Tuesday, August 31, 2010

good things happen to good people

My family and I were in Angeles City last weekend, and we stayed at a small hotel called Seinpost. While we were on a day trip to Subic, the driver of our rented van related the hotel manager's story. A few years ago, Ms. M was working at a nearby hotel, and they had a Dutch guest who looked filthy, smelled awful, and didn't seem like he had a cent to his name. All the other hotel staff ignored him. Only Ms. M paid him attention and attended to his needs.

It turned out that the dirty, smelly Dutch was actually a wealthy man looking to invest in a hotel in the Clark area. Foreigners aren't allowed to wholly own a business in the Philippines, so when he had finalized his plans for what would eventually be Seinpost hotel, he remembered the only person who was good to him. He made Ms. M co-owner of Seinpost, sent her to school and installed her as manager.

Today Ms. M is as nice, sincere and unassuming as she must have been when she met the unwanted guest who changed the course of her life. Hers is a story the world needs to hear: proof that when you are a good person, good things will happen to you, sooner or later.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

If Dolph Lundgren were female, he would be the me I always dreamed I would be.

Explosives went off, people got shot (and lived), and still all I could think of, while watching The Expendables, was how much I hated Dolph Lundgren. I hate him because:
Dolph Lundgren has a master's degree in chemical engineering, was a Fulbright scholar at M.I.T., speaks seven languages, was an elite marine ranger in the Swedish military, and is a third degree black belt in Kyokushin karate.
- Yahoo
In short, Dolph Lundgren, give or take the Ch.E. MS, and (yes, Meloinks) with slightly less muscles, is the me I always dreamed I would be.

Ever since a career counselor in high school mentioned that MIT was the best engineering/everything else school in the world, I have always wanted to study there.

Ever since I realized that Nancy Drew could speak French, Spanish, some Japanese and even Incan ("Cutimunaikicama!"), I have always wanted to be fluent in at least a hundred languages myself.

Ever since I watched Karate Kid, I have always wanted to be a karate kid.

And ever since I read my first Tom Clancy book, I have always wanted to be Ding Chavez.

So...yeah. I'm not sure what I most resent Dolph Lundgren for -- his MIT scholarship, his linguistic abilities, his being an "elite marine ranger" (heck, I'd settle for any one of those three words), or his martial arts prowess -- but definitely, definitely, I hate him for showing me that my dream was achievable after all, and that if I hadn't achieved it, it could only be my fault, because I haven't even started to try.

By the way, The Expendables was fun, if you know not to expect too much. It was basically a bunch of guys trying to kill a bunch of bad guys, but it knew not to take itself seriously.

And Dolph Lundgren left MIT after a couple of weeks to become an actor. Geez! He's real-life Will-Hunting-I-have-to-go-see-about-a-girl stuff.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

chasing giants

To the person who put me up to this -- I think you should stick with your own lyrics. :-P

Do you have your favorite crossbow?
Have you brought some extra arrows?
The sun is up, it's time to go
It's a long walk through the mountains
We'll be lucky not to drown in
The river -- I can't swim, you know

And so we're off to chase giants
We'll save the world or die trying
I'm glad to have to you by my side
It's the craziest adventure
And as long as we've each other
It ought to be a life worthwhile

You told me I could catch a star
I guess you're right, 'cause here we are
We're riding on a comet's tail
You'll save my life, and I'll save yours
Together we will open doors
And live in our own fairy tale

In fairness to me, I resisted comparisons to Caspian and the star's daughter. Or to Elessar and the Evenstar. Hehe! I know, I know, I got nothin' on Taylor Swift. ;-)

the world through British eyes

LONDON – Hold off from hugging an Indian, don't be alarmed if the French are rude and never mistake a Canadian for an American.

Britain's national tourism agency issued guidelines Wednesday on the etiquette of dealing with the hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors who will be coming to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Seeking to help the country's sometimes snarky citizens offer a warmer welcome, VisitBritain has updated its advice for anyone likely to work with travelers arriving from overseas — from hotel staff to taxi drivers.

Other tips: Don't go around asking Brazilians personal questions and never be bossy with visitors from the Middle East.


I'm not sure they haven't actually just succeeded in offending everybody. Hahaha! But this is a fun read. :D

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

the romantic (that's me)

Never heard of the movie (or the book) till I saw the trailer posted in Facebook.

And it says a lot about me that I somehow still wish that Katie Holmes' character would end up with Josh Duhamel's. And that I'm probably not gonna watch the movie because I just know they're not going to.


how to lead a revolution

Heavy traffic in our neighborhood at 1:30 PM on a weekday? And it's not even raining? Practically unheard of. And yet there I was this afternoon, hungry, nursing a semi-headache, and having to wait a full minute for the jeepney I was riding to traverse the last ten meters or so of my journey home.

It turns out that the students at the university across the street were waging some sort of rally. I don't know much about the issue -- come to think of it, I don't know a single thing about the issue...actually, I don't even know what the issue is -- so I can't comment on the validity of their arguments, et cetera, et cetera. However, being a child of a former PAL employee and having once walked the halls of UP, I have had my share of strikes and protests. Here are a few thoughts.

1. Try not to create a traffic jam. Seriously. I realize it can't be helped, sometimes, but try. Disrupting traffic tends to get people who would otherwise be sympathetic to your cause to just think that you have nothing better to do with your time than wasting theirs.

2. Get the masa on your side. More importantly, remember that the masa is not just the angry, dirty and dispossessed. Do you see those people who are trying to get on with their lives and doing the best they can in the present situation? Yeah? Those are the people you need to connect with. Rizal once said -- at least, I think it was Rizal who once said -- that no revolution can be successful without the support of the middle class. Likewise, your grievance won't go anywhere if you can't get the ordinary people on your side. If your only sympathizers are those who have made a career out of staging protests, don't expect too much.

3. Don't make a career out of staging protests. When I entered UP, there was this girl who was, like, third year or fourth year. When I left UP, she was, like, third year or fourth year. She was so into demanding quality education from the government that she kinda forgot to, um, like, get educated. Which kinda ruined her whole argument. Of course, a cause is a cause no matter who espouses it. But if you want to espouse a cause effectively, try to act like it matters to you.

4. Drop the anti-America chants and slogans. One funny thing about a lot of activists is that they blame everything on America. I mean, I get it. The colonial upbringing of our country did have and, in some insidious way, continues to have, an influence on our mindset, our attitudes, our culture. And there are American economic interests that want to have a hand in shaping our policies. But blaming everything on some other country -- America, China, Bosnia and Herzegovina -- is not only inaccurate, it gets old rather quickly. Pretty soon, no one's going to want to hear what you have to say, because they know it's going to be some updated version of the same old thing.

5. Be successful in something. This helps build credibility. Be a singer-activist, or a businessman-activist, or even just a hardworking-person activist, or a good-neighbor-activist, or a student-who-passes-exams-activist. The purpose of this is to prevent from arising the perception that the reason why you're on the losing end of such-and-such agreement or such-and-such policy is because, well, you're a loser.

6. Don't be an annoying person in everyday life. I'm finding it hard to sympathize with those students across the street right now, because they are Always. So. Noisy! It could be 2 AM, and people could be sleeping, but do these annoying little twerps lower their voices when they pass through the neighborhood? No. So am I automatically skeptical of whatever cause they're fighting for? I hate to admit it, but I have to say, yes. Just because it's them.

7. Go for it. If you have a grievance, and you think you're right, fight for it. Say what you have to say, say it well, say it to the right people, say it for a clear purpose, say it with conviction. Somewhere in this world, justice, fairness and equality live on and continue to be possible, as long as there is one person willing to stand and do something.

don't mess with me

Anger is an awful thing. True, it is a perfectly normal response to a perceived wrong. But allow anger go too far, let it get to the point where you do something you shouldn't, and you lose your right to be Right. I learned this the hard way last weekend.

To the person I hurt -- I'm sorry for what I did. I really, really am. I wish it hadn't happened.

And, no, this doesn't mean that I've forgotten that you started it. Like I always say... Don't mess with me. ;-)