Delegation Drama

“Nobody is going to delegate a lot of power to a secretary that they can’t control.”

– Michael Bloomberg

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Image courtesy of: http://www.sallyfoleylewis.com

Author’s note: the characters mentioned in this post have been modified.

My colorful working experience has shown me the one quality that separates good managers from outstanding leaders: the ability to delegate.

Just like any other skill, delegation could be learned, developed, mastered, and as the millenials would say it: SLAYED…! And just like any other skill, some execute it with grace and confidence while for others it’s just plain painful, ending up to be totally disastrous for both the delegate and the principal.

As the Delegate

My experience as a delegate is as rich as my professional history. Of course, I benefitted so much from working with excellent supervisors; but I also learned a lot from those who were (still are?) wanting an open mind.

Or the un-delegate?

This is a tale that depicts the exact opposite of delegation… Before landing on my dream job, I did a stopover in a department where I never really thought I’d work in. During one period I was assigned to collaborate with Michael, a person who was supposed to bring in the much-awaited change in one of the department’s operations. Unfortunately, the promised changes did not include a more equitable distribution of responsibilities. Michael amassed the more important and stimulating tasks for himself while leaving me with the more mechanical ones. Just imagine what was left for the poor intern to do…

As it would not be fair for the readers to bear with the details of this experience, let me instead go back to Michael Bloomberg’s quotation:  “Nobody is going to delegate a lot of power to a secretary that they can’t control.” For the first time since I started blogging, I posted a quotation because I do not agree with it. I believe that the phrases “to delegate” and “can control” cannot really be seen in the same sentence (it pained me as much as a wrong grammar does). In my opinion, if one distributes responsibility but still wants to be in control then that’s not delegating- that’s commanding.

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Image courtesy of: https://majidall.com

Sadly, this was what happened to me with my Michael: from him I simply received orders but not instructions. Obviously the produced output was far from excellent. My work drew disapproval of course, but I did not get any constructive criticism from him either. These events only fed the idea that I was not to be trusted with that kind of work. It even came to the point where my work ethics which I so valued and upheld were questioned behind my back. Mistrust, grudge and constant displeasure hung over the department for a long time. True, the job was getting done; but kindness, empathy and all traces of goodness were slowly being gnawed by exhaustion and anxiety. Michael ended up in the hospital and soon after he came back, I left.

Perhaps the reader has already sensed it, but I was not really confident about myself and the way I was doing the job. So aside from the tangible facts supporting the theory that I don’t work well, if you add my very visible insecurities and low self-esteem, you’d just wonder how I got hired. Now the most important lesson I learned here is I should have been more confident. I should have been more confident that I knew what I was doing and I should have been more confident to contend the criticismsat least those that were directed at my qualifications, my need to be properly trained and my capacity to take on bigger responsibilities. At the end of the day, one can only control one’s own decisions. If one declines to even do that, well, there’s no one else to be blamed right?

Had I known then what I know now, I would have taken the time to tell Michael that delegation is not just a tool to help teams get the job done. The interactions shared in the process of delegation allow for relationships to be built and for the team to be strengthened. It’s true that delegating is more tiring than giving orders: while the principal has to invest time developing the delegate, the latter has to learn, practice and DELIVER.

It might be obvious why it would seem more attractive to simply give orders. But I’ve seen strong and united teams, and the one thing they have in common is that their leaders invested on their capacity-building and on their empowerment. Certainly, it goes without saying that these leaders are also very capable communicators- they inform the team of what needs to be done in terms of measurable objectives, why it needs to be done, exactly when it has to be done and who are the most qualified to do which tasks. Last but not the least, these leaders LISTEN. They listen to the team’s feedback, their input on resource availabilities, training needs and existing limitations.

Going back on track

Almost a year after that incident, I landed on THE job I’ve always longed for. Nostalgia aside, one of the reasons it was my most ideal job so far is because of the empowerment I gained under the supervision of the department’s former director, Ivan.

The department was newly created at the time. This meant that every procedure, methodology and protocol had to be put in place starting from scratch. Because of this, Ivan and I agreed that I should have time to review literature about our work, think about what kind of training I would need or reflect on how to best present our partial results. I had to raise concrete suggestions on how I plan to organize myself and since he saw that I had things under control, he conceded. I was able to deliver most of my proposals but it was during the completion of the third task where I truly felt “Super Karessa”: the Power Point template I designed was approved to be used for the department’s presentations internally and externally.

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Image courtesy of: http://frugalentrepreneur.com

What I would like to highlight with this experience is the fact that by being confident that I can deliver, my former boss sensed how determined I was to assist him in constructing a new department. This gave him assurance when he asked me to work more closely with our intern so I could transfer some of my duties to him. He said that this would allow me to focus more on tasks that are within my expertise. I was head over heels with happiness. It was my turn to delegate!

Delegation- it’s like the gift that keeps on giving!

As the Principal

The  most important task I have had to delegate so far is that of caring for my son. It is also by far, the most difficult to pass on to someone else. After all, raising my son is the most interesting and meaningful project I’ve ever undertaken.

Shock therapy rarely works for me so I had to gradually prepare myself (and my son!). The first person with whom I left him alone (not counting my husband) was my mother. I must have left her a very long list of instructions which I must have repeated 10 times over. And to think that I was gone for only 3 hours! just enough time for a bottle and a nap for a 2-month old baby. The second time was when I left him with my mother in law. It was during the night so the only instruction we left her was to not get him out of the crib unless he cries a lot. I went to have a beer with my husband; we were gone for about 5 hours. The third time, my baby was 3 months old and I left him with a babysitter to run errands and have lunch with a friend. That day, the only instructions I left were the amounts of milk my baby had to drink at certain schedules. By that time, I was already used to being apart from him that I didn’t feel any anxiety (I missed him, though! I was looking at pictures of him on my phone for several minutes.).

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Image courtesy of: https://ciclog.blogspot.fr

As time went by I started hiring other babysitters and instead of leaving specific instructions, I would just say the time intervals between his meals and naps. I figured that the people I’m employing have a lot of experience with babies and so they must also have their own style of doing things. The best babysitters I’ve worked with would ask me specific questions about health concerns, playtime activities, etc… I still find it very hard to trust a stranger but I just let my instincts guide me and of course I am also very sensitive to the baby’s state by the time I came back. As of now, neither my instinct nor my baby’s “feedback” have failed me.

I really am trying to insist that delegation is a skill that can be practiced. Although my personal example seems funny compared to the decisions most managers take, the point is that practice leads to perfection (we may never get to the perfected state, but close enough is good enough!). A Stanford University professor couldn’t have said it better, “Your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions so that the world doesn’t go to hell if you take a day off.”

This is still an ongoing process for me and everyday, I am being taught that: 1) almost anything can be learned, even something as abstract as “trusting”, 2) my way is not the only way to do things and 3) humility and kindness could also empower people to do their job the best that they could.

 

It all boils down to CONFIDENCE

They say that delegation is a two-way street. But before anyone of us goes down that road, it may be a good idea to take a journey inside oneself to find confidence: by gathering strength from our capacities and by allowing our defects to keep our feet on the ground. Without knowing our strengths, we can never believe in ourselves. And without knowing our defects, we run the risk of being reckless.

Self-assurance is the key to effectively delegate and to being competent in undertaking the delegated tasks.

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Image courtesy of: http://www.plan-delegate-manage.com

Some people might argue that they are not insecure about handing over responsibility, they are just perfectionists. To this, I counter-argue by saying that if a person is truly a “perfectionist” (understood as someone who seeks perfection in the outcome of their endeavours), he would do anything that needs to be done so that the results will present the desired quality- even if it means not doing everything by himself.

Others might reason out that they don’t feel 100% sure about completing the task given to them because it’s the first time they’ll do it, or they do not know how to do it, or maybe they have failed in the past doing the same thing…  It’s hard to solve someone else’s insecurity issues, it is for them to fight their own battles. But let me share a saying that we have in the Philippines that states, “If you really want something to be done, you find ways to do it. If you don’t, you look for excuses not to do it.”

 

Thank you dear reader, for allowing me to share this experience. This post was special to me because it gave me the space to share a skill I am currently putting into practice even while being unemployed.

Sources:

  1. “The 12 Rules of Successful Delegation” by Richard Lannon, available at: http://www.legacybowes.com/latest-blog-posts/entry/the-12-rules-of-successful-delegation.html
  2. “Why Aren’t You Delegating?” by Amy Gallo, available at: https://hbr.org/2012/07/why-arent-you-delegating
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How I see Economic Inequality (2)

The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

– Aristotle

Image courtesy of: http://www.alternet.org/

Following the first of a two-part entry, this concluding post incorporates a more analytic perspective. The following cites the order with which it is structured: (I) the materials I read back in my early 20’s, (II) the measurement tool that I learned to use, (III) my most favored argument during debates and of course, (IV) a short and entertaining exercise for those curious to know how their incomes stand when compared to other people in their country. Parts I-III are some of the means which have helped me write the first part. I do hope this will be as interesting for you as it was, and still is, for me.

Note: if the amount of text is discouraging you and the mean-looking formula is too much, don’t feel bad! But at least scroll down to the “IV. FUN TIME!” section and see how your income compares to that of others in your country.

I. Words from the wise

I’ve searched some of the most famous quotes from social scientists whose works have been widely used in discussions about income inequality. The authors alluded to are not the only ones relevant to the topic, but they are the ones I could salvage from my memory (I especially recommend “The Animal Farm” by George Orwell- it is highly entertaining due to its likeness to life and very educational, too!):

“Wherever there is great property there is great inequality. For one very rich man there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many. The affluence of the rich excites the indignation of the poor, who are often both driven by want, and prompted by envy, to invade his possessions.”

– Adam Smith, Wealth of the Nations

“Does inequality in the distribution of income increase or decrease in the course of a country’s economic growth?”

– Simon Kuznets, Economic Growth and Income Inequality

“Of all the costs imposed on our society by the top 1 percent, perhaps the greatest is this: the erosion of our sense of identity in which fair play, equality of opportunity, and a sense of community are so important.”

― Joseph E. Stiglitz, The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future

“The raw fact is that every successful example of economic development this past century – every case of a poor nation that worked its way up to a more or less decent, or at least dramatically better, standard of living – has taken place via globalization, that is, by producing for the world market rather than trying for self-sufficiency.”

– Paul Krugman, The Unraveling

“A house may be large or small; as long as the neighboring houses are likewise small, it satisfies all social requirement for a residence. But let there arise next to the little house a palace, and the little house shrinks to a hut. The little house now makes it clear that its inmate has no social position at all to maintain, or but a very insignificant one; and however high it may shoot up in the course of civilization, if the neighboring palace rises in equal or even in greater measure, the occupant of the relatively little house will always find himself more uncomfortable, more dissatisfied, more cramped within his four walls.”

– Karl Marx, Wage Labour and Capital

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

– Georgre Orwell, Animal Farm

II. The Gini Coefficient

No study in the field of economics is considered “complete” if there’s no measurement involved. In this case, the most commonly used measure of inequality (income, wealth or consumption) is the Gini Coefficient.

(When I realized this in relation to economic inequality, I couldn’t help but shake my head in disbelief. I came from a country where the latest Gini Coefficient dated at 2012 is 0,43- a value considered to be high, given that the highest for the same year is 0,61. Actually, the Philippines was the 14th among the 20 countries with the highest levels of inequality, and the only Asian nation in the top 20. So what I thought at that time was, “Really? measurement? Just look at the shanties outside the grand, luxurious hotels of the cities and you’ll have hard-core evidence of inequality in front of you!”. I suppose it is still highly imperative for something to be measurable for it to exist? Tsk!)

Based on the Lorenz Curve, the Gini coefficient (G) “is a measure of statistical dispersion that is frequently used in income (or wealth*) distribution analysis”. It can be calculated by this formula:

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DO NOT let this mean-looking formula impress you. It really is simple once seen with an example:

Gini0

Where:

n is the number of subjects (Person- 5 in this case)

i is the order which the subjects are placed (A=1, B=2, C=3, D= 4, E=5 in our example)

Xi is the income of the subject we are referring to (X1, X2, X3, X4 and X5)

A Gini coefficient of “0” represents perfect equality (each person owns an equal share)

Using the information in the table above: Imagine 5 cousins who were given 12 pieces of candy bars to share among them. Nanay B., an excellent distributor, thus gave each kid exactly 2,4 candies so there would be no conflict. For practicality’s sake, let’s call the candies “Income” and the cousins “Population”. In this case, and following the diagram, we can apply the scary-looking formula and realize it’s not so scary at all:

Giniex1

 

 

I will even encourage you to compute the following and see for yourself how the Gini coefficient is truly zero. We may represent this in a graph similar to this one below (the Lorenz curve is equal to the 45º line of perfect equality of incomes):

Gini0gr

A coefficient of “1” suggests perfect inequality (where one person owns everything)

Meaning to say, that any value between 0 and 1 represent more or less inequality. Going back to our example (see information from the table below): imagine Uncle P. coming back from the U.S. and brings 12 packs of cookies to be shared by the 5 cousins (again, cookies=income and kids=population). Nanay B. went to the market, so the eldest cousin distributed the cookies according to his criteria. This meant that the younger ones (A, B and C) would receive less and the older ones (D and E) would receive more. The new distribution would be as follows:

Gini03

Applying the same formula, we get a Gini coefficient of 0,333333… which we could of course shorten to the value of 0,33. The Lorenz Curve will look like the line drawn in orange below (this time, the curve deviates from the perfect-income equality line):

Gini03gr

The value of G (0,33) as well as the distance of the new Lorenz Curve from the line in the middle suggest that there is evidently a lack of balance in the new distribution.

(I encourage you, dear reader, to use this measure the next time you want to prove that a certain malpractice is happening when it comes to distribution of resources- be it allowance, gifts, slices of cake, etc… Data-gathering is exhausting but it could be fun…?).

Other income inequality measures

For an easy reading about other income inequality measures, please refer to:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_metrics

Don’t hesitate to share your knowledge and/or opinion about these metrics!

III. An attempt at problem-solving

Aristotle pointed out that it would be more wrongful and more hurtful to make unequal things equal; it is simply against the natural order of life. However,where there is such a social and economic polarization (where the privileged are only acquiring even more privileges and making certain opportunities exclusive while the deprived ones are increasingly excluded), what becomes natural is to aspire for a more just way of life.

Even though I cannot replicate the dialouges I’ve had with different people, I can and will share my most favorite argument to battle economic inequality: if we incorporate the “human” aspect in our understanding of what is “economic”, we go beyond the concept of income as the sole measure for wealth and well-being. By doing this, we become open towards solutions aimed at developing human capacities in order for individuals and groups (families, communities…) to pursue a desired level of social and economic conditions. This is based on the human development paradigm** developed by Amartya Sen that suggests a new metric with which to base our concept of equality.

Some people would call it cheating- similar to readjusting a weighing scale to fit one’s desired outcome. I call it a necessary adjustment- similar to walking away from the mountain to get a better view of the whole.

A. Sen, Human Development approach

The most important idea is that Sen recognizes the vast diversity of individuals and how we are not equals, to begin with. It is absurd to push for equality when the fact is, life is as diverse as the people who live it- people with different cultures, ideas, preferences, values, ambitions and limitations. But, people can be given equal opportunities to develop their capacities which in turn will give them a chance to live the life they wish to (not everyone wants to be as rich as the top 50 richest people on earth, nor everyone wishes to trade their leisure time for money). This is why he has insisted on the role of human development to address the search for socio-economic equality.

Sen gives an example: a victim of famine and an affluent person who chooses to fast are both staving; materialistically they are “equals” because neither have access to nourishment. But under the human development paradigm, they are not- because the affluent man has the choice to satisfy his need to eat while the famined man has no alternative to hunger. In this sense, what would make them “less unequal” is if both possessed the freedom to choose whether to stay hungry or to eat. In other words, equality under this point of view means that both individuals are free to make real choices for themselves in order to live the lives they want to live.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Human Development (or Human Development approach) “is about expanding the richness of human life, rather than simply the richness of the economy in which human beings live. It is an approach that is focused on people and their opportunities and choices.”

In this sense, income is considered only as one of the means to give people access to opportunities and other resources that they need to make life choices. In the first part of this post, I mentioned how wealth distribution is important but having equal access to opportunities could partly address economic inequality more continuously; Sen goes ten steps ahead stating that inequality should be defied by confronting problems related to a person’s ability to develop his capacities, therefore, livelihood, health, education and social inclusion must be assured.

The overly simplified manner of explaining Amartya Sen’s thesis surely made me miss some very important points. However, the depth of this paradigm and the lack of time and space to expound are not very compatible elements. Thus, far from overcharging this post I limit myself to concluding that: when people claim their right to a decent job, healthcare, education and social inclusion and the society where they thrive assists them in their demand regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, income, et cetera, it means that the citizens are being treated fairly- it means that there is a serious search for equality.

 

IV. FUN TIME!

I found this very interesting page at the OECD website: http://www.oecd.org/social/inequality-and-poverty.htm

… where you can discover approximately “how much you earn compared with others in your country.” (Scroll down the page to see the tool entitled “What’s your share of the pie?”)

For our family, I made an educated guess basing on how much our household is earning per month, compared with the minimum salary and compared with the average salary of a person with my qualifications. I guessed right! (sadly…)

 

* Wealth and Income have been indistinctly used in this post. However, it must be remembered that wealth denotes a stock variable (measurable at a particular point in time), while income is a flow variable (measured with reference to a specific period in time).

** One important condition for this paradigm is for it to be studied and analyzed within the context of a democratic society.

Sources:

  1. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.POV.GINI
  2. Investopedia
  3. http://www.had2know.com/academics/gini-coefficient-calculator.html
  4. “99 Must-reads on Income Inequality”, available at: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/23/opinion/sutter-99-inequality-must-read/
  5. For richer, for poorer, available at: http://www.economist.com/node/21564414
  6. https://www.goodreads.com
  7. “Economic Growth and Income Inequlity”, by Simon Kuznets, available at: https://assets.aeaweb.org/assets/production/journals/aer/top20/45.1.1-28.pdf
  8. http://www.notable-quotes.com
  9. http://www.economicsdiscussion.net/difference-between/difference-between-flow-variables-and-stock-variables/555
  10. http://hdr.undp.org/en/humandev
  11. The Concept of Human Development: A Comparative Study of Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum”, by Christopher Ryan B. Maboloc, available at: http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:18358/FULLTEXT01.pdf
  12. “Desarrollo y Libertad”, by Amartya Sen, available at: http://goo.gl/9FuoFa

Hidden-nomics (2)

The Legend of Athens

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Image courtesy of: Wikipedia

“Let there be light! Said Liberty , And like sunrise from the sea, Athens arose!”

– Percy Bysshe Shelley

Once upon a time, there was a king named Cecrops who ruled the city of Cecropia. The time came when he had to find a deity to be the patron of the city and two gods were keen on having patronage of the land: Poseidon, God of the Sea and Athena, Goddess of Wisdom.

Cecrops did not want to attract the ire of either deity, so he suggested there be a contest between them. Whoever gives the people of Cecropia the most useful gift will win and will forever be venerated in the city.

Poseidon went first and after striking his trident to the ground, the first horse sprang up and produced such awe from everyone who witnessed it. Afterwards, he tamed it and taught the people the art of horsemanship.

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Image courtesy of: http://151.12.58.141/virtualexhibition/contest.html

When Athena’s turn came, she knelt down and planted an olive branch on the ground. She had planted the first olive tree. The goddess taught the people how to care for the plant and when the tree gave forth its first fruits, she trained the Cecropians how to harvest them. Later on, she also taught them how to make preserved olives and the very precious olive oil.

The citizens thought long and hard about this tough decision. Counsels and public debates were held so that everybody could give their opinion. In the end, the majority voted for Athena’s gift and thus the goddess was chosen to be the patron deity of the city. In her honor, the city’s name was changed to “Athens”.

Decision-making

The word “patron” comes from various root words:

i) the Medieval Latin patronus which means bestower of a benefice among others

ii) the Latin word patronus to signify defender or protector

iii) the old French patron referring to protector

So, what made the Greeks choose Athena as their patroness?

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Image courtesy of: https://wikis.nyu.edu

At first glance, one could say that a horse could be just as useful as an olive tree. Both gifts are useful to advance the citizens’ livelihood- the former through transport, added power in farming and even nourishment, while the latter could produce fruits to be preserved for food or to be made into oil.

Having been taught to think the way I do, the only explanation I could find was that the Cecropians did a Cost-Benefit Analysis of the gifts offered by the two gods.

Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA)

As the name states, it is a study that involves the comparison between the costs and the benefits of a certain action. In this story, the Greeks had to make two CBAs: in case they choose the horse or in case they choose the olive tree.

According to Investopedia, “Prior to… taking on a new project, prudent managers will conduct a cost-benefit analysis as a means of evaluating all of the potential costs and revenues that may be generated if the project is completed.”

The procedure is simple: one has to compute all the costs of caring for a horse and then compare it to the gains or benefits one could get from using it. The same method would also be applied to the olive tree.

This process is very similar to listing “pros” and “cons” of various alternatives, the difference being, that the CBA assigns a monetary value on each item.

Can you imagine how they would do this? After all, Greeks are famous for their contribution in the field of mathematics, philosophy, physics, etc…

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Image courtesy of: http://toolbox.vetonline.swin.edu.au

Obviously, the CBA done by our ancient Greek friends must have turned out more favorable for cultivating olive trees instead of rearing horses. That is to say: when they estimated/imagined the difference between the costs and gains of horse-rearing and compared this to the difference between the costs and gains of cultivating olive trees, the second choice must have proven more beneficial to them.

Where:

CH- Cost of Horse

GH- Gains from Horse

CO- Cost of Olive tree

GO- Gains from Olive tree

Then:

GH – CH < GO – CO

An imaginary scenario…

In my imaginary scenario, the only thing the Cecropians were certain of were the costs related to tending either to an animal or a tree. Animal husbandry as well as cultivation were already practiced by then, making it easy for them to estimate how much it would cost to raise and maintain 1 horse (perhaps similar to raising and maintaining 4 goats), or to cultivate and tend to an olive tree (perhaps comparable to growing an almond tree).

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Image courtesy of: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

I believe that the benefits for each alternative would have been more difficult to estimate because supposedly, it was the first time the people of the world are looking at a horse and an olive tree. Though the wise men and women of Cecropia would have had no problem making another set of estimations (multiplying the gains of having 1 goat to 4 to have an idea on the benefits of the horse, and doing the same with the almond and olive trees), not all would have the same valuation for the “items”. Those who do not appreciate the advantages of having goats (horses) could argue that the proposed gains might be exaggerated. Those who are very fond of almonds (olives) or almond (olive) oil could overestimate the returns from the almond tree cultivation.

Abacus

Image courtesy of: http://www.slidingbeads.com

Given this reasoning, it is easy to see that the olive tree cultivation must have displayed lower (estimated) costs.

For instance, the need for water alone shows how much more favorable an olive tree is compared to an animal- while the first is among the most drought resistant plants, the other would need gallons of water to survive, especially in summer (The average horse will intake 5 to 10 gallons of fresh water per day!).

Add to that the existence of opportunity costs (remember them? they are the cost of an alternative that was given up): olive trees need water but an irrigation system could be put in place so that only the necessary supervision will be carried out. Horses, however, would have to be brought to a grazing land so they could feed. Either its owner will perform this task (thus incurring into the opportunity cost of a wage he could be earning or a siesta he could be enjoying) or someone will be hired to do so, for a given pay.

Legends say that the horse represented war, that was why this gift did not sit well with the Cecropians. This might be true, but my speculation is that the Greeks realized that while the olive tree would grow in value over time (it could live to be about hundreds of years old), the horse would some time end up dead- useless. When you think about it, horse rearing could actually be compared to today’s car purchasing. Both have very similar usage, both require a lot of attention and great expenses and lastly, the two seem to decrease in value as time passes by- the horse would grow older, slower, weaker and the car would turn older and more obsolete. Everybody would agree this is not a good investment.

On the contrary, it is believed that the olive tree was chosen because the way Athena planted the branch, it symbolized peace and prosperity to earth. As I see it, the people saw an alternative out of hunger and poverty through the possible livelihood/nourishment (and biodiversity, too!) provided by the olive tree; they realized that there is an opportunity to earn a living thanks to its cultivation, allowing them to secure their families’ sustenance without too much cost. Thanks to the olive tree, the people of Athens were confident that as long as they worked hard, the trees would continuously bear fruits and they will not fall into misery. They would then live harmoniously in the community because everybody would have the chance to survive and do well. This, I believe is the reason behind the symbol of peace and prosperity. Athena had truly bestowed benefice among others.

All hail the judicious Athena!

The Unpopular End-of-Story

Did you know that Poseidon got so mad that he flooded the (newly named) city of Athens? He couldn’t bear his loss to Athena and since he controls the waters of the earth, he sent a great deluge to punish the people for not having chosen him. Amusing?

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Image courtesy of: https://hhsprince.wikispaces.com/Poseidon

Even more interesting is the version that recounts how the “Unruly Earth Shaker” was finally appeased. In this tale it was said that the moment the gods showed their gifts, the men voted for Poseidon and the women voted for Athena. There was 1 woman more in Cecrops at that time, and that difference made Athena the chosen patroness. Poseidon got so mad, he started flooding the countryside. In order to make him stop, Athena declared that women would not be able to vote in upcoming elections. Intriguing, isn’t it? Although that, is another story…

 

Sources:

  1. “Who Did Poseidon Create the Horse for in Greek Mythology?”, by Charles Infosino, available at: http://classroom.synonym.com/did-poseidon-create-horse-greek-mythology-21051.html
  2. “The Contest of Poseidon and Athena”, available at: http://www.greek-gods.info/greek-gods/poseidon/stories/poseidon-athena-contest/
  3. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=patron
  4. Investopedia
  5. http://olivetreegrowers.com/blog.php?view=detail&id=19
  6. http://quotes.yourdictionary.com/athens
  7. http://www.starsandseas.com/SAS_Mythology/poseidon.htm
  8. https://hhsprince.wikispaces.com/Poseidon
  9. http://extension.psu.edu/animals/equine/news/2012/how-much-drinking-water-does-your-horse-need

 

 

Featured Mom: Jerralyn Rose G. Yusuf (Part 2)

Mga higala, salamat kaayo sa pag-basa ninyo sa unang bahin sa interview ni Jeje. Akong  ideya unta nga i-sentro ning among istorya bahin sa iyang pagkainahan. Daw be nakahuna-huna ko, bisan pa og mao na iyang main job karon, si Jeje kay dili ra man sya inahan; asawa, anak, igsoon og labaw sa tanan amiga sa kadaghan. Busa gi-abli na namo ang uban pa namong mahilisgutan!

Hinaot unta nga malingaw pod mo ani’ng ika-duha namo’ng tabi-tabi session.

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Karessa: Na-imagine nako unsa ka-lisod ang adjustment sa first year ninyo diha. On a scale of 1 to Mt. Everest, unsa ka-lisod, Je?

Jeje: Mura ko’g nag-bitay sa Mt. Everest! HAHAHAHAHA!! Ga-hilak2x ko sa akong first year, labi na ‘tong ga-trabaho pa ko. Murag mahadlok ko’g adto sa trabaho ba…

K: Gi-unsa nimo’g overcome ana?

J: Ako i-think ang bright side pirmi. Nga naa mi tanan magka-uban. Mas i-choose nako akong family.

K: Unsa man nga sitwasyon ang kanang naka-ingon ka na “Sus mubalik na lang ko’g ‘Pinas!”?

J: Basta Christmas ug New Year mura na ko’g “Oh my God, gusto na ko mu-uli!” Pero bakasyon lang ha? Ganahan man gyud ko kay mura ko’g Santa Claus sa akong mga relatives na bata, mag-hatag2x ug gifts… Diri kay murag wala lang…

K: Unsa ma’y pinaka-dili nimo ganahan sa Bahrain?

J: Wala ko’y friends na ma-anhaan nako nga anytime na tawagan nako. Parehas nilang Jane and Suzette. Dili man pud ko mu-open, ambot lang… Busy man gyud magtrabaho ang mga Pilipino diri. Ang mga arabo is sa arabo ra gyud sila makig-relate. Naa sila’y batasan diay na relax ra kaayo sila.

K: Kung ikaw papilion kung asa nimo i-raise si Rasha, sa Pilipinas or sa Bahrain?

J: Kung ipa-choose ko, gusto nako sa ‘Pinas sya mu-dako kay naa akong relatives na mutabang ug alaga sa iya. That is, kung kumpleto mi didto! Pero kung sa health niya ang hisgotan, diri akong pilion. Insured man gyud mi diri (naka-remember man gyud ko sa mga nahitabo sa atong uban amigo didto na kung magsakit sila or ilang mga anak). Diri sa Bahrain, safety ang akong gi-ganahan but boring sya. Pero i-choose gihapon nako diri para sa akong family. Diba ana man gyud na? pag naa na ka’y pamilya, sila na man gyud imong priority. Sa Pilipinas, happy but naa’y kapalit na maglisod gihapon ka.

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K: Unsa’y Filipino trait na para sa imo is non-negotiable gyud, na gusto gyud nimo makuha ni Rasha?

J: Na, dili na kinahanglan i-tudlo kay naa na sa iya! Iyang sense of humor, hospitable sya… I-feel at home niya among mga bisita. Na, di parehas sako na maulaw, kung naa’y bisita, na mag-tago na lang tingali ko! Na-shock ang mga relatives ni Salo na dili sya ma-ulawon. I hope dili sya ma-change. Diba ang uban mga bata, dapat pa man ignon na “pagsayaw ba” or “pagkanta ba”… siya kay free will kaayo sya!

K: Sigi, ingon ka nga wala sya ni-liwat sa imo kay ikaw ma-ulawon man ka. Daw be, unsa ma’y nakuha niya sa imo?

J: Ganahan sya mag-dance! Dance troupe kaayo! Sing and dance kaayo sya. Ambot ang singing, dili man kaayo ko ana ug si Salo dili man pud. Pero daghan sya gusto… ballet… Ignon nimo karate, gusto pud sya. Pangutan-on nimo unsa iya gusto buhaton, “You want to do this?” “Yes, I want to do that”, sugot pud siya! (Padayon ug istorya si Jeje, “Adtong bata pa sya, lingas man kaayo na sya. Naa’y nag-ingon sako na kay bata pa sya, busa ingana. Unya, ni-dako na man, na wala man na-usab! Mao ra man gihapon! HAHAHAHA!!!” Ako pud sya gi-tubag “Yes! Hahaha, buyag kaayo na bata imong anak Je” Ingon pud siya “Na, ana gyud! Mao gyud akong gipasalamat, na healthy sya. Mao ra man sad akong prayer pirmi, the safety and health of my family“)

K: Sa imong na-experience so far, unsa ma’y ma-ingon nimo nga “Wow, sa tanan 5 years ni Rasha, mao ni’ng pinaka-challenging“!

J: Pag-anak ni Rasha. Everyday is a challenge. First-time mom biya ko. Bisag naa akong mama nag-tabang. Lisod pud sya samok-samokon kay (ignon unya ko) “Hoy, ikaw biya nanganak ha!”. HAHAHAHAHA!! Hangtod karon challenge gihapon sya.

K: Sa unsa naka-influence imong pagka-teacher sa imong pagpadako kang Rasha? Disciplinarian ka?

J: Sometimes disciplinarian ko. Kabalo ka na sayop, so istoryahan nimo sya. Usahay masayop pud ko, maka-raise akong voice. Pero pagka-taod taod, mag-sorry ko sa iya and istoryahan na lang dayon sya. The more na singgitan nimo, mas magpa-badlong sya. Pero the more na istoryahan nimo sya, the more sya maminaw. Ma-apply pod nako akong pagka-teacher anang mga ideas (kung) unsa na games among dulaon. Kana bitaw learning while playing? Para pod mabawasan na iyang pagka-hyper usahay.

K: Unsa na batasan sa Bahraini ang imo gusto ma-acquire ni Rasha?

J: Gusto ko anang grabe kaayo sila mu-greet. Their etiquette in greeting. Taas kaayo, with questions involving asking about health and family. Mao diay na ilang istoryahan! Arabic man gyud, wala ko kasabot sa una, karon pa. Everyone stands up when someone enters the room and the visitor greets the people one by one. Taas kaayo pero nice, ganahan ko!

K: Ingon ka wala kaayo ka’y chance na maka-close ang mga Bahraini. Pero naa ba ka’y na-observe about sa ilang style sa pagpa-dako sa ilang mga anak?

J: Wala man ko naka-sulod pa sa ilang balay so wala ko’y chance maka-observe. Akong nabantayan sa mga bata diri is nakuha nila ang pagka-relaxed sa mga adults dayon kusog magtubag-tubag…

K: Unsa’y pasabot nimo anang “relaxed“? Ka-tulo na man gyud nimo na-mention, hehehe!

J: Relax-relax ra kaayo sila. Example, mag-palit ka sa tindahan, ignan ka “Unsa’y kailangan ninyo?” pero dugaaay kaayo mu-lihok! Lami na lang ignan “Hello, nagdali ko!” Or kato pud sa trabaho, mag-coffee coffee ang uban sa ila, mag-tea, unya kaming mga expats, igo lang maka-kaon, OK na! Go na dayon! Sila kay relax-relax lang kaayo. Mao na’ng ganahan sila mag-hire ug expat kay paspas molihok, daghan ma-trabaho… Para sa ila! Unya murag kung unsa’y ilang nahibaw-an, mao ra’y ilang i-apply (nag-drawing sya’g square sa hangin). Murag dili sila mangita’g pangagi… mangutana ka kung naa ba lain mahimo, ila i-tubag kay wala, mao ra gyud… adtong ga-work pa ko, sugoon ko, “Jerralyn, do this” unya hello! Wala ka’y trabaho diha? Mura na ko’g octopus ani! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

K: So murag naka-sense ko na parehas mo’g orientation ni Salo sa pagpa-dako sa inyong anak? wala’y conflict?

J: Nagdako biya si Salo sa Pilipinas. So mas ganahan sya sa way na pagpadako didto. Open-minded sya. Mas love pa siguro niya ang Filipino values. (Kato ganing time nga nangayo sya’g permit para ikasal sa Filipina gipangutana sya “Why not Bahraini?” ingon niya “Because I love a Filipina! My mother is Filipina” dili ba diay pwede?)

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K: Unsa’y gika-busy-han nimo these days?

J: I’m busy taking care of my family. Hands-on mother and hands-on wife! HAHAHAHA! Hands-on gyud! Ilisan nako silang duha, hahahhaa!!! Pero naa ko’y part-time job. Nag-tutor ko. Kani sila na mga gi-tutor nako, na-meet nako na mga estudyante sa katong school na gi-trabahuan nako. (Murag destiny gyud na ma-teacher ko. Akong papa ra man ang gusto na ma-teacher ko. Akong gusto is office-office ra ba. Pero mas nilabaw ang gusto sa akong papa. Ni-sunod na lang pod ko. Pero wala ko nag-binuang sa akong studies sa una. Murag wala lang, padayon lang, gi-human  nako akong pag-eskwela. Pero akong trabaho sa Pilipinas is dili teacher, secretary ko sa abogado. Diri ra ko nag-teacher sa Bahrain.)

K: Ga-laayon ba ka?

J: Oo, after ko mahuman sa trabaho sa tanan diri. Ma-tingala si Salo, mu-ingon “Na-unsa ni’ng balay, na-change na pud!” HAHAHAHA!! bisag unsa na lang ako mahuna-hunaan… Thanks to technology maka-istorya ko sa akong mama ug sa akong mga amiga sa Pilipinas…

K: Ga-try pa ba ka’g pangita ug trabaho sa teaching?

J: Kung mabilin-bilin na nako si Rasha, mangita ko’g work. Pero if ma-buros ko, basin diri na lang pud ko sa balay. Depende ra.

K: Pero nice sad kaayo na imong part-time job karon is teaching. Dili ka ma-disconnect sa imong original training. Destiny gyud tingali na nimo ba?

J: Oo, kato kay wala man nako to gipangita, mao gyud ang ni-duol sa ako.

K: Naa ba ka’y na-meet na nag-judge sa imo kay imong gi-pili mag-take care sa imong pamilya instead of mangita ka’g trabaho?

J: Fortunately wala biya sad. Kabalo sila like naa gyud mi diri for good. Dili working visa ang akong visa, and akong bana is Bahraini… Naa pud nag-ask sa ako about ana pero bata pa man si Rasha. Mas better na lang na ako’y mag-alaga sa iya samtang bata pa siya.

K: Nakasabot man kaha to siya?

J: Oo, naka-sabot to siya. Mura ko’g ma-pressure sa una! Tungod lagi to sa na-influence ko… Karon gaka-enjoy ko pero naa gihapon gaka-ibog kay naka-earn pa ko’g  money and maka-take care pa ko sa akong family.

K: Unsa’y best part sa imong situation karon?

J: Nag-uban mi sa akong family, growing together, making memories… Wala’y amount sa money na mabayaran akong ka-happy. Sa una sa akong work lisod pa to. Sige ko’g hilak. Akong bana nangutana ngano’ng naglisod-lisod ko. Pero gusto man gyud nako maka-experience og trabaho diri. So 1 year and a half to nga naka-work experience ko diri. Mayo na lang sad kay if ever gusto ko mangita’g trabaho in the future, dili man sad sila mu-kuha og wala’y experience before. (K: Oo, sakto pud na Je. Wise pud na nga desisyon, kay wala biya ka kabalo sa future diba? Maayo na lang pod.)

K: Unsa’y worst part?

J: Kato lagi wala ko’y basta-basta ma-duolan. Di parehas sa Pilipinas na laagon gyud ko nilang Suzette, silang Jane… usahay ignan ko “Bakakon kaayo ka, ingon ka mu-lakaw ka, naa ra man diay ka sa balay!” HAHAHAHA!!

K: Kung naa ka’y i-advice ka’ng Rasha, kanang ma-20 years old na sya: example gusto sya mag-Masters sa lain country, gusto na sya mag-independent, mag-minyo na siya… unsa ma’y imo i-sulti?

J: Aw mao na akong gi-sulat o: To go forth and pursue all her dreams. Live life to the fullest. She needs to understand life has its ups and downs that every time she need a place to call her own, I’m always here as long as I live.

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Click here for the full english version.

Unsolicited Advice on: Job Interviews

“It’s a job interview, not a rocket science exam. All the best.”

– Wishesmessages.com

Not one, BUT TWO job interviews!

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Sometimes life does suprise us with the unexpected. This is a major breakthrough in my 4-month long jobhunt: to be called in for interviews twice in 25 days! Since this is wonderful news (and the experience still fresh in my memory), I decided to celebrate by writing a post about it.

In contrast to what most of you might expec,t this post will not tackle: neither the “Top 10 Questions Asked” in a job interview nor “What to wear to impress your interviewer”. I believe there are people more qualified than me to give advice on those areas.

What I will deal with however are two main lessons I’ve learned from this month’s job interviews:

  1. A good physical and mental rest is a much better preparation than any amount of reading, rehearsing and strategic planning (Eg: What will make them want me, projecting warmth or efficiency? See Sources).
  2. Even if the end goal is to get the job and selling oneself is the object of the interview, turn the table a different angle and make it a point to have fun at the same time.

The need for R ‘n’ R

In the first of the interviews, I had time to prepare and plan for the d-day. I decided what to wear in advance, coordinated with my husband and searched for a sitter to care for the baby, I researched the latest happenings in the company and most of all I rehearsed by answering the Top 50 Most Common Interview Questions (Forbes). I had one week to do so and I had a schedule laid out before me to answer a number of questions per day. I worked hard, read a lot and reviewed my professional history enough to write a memoir. I saved the day before the interview to take a rest. Wrong, because the day I intended to rest, an unexpected event forced me to redirect my attention to more pressing matters. I’m not talking about the public transportation strike; it was more of a sleep-depriving, concentration-demanding type of affair. That is to say: I was not able to sleep the night before and no amount of makeup or tropical-girl smile could hide that I was only a breath shy of looking like the Corpse Bride.

Nevertheless, the “show” went on. No matter how literally heavy my head felt, I struggled to make my interviewers see that I deserve the job. Adrenaline helped of course, but it can only last so much, because soon enough I started experiencing a lack of eloquence in any of the languages I swear I could speak.

This is very important because as the interview was closing, one of the senior researchers asked whether I think the European Union would withstand the crises it is currently going through. I thought, “This could be the type of question with no right or wrong answers- the one where the way I answer matters more.” So I geared up and took a deep breath… (wrong again!)

For the first time, I experienced flickers of mental blockage (you see, sudden intake of oxygen could make a person dizzy- oh, Bikram!). Extreme fatigue began overpowering me; only the cold temperature in the room held me up and prevented me from dropping fast asleep on the floor. What I answered then is not relevant for today’s topic, but I could have answered it better if only my mind was strong enough to formulate intelligent arguments. (Thinking back, perhaps the fact that my opinion is contradictory to that of my interviewer’s might have a tiny, little influence on their final decision… but I cannot deny that I didn’t exactly shine while trying to explain my part.)

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Image courtesy of: http://www.thinkstockphotos.fr

Enjoying the moment

The second interview was the complete opposite of the first one: I had exactly 36 hours to prepare, the subject matter was something I had only studied back in college and the very name of the organization is even more intimidating. The only thing they had in common was I was still lacking sleep.

Unlike the earlier interview, I decided to read only what I could; and this means being content with just one or two good documents I could find about the job post. The rest of the time, I just tried to sleep or at least relax.

I met with my interviewers in the cafeteria and after a few courteous greetings, started recounting my skills, my educational background and why I applied for the job. They asked me whether I’ve had any experience on certain tasks and wanted to know if I was familiar with the subject to be treated by the hired candidate.

This was when the “fun” began… and what I meant was having the ability to genuinely take pleasure at the opportunity of being considered for a job.

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Image courtesy of: http://blog.yapjobs.com/blog/pre-interview-checklist-for-job-seekers/

So when the supervisor inquired about my knowledge on the project to be managed, I was confident enough to admit that I have never worked in that field and everything that I knew, I learned in college. I proceeded to explain exactly what I learned back then. I was even asked to propose a recommendation! It felt right. I felt that I was really making a case for my candidacy to be considered.

Still, I noticed how the mind could play tricks if not given enough rest: one of the directors asked if I have ever done “X”. The truth is I have, but somehow I wasn’t able to find the precise memory in my mind. Then I realized that I have indeed executed “X”… in Spanish! and because we were speaking in English and the preparations I’ve done were also in English, my fatigued brain divided my professional history into: Spanish, English and French. It was a good thing I did not panic. I simply acknowledged that I don’t lack experience in “X”, but such experience is limited within a Spanish-speaking context.

It was a good interview: I was contented with what I have done because I was able to relax hours before, thus allowing for better predisposition (not to mention a more agreeable facade!). Most of all, I was very pleased with the inquiries, with my answers and how I delivered them… even my own curiosity was satisfied as to the details I wanted to know about the project.

For next time…

I suppose that the intention of this post is to serve as testimony that a job interview does not have to be a battlefield. Not among the different candidates- each one has his unique set of skills and competencies. Even if one does his best to outshine the rest… well, who among us mortals could really discern the criteria applied by a hiring team?

Definitely, it is not advisable to treat an interviewer as an adversary. Remember, you want them to want to work with you!

In my opinion, a job interview should be a time-space interval where talent and opportunity meet. This is why the talent has to show not just capacity, but also a palpable eagerness to do the job.

Lastly, having “fun” during a job interview will help you look back at that moment with more ease. Why would you want to look back? you ask. Summoning past experiences is important because it could help detect one’s strengths and weaknesses. Keep in mind that self evaluation is highly beneficial to everyone and who better to evaluate our past actions than our present (wiser and more matured) selves?

Author’s note: The author still has not found a paid employment as of this date (because believe me, taking care of a growing infant is a serious job!). To the skeptics- I understand your hesitation to consider my word as something to take note of, and good luck! To the optimists- thank you for your agreement, and good luck!

Sources:

  1. “How to Ace the 50 Most Common Interview Questions”, available at: http://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/#5e7f111b4873
  2. “How Communicator and Audience Power Shape Persuasion”, available at: http://knowledge.insead.edu/strategy/how-communicator-and-audience-power-shape-persuasion-4554#XxwqmPlKhIGTkXrs.99

 

Featured Mom: Jerralyn Rose G. Yusuf (Part 1)

Sa hamubong panahon nga nag-sugod ko’g sulat sa akong blog, nakahuna-huna ko “Kon pahimuslan kaha nako ang mga sinati sa akong uban mga amigo nga immigrants gihapon?” Sa pag-tuo nako mas daghan pa ko’g matun-an sa ila kaysa mga gabasa sakoang mga pipilang pasibya…

Sa dili pa ko magsugod og pagpakigbahin sa istorya ni Jerralyn (alyas Jeje), moangkon ko nga mao ni’ng unang higayon nga makasulat ko’g Binisaya. Busa, maka-ingon ko nga labihan kini nga post para sakoa. Og magpasalamat ko’g dako ka’ng Jeje kay ni-sugot siya’g tabang ani akong proyekto. Daghang salamat pod ka’ng Ate Tata, (alyas Tatsky) kay gitabangan ko niya sa paghubad sa ani nga teksto.

 Ver imagen originalImage courtesy of: http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Nag-sugod ang istorya ni Jeje sa Bahrain 3 katuig na ang milabay. Ni-larga sila sa iyang anak nga babae nga si Rasha aron magsunod iyang bana nga si Salo Yusuf. Bahraini iyang bana nga nagdako sa Pilipinas (Bahraini ang papa og Filipina ang mama).

Sa mga wala makaila sa Bahrain, island country na siya og usa sa mga nga gingharian sa Middle East. Manama ang kaulohan nga syudad. Matod pa sa World Bank, dato siya nga nasod bisan pa og gamay iyang gidak-on. Nindot kuno ang panahon didto, init lang kaayo kung tinginit pero dili ra pod moabot og 40ºC parehas diri Europa. Ang problema lang kuno didto kay ang sandstorm (Unsa diay na, balas bagyo? bagyo sa balas?).

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Image courtesy of: http://www.operationworld.org/bahr

Daghan mga immigrants sa Bahrain og usa na si Jeje sa ila. Swertihon ra ba siya kay dili obligasyon ang pagkat-on sa Arabic. Ang iyang bana hinoon pakasabot sa Arabic, pero maglisod kuno’g sulti. “Gawas kung sa pagkaon”, ingon pa ni Jeje. Kay kung manggawas kuno sila og mangadto’g restaurant, maka-paningkamot gyud daw og order si Salo sa Arabic para lang masabtan siya sa mga waiters. “Hahahaha! Survival kaayo!”.

Katong pagpangutana nako kung nganong Bahrain ilang napili nga adtoan, niangkon si Jeje nga U.S. og Bahrain ilang gipilian sa una. Tungod kay naa man kuno sa U.S. ang mama sa iyang bana og only child ra si Salo, nakahuna-huna sila nga ubanan na lang iyang mama didto. Daw be mas ganahan man si Salo sa Bahrain, mao tong didto sila nidayon.

Usa pod sa swerti ni Jeje kay usa ra ka bulan iya gihulatan para maka-trabaho. March 2013 siya naka-abot didto unya pagka-April, nadawat na siya para ma-Assistant Teacher (AT) sa International School  sa Manama. Basta kuno babae kay dali ra ma-hire tungod kay daghan panghinahanglan sa mga opisina, eskwelahan, og uban pa… Pero ngano man gyud? “Mas reliable ang mga babae sa middle-class job, while mga lalaki either labor or skilled and managerial positions which (has) less demand.

Niabli siya bahin sa iyang nasulayan pagtrabaho niya. Lisod man kuno: “Naka-resign ko adto kay grabe ang pressure! 3 imong kahadlukan (kung maestra ka): ang estudyante, ang parents na mu-atake sa imo og ang admin dayon. My gosh! Grabe to! Buros ko adto and nakuhaan ko tungod sa stress. Wala to sila’y pakialam unsa ka ka-hardworking. AT ra ko but wala pa’y class teacher, so ako tanan, ako’y Assistant Teacher, ako’y class teacher. Gi-ignan man nako ang principal. Ingon sila tabangan ko nila pero wala man gihapon… Nakahuna-huna ko adto na gi-himo man nako tanan na para sa baby. Nagpatan-aw ko sa doctor. Gi-ignan ko sa doctor adto na time na dapat daw ko mu-resign kung gusto nako na mu-kapit gyud ang baby. Pag-resign nako kay wala ra man gihapon, nawala ra gihapon ang baby.

Ang maka-dayeg ani kay bisan pa og sobra nga pasakit iyang na-agian adtong panahona, kung timbangtimbangon kuno niya, “Ma-consider na nako siya (Bahrain) nga second home. Ganahan gihapon ko diri. Boring sya na country, HAHAHAHAHA! Aw, basin ako ra nakasulti ana kay wala ko’y friends or relatives. Pero feel na nako na at home ko diri. Na-feel na nako adtong 2014, niuli ko, nagbakasyon. Dili na pareha sa una nga comfort zone to nako, lahi na. Pero 50-50 ra ko. Pero murag wala pa kaayo ni-sink in sako ang Bahrain. Bag-o pa man sad mi diri. Maybe kung dugay-dugay na mi, mas mag-sink in sya sa ako. Wala ko’y regrets, basta kumpleto lang mi. Ang family is lahi na’ng story.”

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Ang iya kunong ganahan sa Bahrain “…is laidback and feeling safe. Bisan pa’g i-flaunt nimo imong phone or alahas na pinaka-mahal, wala’y mag-interes sa imo. Di parehas sa Pilipinas nga mahuboan na lang ka! Hahaha! Diba ana man didto? mahuboan na lang ka… Ang transport lang diri, advisable gyud nga naa’y own sakyanan. Ok man ang taxi, pero mahal lang. Pinaka-barato ang bus pero lisod. Wala pud kaayo contamination. Limpyo siya na syudad. Wala kaayo mosquito! Kung naa kay dali ra mamatay… Wala ma’y maganahan sa mosquito pero ma-ignan nako si Salo na unsa man ang mga mosquito diri? wala’y sustansya! Hahahaha! Advantage ni Salo na Bahraini sya, tagaan mi’g benefits sa gobyerno (nangutana dayon sya’ng Salo unsa’y tawag sa ilang gaka-dawatan na tabang sa gobyerno; “Allowance!”). O, kato, marriage allowance. Unya gitagaan na pod mi’g balay. Aw, wala pa man hinoon gihatag sa amo, pero nag-apply na mi last year so 2 years man ang waiting time. So mga 1 year kapin madawat na namo.”

Nakapangutana ko bahin sa ilang support system; abi nako nag-alagad ang pamilya ni Salo nga suporta sa ilaha: “Dili kaayo nako na-feel na support system ilang pamilya pag-abot namo. Naa man gyud sila problema sa iyang papa sa una. Dili kaayo mi gakita sa iyang relatives. Ayha pa nako na-feel pagka-matay sa papa ni Salo. Magadto-adto mi sa balay sa iyang relatives… Ang mama ni Salo sa U.S., mao ‘tong support system namo. Si Salo ra man sad ang only child so kami ra’y gastuhan sa iyang mama. Labi na karon na ga-build pa mi sa among family. (Nagtiaw-tiaw siya, “Among gamiton si Rasha kay mao ra man iyang apo. Amo ignan na wala na’y makaon ang bata! Hahaha!”) Grabe ka-lisod to as in. Sugod pa sa una, katong naa ko’y work… Na-influence man gyud ko sa mga nailhan nako na expats diri nga naa sila’y trabaho or mangita gyud sila’g work. So feel nako dapat pod naa ko’y trabaho. Nagkalisod-lisod mi’g pangita sa mag-alaga kang Rasha; 2 years old si Rasha pag-abot namo. Diri sya nag-2. Naa man daghan gusto mag-alaga sa iya pero lisod magsalig. Naa to daycare sa school na akong gi-trabahoan, so didto na lang nako gi-dala si Rasha. Pero lisod kaayo uy! Mura ba’g niadto ko’g gyera! Hahaha! Naka-ingon gyud akong bana, ‘Ngano’ng nataranta ka? dili man working visa ang imong visa diri?’  Pero na-influence lagi ko…”

 

Katapusan sa unang bahin…

(Ikaduhang bahin)

 

Kakuhaan sa kasayuran:

  1. Wikipedia

Ang Pusong Pilipino

Dear Kuya E,

Kumusta? Ang tagal na rin nating walang balitaan, siguro mahigit 21 taon na! Napasulat nga pala ako sa iyo kasi na-alala ko kayo nila Ate I, Ate M at ang kasintahan ni Ate M na nagturo sa atin noon sa may Kalayaan. (Hindi ko na ma-alala ang pangalan niya, pero ang alam ko may pilay siya dahil sa polio. Huli kong balita, na-MIA siya ilang taon na ang nakalipas…)

Ang totoo niyan, na-alala ko kayong lahat dahil sa halalan ngayong taong ito. Napaisip ulit ako tungkol sa mga natutunan nating lecture noon, lalo na yung may kinalaman sa panahon ni Marcos. Paano ba naman, eh nitong nakalipas na mga taon, unti-unti na ulit silang naglabasan sa mga lungga nila at nangangahas na muling sumali sa buhay pulitika sa Pilipinas. Hindi na sila nahiya!

Nasa Madrid ako noong tumakbo (at nanalo) bilang district representative sa Ilocos Norte si Imelda. Napatawa lang ako. Pero tawang inis iyon. May nabasa pa nga akong interbyu niya sa Philippine Daily Inquirer kung saan sinabi niyang naghihirap na raw sila ng pamilya niya. Para siyang nakakaloko kasi sa litrato ng interbyu, suut-suot niya ang isang hairclip na tadtad ng dyamante. Nagpapatawa ba siya o sadyang tanga ang pagtingin niya sa mga Pilipinong makakabasa noon?

Pagkatapos niyang manalo, si Imee naman ang tumakbong (at nanalong) Gubernador ng Ilocos Norte. Kinilabutan ako. Seryoso ba sila? at seryoso ba ang mga bumoto sa kanya? Kunsabagay, hindi mo masisisi ang mga Ilocano dahil ang dami ring nakinabang sa kanila noong buhay pa si Macoy. Sa totoo nga niyan eh sandamakmak na Ilocanos ang unang mga Pilipinong nakikilala ko abroad. Dahil daw iyon sa noong dekada sesenta/setenta, pinaburan daw sila ng administrasyon para maka-migrate. Ewan ko lang… (pero nakaka-mangha nga namang ang dami nilang nagkalat sa iba’t-ibang bansa.)

Noong tumakbo (at nanalo) bilang Senador si Bongbong, hindi na ako natawa. Hindi na rin ako nainis. Namanhid na lang ako at napatanong, “Bakit?”.

O sige, naandoon na tayo sa “past is past” kasi nga ang pusong Pilipino ay hindi nakaugaliang magtanim at mag-ipon ng galit. Ang magandang asal na itinuro sa atin mula pagkabata ay ang magpatawad nang bukal sa ating kalooban. Tanggap ko namang maaaring napatawad na ng ilang mga Pilipino ang Pamilyang Marcos. Subalit, hindi sila kailanman humingi ng tawad. Hindi sila kailanman umamin sa kahit na anong karumal-dumal na karahasan at napakalaking pangungurakot nila noon. Ang daming namatay, nawala, nakulong, na-torture at mga hindi pa matagpuan hanggang ngayon… Wala naman daw katibayan, at lahat ng paratang laban sa kanila ay naipanalo nila sa korte. Kaya wala raw silang sala, at wala silang dapat ihingi ng tawad. (Batas militar noon, at puro mga militar ang humuhuli at dumadakip sa mga tao. Ngayon, kung si Macoy ang Commander-in-Chief ng hukbo,- na siyang nag-pahayag na pawalang-kabuluhan ang writ of habeas corpus– hindi ba kanyang utos lang din ang sinunod ng mga sundalo niya?)

Pero Kuya, ni hindi man lang sila umaming winaldas nila ang kaban ng bayan! Bagkus tuwing natatanong si Imelda, akala mo may utang pa ang Pilipinas sa kanila dahil nga frozen pa rin ang mga kwenta nila sa bangko. Tuwing lumalabas sa telebisyon iyang aleng iyan, laging nagpapa-awa. Para bagang nananawagan siya upang kahabagan naman sila dahil hindi naman sila karapat-dapat parusahan…

Alam mo, hanga ako sa ating mga Pilipino at sa kakayanan nating manatiling matatag matapos ang anumang hirap o sakuna. Pagkatapos ng madilim na bahagi ng kasaysayan nating noong martial law, taas-noo tayong bumangon at nagpatuloy. Ngunit, bakit ang dali nating makalimot? Bakit walang takot na ibinabalik ng taumbayan sa matataas na kinatatayuan ang mga dating nang-api sa kapwa nila?

Nabasa mo ba iyong talumpati ni Binibining JoAnn Maglipon? Baka may tama sa sinabi niyang dapat pala ay mas marami pang naisulat at naibahagi ang mga nakaligtas sa kamatayan (o sa paglalaho) noong may batas militar pa.

Alam mo ba ang laging sinasabi ng asawa ko? (Oo Kuya, may asawa’t anak na ako. Sana makilala mo rin sila.) Sabi niya, ang kasaysayan daw ay sinusulat ng mga panig na nagwagi. Kaya napapatanong ako, bakit walang masyadong nailalathala patungkol sa pagwawagi ng demokrasya laban sa tirania? Tsk! ang tanging naisip ko lang, palibhasa para sa mga “nanalo” noon, hindi pa rin tapos ang laban. Marahil abala pa rin sila sa pakikibaka kaya wala munang panahon para magkwento…

Kahit ang mga ka-henerasyon natin ay hindi diretsahang nakaranas ng kalupitan ng mga Marcos, ang daming mga saksi na maaaring makausap; at maunti man, mayroon din namang mga naihayag na patotoo tungkol doon. Sabi nga rin pala ni Bb. Maglipon, hindi pa rin daw… Kuya, ika-copy paste ko na lang. Baka maiyak ako sa pagsasalin:

As it is, our schools do not have the literature that could spell out how things really were. As it is, we are not a reading nation. As it is, we are not a remembering people. As it is, our mental understanding of the past is not profound, let alone our emotional connection to it. And as it is, we know the highlights of our country’s history, but we know little of the basics if patriotism.”

Sana kuya, ang pusong Pilipino ay gamitin naman natin sa pagmamahal sa kapwa natin Pilipino: upang igalang ang sakit na dinanas ng mga na-api, bigyang-dangal ang mga nagbuwis ng kanilang buhay para makamit ang kalayaang tinatamasa natin ngayon at upang huwag na muling hayaang maulit ang pang-aapi. Ang bilis nating mag-tanggol sa “pang-aagaw” ng korona sa timpalak ng pagandahan…! Sana ganyan tayo katapang sa lahat ng uri ng pang-aapi. Sa ganyang paraan lamang natin tunay na matututunang mahalin ang ating bayan. Kahit ito na muna ang gawin nating unang hakbang; kapag narating na natin ito, saka naman natin pag-usapan kung paano natin maibabalik sa Pilipinas ang hilig sa pagbabasa…

Kuya, hanggang dito na lamang. Maraming salamat sa pakikinig mo. Sana masaya ka, at mag-iingat ka palagi.

Nagmamahal,

KM

 

Sources:

  1. “I knew Marcos, the dictator”, by JoAnn Maglipon, available at: http://www.pep.ph/electionwatch2016/news/210/i-knew-marcos-the-dictator#ede6VUl9Doqholts.99