Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Adapting to Diverse Culture for Development

They say that when the gods created the island of the Philippines, they were so happy they made 1,106 more. So goes one of the folktales in our literature. 

True enough, this god-given gift gave life to a diversity which we now call Filipino culture. For the thousand and more islands in the land bore the richness of unique cultures each displaying the Filipino spirit, alive in every sense of the word. No matter where you go, great surprises await you. From Aparri to Jolo, you can never miss out on the distinctive Filipino-ness that separates us from other Asian countries. The pearl of the orient seas, as we are fondly called, continue to amaze foreigners as they see the defining characteristics of the Filipinos, resilient and optimistic. 

Just this Saturday, Typhoon Ondong ravaged the land leaving hundreds of families homeless and some bereaved by the death of their relatives. Some say that this catastrophe was the worst in 50 years. Yet, we Filipinos continue to rise and move on. Interviews of people on TV show how people can flash their smiles on cam aware that their houses have already been under water. Our ability to laugh in horrible events like this may be odd to a stranger. He may wonder how in the world Filipinos can still laugh and make jokes out of his serious predicament. But the Filipinos have always been positive, hopeful that despite setbacks, there is a way out and that what really makes us different from the rest. 

Frankly, I am here today not to talk about the Filipinos’ optimism. However, it is cultural traits like this that enables a Filipino to adapt to many challenges in life, and one of those emerging challenges is the influx of cultural exchange in and out of the country. 

Good morning everyone and welcome to this day’s event. This morning, I am honored to share to you some thoughts on adapting to diverse culture for development. Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps most of us who are gathered here have relatives working abroad. I for one have a brother working in Saudi Arabia as a hotel crew. He has been in the country for almost two years now; funny, because he has also worked as a driver in Hong Kong years before. Admittedly, life in another country is difficult. He would tell me stories about how peoples’ way of thinking in the countries he has been is totally different from the way we do. Sometimes, he has to be extra careful about his behavior as if walking on tight ropes just to survive. 

He had a choice- he could just come back and start anew here in our country. But because he is as much Filipino as we are, he was not disheartened by this difficulty but instead got inspired to prove to the rest of the world what Filipinos are made of. And what indeed are we made of? We are the products of a century old history that molded us into what we are today. Our roots come from the lines of heroes and we have worked extremely hard to prove that we are people deserving of respect and admiration. Thus, bowing down to challenges like adapting to diverse cultures is a mock to our name. For as they say, we Filipinos are the masters of adaptation. We are the nurses in London, engineers in the Middle East, entertainers in the USA, domestic helpers in Hong Kong, teachers in Korea. Call it the Filipino diaspora, nevertheless we are everywhere and we are not hampered by this diversity of cultures, in fact, we have used this diversity to our advantage and this is what makes our race truly inspiring. This paved way to thousand of Filipinos benefit from greener pastures, support their families and in the process, support the economy of the country as dollar remittances add to the revolving fund of our country. As thousands more will continue to fly to other lands, their ability to adapt to diverse cultures will be their number one armor in the challenge posed by working in foreign lands. Let us give ourselves some credit. Let’s give ourselves a round of applause. 

Internally, the Philippines has also experienced an influx of cultures that continue to shape our own culture. That is, apart from the given richness of our culture which I have raised earlier, this culture continues to evolve and grow to accommodate changes, for our flexibility enables us to embrace the positive contribution of foreign cultures to us. It is in this process that we are able to mature. 

Months ago, my son who has spent a year in Korea, brought home some Korean friends of his. Apart from the Korea novellas I see on television, my encounter with Koreans is non-existent. So I was clueless on how to deal with these visitors. But it is perhaps the Filipino trait in me that guided me to treat these foreign visitors the best way a good host can. And so I served them some Filipino food- nilaga, chopsuey, galunggong, and much to my surprise they liked it. I realized that it is not difficult to adapt to others, much to their culture. I realized that what is more important is that earnest desire to understand each other and to compromise. My son told me that his friends had a great time in our house. 

Furthermore, the Filipino adaptability has been one crucial factor for the booming call center industry in our country. President Arroyo even mentioned in her last State of the Nation Address that this industry has grown to a bigger proportion. Foreign investors have realized the potential of the Filipinos to handle cultures totally different to us plus the ability to speak foreign languages easily- English, Chinese, French, name it and a Filipino can easily learn how to speak it with a twang a native speaker can hardly notice he’s speaking to a Filipino. This again shows how adapting to foreign cultures is but second nature to us. 

Perhaps a day will come when more investors can come to our land. When that happens, the possibilities will be endless. I know all of you have your own stories to tell about encounters with foreigners and it is these encounters that start cultural exchanges and this is how we learn how to adapt to various cultures that come our way. 

The future is uncertain that I know, but because I am a Filipino, I am confident that no matter what happens, no matter what this life brings us, we will continue to thrive. For it is in our adaptability that can lead to future developments of this country. Thank you so much and have a great day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

President Arroyo's menu and bill in New York

I got these photos from an anonymous email showing the president's imprudence- spending so much when the country is suffering. I don't understand how she can take these all in, the mud she's putting on her sleeves, just make me disgust the politicians all the more. Below are the food and the corrupted money they used to pay for this indulgence.
Fig. 1. The food bill of Arroyo and the gang in Le Cirque Restarant, amounting to almost $20,000.00, close to a million when converted to Philippine Peso.
Fig. 2. Here are the people that makes the country a wasted land, sucking everything for their own good. See them toast, makes my blood boil. The venue by the way is the infamous Le Cirque, the ever expensive restaurant.
Fig. 3. Le Cirque Salad (P1,078)
Fig. 4. Krug Champagne (11 bottles were ordered amounting to P249,000) Fig 5. Le Cirque Saddle of Lamb (P2,458) Fig. 6. Dover Sole (P3, 675), the most expensive in the main course
Fig. 7. Le Cirque Tuna (P1,029)
Fig. 8. Le Cirque Lobster Salad (P2,842/plate)
Fig. 9. Golden Osetra Caviar (P13,720/order) Fig. 10. California Osetra Caviar (P4, 900/order) Fig. 11. Le Cirque Soft Shell Crab Tempura (P1, 078/ platter) Fig. 12. Le Cirque Halibut Poached in Coconut Milk (P1, 960) Fig. 13. Le Cirque Spring Pea Soup (P1, 176) Fig. 14. Le Cirque Wild Burgundy Escargot (P1, 421) Fig. 15. Le Cirque Torchon of Foie Gras (P1, 715) Fig. 16. Paupiette of Black Cod (P2, 401)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Murphy's Law

Damn it.... And so I have been brushing elbows with Murphy. Murphy who? Murphy's Law. Yes, the one that say anything wrong can go wrong at the most unexpected time. Oh dear.... this morning I was really flustered, or rather horrified that all the unluckiness have fallen down on me. First, I wasn't able to finish the paper on time when I thought, just before I went to bed it was just easy knowing I just have to rearrange the titles and put them in their proper places. But no. I'm late again. Second, I went rushing to the internet shop only to find that it was closed. How fair is that? Third, I go to this ugly shop and when I turn on the computer, it was so slow; the keyboard isn't working; and it's all ready 13 past 5am. Fourth, the thesis partner sent me a message but I couldn't reply simply because I don't have cellphone credit. I wonder what's gonna happen next... I know, I'm looking at a stressful day.

EVENT | 34th UP Kalilayan Alumni Homecoming

I think I should learn (really soon) how to be more prudent when it comes to organizing events I attend. I have developed the habit of putting aside things I deem can be for later but in the process, I tend to forget them. All my fault. Anyway, below is the programme of the event I just hosted last August 29, 2009 (Saturday) at Dampa, Cubao.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Filthy rich

First day of September. Where was I last year on this day? As I think about think, well I think I was so busy trying to manage my academic life trying to balance the little human left in me. I've become more of a zombie living in the twilight zone where the only thing that makes me breathe is the hope that the future will be a lot different than this. Is it my job? Funny, I never considered what I do as a job given the meager income I get out of this. But after asking some people whose answer whether they are happy with their salary rangers from -'I enjoy my work' or 'it pays the bills' I realized that I should be happier. Ironically, I am not as I know that I am more than this. Is it the academics? Well, it's always the academics. I feel like I am always burdened by this academics crap that when I graduate, the first thing I'll do is to burn all my university notes and try to forget all the suffering I've experienced from what, 7 years in college. Never have I imagined that I'll be this long in college. But nonetheless, the future is within my reach, I'll be rich... filthy rich.

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