June 17, 2005

Rated PG

It was Tina who started it all. If it wasn't for her, this wouldn't have happened in the first place. But perhaps what they say is true that, "Necessity is the mother of inventions." And it was necessary to brand this loathesome person as such if we want to discuss her underdealings without fear of retribution. I know it's shallow but boredom does strange things to people.

This person in mind is what people would call "PG" or "patay-gutom." She is our office secretary (let's call her Pat), an ugly, middle-aged malcontent who has taken root in our department since time immemorial. When God gave out smiles during creation, obviously she missed out during the distribution. She always sport that patent frown where her bucktooth is already protruding from her lips. Imagine her drooling. And Tina added that her new haircut was a terrible throwback to the Tina Turner of the 80s that she quipped that she must have been mistaken for a transvestite one time or another. Even her sly voice grates in our ears. I loathe her. We all do.

Perhaps this animosity for someone who should be our ally is unfounded. But from experience, she has proven to be a veritable caricature: a villain you would hate the most.

Why do we hate her? Let me count the ways...
1. Eating our share in the food canister every lunchtime.
All residents and interns have a food ration that's placed inside this 3-story Indian-style , detachable steel container for every lunch and dinner. And the ration is quite meager, like one chicken drumstick for one person. And other personnel like Pat is never included in the head count, hence, she doesn't have the right to swim in our food. The residents tolerate her because she was already secretary before their tenure, and with that, they turn a blind eye. And with that, she eats with impunity.

Well, if the food's a little late, she's the one to remind us that her intestinal anacondas are hankering for some chow. She's the first to shout at nobody in particular that she's hungry already insinuating that we have to fetch the canister. Sometimes, she would blatantly ask us to get the lunch food by saying, "Huy, kunin niyo na ang lunch. Alas-dose na." And when the food arrives, she's the first to dig in without inviting anyone to partake with her. And sometimes, the interns are left with only a piece or two of the viand. Ah, the injustice of it. Sigh.

2. Diverting the buffet food for her brood.
Frequently, medreps would treat the doctors in a certain department to a catered buffet in the hope of presenting a new product or reiterate the efficacy of their drug. And most of the time, the food is more than enough. So, sometimes if there are any leftovers, we would save it for dinnertime. But one some occasions, the food (after the presentation) is swept clean by some uknown force and we would attribute this to hungry late-comers.

But one time, a co-intern's observation has shed light on why the leftovers have left the coop. The reason? Pat took them all and placed them in large cellophane bags- the ones carinderias use to sell viands. And it's for a fact that those didn't end up in our office thereafter. Where they ended up is still a mystery to us all.

3. Being the most inept secretary.
We have three printers in our office that gets broken every month or so. At first, we used a photocopier-printer hybrid to print our census each morning. Two weeks after, the printer bogged down. Pat complained that it was because our endless usage, which we partially admit it is, since it's part of the job description. She forbade us to use it without even trying to find out what's wrong with it. She didn't call in the repairman to have it checked. My co-intern soon found out what the problem is: a pin in the printer feed has been gagging up the paper flow. My friend fixed it quickly and the next morning, Pat was happily surprised that the machine is now working.

Now, we are relegated to use the dot-matrix for our census. It takes an hour to print them all and due to continuous usage, the ribbon has been exhausted. And Pat who is already aware of this problem (since we pointed it out to her a week ago) hasn't lifted her fat ass to either exchange the ribbon or at least, rewind it. As of now, the ribbon has tears in the middle due to extensive printing on the same segment and if it were not for the stacked carbon papers, our census could be like the "Emperor's New Clothes" wherein there are just printer indentations without the ink. Sometimes, I'd like to slam the machine into her mouth in the hope of restoring her face or better yet, insert her face into the printer just to make a point about the ink.

Wait, gotta make the census pa.

June 16, 2005

Thanks to PinoyBlog

Thanks to http://www.pinoyblog.com/ for choosing this site as the Blog of the Week. Gad, I can feel my ears clapping!! It would be hypocritical on my part if I said, "Shucks! It wuz nuth'n!" But really, it cockles the heart and sends a wide smile to any blogista who has been chosen for the weekly spot. It's that euphoric bliss (even if it's just a 2-minute orgasmic ecstacy) one feels just like when he or she sees his or her name listed in the Inquirer as being one of have passed the Med Boards.

Heheheh... anyway, ego-gloating aside, I'd like to extend my warm gratitude and sincerest thanks to Yuga, Ate Sassy and all the people who make PinoyBlog a very viable and vibrant online community. Though we come from different backgrounds, creeds and point of views, we continue to keep in contact with one another- through emails, blog updates, blog greetings, tagboards and comments- all with an open mind to learn something new. And this strengthens the community further more. I just hope that this endeavor shall not be a victim of our "ningas cogon" mentality, but rather, a steadily progressing venture.

More power to PinoyBlog!

June 13, 2005

To Read or Not To Read

To Read...

Everytime when I linger at the book section of National Bookstore, I see droves of people inhabiting the aisles of novels and magazines. Some would squat down with heads buried in a tome or would scan stealthily pre-wrapped books in a hidden corner or would just solidly stand at the aisle reading the latest novel of a who's-who author oblivious to the congested alleyway he or she has created. Many go for the humor section where they can read "Pugad Baboy" or to the Spiritual section where they read books like "A Purpose Driven Life", or to the magazine section reading Time or FHM. Although only a handful of Filipinos go for avant-garde non-mass produced books (by publishers such as Random House and Modern Library or the classics, it's still heartening to note that many still thirst for the written word. In a country where senseless soap operas, stupid sitcoms and demeaning noon-time shows are the staple of the literate (and illiterate) masses, it has come to the point that books are fast becoming an endangered specie. For Filipinos, they would rather spend an afternoon oggling in front of the boob tube for Korean telenovelas than to relax and read a good novel about the Korean war.

Speaking of novels, why is it that Filipinos have a narrow sense of reading preference? It seems that we're stucked in reading mass-produced novels and non-fictions like Mitch Albom's "Five People You Will Meet In Heaven", or "Tuesdays With Morrie" where diabetic sweetness is the dictum of the day. Also, we tend to gravitate to spiritually uplifting materials be it a novel like Cuelho's "The Alchemist" or the non-fiction "Chicken Soup for A Hooker's Soul." And if you ask anyone or any celebrity at that, their choices are the same albeit in varying degrees of sappiness and we the proletariat tend to lap it up.

Take a look at all those Friendster profiles! Many place "The Alchemist" as their most favorite book as if it's the only book published that year. And it's the only book they'll place (insinuating that's the only fiction they ever read.) I mean that's all? One measly book just so people will say that you're interesting or witty.

Why do literate people venture not into other genres or lesser known titles such as Kazuo Ishiguro's Pulitzer prize-winning Remains of the Day? Why is it that the only novels that keep popping up in people's shelves are by Anne Rice, Dan Brown, Robert Ludlum, Mary Higgens Clark, Michael Crichton, Daniel Steele, etc. whereby though they are hugely popular, they have yet to earn a Pulitzer or any prize in the literary field? I don't demean them, but shouldn't we seek those works that were highly praised (and prized) by critics for their merits like those that have won the Palanca awards or the Pulitzer's? Why should we let ourselves stagnate in the pool of the mass-produced? Because... it would be immensely sad that if we shall reach a ripe age of 78 and your grandchild will ask what your most favorite book is, your ready answer would still be "The Alchemist."

...or Not to Read

It's sad that the country's premier bookstore is half-occupied by school supplies, calculators, gift wrappers, vcds, and novelty items. This, in full light, shows how Filipinos define a bookstore. Go to stores like Borders, Barnes&Noble or Brentano's in the US and they'll show you what a real bookstore should look like: 3-4 floors of books. Nothing but books.

Since we are race whose preferential mode of learning is via the television and live audiovisual entertainment just as our pre-Hispanic forefathers like the Igorots pass down their tales orally, reading then becomes the lame duck alternative that only a diligent few can relate with. Thus, it is not good for one's business (and one's own business sense) to stock every corner with works of Socrates, Dickens and Ludlum because if the majority would rather watch and listen to the shenanigans of Ethel Booba or the wailing of Kris Aquino instead of buying books from the shelves, then it is not only unprofitable to stick it in the mud but more importantly, it's very Quixotic. This is why National or Goodwill thought of the need for other materials to sell(school supplies, pens, cds, vcds, cards, giftwrappers, albums, Christmas decors, etc.) in order cover their overhead expenses. And this reflects the fact that the only way for a bookstore to flourish in this hell-hole of a nation is to "diversify" its contents even if it means sacrificing half the floorspace to non-literary items. Tsk... Tsk...

And hence, National bookstore, the unofficial barometer of our functional literacy, has shown how the Filipino race is not inclined to read. This shows why we tend to repeat history again and again and again- never learning its lessons. This explains why we are such in a whole lot of mess because the minds of our leaders are full of corrupted kamote instead of enlightened wisdom.

Book recommendations:
1. to GMA: The Purpose Driven Life (because for the past 5 years, her administration has showed no purpose or direction whatsoever...) & Orwell's Animal Farm (because little by little, she has shown herself to be like the PIGS in the story wherein they enslaved and oppressed the masses bit by bit...)

2. to Bayani Fernando: Sun Tzu's Art of War (because his stint at MMDA shows how primitive and futile his tactics are...)

3. to Kris Aquino & Boy Abubunda: Life of Pi (because I would like to see how those two will survive alone in a raft for seven months in the middle of the Pacific accompanied by a very very hungry 450-lbs Bengal tiger... )