You need to log off

There are just people with nothing better to do OR have so much time in their hands. Period.

Take DFA Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin for example. He’s quick to the draw lately when it comes to posting comments on social media. His last rants and tirades with the netizens on his Twitter account regarding privacy data allegedly being “run off” by previous contractors have resulted in his documented insults and use of foul language to answer back comments and queries regarding issues with the DFA. It seems that within a day after his fast fingers did the twitting, he eventually back pedals with gusto after former DFA Chief Yasay straightened out the facts. With so much time on his hands, it seems there’s a lot of time to Tweet and not a lot of work to do at the DFA.

I guess some (many ?) government officials just have a lot of time with nothing to do.

The US has that same version of a trigger happy president on Twitter who rapidly sends off comments and opinions because the fingers think faster than the brain, resulting in kerfuffle after kerfuffle.

Star endorser Kris Aquino who is embattled with her former assistant Nicko Falcis over accountability for money he allegedly pocketed has taken to social media their cat fight, with the Filipino public apparently glued to the next scene (like a sick telenovela) on their word wars on Facebook and Twitter. It gets interesting because other characters like the has-been social climber Gretchen B. who on her Instagram social media mocks Kris Aquino (a.k.a. essentially siding with Nicko) regarding this tit for tat debacle has joined the fray. Like an unending saga, we won’t know when and how this story ends.

With so much time in their hands, and of course the gullible public and the extolling trolls getting paid to promote either side of any story on social media, it’s a wonder why anyone wants to even side with all these fairytales.

As a general rule, we’re all spectators in the arena of social media, where often times, we’re actually “coerced” to bring out the popcorn and watch how these stories (whether true or false) evolve. There are times where we end up being part of the unruly mob than just being a mere observer.

We are often being misguided and misinformed with these snippets of information. Rants, raves, lies and curses. This is the new arena where we are all judge and jury to every single event in other people’s lives.

All I can say to them – some people need to get a life.

Log off!

A man called Hope

Everyone can be a beacon of hope.

I’m being optimistic about 2019 when I say that.

I left 2018 with a challenging case of a referral of a young boy who had a very bad infection who developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). In layman’s terms, ARDS is a rapidly progressive disease that occurs in critically ill patients. Challenging is an understatement. For those in the medical field, coming to grips with a patient with ARDS is frustratingly painful for both the family and those who are caring for him. While several doctors worked through the holidays to save his life, one cannot undermine the power of prayers. His is a story of a miracle. The rest of us were simply instruments to the power of hope.

Hope is seeing light in spite of being surrounded by darkness.

They say that once you choose hope, anything is possible. Hope is not pretending that troubles don’t exist. It’s more on wishing that they won’t last forever. That hurts will be healed. Difficulties overcome. And we will all be led out of the darkness into sunlight.

We can all be a person of hope for everyone. Whatever profession we are in – government, health, law, education, and other jobs – we can be a beacon of joy for all. We don’t need to be on the front page advertising ourselves on all occasions. Being anonymous or helping others goes a long way in making this a better world.

Because as Maya Angelou puts it best, “hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Invite one to stay“.

Wishful thinking

Each year, most of us begin writing new chapters with the dawn of the new calendar year. For those whose past year was a wreck and tremendously challenging, the new year reminds us of hope and turning a new leaf. For those who had a good year, we can only pray that we stay on a roll and that these blessings continue.

While a fresh start should be at any point in our lives, changing lanes during the start of the year is most symbolic.

Let’s kick off the year with my wishes for 2019. While they may be “wishful thinking”, I’m sure many of us would be happy if some (or all of them) came true.

The end of “Ang Probinsyano” 

I will never probably understand why this series has run for three years. While it started fine, it has gotten to the point of being irritating, irrelevant and insulting. You understand why Lito Lapid is even making a comeback at the Senate despite his lacklustre skills when he was a senator? And that the supposedly poll rating by SWS shows that he’s in the top 12? It’s shows like these where the masses are titillated that provide the avenue to even be remembered! While I get the point that Coco Martin’s show has provided jobs to has-beens and up-coming starlets and stars, you need to look at the bigger picture. It is NOT entertainment that is provided anymore. It is ludicrous to continue this show or to even watch it. It is insulting to the Filipino people that a badly written series has been borne out of this. It propagates doltishness. Yet we wonder why many Filipinos are stoic when it comes to relevant matters of the nation. The irony here is that we forget that we get what we dish out.

Brighter and better lawmakers

2019 is the year for the mid-term election. While it is still being held this coming May, elections provide us with a fresh start at correcting the government system. We can only move on as a nation if we get our acts together. We need to stop voting for those whose personal agenda are on the political page. My colleagues talk a lot about “conflicts of interest” among physicians, they forget that the ones with the greatest conflicts are many of our lawmakers. It’s sad that a lot of them think they are ‘holier than thou’ just because they are in government positions. The laws that they push for should always be for the greater good and not for personal interest of their families or the families of these dynasties. They should be more transparent in their “declaration of conflicts of interest”, which should be posted on every website of the government agency they are affiliated with. After all, the biggest conflict is the one where a government official dips his or her dirty fingers in the kitty of the government’s funds. Those laws they make should not be associated with their family businesses or personal interests.

A breath of fresh air from Duterte

So this wish is probably asking for the impossible, but it is a wish.

I wish that the people around Duterte talk to him about his style of speech. Yes, he’s the president. Yes, he’s entitled to his form of speech. But if I were his adviser, I’d tell him to behave. The world will not adjust for you. Whether you’re the CEO or the janitor, there are just good manners and right conduct that need to be observed. It is a reflection of how we are raised in the home.

These people around him cannot just stand on the sidelines and watch him implode. It isn’t good for everyone’s sanity. The ignoramus and uncouth in the lot, watch and see that he gets away with it. So what’s wrong with them following the leader?

I get the fact that it’s probably in his engram on why he talks and struts the way he does. Some people are just “the way they are”. Whether it is presidentiable or not, he wouldn’t care less. But he is, after all, our president. And that’s what makes caring about the way he is more important. Even if he doesn’t give a sh*t, we do. We all do. He will be our president until 2022. Even old men can learn to behave. Even old men have second chances in life. Because we believe people can be better if there is trust.

Respect is something given to those who deserve it. And it is earned!

Death to the trolls!

If there was one battle that was won, it was against a lot (and I can’t say all) of the trolls on social media. There are the fakers (I’d really prefer to call them f*ckers). And I’m not talking about Philippine politics here alone. We’re looking at the global perspective. This is what social media platforms have become today. This is where digital technology has taken us. A war that was made up. Fake news. Farcical opinions. Twisting the truth and peddling lies. The accountability of all this fiasco must be answered. The trolls must die!

No comments!

There was a time when all news and opinions were regarded as relevant. If you had comments about them, you could write to the editor and they would screen the comments and see whether the comments were valid or not. Valid comments were printed in the page “letter to the editor”.

With the online format for almost every application (Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, etc), the stalker(s) has (have) emerged. Creepy little bitches pounce on your wall or posts. Half of these are not even solicited. The other half are looney bins waiting for a room in an asylum and typing on the keyboard during the wait. You can’t just read the article and move on? Surely, 99% of what you read or share does not need a comment. It’s FYI stupid! Your comment is not needed, wanted or desired. WTF!

My wish? That the comment, like and other emotional section be deleted for these news and opinions. It would be a better reading environment without all the distraction of having an armchair “expert” provide a comment or two.

I’m sure most of the readers just read the headlines, then jump to the comment section and all hell break loose. There’s an unhealthy exchange of comment of a comment and it’s like watching kids squabbling! Often times one can’t help but get irked at the stupid trolls who truly need to get a life!

Better days…

Our lives can have better days if we share better stories. We need to learn to be better people no matter how unfair the world is. We need to care more about others by being more sensitive about their needs. We need to be better people by showing others why integrity matters. Why the truth matters more than the lies. Why we can be better people so that others see better days.

The winters of our life

The heady December air is double bladed. While it has a festive side, it also reminds us the onset of a bitter, dark, and cold season.

While tropical countries like the Philippines get to enjoy two seasons – wet and dry – whole year round, the four seasons in other parts of the world are symbolic of the cycle of life.

With winter comes longer nights and colder days. Nature has its way of teaching us that everything in life has a time to shut down. The end of each day alone is a winter phase in our life. A time to rest. To recover. To recharge.

Winter is the end of a cycle. Some will die, while some will survive into the coming spring. As we age, the cycle of the winter metaphors of our life seem to come more frequently. It’s a sad yet lonely reality.

As I hold my cup of warm coffee on a gloomy December dawn listening to the chirping birds amidst the lighted up Christmas tree, I cannot help but think of those whose christmases will not be merry and bright. Those who mourn the passing of a loved on, missing a family because they are thousands of miles away and working this long holiday, watching over a sick relative fighting for their lives, having to care for the frail loved ones who cannot even recognize them anymore…

From where I view the ornaments on the tree and the gifts beautifully wrapped underneath it, there is a feeling of loneliness, of missing a loved one, that this Christmas not everyone will be here to share that joy. The ambivalence is ironic, yet real.

We all have stories on the winters of our lives…

It is a reminder that the other seasons of our life should be harnessed and cherished. They are footprints that guide us through the winters of our life.

You are wrong! Again!

President Rodrigo Duterte said he is willing to forego the eligibility requirements for government officials as long as they are competent and honest.

– ABS-CBN News, December 12, 2018
There is a reason for eligibility requirements.  As in any professional line of work, eligibility is the primary qualifier before you even hire anyone.  During a speech at the awarding of housing units to Scout Rangers in San Miguel, Bulacan, the president said, “whoever comes to his mind during his term, as long as they are competent and honest, are enough qualifications for him.”

That’s if he actually knows the people he puts into office.  With several appointments at his disposal, it is impossible that he personally vets all these people.  From the lowly government official to the cabinet members. That would require too much time and effort from him. The preference in the selection of the people he can appoint, are after all, his.  The caveat here is – so should the ultimate responsibility and accountability of both success and failure!  

Competence and honesty are relative terms.  On the other hand, eligibility are standards that need to be met before someone can even be considered for a position.  This means that the person needs to satisfy appropriate conditions. Competence is the ability to do something efficiently.  If the person lacks eligibility, how can one be competent? Eligibility, after all, is a mandatory requirement and is an act of due diligence. 

There are only three reasons why there are those who will refuse to acknowledge eligibility requirements when vetting qualified people for work.  

  • They are lazy.  When one is lazy, the preference is to do things quickly.  Never mind having to pore all through the documentary requirements and checklist of the applicant or the appointee.  All that reading material isn’t in the DNA of the appointer. 
  • They prefer to bend rules because they have preferences. In short, whether they are qualified or not, come hell or high water, they will insist on their friends and relatives. Never mind if they are eligible or not. After all, “competence and honesty” is on their side.  One can be honest and competent, but isn’t qualified for the job description.  Hire a nurse to run the Bureau of Customs or a pilot to run the Department of Health.  There are highly technical agencies that will need someone who is at least a licensed professional with managerial skills and experience. How can you even consider hiring someone who is a fresh graduate with the necessary degree but is either not yet licensed or God forbid, has no experience at all for that particular job?
  • The appointing person is incompetent.  Aside from the fact that laziness is in his genes, he’s most likely incompetent for the position of being the big boss as well.  His selection methods are archaic and finding a reason to obscure the rules of appointing ELIGIBLE people who are competent and honest really needs a lot of work.  No one ever said that the job would be easy.  But I guess some people are used to getting their jobs in government through elections.  They get voted into office with minimum eligibility requirements – being a Filipino citizen, fulfilling age limits, and has resided in that area for at least a certain period of time.  

Civil servants are accountable to the citizens of the nation.  The taxes we pay after all should redound to better and efficient service.  But it can only be done if the people are FIRST AND FOREMOST eligible.  Otherwise, ineligible people end up as ON THE JOB TRAINEES for managerial positions who at the whim of the president, should be appointed into office.

Eligibility is about placing guardrails on qualifications for positions that can be potentially abused by appointing authorities and their ilk through benefactors. It may not be perfect, but a checklist of standards for the particular position applied for should be met. Bluntly, it provides quality to any project, business or government. The competence and honesty will always be a bonus when the applicants are head to head in the final choice.

To neglect eligibility is tantamount to abolishing the civil service commission. It is a bad precedent. A recipe for disaster in governance. Conflicts of interest rise out of the ashes. Rationalizing corrupt practices for the benefit of the appointing authority becomes the rule rather than its exception.

For the second time in a row, you are wrong! Again!

The stories of our life

Everyone has a story.

There will always be drama and comedy, poignancy and fairytales, love and fantasy in each of our stories. After all, only we write them.

In life’s twist and turns, the outcomes may be in our favor and considerably be rewarding. Other times, life is unfair.

We are all bad stories in other people’s life. Some people won’t own up to reality and issues that they create. No matter how laid back and cool one is, there will always be that one person who doesn’t like you for no reason.

I write this to remind everyone that we should also have understanding and empathy and sympathy with our fellow men. After all, we are all actors in this life. And each of us have a version of life’s story.

In the local mini series Maalaala Mo Kaya (Can you Remember), the stories of our lives are weaved, remembered and recreated. This mini series is a beautiful reminder that we make our own stories in our lives.

Appreciate where you are in your journey even if it’s not where you want to be. Every season serves a purpose.

In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.

Let’s make sure we write it well. Edit often. And celebrate it!

Living without regrets

Many of us live life with over a hundred regrets. As a child we’re filled with a million dreams. As we grow older, some of these become fulfilled…others are left as dreams, or fantasies.

Then comes a point in our lives where we make bucket lists. Hurrying up to make up for lost time with the “what if” moments.

The list above is not exhaustive. After all, what is said and done is forever gone. There are decisions made or deeds done that cannot be recovered.

We often wish we could have made amends while the person we care for is still alive. But time was not on their side. One day they are with us. Tomorrow, they’re not. How we wish that if we could just have had one more day to spend with them, we’d be willing to trade anything just to have that moment back.

As you’re reading this blog entry today, take 60 seconds and think of how you’d like to live a life without regrets.

Remember – in the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we were too afraid to make.

Stay happy. Life is about moments. Don’t wait for them. Create them.

Dear self

There are days that you have no one but yourself to depend on. Not even your parent(s) or relative(s) or better half will understand. Those days when opening your mouth or providing an opinion can hurt someone you love. There are just those days when you need to be alone. Go somewhere far. Escape the madness of life. Only to be whole again.

I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. It’s one of those days when you really just want to sit at the window and look at the sunrise holding a cup of coffee in one hand and just watch the day go by. Or curl up with a bag of chips, a good book and stare at the sunset. Or listen to sad songs and cry.

There is nothing wrong with taking a break from everything and concentrating on yourself.

You are not responsible for fixing everything that’s broken.

You don’t always have to try making everyone else happy. Make your own happiness and peace of mind a priority.

And it’s not being selfish when you deprive someone your attention when you need to find some moments of sanity.

Sometimes, when you get too embroiled in other people’s lives or stressed at making ends meet…you get to miss yourself. Taking a personal day off from the humdrum of life is being kind to oneself. We can, after all, only heal when our weary body and soul rests from all the pain.

Dear self. It’s just you and I today. Let’s make this the best day of our life. Reset. Recharge. Rewind. Repeat.

Respect is earned

It’s ironic that sometimes the more chances you give the more respect you lose. Your standards begin to be ignored when you let people get comfortable in knowing that another chance will always exist. They start to depend on your forgiveness.

While kindness is a trait that we want to give (and receive), giving it is often mistaken for weakness. People tend to abuse the kindness and forgiveness. It erodes the core of love, and respect. When kindness is abused, respect is lost.

All respect is earned. No one receives it or deserves it laid out on a silver platter. Our integrity speaks highly of the kind of respect we deserve.

Respect is learned as a child. It’s otherwise known as breeding. There’s an interesting post in Pinterest and I’m sharing that with you.

I was raised to show respect. I was taught to knock before I open a door.

Say hello when I enter a room. Say please and thank you, and have respect for my elders.

I’d let another person have my seat if they need it.

Say ‘yes sir’ and ‘no sir’, and help others when they need me to, and not stand on the sidelines and watch.

Hold the door for the person behind me, say “excuse me” when it’s needed.

To love people for who they are and not for what I can get from them.

Most importantly, I was raised to treat people exactly how I would like to be treated by others.

It’s called respect.

Honesty is such a lonely word

Singer and songwriter Billy Joel in the song entitled Honesty, writes the lyrics beautifully of a highly principled, ethical and moral dilemma.  While the whole song speaks about honesty in relationships related to love, the chorus talks about the quality of being honest and how lonely the word is.

Honesty is such a lonely word

Everyone is so untrue

Honesty is hardly ever heard

And mostly what I need from you

Some people purport “white lies” or “little lies” for fear of hurting others with the truth.  When a spade is called a spade, when the cruel reality is revealed in spite its consequences, honesty may sometimes hurt but will be appreciated much.

People often confuse honesty for truthfulness.

Honesty is about expressing your opinions and feelings accurately.  Truth is an accurate representation of reality. Both words don’t have to balance each other always. One can completely be honest yet be untruthful.

A schizophrenic can be honest about their fear of the ghost they see in the corner of their room every night.  The truth is, there’s nothing there.

When you are called by the principal of your child’s school because he beat up another child, and your kid says the other child “started the fight”, he’s being totally honest about his opinion.  The other child had called him out for being an ass, your kid got angry and hit his classmate with the algebra book on the face. But in reality, in truth, your child started the fist fight.  We usually will protect our offsprings and we won’t believe that our kid started the fight.  You can always say that your child was being honest. In truth, he started the fight.

Dr. Jeremy Sherman, writes in Psychology Today (Aug 1, 2018), about the difference between honesty and truth.  He emphasizes that the failure to recognise the difference leaves one exposed and gullible.

Gullibility is largely a product of failing to notice the difference between honest opinion and truth.  You may recognise the difference, but we’re all gullible in the company of people who share our honest opinions.

We’re much more likely to spot a fraud who disagrees with us than one who’s on the same page.  We’re much more likely to notice that honesty and truth are different when someone’s honest opinion conflicts with ours; but when someone’s feelings and opinions are just like ours, we’re both in touch with the truth. How could we not be? We both agree? That’s a consensus!

Why do we mistake honesty for truth when we’re on the same page? Because all tend to see ourselves as the standard for the truth about reality.  We assume we’re unbiased.  When we’re with like-minded people, they must be unbiased, too – in direct contact with the truth.

Thinking that we’re the unbiased measure of all truth is why more exes are diagnosed as narcissists by their former partners than there are true narcissists.  Their former partners assume that being loving and attentive to them is the true standard.  If someone fails by that “unbiased” standard, they must, in truth, be narcissists.

What Sherman writes about is the complicated truth.  Sadly, many see themselves as the measure of all things.  Everyone is suddenly a genius or a the gold standard of knowledge.  Anything that veers away from the standard of your opinion is biased.  Because you feel you’re the gold standard.

At any point in our lives, whether it is in the political arena or a battle of relationships and love or getting ahead in the business circle or academic honesty, it’s a fair reminder that you cannot expect loyalty from people who cannot even give you honesty.

It’s a paradigm shift that not many can handle. Ask the politician whose family is running for various positions in politics.  It’s like the story of the schizophrenic. He tells you to believe in his fantasies and fairy tales and empty promises, when in truth there is none.

If you want to be trusted, just be honest.