into me life, I would like to see my family walking with me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Goodbye, friend

Booze and driving are never compatible. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. PLEASE, DO NOT!

My mechanic would still be alive today had he been rational enough to stay partying than go driving. Too much alcohol made him lose his coordination, senses, and life. What a waste!

How unfortunate that his kid's birthday will always be remembered as his fateful day. It will surely be difficult to celebrate next year.

Tomorrow will be my friend's funeral. I will grieve with his family. My classic car will miss him too.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Living on the fast plane

I bumped into a friend, an airline owner, the other day and asked him how he was. He indicated that he was just surviving. With the global economy putting a major dent on the tourism industry coupled with cut-throat competition, I could only wonder how long he could hack it.

I reckon my friend should have sold two years ago when a client of mine expressed interest to buy the company. He must be living on interest by now, but business was all rosy then. Today, everything is for sale. Unfortunately, there are no takers.

How sad, I never took advantage of the complimentary tickets when things were still good. Too late to call his secretary now and book my first "free" flight down south. Kidding aside, I was just there to help him cross-promote his airline, as I am now.

For the fastest flights to Boracay:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Living in a box

Ages ago, my veiled socials were scary. I was not hooked into the usual party stuff; my festivities were private. All were exhilarating moments, but they were never guilt-free.

Presently, my life revolves around family and work. No extra-curricular spices whatsoever; however, I am content. The joy is simple yet full of meaning. Witnessing the light of day to provide means for my family and enjoying the nightfall with their eager cuddle are all that matter.

Without much socials, I may be living in a box, but I do not care. I am happy.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The tale of 4 fathers

I could not ask for any more fathers. I have more than a handful. Perhaps I could ask for more time to understand the past. On the other hand, I realize that the limited interactions which took place are somehow adequate for me to learn from.

Dad 1 may have given up so easily on his marriage to see me take my very first baby steps and be there to catch me when I fall. Whatever his reasons are or the circumstances were, I respect them. Relationships are two-way streets, even the most well-intended unions are vulnerable.

However, what I will always remember are the mistakes that he could have avoided. Maybe he could have not written to me about accepting the fact that I was to grow up without a father. A kid who has not even perfected his arithmetic would definitely be discouraged with calculus. Also, it could have been less traumatic to politely get off the phone than to tell your child not to call ever again. I promised myself not to do the same to my two little girls. I could be out of sight from my Nicole but never brusquely out of love. Her mom knows that very well.

Now, Dad 1 and I are slowly reconnecting. Indeed there is a lot of catching up to do. At least, he is seeing my Stefanie take her own baby steps.

I would like to thank Dad 1 for part of my education, my toughness in facing the realities of life, and for my grandmother who loved me dearly.

Dad 2 was too young to get a grip of the responsibilites that came with formal partnerships. It will take more than love to make relationships work. Emotional maturity and financial capability are likewise essentials.

He came at the right time though. When mom needed stability and I required paternal attention, Dad 2 was there.

The invaluable contribution of Dad 2 is Paolo, my brother. It could not have been any better.

I am looking forward to the day when I would see Dad 2 back to church.

Dad 3 is mom's partner for life. Paolo and I are overjoyed to witness mom experiencing true love that she never had and settling with a lifelong companion that she deserves. He has his shortcomings, but who does not? While now old and gray, his affection is undying.

Mom's purpose for him and their relationship altogether has become apparent in recent years: for him to be brought closer to God and for mom to succeed in strengthening her faith. Nothing is easy, but the rewards are great.

The physical distance between Dad 3 and us kids was never an impediment for him to make us feel loved. It is so comfortable and natural to communicate our affection for each other.

Dad 4, my father-in-law, is a real father to my wife and me. We share laughters and sorrows together. A man of few words, his actions speak loud and bold. Dad 4 does not need to vocalize his love; his cradle is always assuring.

He is a self-made, hard-working man. I am just in awe of the things that he does for his family and the sacrifices that he has to endure. Probably such deeds are normal of a good father. I am delighted to be learning the ropes from him.

I thank Dad 4 for my Shiela. They have made me whole. I had a lot of missing pieces; they solved my puzzle.

Hopefully, I am able to harness the present and enjoy the future.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Turning down an offer

For the nth time, I turned down a job offer from a former client. It has been over two years now since I pre-terminated our engagement due to professional reasons, yet they are still enthusiastic about working with me. I must have declined, either directly or indirectly, four or five times previously.

I am glad to be in a position wherein I could casually walk away from a deal. Maybe if I were that hard up it would have been a different story, but I do not think so. It is not me.

Obviously, despite my falling out with the former client, they are still interested in my services. Truly satisfying. However, the question is: Can I work with them again? Unless I am able to convince myself, I would not be willing to engage.

The culture of an organization is a reflection of its leadership. When cash is king, values are usually distorted. Where there are sacred cows, the groundswell of discontent is broad. When deceit is the norm, honesty will be foreign. Where moral ascendancy is deficient, there thrives the vultures.

Nothing that cannot be fixed; however, change must be embraced. I tried tirelessly to inject principled leadership. Sadly, it was not welcome at all. Shortly after, I threw in the towel. Neither did I want to waste my time nor their corporate money. Futile! Unless the top is revamped, no Houdini will ever be successful.

The problem with a far-from-upright man like me, having depleted my ideals to the brink, I am no longer capable of flexibility. I am holding on to whatever is left in order that I do not lose my self-respect.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My stepmom: her thoughts

I finally got to learn things about my stepmom. In one of our conversations, she confessed that her problem now is how to tell her daughter, my half-sister, about my dad's previous marriage and eldest son: me. I just said, "that's life."

Sins of long ago could really haunt you. I have had my share of misdeeds and, admittedly, they scare me to this day. Mistakes are meant to be corrected, that is what I am doing with my life.

I do not fault no one for the past. I could not question God "why." OK, I may have tried comprehending His plans before, but I am a changed man now to pressure Him any further. I am but a speck, we all are. In the end, I submitted everything up and felt good.

My half-sister is 31 years old now, yet I have not known her even for a day. Will we ever be able to make up for lost time? I doubt it. One can never buy time.

I find my stepmom nice, and I admire her for opening up to me. It requires a lot to speak your heart to a total stranger. Yes, we could be friends, but friendship takes time too. I wonder how much more is left in our lives.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The dilemma of being an Ox

A couple of years back, I was tapped to fix a management mess that was fast incubating into a legal battle between the company and staff. The situation was not at all fun, but it was a challenge that I believed the company as a whole could hurdle.

My engagement involved recommending and implementing whatever was necessary to get the business back on track. My point person was the vice president and I was literally told: "Do your thing." I agreed and gave word, saying, "I will only put into action whatever is fair to all concerned."

Two days after being officially appointed as consultant, the president met up with me and talked me into what he thought was the best way out. To my surprise, he tried to influence me to execute the very policy that triggered all the chaos. Furthermore, I was reminded as to who actually hired me. I thought, what a convenient way to hire someone supposedly independent to carry out a psuedo recommendation, and an expensive way at that. Anyway, as a show of respect to the "boss," I listened, only listened though.

The next day, I gave my letter of resignation. I reasoned that my existence was being redundant, after having learned that a solution was already in place. Now, I reckon that I should have stopped there, but I went further to the effect of saying, "I could only do it if I were a man of lesser principles."

The company ended up not terminating our agreement and the board telling the president to back off. The decision proved to be sound as I was able to work my magic.

On hindsight, I should have acted in a more subtle manner. I guess that is the dilemma of being an Ox: not willing to compromise.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Overhaul my ride

I finally sent our 30 year old car for major mechanical work. It has been overdue for decades! I hope it does better than the usual 5-6 kilometers per liter once given the walking papers.

Seriously, I am quite impressed with the German technology behind such classic masterpiece. Designed to luxuriously cruise the Autobahn, the ride is as robust as you could imagine.

Well, my mom was not really raving about it when I drove her around. I know there are still restoration works that have to be done, but I had to refocus my efforts and funds elsewhere, leaving the project unfinished. Presently, I am just content with keeping the car in shape.

As for retirement, maybe soon. My wife and I are thinking of a younger replacement, not necessarily another tri-star.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The office

Today, I was expecting to receive our copy of the lease contract for an office space that we rented out. After all the formalities last Friday, I was told, "today it is." I guess I expected too much; I expected promptness.

Anyway, there is not really any issue since papers have already been signed, but what irritates me is the convenience of not honoring a commitment.

As a person, I am very easy to deal with. Take the aforesaid case in particular, I did a 30-minute ocular on Thursday then went back to write a check the next day.

When I commit, I deliver; hence, I require the same from others. Indeed the world is not perfect, but it is not enough excuse to justify laxity. At any rate, I am still pleased with the deal. The delay in sending out the contract is not worth calling off everything.

I thought maybe I am just too quick for some people, but I had to be even more for this one. The location was perfect (heart of the business district), rate was reasonably cheap (a space just across the street was actually cheaper), came with all the bells and whistles (infrastructure and all), and atmosphere was cozy (a value add that won me over).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Differently able

When I got married, I told my wife of my goal of making monthly investments until we retire. She could not comprehend why we needed to literally stuff our calendar with some form of forced savings, then I shared with her the idea of "sacrificing now in order to have more tomorrow." Well, it has been almost nine years since, I would like to believe that I have been successful in persuading her.

I did not have much growing up, but I did not find the need to compensate when I became able. Frugality has been a friendly virtue from the day I started working. I learned to be content and happy with what was on the table. Until now, I try to live within my means. My only extravagance are the seeds that I used as capital in some so-so ventures that I have engaged myself in. Still, the mission remains the same: planning for retirement.

I am happy to be living a simple life with my family; they make me whole. Things that we can afford, we choose not to afford. My wife knows that her occasional slip in thought will never materialize, unless she swipes her plastic and pays for it herself. Likewise, my lapses here and there have remained just ideas. Anyway, we have been good so far, no void that needs artificial filling.

Going back, I think our investment horizon is clear.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The year that will be

I am looking forward to a very busy year ahead. In addition to what has already been keeping me preoccupied, quite a couple of revenue generating opportunities are in the pipeline. Hopefully, they all prove to be profitably worthwhile. No overdrafts for a change.

The first order of the day is to reorganize a five year old company. Changes in ownership and management are being formalized in preparation for a project early this year. After more than a year of negotiations, our efforts have finally paid off. Persistence-fatigue almost caught up on us. Good thing we persevered.

Also, we are looking at organizing something offshore. For this particular venture, credibility and shelter from taxes are top priorities, thus the need to go offshore. The only area of deliberation is whether to use an existing company as the legal vehicle to hold the interests abroad. With diligent marketing, the business has a lot of potential.

In another related development, reviving a recently dormant undertaking could be another item as there is a client-in-waiting. As a matter of fact, we have turned down prospects. Success here hinges on the progress of the world economy, which as of yet is in the pits. We do not want to just throw the dice. We will patiently wait.

Wedding bells are ringing. Ouch! I have gone through this before and to do it all over again is monotonous! Kidding aside, my marriage needs some serious blessing. If ever, a very simple exchange of vows would do, maybe no more guests. We are doing it for us anyway, not for anyone else. No concrete plans yet, but it will happen. My old dress shirt is still good.

To those who are not in the know, the abovementioned opportunities may sound great. Okay, okay, apart from the wedding bells. With any luck, 2009 does more than just sound great. I would be happy if only to pay off some bills. I will keep you posted.