Sunday, October 9, 2011

Lazy Sunday

Watched 3 films today. The Fighter. Christian Bale is a hell of an amazing actor. Diary of a Nymphomaniac. A Spanish film about a woman struggling with her desire to fuck all night long. She's so slim that I'd want to have a girlfriend like her. Tree of Life. My friend complained with the complexity of the film but I loved it. Unusually a non conventional American film. Yesterday, the film "Dolphin Tale" is very inspiring. People should stop complaining and instead be grateful for what life has to give. Watching movie and eating in a day makes me guilty. Just did a research on Capoeira. Be joining Manila's Capoeira next month. I need it. A bit of sedentary life ain't healthy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wanting more of "The Bayot in the Bukid"

tree house
Someone followed my twitter account, the follower's smile took my attention. Checked the follower's followers until I landed into a blogger whining about people leaving (relationship, work and even blogging), one of whom is Mandaya Moore. Mandaya's last post's on February 9, 2011 with last words:
And Mandaya Moore lived happily ever after. Alone.
He's a good storyteller. Very sensible, romantic, down to earth and funny stories of his straight male lovers and gay friends. He reminds me of Coconuter. The nomad thing. The unusual joy one gets in the simple, satisfying life of the rural communities. Mandaya's friend, Fiona, took a leak (or doing the number 2?) alongside the dusty public road. Doing it in remote can be safe since a few people or motorized vehicles are expected to pass by. I used to park my motorized bike anywhere in my hometown's outback areas when nature calls and pee among the coconut trees. Sometimes I'd pull out my tool for the world to see, facing the rice field or the sea with no worries. The world felt like it's mine and had the nature as witness to my boldness. Pungent urine leaking, like the earth should have been grateful for the organic nutrients from it.
But why am I here in Manila and not wanting to go back. The courage to go home is gone. Longing to leave Manila. Or is it Manila?
Not back home. I'd go somewhere else. Asia. Pacific. Europe. Anywhere. I might just live in Batanes. The urge in running away strikes again.
When Mandaya stopped writing, writer Kane went to Mindanao and interviewed the former. Glad the phenomenal Miss Mandaya will be back.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Horrible Bosses (Film)

At last, an adult comedy for this year. Watched the film with Anne in Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall, amazingly cheap at P160 in premiere seat. Sta. Lucia has one of the biggest screen compared to other non IMAX movie houses in Greater Manila Area.

Horrible Bosses is horribly funny and Jennifer Aniston is one big versatile actor. She plays the sex-crazed dentist of an engaged dental assistant (Charlie Day). Jason Bateman, stereotyped again as working class in this movie, a subordinate of emotionally abusive Kevin Spacey. Kurt Buckman has to work with dickhead Colin Farrell after the latter's father (the original kind boss) died of heart attack.

To get rid of their bosses, they decided to kill the horrible bosses. After paying thousands of dollars for their murder-consultant Jamie Foxx, Foxx turns out to be an impostor and has never killed anyone, but does piracy for a living.

Aniston was a favorite. Her hair is dyed dark brown and skin is tanned. She is hilariously funny in this new role, after seeing her in the usual romantic comedy for past years.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

Went to Starbucks afterwards. Got free coffee jelly frappe from my friend's coupon. Irritating to the throat, too sweet. Smoked and talked about us being corporate slaves, running to smoke in less than 15 minutes insuring to get back to most-hated cubicles in time. How long should one work?

(Image source: www.twitchfilm.com)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday


Dark clouds fill the sky
The heat wraps my skin that is dry
I don't have a fridge
Cold water I need to feed.


Tummy makes a sounds
So hungry it shouts out loud
Looking for cheap foods along the hall.


One hundred twenty three and eighty-eight cents
Remaining cash on the ATM
Cigarettes, corned beef and a pill
One hundred twenty three and thirty-six cents comes my bill.


Three days
Heyday
Will get my backpay
Yeba! I shall say.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Provincial rate

(Click on the image for larger viewing. These figures are not accurate. These are just assumptions, symbolic, sarcasm, or however a reader may call it.)
Working in a call center or BPO (business process outsourcing) company, comparing basic pay from previous companies is not uncommon. It was the first training day for an American account, a Fortune company. Basically, each of the new employee types his details virtually for ATM payroll, company badge, etc. So we had time to discuss anything, especially basic pay, benefits, incentives and mostly matters related to money.
One guy left a company after a year, with zero back pay. That's from a 3-letter named company that used to be manufacturing computers but has been an outsourcing company as well. Another guy left a company after receiving the contract signing bonus in a month from date of hire. Some of them left their previous companies after unresolved salary disputes. They call it salary dispute when you don't get the pay based on the time you have worked. I have learned a lot of corporate terms in Manila. What is really new to me is the term 'jumper.' One is a jumper when he works from one BPO to another. I don't really know the criteria of becoming a jumper. Maybe it's having more than one BPO employment in a year.
The company I am working with right now has training bond or cash bond for 6 months. That is, you will have to pay a certain cash when you quit before reaching 6 months of residency in the company. This is however fair for the companies. They spend money for the training expenses like salary for the trainer, electricity, handouts, trainees' salary, etc. It's also one way of dealing with spoiled Manila agents who keep on quitting work prematurely. I was once a nurse recruiter and it's a trouble when manpower suddenly changes due to staff immediate resignation or AWOL (absence without leave).
Another fact that I learned today, which is sadly true and is happening, is the difference of salary between agents in Manila and provinces. In Davao City, an agent earns a monthly rate of PhP 9,500 to 12,500 compared to a PhP 14,000 or more in Manila. These figures are not accurate but the trend is.
Manila, Davao, or Cagayan de Oro. If these cities are working for XYZ American company, they receive calls from the same country. They handle the same irate callers. They get the same surveys: bad customer surveys that may cost them their jobs. Same job roles and descriptions: talk while documenting, talk even though the person on the other line curses you, apologize, apologize and apologize (even though the customer warned you not to apologize again [but you have to verbalize it as per protocol]). Same protocols. Not the same compensation. A company saves a lot if established in the provinces. Cheaper space rental, cheaper utilities (water, electricity), cheaper taxes, and cheaper salaries to provincial fellows.
If XYZ American company pays QRS BPO $2 per minute of call received, the former pays the same amount to any BPO, irrespective of its geographical location.
Call center agents must be paid equally all over the Philippines. Same salary range for agents on the same graveyard shifts.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Living a life the heart wants

It's August 25, 2011, 1:30 a.m. Manila time. I have been awake for more than 48 hours. The usual problem.

After savoring the water spinach for dinner with my housemates Anne and Ralph, I took my laptop inside Anne's bedroom since it's closer to the internet router. I needed faster speed to view Lourd De Veyra's humorous, intellectual videos. Anne's closet was open.

I saw neon colored post-it notes attached to a cloth hanger. I asked her about the notes but she quickly replied not to dare look at them. Seconds later, she placed the notes on the laptop's keyboard. There are list of plans. Short and long term goals like purchasing appliances, vacation, loving her self more and etc. Setting of goals shared by her work's team leader.

My big, long term goals are:
1. a black or white stallion
2. glass house in a hill, specifically in Kapatagan, Digos City
3. sweet, bell pepper farm in the front yard
4. coffee and cacao farm in both side of the glass house
5. woods behind the glass house

Six Feet Underground
(I'd love to farm. Pick up tomatoes and gather chicken eggs in the coop for breakfast.)

I've been a working class. A Philippine-based working class. It is a bit hard to build a glass house or buy a stallion from the meager earnings in a corporate world. Aside from the monthly salary, additional source of income should come along to realize plans. While talking about living, life and reaching dreams, Coconuter came to my mind. I checked his site and it surprised me he's been back in Manila for quite some time. The modern nomad, his name is David Poarch, who gave up his comfortable life in the States years ago and attempted to survive from what the laid back life in the rural community could provide. This man inspired me when I first heard of him. He helped define the unclear thoughts occasionally running in my mind. Ambiguous ideas giving you migraines after trying hard understanding them.

All I want, someday, is to see greenery. The river, waterfalls, flowers and mountains. Get up early in the morning. Feel the cool breeze hit my skin. Walk barefoot toward the front yard, pick up fresh eggplants, gather chicken eggs from the coop, and prepare breakfast while sipping brewed coffee.

I'm tired of party, Manila's pollution, and corporate life.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Angels



I have been hooked listening to my old trip-hop music files such as Portishead, Telepopmusik, Tricky, Unkle and Massive Attack. Unkle's Rabbit In Your Headlight music video is one amazing video. I feel entranced when the man took of his shirt at the end of the video after a few cars hit and honk on him. He spread his arm like a crucifixion and the last car did not stop. The car blew out from the impact.

Tricky's songs make me want to keep on smoking
Telepopmusik makes me fly
Portishead fills my mouth with vodka endlessly
Massive Attack pushes me to the top of the train (like the kids in "Slumdog Millionaire"

Weather has been really cool lately in Manila. As cool as the trip-hop. Walking in the night from the mall to my house, I'd see the smoke from the cigarette in my dry lips running towards the sky. Looking up, the world is dark. I miss the stars.

I miss PJ Harvey. Stop knocking on my door my dear landlady, I'll pay you tomorrow. I am not running.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Procrastinate

I have been avoiding to turn this blog into a "negative journal" but it's hard to stop myself from writing especially that I'm in the hardest point of my life.

Been losing the zest. Intentionally searching for a tangible purpose of living. What do I live for? Who do I live for? Why do I have to survive and live until tomorrow.

Work.

Sleep.

Eat.

Should I have known about Club 27, I could have joined them. But I'm not doing it. I don't want to be a loser. I want to inspire myself and someday inspire people. If I'd do it, it is not going to be celebrated since it is a taboo in my location. People would see it as a jinx. My sister is right. I have the education, the guts, the talents, etc.

Peer is significant. Vying to see or hear from somebody who thinks or acts the way I do. I'm in a new company but everyone thinks about money, about earning. No pleasure. The pleasure of living. The beautiful things, vintage building, lovely music.

Hunger for money is overwhelming in Manila.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thunderbird versus Outlook




I'm using dongle.

Wireless connection.

It took less than a mere 5-minute to install Mozilla Thunderbird version 5. I added 3 various email accounts; Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail. Thunderbird automatically detects correct email settings for each mail's server/s. So amazing. I stopped using Outlook, or should I say I can not continue using Outlook because Microsoft demands serial number after restoring my laptop to factory settings. Five hundred emails appeared in Thunderbird within 5 to 10 minutes. Weeks ago, Outlook gathered all the emails from the servers-around 400 emails-for 3 hours. Using the same dongle.

I no longer use Microsoft Office and now learning Java's Open Office.

Mozilla remains faithful to its principle, that Internet should be free and easy. I'm still in awe with Thunderbird. I have worked with many customers having endless issues with Outlook. Thunderbird's logo looks trustworthy, and so is its performance.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Back to virtual world




I'm back to virtual world.

After half a year of inaccessibility to a personal computer, an HP is at hand. It's from my sister. HP Pavilion dv2000. Pre-loved. Sister had it turned on overnight. The moment she opened her eyes, the monitor went dim. Restarted, still as black as its cover. Eager to have the laptop, I requested to have it sent to me and leave the worry on me in fixing it.

Basically, as usual customer would do, I went to Hewlett-Packard repair center. The polite lady took the serial number of the laptop, excused herself and showed up with a printout handed to me. Nice piece of shit, I mean piece of paper. It's a system generated narrative of the laptop's serial number, date manufactured, some difficult codes, and the last but not the least, the word-obsolete.

The 2006 model HP laptop is no longer supported by HP repair center.

They no longer do any probing or checking if it needs a mere replacement of LCD, faulty wiring or a simple hard reset. The lady was nice. She must have seen how frustrated I was. She helped me slide the laptop back into my Agnes B bag. The only help I got. Non-technical support from HP.

I left the laptop to the care of CompuServe repair shop in the mall. The girl with annoying dental, steel braces said I will be receiving a feedback should they need to replace any parts of the hardware. Initially paid the diagnostic fee which is a bit expensive. They didn't fix it. Had the monitor on. No fixing fee required. The girl with steel braces suggested I use a laptop cooler. It took them 15 days to do it. She advised I can do checking of emails, surfing and avoid using it for more than 2 hours. The video card was said to be overheating when movies are played.

After less than 24 hours of using it, the screen goes black again. I flashed a light on the screen, I could see my works in it. I searched for solutions through Google. I learned about removing the LED or replacing its inverter. Desperate to resolve the issue myself, I studied the "how-to's" via Youtube. But I was scared I might not be able to fix it.

I restored it to factory default settings. Resetting took almost an hour whilst I was praying.

Fixed.

Been using it for a month.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bacteria and virus

Been sick for three days. Swollen tonsils causing pain to the scale of 10 like I want to throw all the cats invading my bedroom. Bedroom door has been open for days, mosquitoes and cats enjoy the opportunity. It is more than 30 degrees celsius pure summer. Closing the windows or door would turn my non air conditioned room to a conventional oven for Juan's pandesal. Rolling in bed like snake. Head feels very heavy. Getting up when there's a need to take a leak and when hunger makes me disoriented. It is difficult to swallow the 625 milligram Augmentin that I puked yesterday when I forced to swallow it. Looking at the mixture of water and saliva on the floor, I found the Augmentin tablet. Desperate to get well, I picked it up and swallowed it, making a fist that's about to break my bedroom's wall while the pain goes to my brain like Thor's hammer is breaking my skull.

And herpes zoster appear in lower lip that looks like red cottons. Perfect. Who's next in line? Appear now please. Come one, come all. It looks harmless but once you have it, it feels like it is pulling all the muscles in the areas affected. So when you move your lips from talking or eating, it is heavenly painful. I push myself an inch near the mirror, herpes looks like balloons filled with water. This is viral. And I get this every year, especially during summer.

Since I am a corporate slave, I have to work tonight. Or tomorrow morning at 3:00 am. When I speak, one would wonder if I have a marble in the corner of my mouth. It is extremely painful. But I will work. After all the torture. I will work. Mind over matter. These are just bacteria and viruses ruining my body. I must have control over them.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Digos City

(Took this pic from Grandma's garden. There was rain before sunset. )


I miss my hometown.

Cook pork
bake cupcakes
brew coffee
sit in the garden
nod and smile to each person passing by the yellow house.

Ride a motorcycle
wearing short pants
slippers
no helmet
sleeveless shirt.

The shirtless man, fronting the gloomy Catholic church,
chops the upper portion of coconut
poke the cheap straw through the meat
sip the refreshing juice
Mama says it's good for the kidneys.

Light the cigarette
start the motorcycle
smoking
driving
feels like I'm the town's bad boy.

Speed up to 140 km/hr
avoid the superhighway
pass through the shortcut
along mahogany trees
too green they look like plastic.

Stopping in the abandoned pier
sit in plastic chair
strong wind pushing me
"Beer!"
I yell to the mulatto girl.

Drive back home
speed up like the road is mine
realizing I'm flat on the road
I'm off from the motorcycle
right knee is bleeding.

People in awe
jaws drop
I smile
drive like I feel no pain
I smile again.

Few meters
away from the witnesses
I check my knee
blood is oozing
like a jail-breaker.

Back in the yellow house
Rush!
unlocking the gate's padlock
before Noah-the smelly dog-
could lick my hands.

Shower
moisturize my face
pull over me
the Ralph Lauren blanket,
I'm home.

Friday, January 21, 2011

American furious why Filipinos (and Indians) use American names


Been working as a call center agent since September of last year. Call center agent, customer service representative, technical support representative. The latter best describes my job. I fix technical issues of customers from the United States with weird, intermittent internet connection which is so unlikely with the DSL I have here in the Philippines.

Two weeks ago, an American customer crushed my ego. I received his call with my smile stretched from ear to ear, ensuring I convey the smile through my voice. I could see my own teeth and gum from the big smile.

The conversation---

Me: Thank you for calling %$#$^%*%&%*. My name is PATRICK. Can I have the telephone *&^&^##%^&*())*)_*&&?

I smiled. Desperate to make my voice clear since some customers do not understand neutral English.

Mister America: What's your name again?!

He was barking like a moronic dog. My left ear ringing like bundled needles were pushed into my eardrum.

Me: My name is Patrick sir.

The smile on my face did not disappear. I have been insensitive towards rude callers.

Mister America: Your name is Patrick?! Why? Your father is Patrick senior? And you are Patrick junior?!

His voice was loud that I felt his huge, dry wrinkled lips touched the pinna of my left ear.

Me: Oh yes sir, my first name is really Patrick.

The smile-as-per-protocol still pulled my lips towards my ears.

Mister America: You people from Philippines, you are using fake American names. People from India have fake American names like Bob, Tom, Hank, Harry! Stop using fake names. I have Filipino friends but they don't have names like Patrick! They don't use fake American names, they don't have fake accent!

I felt his black hairy tongue licking my eardrum.

Me: Oh, I apologize for that sir but I am not using a fake American name. My name is legally Patrick.

I placed strings on both corners of my mouth to maintain the smile.

Mister America: I want to speak to an American agent! I want to speak with someone who's in the United States!

I heard his teeth grinding my ear.

Me: Oh yes sir, please stay on the line. I will now be transferring you on an American agent.

Mister America hung up the phone. I called back the customer's telephone number.

Mister America's voice mail prompt: Your number has been blocked. If you have an access code, please key in the numbers #$%^&*+_@#$$.

Probably Mister America is 90 years old and so are his friends. Filipinos 90 years ago may have names like Protacio, Federico, Crispin, other Spanish names and the likes. My mother is almost 70 and her name is Myrna. It's definitely arduous for Westerners to say names like Maria Clara, Lucrecia, Pachaimuthu, and Dakshesh.

The call perfectly defined what discrimination is. It is very demeaning that I saw my self-esteem let loose from me. But I picked it up. I always feel pity to dogmatic, arrogant people. They are the futile species who have not yet seen the beauty in this world beyond troubling oneself in Asians using or having American sounding names.

Life is beautiful honey. The world is big. Life is fun. Life is wonderful when you speak with people around the world. Explore the world Mister America.