Standing at the Edge of Daybreak

Here are my two cents on the issue of Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law. I don’t always do things like this, so aye.

Disclaimer: People who read / will read this are not inclined to agree. We all have our opinions and sentiments and I simply wish to share mine. You, my dear readers, are not inclined to share mine if you view things differently. We are our own person and we are entitled to individual thoughts that are solely unique to us.

I think the problem with people these days is that they are too hung up on the past. Negative and traumatic events tend to shackle people inside a cage of doubt and restlessness, preventing them to move on from the experience. And this is normal. I cannot blame anyone for feeling such a thing. Being mentally and emotionally scarred is not an easy feeling to deal with. I understand this.

But I do believe that in order to overcome the problem, we have to look forward with our eyes focused on the present without our sights being marred by the past. It is by no means easy, but it is not impossible either.

History is a good teacher. In my honest opinion, I believe that history is there to remind us of what we have to do in order to survive and become successful. A blue print for future generations, and a treasure chest of ideas. Emperors and Generals from antiquity look upon the deeds of their predecessors, strategies and tactics, that can be adapted into their time in order for their campaigns to be more effective and efficient. If they find something faulty yet workable at the same time, they make improvisations because they know that if a good plan was thwarted during a campaign, something must have gone wrong (obviously), or that the other side had a better card up their sleeve. In this regard, the crafty will find what is wrong, and work around the problem in order to make an otherwise faulty plan work. They don’t simply let a past defeat stay that way. Instead, they come up with a way to overcome the adversity, overcome the pang and trauma of loss in order to survive.

I think those times are not so different from what we’re experiencing now.

I do believe that for most people, Martial Law or anything related to it drives people over the edge. If not, there would not be protests for it. A lot of people back then during Marcos’ time died and spent most of their days in fear and terror due to the oppression that they felt.

But I think that in this day and age, we should remember that Marcos and Duterte are not the same person. And that the declaration of Martial Law this time around differs in nature and severity from when it was declared by the previous president.

A friend of mine who lives in Mindanao says that they feel safer because of the declaration made by Duterte. This is her own sentiment, and might even be shared by those who are ACTUALLY in the affected region.

I’m just a little disappointed that those who aren’t even directly affected are causing a fuss as if they are directly caught in the crossfire. IF for example having Martial Law declared in the said area gives the people living there a sense of peace and safety, what right do those who are unaffected have to take away that sense of security for the affected party? I think that it’s unfair that just because of it’s called “Martial Law” people are unwilling to cooperate. Again, let us remember that these two presidents are not the same person; that the reason of the declaration are different.

As I’ve told a friend earlier I am neither pro nor anti Duterte, but I do trust that he is doing what he can in order to give solution to the problem. He can’t snap his fingers and “poof” terrorism automatically gone. I am not speaking for him, but I’m merely speculating that he may think this is the quickest solution to get the job done because his country is being thrown into chaos by terrorists.

At this point in time, he declared Martial Law not because he wants to stay in power, but because he wants to put an end to the terrorists. And I think there’s nothing wrong with that.

I mean…I am no expert in past events, I do not know how the people of Marcos’ time felt about it. History books often said that it was a traumatic and terrible time and yet I have met people who felt the exact opposite of it…and even supported it.

And as myself who did not even exist during that time, I would like to give the new declaration the benefit of the doubt that it might be different this time around. If it can save people’s lives, then I think that it’s not that bad a move. The fact that someone already feels safe because of it should be a wake up call that today may not be the same as yesterday.

Let’s veer away from our prejudice. Not everyone whose rallying about it has experienced Marcos’ version of Martial Law. Some (not all) may have just been swayed by their emotions and passions, using that as their stance for “understanding” and “empathizing” with the pain of the past.

But will you really keep that up if the lives of those who are living TODAY will be jeopardized? Neither me nor you can say that it will turn out the same as before; but neither I or you as well can say that it won’t. Time will run its course. And only with time can we tell if we’ve actually allowed lightning to strike twice or if we actually contributed to making a difference.

Right now, assuming that having declared Martial Law already sets everything in stone is not beneficial for anyone other than selfish people who couldn’t wake up from the nightmare.

I would rather gamble with the current turn of events rather than staying in a stand still just because I don’t want history to repeat itself.

There’s an old saying that I really like and it goes like this: “In peace prepare for war, in war prepare for peace.”

At the very least I would like to believe that the longest night will come to pass if we open our eyes to a new day. Tomorrow may not always be perfect. It may not even be fitting of our ideals but at least there is strength knowing that we can face the brunt of day instead of coddling and letting our nightmares fester in the depths of our slumber.

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As I Breathe

Alright!

So it’s 2017 and I haven’t really written anything here.

I’d like to apologize for my inactivity and my lack of presence on this side of the interwebs.

I have been rather busy and life has been taking away from me. So many things have been piling in this little head of mine, but for some reason it just wont come out.

I suppose that there are many things that muddles our mind. It blocks our thoughts and makes it hard for us to express what we want to say. In a passing momnet, we may end up forgetting what it is. There is a certainty to this. I for one am a prime example of being forgetful.

Which is why I will try to break the muddy walls that hinders me from doing the writing that I need to do. Of course, that is to say, I expect a mudslide to pour down when I’m at the peak of a triumphant come back…but as long as I have have something to breathe about. I will write. No matter how little or how much. So long as I can, then I will.

Till then, let us meet again at the intersection of our whimsy.

Spotlight Promo: Sing for Me!

Hello there Phans of the Phantom!

We’re reaching that time of the year again when our favorite production reaches its birthday! That’s right! You’ve guessed it! This 2016, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Musical brain child, Phantom of the Opera reaches its 30th Anniversary!

That’s thirty glorious years of a wonderfully thrilling production that has sent millions into a journey of mystery and music. It has set imaginations aflame which has led people’s souls into a certain kind of darkness that exhilarates the audience into sweet intoxication keeping them at the edge of their seats.

Since it’s the Phantom of The Opera’s 30th birthday, they’ve decided that they want to celebrate this grand event with EVERYONE by performing a really special A Capella.

“All I Ask of You” was popularly sung by the rising young Soprano and the Phantom’s Angel of Music, Christine Daae along with her brave young suitor, the Vicomte Raoul de Changy as a pledge of their love for each other. This time around, the people behind the production wants YOU to take part in it.

Now,

“Order your fine horses, be with them at the door.”

because…

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…a few weeks ago The Phantom of the Opera has launched its #SingForMe Choir Project. This project aims to involve Phans (Fans) all over the world in an A Capella performance to commemorate the Musical’s 30th Anniversary.

A shout out to all singers have been posted on their Facebook Page. If you have a passion for singing and perhaps for music, then they’re inviting you to grab that video recorder and record yourselves singing the piece chosen for the project. Parts for Soprano, Tenor, Alto and Bass have been prepared for you to choose from. Score sheets and audio files are also available for download to help and guide you in your journey through this unique musical adventure.

 For more information on this Project along with its mechanics, just visit: http://singforme.thephantomoftheopera.com/

Submission of entries for the #SingForMe Choir Project ends on the 2nd of September which happens to be a Friday.

So to all of you Phans and singers alike out there who wishes to take part in this very special performance, they’re looking for you. Who knows; if you let the music caress you, then maybe your soul will take flight. As the start of the productions comes ever closer, let us all experience then the power of the music that he writes.

As for my final commentary for this Promo Spotlight…

In the famous words of our beloved Opera Ghost,

“Sing for me!”

A Finer Taste: Tokyo Tonteki Philippines

A question for everyone; what is the best topping to any meal?

When I was far younger than I am now, I used to believe that a secret dessert was the best topping to any meal. After all, who in their right mind did not want a plate of decadent sweets drizzled with a little chocolate or a little caramel? Who could resist the temptation of a moist and velvety cake that melts in the mouth? Or perhaps who could say no to a scoop of lovely creamy ice cream or an icy sorbet to clean the pallet of all that savory flavors that had once pleasantly overwhelmed one’s senses.

Now, I think there’s a better accompaniment to any meal.

That my friends would be service, good service that is.

Anyone can provide service. Get someone a good seat, hand out menus and take orders, even giving people a glass of water as they wait for their meals can be considered service; but people aren’t looking for just that. In today’s society, people are always hunting for places with good quality service. Why not, right? As paying customers, one isn’t just looking to be served in a way that fills their stomachs. People now-a-days also expect to be served in way that fills their desire for social relations. When I say “social relations”, it’s not this lovey-dovey thing that people seem to gloat about half the time, but the simple interaction between each other as human beings.

Just like the other day, I was eating with my friend at Tokyo Tonteki.

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It’s a nice Japanese restaurant at Greenbelt 5 that serves a mean plate of what I like to call comfort food. The food came in generous servings and was really tasty, but among all the scrumptious morsel was the friendly accommodation given by the people who were working there.

In a restaurant, there were two kinds of attentive: The pleasant one and the annoying one. Luckily, the kind of attention we got from them was the former which made us feel rather cozy and unstressed. You have to admit, there are some places where eating felt more like pressure than pleasure because the waiters and servers wait up on tables like hawks as if telling them to “Hurry up” or were silently asking “Aren’t you done yet”.

The one who was taking our order was kind enough to check if our food was alright. This was a gesture which my companion and I appreciated because it showed us that they not only cared for their customers, but also cared for the food that was being dished out from their kitchen. They were kind enough to ask if we wanted our plates taken away once they were emptied, and not simply take them just because we were done using them. And of course unlike some of the places that I’ve been to, the staff and crew had these pleasant smiles painted on their faces. No one was frowning like a discontent child which of course was quite the bonus. In establishments like these, smiles are essential. Why? It’s because people who often came over to eat had gone through grueling hours of work. It’s a necessity to make sure that every guest is welcomed, and smiling at the work-ridden patrons always was the best way to show that they were indeed welcomed.

Though I guess what made me appreciate them all the more was the hospitality and compassion that they extended towards me the next day.

The night prior, while my friend and I were buying dessert, I noticed that my ring was missing. I believed that I left the office with it still on my finger, but lo and behold that night, it was gone. We weren’t able to go back because the place was already closed and because I was out of my wits from the shock of losing something important, so there was no other way than to go back the next day.

Which I did.

After work, I headed back to Tokyo Tonteki in hopes of finding my ring there. When I arrived, I asked for the person who took our orders the night before.

She was kind enough to come and talk to me. I explained to her the situation and asked if anyone saw it. She told me to take a sit first so that she could check with the rest of their staff. One of them even gave me a glass of water. I don’t know if it was due to me looking like a wreck or not, but I still thought that it was nice.

I watched as the kind lady tended to my concern. She went about asking their personnel if they’ve seen my ring. It was quite the effort. When she returned to me, the kind woman explained that no one had seen it. From there, I was thankful for the help and thought it was over. Then something a little more surprising happened. She also told me that some of the crew members from the night before were on their day-off’s which is why she asked for my number so that she could send me a message once she asked the rest. Without a second thought I gave her my number. After that I thanked them again for their time then left.

Now, I really believed that my ring was forever lost to me. As I resign myself to this heart-wrenching fate, an hour or two after I arrived home I got a text message from an anonymous number. I normally ignore things like this, but after reading the contents of the message, I was so moved. It was the nice lady from Tokyo Tonteki informing me that she had inquired with the rest of the staff THAT DID NOT COME TO WORK that day and still did not find my ring. She was very apologetic about it and even wished me luck in finding the item that had been lost.

This little show of kindness, the extension of hospitality was enough to make me believe that there really was still some good in the world. The simple gesture made me less upset about having lost something and instead made the whole experience of dining at Tokyo Tonteki to be something amazing. Normally, when you lose something in public establishments such as restaurants, they make it perfectly clear that they were not liable for lost valuables or stolen items. Despite such rules they still tried to help me in their own way.

Knowing that there are places like these who care about their customers in ways other than simply filling their stomach was comforting.

I may not have found my ring, but I found something better. I found a place that had impeccable service. I mean I don’t know about you but that kind of service was probably better than any dessert that’s ever been served to me thus far.

Musings of the Undervalued

Slander – Noun: The action or crime of a false spoken statement damaging a person’s reputation.

Verb: Make false and damaging statements about someone.

– From Merriam-Webster

 

Let me rant here, okay?

For the last three years that I’ve been working at what people believe to be a “prime” institution due to being part of the government.

If not everyone, majority of the populace seems to be convinced that working for the government is a convenient and grand experience. And why shouldn’t they? It IS said that working for the government entitles the lucky employee with a lot of benefits and the security of tenure. Who wouldn’t want that, right? If you were asked to work in one of these agencies with the promise of great pay and a better tomorrow, it would be very hard to say no, right?

Well that’s what happened in my case.

I’ve gone through numerous jobs. From writer to BPO agent to data transcriptionist…I seem to have done quite a few jobs before finally ending up in my current work as a government agent. When I was being prepped for this job, it certainly was a promise of an amazing experience and definitely of something more worthwhile than what I’ve been currently doing with my life. It was a bonus that there were talks of benefits. No one explained that this was something that ONLY the regular employees had.

No one said the same applied for us agency hired souls otherwise known as contractuals.

As a contractual, you do not EXACTLY have the same perks. You do the same kind of load given to those with regular positions, but the pay greatly varies. Since we’re contractual employees, our salary is of course lower than theirs. In a way it feels a little unfair, don’t you think? Same amount of work but different compensations. Bonuses hardly come by, but I think both regulars and contractuals feel this. The main difference of course always falls on how much is given to all of us when the time for it actually comes. Mind you, even that is adjusted. Truly a joy.

There’s also a matter of the work place. I do believe that some people have the misconception that government offices are well maintained with high-tech facilities and high-speed calculating programs, that with one press of a button everything would be up and over. And maybe something of a really cold place where you’ll need a jacket to combat the freezing hours you have to spend cuing up in line.

I have been to a few offices before and let me tell you, that’s really not the case for most. Every work place has their own set of programs that they use in order to process transactions in a fast and timely manner. For us, we rely mostly on our Excel and word programs, devoid of all those nice things due to systems not being compatible with one another. Everything is done manually and with so many transactions coming in day by day, it’s actually a miracle we’re able to process anything within a week. Also, to be perfectly honest, we are often situated in a place where it’s literally too hot to function. Being in front of the computer and simply having its fumes swirl around in our little back-door office does not do anything for the infernal heat. It’s like a bloody oven in there.

What I think remains to be rather annoying is that despite all these setbacks we, contractuals and regulars alike, are really undervalued.

There’s a belief going around saying that government people work slow or that we work at a leisurely pace and that everyone is so lax.

Majority of the clients often complain about how slow the process for one transaction is without knowing how the system works. There are those who, after a simple explanation understands, and we are very thankful for them…but most…MOST (I’m saying most because this is how my everyday life from eight to five plays out) will not even listen to reason. They would always force what they believe is right and what they feel works for their convenience. It’s as if they’ve forgotten that  we’re catering to the masses and not just a singular person alone. What’s worse, Attorney-in-Facts/Proxies/the people who are not actually members are the ones who have the audacity to complain.

Day by day we get slandered. Whether it be over-the-counter or through the phone, we normally get bad-mouthed and threatened. We’re often being cursed at, or berated. We’re always taking the heat from someone whose applications have discrepancies and lacking requirements and people who DO NOT WANT to submit requirements…then they harass us either by saying they’ll report us to the media or they will tell the president about it; often even going as far as threatening to go to Malacanang just to make us move faster. In fact, we are moving and doing our best to meet their expectations. They simply do not see it or refuse to see it in order to prove themselves right.

Everyday, it feels like we’re being degraded, belittled and disrespected.

Surely it’s not far from the truth if I state that we government employees, contractual or not, are undervalued as human beings.

No one seems to realize that just like every one else, we are alive– breathing, thinking and feeling. When our clients talk to us in that kind of derogatory manner, it hurts us too. I know that as public servants, we must have the absolute patience that’s needed to cater to the ever growing masses; but unlike machines and tools we too have feelings because just like them, we are in fact, ACTUAL people.

Working in the government has more liabilities than it has advantages and not a lot of people can see that. Just  being in it we are already categorized negatively. People would often say, “Gobyerno kasi” (Because it’s the government), and that alone lumps us with the corruption that amass that runs amuck within the Philippine government.

There’s also the mental burn and psychological trauma that most us are hiding because we keep to our code of being a friendly service oriented institution. It’s always the customer who is right even at the price of a public servant’s dignity being tarnished.

Our slanderous clientele have the luxury of protectors because they feel oppressed while we who suffer the blows of their sharp-tongued words remain unprotected. Everyone protects their rights but not ours. I believe that we are all people here, but the distinction of importance is much too far apart.

When I entered this kind of service, I had hoped for a better life where the work I do for others would be met with kindness. What I received on the other hand was the malevolent rage of the uninformed and babied masses.

Ah, this truly was all that I have ever dreamed off and more.

HeistClub- The Launch: After Run

Greetings!

Welcome to K.Ken Cua’s Blog and I am Magsi Rover from @gpicks. Today, I’ll be guest posting for a quick after run of the events that took place at The Study By Enderun  located at The Podium Ortigas last June 25.  Together with our little team of volunteer supporters.

We made a collective effort to support the #CrimeFiction #FilipinoAuthors of the Philippines and here are some juicy photo clips and details of the event.

 

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Fiction is the truth inside the lie.

-Stephen King

Now, I know that I may have shared to you guys from our personal space but this time. I’ll be talking about how creatively supportive Ken Cua had been during our Launch. Unfortunately we weren’t able to take a decent photo ops of our little team, so we will just have to leave you guys to your imagination on who Ken is from our staff.  In the mean time, here’s our photo clip stories coming up next!

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The Study by Enderun is located at the fourth floor of Podium Ortigas.  If you’re curious about what the place is all about, you can click on the link of the name at the start of this post.

Now on wards to our after run photo clip stories!

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The venue proper is a standard sized classroom with a projector and white board. Our mission?

To create a mood and vibe of a hot-seat crime fiction talk show stage for the authors themselves. It was a tough challenge but luckily we were able to project an image of how the set would look like on the day of the launch.

I thought about the red velvet colored drapes that I used back in 2009 for a short film, and we began to tie it perfectly around the white board.   After securing the curtain we decided to pull down the projector while our Tech Guy Lyber prepared the rest of the sounds, presentations and the likes.

IMG_8600IMG_8580 The Walls looked to plain and if you guys remembered our earlier post about  the 7 FAST FACTS ABOUT THE LAUNCH!

 This was what we were talking about!

White hand print designs and the graffiti style letter was a welcome add on by our Tech Guy-Lyber, Shoujo and Ken!

kudos for the quick thinking!

Although we were all working together, a small team of  five we were still running a few minutes behind schedule. Even though it turned out like we were on a

race against time, we were  happy to hear a massive back up coming from our amazing supporters. Some friends and family from the core-organizers came in to help set-up this wonderful mini nook that we called the little black market. (Just Kidding! talk about roleplaying on the day of the launch.)

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The mini-book store now complete and all that was left was the registration area and the mug-shot avenue. It didn’t take long before everything was ready and we were all set to begin the program.

The Program began a little rough but we were able to keep it at bay without deviating from our original planned time. Here in the first photo right down below, Director Aris Cuevas after his talk about his short film trailer release.

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shortly after were the high lights of the program. The #HeistClub authors themselves!

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on stage the Authors of WHY WE RUN

: (Left to right) Justine Camacho-Tajonera, Yeyet Soriano and Racquel Castro

While we from the far right end corner as both emcee and organizer of the evening. Magsi Rover with Cris helped our audience get to know the authors of every bundle from #HeistClub!

 After a few grilling hours and we were able to complete the Question & Answer segment for all the bundle authors. While we proceeded with the raffle promo’s IMG_8676 (1)here’s a picture of  author Racquel Sara safe guarding (kidding! I swear I’m bad at making jokes.) Preparing the freebie cup cakes from Kwisshy’s Haven!

What an epic #Heist to include cup cakes huh. Well, we thought about better ways to make it memorable and who would want to miss out on those tasty sugar filled awesome give-aways?

IMG_8694While there is much more that we could say and share to you about what happened that fateful day.

A job well done for all of us at the production team because…

What Book Launch would ever be complete without the lovely authors signing their printed book copies. 

Gpicks and together with Ken Cua were very pleased and happy with the experience to extend our support to these amazing people. Whom without a doubt, took a lot of time and effort to write their stories despite their busy schedules.

I hope you guys enjoyed our short and yet, brief after run write-up. Enjoy reading and don’t forget to follow us on our social media sites. Also, please do check out Ken Cua’s coming soon book releases!

Before we end this long post. If you’d like to know more about the #HeistClub- The Launch event, you might want to check out these links:

BookBed’s Introduction to Heist and Author Interview with the bundles : Why We Run , What We Fear, What We Hide or you may also check out A collection of all the #HeistClub Articles via online by Racquel Sara

Hope you enjoyed our seemingly long guest post with Ken Cua. Till next time! 🙂