Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lazy Sunday Blog

It's raining strong and hard on this lazy Sunday. I am lazy during Sundays. It's a time to pamper myself with indolence because tomorrow will be another week of deadlines, meetings and travels. I always love lazing around and I really love the rain. What a great treat to have both today.

As I looked outside my window, I asked myself why I always love the rain. Maybe because I always associate my happy childhood with the rain. Oh how I love to bathe and play in the rain with my friends. When I grew older, the rain was the best reason to stay at home and be lost in a good book or be transported to another world in a good movie or be in touched with myself as I update my journal.

As I looked outside my window, I asked myself where is this blog leading? What do I really want to write? Do I have the time or talent to keep this going? Will this be just a venue for me to vent my unexpressed emotions or a venue to share hope and happiness?

Last night I browsed through my personal journal. I can hardly believe that I was the one who wrote it. I cannot believe why I can write with sense yet just managed to produce "a second rate, trying hard, copy cat" blog. Maybe because I pour my heart out in my journal while I sift my words in my blog.

The rain has made me rethink about blogging. Maybe when it stops, I will know the answer. Meantime, I will have to indulge in a hearty meal at my favorite Thai restaurant.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sandal Scandal

I just want to share this experience I had several years ago, when i first visited Singapore. I actually delivered this as one of my speech projects in Toastmasters International some years back.

I was going to Singapore for a very short vacation!

Visiting this country for the first time really excited me. I couldn't wait to see the famous places that Singapore is known for. I really took time in preparing the clothes and footwear I would be needing in anticipation of the hectic itinerary of tours and shopping. I even had a checklist to make sure I won’t miss a detail. I was so prepared!

On the day of departure, everything went smoothly. I got to the airport early. Check-in counter was not busy and I breezed through immigration. Perfect. Then I waited for my flight at the lounge.

When the boarding call came, I immediately stood up but a strange sound came from my right sandals. I looked down and saw the sole of my sandal widely smiling at me! I pretended that nothing happened. Concealed behind my calm composure was my turbulent mind searching for solutions: mighty bond, epoxy, masking tape, bubble gum, band aid ... anything to keep my sandal intact. But where? I asked from several people: customer service clerk, janitor, utility man, store clerk, security personnel and even some passengers. No luck!

The final call for boarding made my heart beat faster. I thought of just following a TV commercial - simply peel off the soles and walk away in style. When I examined the other sandal, the sole would not budge a bit. I had to choose: peel the sole and walk with a two-inch limp or take a chance on my smiling sole and pray that what the shoe man put together let no step put asunder. Reluctantly, I boarded the plane in my most unusual gait – half dragging my beleaguered sandal, half walking with flair trying to pretend that there was no problem.

The sole of my sandal dutifully hanged-on in each of the 167 steps I needed to get to my seat. The plane took off. Food and drinks were then served but I had no appetite. I watched a movie but I could not focus on the story. I listened to the music but the melody gave me a disturbing sense of false security and peace. I checked the Newspaper but the creepy headlines were too much to add to my creeping state of panic. I flipped through the Lifestyle Section and I almost flipped when I saw different kinds of sandals being featured. Sandals, sandals everywhere but not one pair to wear! I closed my eyes and tried to sleep.

Hours later, I was already walking in the terminal when someone tapped my shoulder. “Excuse me miss, you left the sole of your sandal behind.” In horror, I still managed to answer proudly, "I beg your pardon, that is not mine!" Then I walked away as fast as I could but a security personnel chased me and said “You will be fined 500 dollars for littering in this country.” At that instant I felt a light tap on my shoulderand a melodious voice saying “Excuse me, ma’am, please straighten up your seat. We shall be landing shortly.” I was very glad I was roused from that bad dream before I could pay the fine!

When the plane touched down, I knew my ordeal has resumed. As I stood and started to deplane, I was consumed with fear and anxiety of that bad dream turning into a reality. As I emerged from the tube, I was greeted by a mile long corridor leading to, I'm sure, another long stretched labyrinth of more passages. But seeing the mobile walkways, I almost shouted Halleluiah! At that moment, I really thanked God for the lazy people who inspired the wonderful invention of mobile walkways. Standing poised as I rode to the exit, I suddenly remembered I had spare sandals in my checked-in luggage.

After the brief immigration check, I rushed to claim my luggage. I never realized that the happiest reunion in my entire life would be with a pair of sandals!

The vacation went well as I expected. I had a great time. I experienced so many memorable moments in Singapore but my sandal scandal was the most unforgettable of all. Both my smiling sandal and I survived it all.
The sandals in the picture were not the ones I wore during the trip

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Page for Francis Casey "Niño" Alcantara

It was one of those long wait at the airport due to a delayed flight that I happen to meet this lady who made me cry because of her touching story.

Her name is Sandra, a young widow and mother of three boys all playing tennis. She was going to watch her eldest son play in a tournament that will start 2 hours before our delayed flight will arrive.

She had so many touching stories: How her husband died, how they coped with the sudden death and how she raised her sons alone and continued their passion for tennis. But the most moving story she told was about her eldest son.

His name is Francis Casey or Niño, as he is fondly called. He is 17 years old. He started playing tennis at the age of five. When he was about six, he went to play in a junior tournament for children his age. It was a real good fight but he lost. It was a bitter defeat too hard to take for a boy in his tender years. He hid under a table and cried for two hours, inconsolable. When finally he was done crying, he came out from under the table and firmly said to his father: "Let's go, Dad. I need to practice now. I promise, he will never defeat me again."

That was his turning point and true to his words, he kept on winning against his opponents, including that boy who beat him, and he became the number 1 tennis player in Asia and number 20 in the world for the Junior Division. He won a grand slam in Tennis Doubles and still counting. I will not be surprised if he becomes a world champion in the future.

I never met him nor read about him, until now, because I hardly read about tennis. But his story of how he rose to become a champion through perseverance is truly inspiring.
The picture I posted was just downloaded from the blog of Herfifani at wordpress through google with the website:

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Unedited Thoughts

I am so relieved that finally it's Saturday.

The previous weeks were so hectic and I don't even have the right to feel sick. There were days that I have to drag myself out of bed even when my body was screaming for more sleep. There were days that I feel sick and tired of packing and unpacking, taking very early morning or late evening flights. Due to my different destinations every week, I even reached the point that I have to look at my boarding pass to check which flight I am taking, every time the announcement for boarding was called. My flights are short but the waiting time and preparation are still the same. The packing of clothes, trips to the airport, check-in counter rituals of falling in line, removing shoes, passing the x-ray, going to the lounge, waiting and praying that the flight is on time.

In times when I am in my office, the experience is neither relaxing. Meetings, instant deliverables, urgent requirement, spur-of-the moment business reviews with the GM and more demanding meetings until the evening...not pleasant.

I am starting to feel like a zombie. I am feeling like a slave.

I have to stop myself and re-examine my thoughts. Why am I so negative now? Why all these ramblings and complains? Do I love my job? Am I still made for this? Is this career still made for me? Is this the only career that I can have?

Looking at the people on the streets or the images flashed on the news about recession, jobless executives giving up their usual lifestyles, poor families not knowing where to get their next meal, war-stricken countries where peace has to be paid with lives...they are enough to wake me up and bring me back to my senses. Looking back at my ordeal last year when I was emotionally battered by the people reporting to me, I can say that physical exhaustion is better because all I need to do is rest.

In our recently concluded Sales and Marketing Conference, the fruits of my labor were highlighted. From my team came the best and the most number of achievers and we had the best sales performance in the company. It was more than enough to erase my fatigue away.

The other day, despite the natural high I felt from my team's accomplishments, I wasn't feeling well. I really had to listen to my body this time. I slept whole day and night. When I woke up, I was a new person. I reported back to the office feeling great. Maybe because I was able to regain some of my lost sleep or maybe because I realized I am very blessed or maybe because it's a Friday. I don't know. All I know is that I have very simple joys. It's Saturday again and I will have my most needed rest.