Thursday, September 29, 2005


If I was dismayed by how my fellow Ateneo alumni conducted themselves during last week's Ateneo-La Salle game, today I was downright disgusted by what I saw at the end of Game 1 of the Finals between FEU and La Salle. After the last buzzer sounded (FEU won, hooray!) and as the players were walking off the court, Joseph Yeo (known for both his skill at shooting, and shooting off at the mouth) seemed to be saying something to hero-of-the-game Arwind Santos. Then a La Salle team manager, some guy in his fifties, came between the 2 players, apparently to separate them before any trouble happened. But then as he was herding Yeo away, the manager hit Santos behind the head! I was so shocked, I thought I had imagined it. The commentators were so shocked, they were sputtering into their headsets. When they showed the replay, I couldn't help it, I spit out a cuss word in Chinese (you know I'm mad when I run out of English words). What a low blow!! Pare, ang tanda mo na para pumatol sa bata. And what an excellent example you're setting for your players, and for your children, if you have any.

If La Salle has any moral backbone, they should ban that thug from their bench forever. My respect for them is always begrudging, but if they get rid of their manager I'd be the first to say Animo La Salle.

Published with permission from the poet

I've been having trouble uploading my pix from Intrams, so in the meantime I decided to post this poem written by one of my Cyrenz students, Jo Tong. I am continually blown away by this girl's brilliant writing talent. So allow me this indulgence of acting like a proud parent posting their kids' artwork on the fridge door (and of bragging to the world that I was once this girl's English teacher... but trust me, she was brilliant even before I taught her anything).

Pop Culture and the Way of the World
Joanne Raissa (Ra-ee-sa, mind you) Tong

We live in a self-help nation
That subsists on Chicken Soup for the Soul
And books that teach us about Being Happy,
Making Friends, and playing by The Rules

Headlines blare
Fad diets here
(Listen to the sound of the Atkins and South Beach Revolution)
UFO sightings there
Celebrity-starved people everywhere
(Petitions for restraining orders, too)

To dream is to die
Equivocation is communication
The distinction between tabloid and truth is irrelevant
(Note to self: guilty as charged!)
No means yes
And yet a kiss is now really “just a kiss”
Holding no promise of a future
And the world will not always welcome love, contrary to the song

Reel and real collide
Navel-baring nymphets sell empty promises
A mirror of sad reality
Sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll
Sex, lies, and videotape
Sex, sex, and actually…just sex

Man goes to work by putting a noose around his neck
(concept borrowed from an email forward)
Places junk food wrappers in a glass case and calls it fine art
Tries his best to be radical and stand out
Thus making the left the new center
Surrounds himself with contacts but remains alone
Pays a shrink to pour his heart out to
Since no one else is willing to stop talking and listen
And at the end of the day, is left with himself
A gaping void

This is the age of (quote unquote) reality TV, conspiracy theories
Diagnoses, neuroses
Philias, phobias, fetishes
Where “bling bling” is an actual entry in the Webster dictionary
Materialism is king
(Would that make Madonna its queen? Nah, she’s in her American Life-critic incarnation at the moment.)
Equality and tolerance abound…nuclear weapons, too
(To avoid obliteration, suck up to Mr. “Either-you’re-for-us-or-against-us” and his world of black and white)

Corporate greed and the me-first mentality
Fads come and go while addictions grow
Ageism is the new prejudice
You’re only as beautiful as your plastic surgeon can make you

It’s a wired, wired world out there
No, in here
Cell phones and laptops are human appendages
Fifth limbs, if you will
Disconnection is amputation
Digital delays, digital domains
Non-living viruses = the new pandemics
The 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not hack.

Can this be our Shangri-La?
More like a prison of our own making
We have never been freer or more trapped
Enslaved by the same social evils our predecessors faced
Foolishly duped by their new disguises
(But what of politics? Economics?... Don’t get me started.)
“Progress” blinds us to moral degradation

You try to make your voice heard
You scream
Only to be engulfed by the crowd

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

NOT the Ateneo way

For someone who cringes whenever she sees people with their kids in tow entering a movie theater, I actually find it cute when overzealous Ateneans bring their kids to UAAP games (especially the ones who dress up their clueless toddlers in miniature Ateneo jerseys). There's something endearing about their wanting to involve their children in something they are so ardent about. At the last Ateneo-La Salle game, I was sitting beside a mom with her daughter (who looked to be about 6), both of whom had obviously been dragged to Araneta by the Atenean husband/father seated in front of us (they had arrived late and couldn't find seats together). In between Halikinus, I had to smile as I heard the mom cueing her little girl to clap and cheer and wave her "One Big Fight" sign, and patiently explaining afterward what Daddy's team had just done (never mind that Daddy's team blew a halftime lead and eventually got severely whupped by the evil Archers :p).

Maybe it was because it was the first time I'd sat next to a kid during a game, but I realized that day that UAAP games aren't the ideal venue to bring children to. 2 seats away from me (3 from the 6-year-old girl), a man was heartily bellowing f--- yous and P.I.s throughout the entire game. Now I'm pretty tolerant of intermittent swearing and indulge in it myself occasionally, but that time I was sorely tempted to lean over and tell the guy to put a sock in it. Not just because there were kids around, but also because even I did not want to listen to profanities being shouted in my ear every ten seconds. I couldn't help thinking, is this the product of quality Jesuit education? Crass, foul-mouthed men who eloquently express themselves by giving the La Salle gallery the finger?

I suppose one can always use the defense of getting caught up in the heat of the moment and being swept away in a tide of surging Atenean fervor. But come on, it's only basketball, not life or death! Surely much more important matters deserve such intense passion. How's about a little perspective? Take the gungho alumnus a few rows in front of us who was yelling at the Ateneo bench below, directing his ire towards everyone's favorite player, Badjie del Rosario. A few seats away from the heckler, a woman was screaming at him to shut up and quit picking on Badjie. She was so livid she was near tears (which led me to suspect she must have been Badjie's mom), and her companions had to restrain her from lunging at the verbally abusive guy, who was ignoring her and continuing to bawl at Badjie. Now, I'm no del Rosario fan (I plead guilty to groaning every time the coach puts him in the game), but in that instance I sympathized with the woman and felt sorry for Badjie. After all, he's just a kid-- emphasis on kid, as Sir Tirol said-- who plays ball for the honor of his school, not some pro athlete who does it for a bloated salary. He does the best he can (though his best is still unimpressive), so we should cut him some slack. If it were my little brother on that court playing his heart out yet committing turnover after turnover, I wouldn't want anyone to be hurling curses or insults at him. And if I were a parent, I wouldn't want my kid to be within earshot of anyone hurling curses or insults at other people's kids.

Sadly, when some Ateneans go down from the hill, they sink low.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Where did the weekend go?

It's Monday, but I don't feel the recuperative effects of the previous weekend, simply because my weekend sched looked like this:

Saturday morning - got up at freakin' 5:30 to have breakfast with Kat, Margaux, Elyse and Maddy at Coffee Bean Promenade (not Podium, Maddy :p) before going to ICA to watch the Intrams and cheer on my beloved Fyrinx (make way, make way...)
Saturday noon - had a good ol' Anna's Catering lunch with AP-Annex (no other fried rice in the world like it!)
Saturday afternoon- watched more Intrams action (the Fyrinx won both their games, woohoo!), took loads of pix with students (felt like a celebrity, haha), then went to Arlington for Irizze's dad's wake (felt my poor battered teacher's heart break once again)
Saturday evening - from Arlington, proceeded to Heaven n' Eggs Tomas Morato and had dinner with some of my Openness babies (abused our stomachs by eating too much and laughing too hard)

Sunday morning - went to the Araneta Center early with Kevin to find parking at Gateway and good seats in the Coliseum for the Ateneo-La Salle game (my cousin and I share the same fierce school spirit and are both suckers for setting ourselves up for disappointment)
Sunday afternoon - watched the Blue Eagles get their asses handed to them a third time this season by the Green Archers (you'd think I'd be used to it by now, but damn it still hurt), then went to the Assumption Bazaar at the Intercontinental Hotel with my sister and our folks (nursed my bruised Atenean ego with three new tees and a pair of shorts)
Sunday evening - had a family dinner at Cafe Puccini at the Fort, followed by coffee at UCC (no week goes by without the Lims making an appearance at a UCC branch)

The weekend totally wore me out with its emotional highs and lows, but it was also one of the most memorable weekends I've had in a long while. Stand by for my next post featuring my thoughts on the Ateneo-La Salle game and pix from the Intrams. For now, lunch break is over and this zombie has to go back to work (i.e. feigning productivity).

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

No fair!

Life isn't fair. I established this with a reasonable amount of certainty back during my angst-ridden college days. Anytime I'd catch myself whining "it isn't fair" I'd remind myself, life isn't fair, so shut up and deal with it. This attitude has served me well for many years now and has seen me through many personal/existential crises. However, it still doesn't cushion the initial blow of being dealt a severe injustice, or being treated in a blatantly unfair manner. And when that happens I still feel my face heating up from suppressed outrage, and I have to vent and spew my fury at the closest sounding board I can find.

Unfortunately I am now in a line of work where injustice and unfair treatment are a way of life, and there's very little I can do to combat it. At least when I was still a teacher, I could always play the morality card and invoke ethics and values (not that I won all my moral/ethical battles-- indeed I learned that principles can be flimsy weapons against bureaucracy and politics). But now that I'm an entrepreneur, even the most basic morals are rendered worthless and I am left with nothing but my wrath and murderous visions of blowing up certain corporate offices of oppressive business bigshots. I can take emerging from the battlefield bloodied, but I don't like coming out of it without even being given a chance to fight the good fight. If I go down, I want to go down kicking and screaming; when I joined the business world, I had to forfeit my kicking and screaming rights, since I don't want to risk jeopardizing all that my parents have built from the ground up.

I still love what I'm doing now, but I do wish I could raise more hell in this job. It's frustrating to be bullied by unscrupulous individuals who just won't give you your due. It's maddening to be belittled, bypassed and snubbed despite all the hard work and solid results you've delivered. It's infuriating to see less deserving parties reap the rewards while you bust your butt but still get the short end of the stick. It's just not fair.

But like I said. Life isn't fair. Deal with it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


"For there is nothing heavier than compas­sion. Not even one's own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the im­agination and prolonged by a hundred echoes." -The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I always remember this passage from Milan Kundera when I hear of the death of a loved one of a person I care about. The truth of Kundera's words takes on even more significance when a student's parent or sibling passes away. The tragedy of someone so young losing such an important part of her life weighs heavily on me, especially knowing that there is very little I can do to ease the pain. I love my students so much that it kills me when even the most trivial negative thing happens to them, so when one of them loses a family member, I struggle with the overwhelming urge to cry in sympathy and the ever-consuming obligation to be strong for them... not that there seems to be any need for the latter. My students always amaze me by displaying an emotional stability in the face of their loss that I don't think I'd be capable of maintaining if I lost a loved one. In a way, it makes me even more emotional: I feel so proud that they are dealing with it so maturely, but I also feel sad that they were forced to grow up so abruptly. I can only hope that beneath the strong exterior, they are having an easier time coming to terms with it than I am.

Monday, September 19, 2005

More winners and losers

Winner: the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, for coming in 1st in the UAAP Cheering Competition for the 4th year in a row. They weren’t as outstanding as last year (UP was 2nd by a very slim 0.20 margin), but they were still pretty amazing. My sister takes solace in her school’s excellence in cheering, since they haven’t excelled in basketball since our dad was team manager 8 years ago. :p

Loser: the Ateneo cheerdancers, for dropping to 7th place from last year’s respectable 4th, with a lame, boring routine that in my opinion should have come in last. At least NU looked like they were trying to be creative.

Winner: Cinderella Man, which has Oscar written all over it for Ron Howard and his knockout cast (Russell and Renee delivered solid performances, but it was Paul Giamatti’s acting range that surprised and impressed me). Compared to other Oscar-nominated movies about boxing (Million Dollar Baby, Ali and The Hurricane), this one takes the heavyweight title in entertainment value and emotional appeal.

Loser: the guy sitting two seats away from me in the movie theater, for refusing to shut his trap throughout the entire film. I don’t know, maybe he wanted to sound intelligent, or his wife was really, really stupid, because he insisted on explaining each plot point to her like she was a 5-year-old. The only thing worse would have been if they had brought a noisy 5-year-old with them.

Winner: me, for bagging one of two cordless phones (with built-in radio and alarm clock!) during our annual Go cousins’ mooncake dice game (Kevin won the other one just one turn before me, haha). And my mom’s even letting me install the phone in my room. The funny thing is, this prize is 10 years late: during my high school years I would have loved to have my own phone, but now my telebabad days are pretty much history, save for the occasional marathon phone conversation with Maddy. ;)

Loser: UE, for failing to overcome La Salle in their rematch yesterday. We were counting on them to clean up our mess, but apparently we left them with more than they could handle. So now we are losers together, and we are also forced to play each other to determine 3rd place this Thursday. Really, does anyone still care whether we go up against FEU or DLSU? Either way, we're dead meat.

Winner: La Salle, for nabbing 2nd place in team standings, thereby securing a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four. Even the most diehard Atenean has to concede (albeit grudgingly) that the Archers earned it in convincing fashion. FEU should be mighty concerned.

Loser: the first ever ACET essay questions, simply for being downright ridiculous. I mean, yeah, I see the point of adding an essay portion to test how students write under pressure (and as a safeguard against plagiarized application essays, hah). But if the topics are as broad and vague as the usefulness of computers and the effects of children living apart from their parents, then it’s just making a big joke out of the ACET. That, and punishing the faculty volunteers who actually have to read the answers to those stupid questions. Enjoy, Sir Tirol. ;p

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Girls' night out

After a lo-ooong day of visiting our outlets in the South (Dasmarinas, Alabang, Sucat, Fort Bonifacio and Makati) and getting stuck in horrendous traffic for a coupld of solid hours (the gloomy weather didn't help), it was a terrific relief to get back to Greenhills and spend an evening with AP-Annex. Dinner and dessert at Jack's Loft was a great way to help me forget my fatigue. We ran into some Fyrinx (Brock and company) celebrating Daryl's birthday, and they were sweet enough to send over a slice of Momma D's cake for Ms. Cua, who is celebrating her own birthday today. Happy Birthday Margaux!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Today's winners and losers

Winner: Fil-Aussie MiG Ayesa, for surviving his first and last bottom-three week on Rock Star INXS, and for moving on to the finale next week. Good luck in your showdown with J.D. and Marty (you're going to need it, mate, because Pinoy texting power can't save you anymore).

Loser: Ateneo, not just for getting trounced by La Salle a second embarrassing time this season, but for scoring 9 paltry points in the 4th quarter. That's hardly what I'd call one big fight, you guys. Let's hope UE shows more spirit this Sunday, or this season's as good as over for the Eagles.

Winner: La Salle, for making us look like losers... and that's no easy feat. :p I suspect those green uniforms are laced with Kryptonite specially formulated to cripple our boys in blue.

Loser: Ryan Arana, for showing the brand of boorish behavior that gives LaSalle a bad name. You deserved more than that technical foul, you jerk.

Winner: Auntie Nene, my mom's best friend, our second mother, and unofficial 6th member of our family, who celebrated her birthday today at the new Hyatt's Market Cafe. This woman has given our family so much and is such a wonderful part of our lives. We love you Auntie Nene!

Loser: Market Cafe, for not living up to expectations and the standards set by Shangri-la Makati's Circles, which I still think has the best buffet in town. The only thing that did not disappoint was Market Cafe's great ice cream selection, especially the banana yogurt. Yum.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

While I was in Cebu...

...Ateneo beat FEU, in what Bud and Kevin's text messages described as an awesome, awesome game. 25 points from L.A. Tenorio, and a monster block on Arwind Santos by Japeth Aguilar. I wish I had seen it, and now I'm beginning to wish I were watching the Ateneo-La Salle game on Thursday. Looks like our boys are back in fighting form.

...Hong Kong Disneyland opened its gates to the paying public. I saw some news footage on TV and I was positively green with envy seeing people line up for Space Mountain. I love theme parks, and I grew up on Disney animation, so knowing that there's a Disneyland an hour-and-a-half flight away makes me giddy with delight. My mom wants to take us there in January but I foresee overbooked flights, hotels with no vacancies and long, looooong lines at each ride. Sigh. brother joined a radio call-in contest, and he SANG on air. The only thing that would prompt my normally staid sibling to voluntarily make a fool out of himself in public: the chance to win the grand prize of a trip for two to New York to watch U2's October 8 concert at Madison Square Garden. Bens worships U2, so when he found out about the contest, he tuned in to 103.5 all morning, waited for the DJ's cue, and pounced on the phone. After several unsuccessful attempts, he was lucky enough to get through as caller number 11. By singing a line from "Sunday, Bloody Sunday," my brother became eligible for the raffle. Second prize is a limited edition U2 iPod, which I know he'd love to have as well. I hope he wins; otherwise, all he'll get for his efforts is me and Hanks snickering every time we hear "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" for the rest of our lives.

...Ms. Sia, my beloved ICA mentor and grand old dame of the English area, was confined in the hospital. The doctors are suspecting gall stones, but they won't find out for sure until they do the ultrasound. I hope it's nothing serious, and that she'll be back on her feet in no time (knowing Ms. Sia, she will be back on her feet in no time, if she has anything to say about it). I can't imagine the English area without its formidable coordinator. Get well soon, Ms. Sia.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Overdue pix and another overnight trip

Today I suddenly remembered that I haven't posted my photos from last week's dinner with my college friends Pia (my dearest Pia Girl), Bangs (my Twin Tower) and Gerry (my Ahia and decoy ;p). I was so busy being sick and tired (literally) this week that it completely slipped my mind. Anyway, better late than never...

Burgoo bonding

The happy couple, Tin and Gerry

Swinging singles

I'm also throwing in a pic of our Go cousins' hotpot lunch at Gloriamaris today, which was followed by a movie (The Brothers Grimm) at the Promenade. The lunch was better than the movie (but I'm not complaining because Matt Damon and Heath Ledger are so yummy).

Now I'm off to Cebu for another attend-the-special-occasion-of-someone-I-barely-know-and-while-we're-there-might-as-well-conduct-store-visits overnighter. Let's just hope I come back healthy this time.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Out with the old

At the office, in an effort to conserve resources, we print our emails and document drafts on the reverse side of old papers. Last week I brought a stack of old photocopied reading material and scrap papers from my college days to the office to be reused. Yesterday, as I was filing some emails, I happened to glance at the back of one sheet and saw with amusement that it was an Ateneo circular about the guidelines for suspension of classes. Then, I saw with considerably less amusement that one guideline stated classes would be cancelled if an order was issued by President Ramos. PRESIDENT RAMOS. He was still President when I was in college. Ack! Can I be that ancient? I certainly don't feel like I've aged that much. Grown up in a lot of aspects, yes, but also younger in so many other ways. Or maybe that's just denial talking. Haha.

On the other hand, sadly, I definitely don't think our country has progressed that much since Ramos' time. One and a half Presidents later, and we're still stuck in an ever-deepening rut of economic, social, and moral degradation. But I don't feel like getting up on my soapbox today so let me just take this chance to give props to three young congressmen who have the balls to go against their party and stand up for their own personal convictions: Ace Barbers, Dudut Jaworski (never thought I'd ever have good things to say about a Jaworski), and of course, Edmund Reyes, who did not in the least bit deserve to be disparaged so shamelessly by Rep. Manuel "Way Kurat" Zamora. And to think I used to admire Zamora for his simple virtue-- where's the virtue in mocking a colleague's heartfelt, solemn speech? Reyes' "is there no one else?" plea showed his character, courage, and passion, and it was one of the finest oratorical moments I've witnessed in Philippine politics (and as my sister said, a scene straight out of a Pacino film, which is high praise coming from her).

* * *
Just want to give a shout-out to the best bunch of teachers I've ever had the privilege of working with, and the pleasure of calling friends, AP-Annex. I hope you had a happy (ICA) Teachers Day and you're all having fun on your retreat... although I doubt it, seeing as how it's a silent retreat and "silent" is probably the last adjective anyone would use to describe any of us... :p

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Overnight ordeal

After several awkward social functions, one exhausting store visit, and a night of tossing and turning on an uncomfortable bed, I came home from Dumaguete with a monster headache, aches and pains in my joints, and a high fever that gave my parents (actually, just my dad, who's the more paranoid of the two) a dengue scare. Fortunately, my temperature never went over 39 degrees Celsius, and it went down the following day, apparently cured by the tried-and-tested home remedy combination of Biogesic, Gatorade, and lugaw. Although I was severely pissed at what Dumaguete had done to me, getting sick did allow me a few luxuries: I got a day off from work (it's easy to apply for sick leave when your bosses are the ones sticking the thermometer in your mouth), I finished reading Kane & Abel by Jeffrey Archer (very entertaining read; I intend to check if my mom's old Betamax tapes of the TV miniseries still work), and I watched Finding Neverland on DVD (Freddie Highmore is truly a boy wonder; he reduces Macauley Culkin, Haley Joel Osment and Jonathan Lipnicki to funny-sounding names).

* * *
This morning I received an invitation from Sir Mike Tan of Ateneo's SOM (School of Management) to panel this sem's final OpMan (Operations Management) defenses. Sir Mike was never my teacher in college but he became a trusty academic adviser and friend because of certain personal connections (he became the boyfriend of one of our barkada, hehe). He knows I love being on the panel for defenses, taking evil pleasure at picking apart papers Management majors slaved over for weeks (or more likely crammed in a few hours the night before), and assaulting the poor fools with absurdly simple, completely unexpected and utterly devastating questions, leaving them dumbfounded, depleted, and in some cases, near tears. Admittedly I grew soft after I became a teacher (too much empathy for students, tsk), but I still relish the idea of demolishing underprepared, overconfident whippersnappers unworthy of being called Ateneans (hmm, I wonder if I'll ever panel for some of my former students, that ought to be loads of fun! :p).

Sadly, I could not accept Sir Mike's invitation, because defense day falls on the same date as ICA's intrams, September 24. And I'd much rather be a Fyrinx fan than a bitchy panelist that day.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

What's in Dumaguete?

Well, I'm going to find out. My mom has to attend a party there on Monday so we're taking a flight to Dumaguete tomorrow morning. Next Saturday she's going to be a sponsor for a wedding in Cebu, and I'm going to tag along as well. I'm just happy that these trips will not coincide with the weekend of the intrams, which I am looking forward to with much excitement. Let's go Fyrinx!!

* * *
This week we had a balikbayan guest from the US in town on vacation, Ahia Michael, one of my dad's former students in table tennis (Pa used to coach ping-pong when he was younger, and he was also a player and coach on our national team, so yes, he was good). I think it mildly depresses him to be reminded of how old he is, seeing that the kid he used to train is now married with a kid of his own. But I can also see a youthful glow of joy and pride on his face when he's around Michael, recounting the good ol' days. It makes me wonder what it would be like 20, 30 years from now when I get together with my students. :)