Saturday, March 31, 2012

and now, to find work ...

and so, daughter and her batch mates had graduated. another fine young crop of highly skilled individuals added to the work force.  problem is, are there enough available jobs for them?  has not the papers shown that in our country many are unemployed or underemployed?  from time to time, as i browsed the internet, i also come across news from other parts of the globe that this problem of lack of jobs is also prevalent in other countries. in most third-world countries.  imagine my surprise when i came across the information that even in the mighty united states this is also happening now!

well, daughter and the rest of the young graduates must be prepared to job hunt.  they are skilled, they are educated.  they have the enthusiasm of youth, the verve, the gung-ho attitude, the wildness even, the hope, the positivity, and the keen sense of excitement to discover Life's other possibilities for them.

this early i am telling my daughter that university or college life is way much different from the work world.  way much different. i cannot elaborate, i cannot explain much. i just wanted her to anticipate that what she experienced as a student will not approximate the challenges of a working person.  of course, she is expected to use the skills she learned in school to hurdle the tests at work once she lands a job.

i remember the time after i graduated.  it was about two weeks after graduation.  i had already submitted a job application and was just waiting for the feedback from the employer.  even in those years, landing a job was very difficult.  i was lying on our sofa tinkering with my guitar trying to experiment on some combination of notes hoping to find a tune that may trigger a song composition.  a car stopped outside.  it was my uncle.  he instructed me to dress up.  he had a sure job for me.  he was bringing me to the factory he was working for.  i hurriedly dressed up and went with him.

it was a big factory.  indeed they were hiring but they needed somebody with some factory experience especially in machinery maintenance. although i am inexperienced, through my uncle's connections, i landed the job. the people at the factory treated me with antagonism and disrespect at the onset.  they knew i was a greenhorn. they knew i got in only because of connections.  so i had a lot of pressure on my shoulders.  i got challenged to prove my worth and also to make my uncle proud. and so inside the factory, i humbled myself, i always kept in mind that although i have a college diploma, still, i should not consider myself above most of the workers who had generally completed secondary education only or high school.  what they lacked in education, they made up by experience.  in my heart i knew they were once greenhorns like me and they also just learned inside the factory.  once again i became a student.  inside the factory i always kept this student frame of mind.  i always looked at every one as a possible mentor. day-by-day, as i interacted, i imbibed new lessons of factory life, of a working man's life.  one day one of the workers approached me and invited me to join them for a drinking joust after work.  right then, i felt i have been accepted.  although i held a supervisory position they knew that i was one of them now.  i spent many happy, fruitful, experienced-laden years in that factory till the day it had formally closed.  monetarily, i did not get much, but i learned much, of Life, of being a working man.

there was a time when we had a company magazine and i was asked to contribute an article.  below is that article i wrote way back august 1989.

on prayer and the power press

early morning, i come to work.  the factory had just opened.  the machines are still very quiet.  i fixed my gaze at the machinery area.  sunlight has stealthily crept in and has illuminated the vast work space.  it is easy to figure out the machine silhouettes.  they looked imposing against the sunlight.  ah, the power presses, i could easily recognize them any day even with half-closed eyes,  they are still sleeping at this time just as the other pieces of machinery do.  and yet, it will not be long before they all come to life.  just a flick of a switch, permitting that power called electricity, to flow through their metal limbs and animate them.  they will be menacingly productive, their familiar sounds filling the air.  alive. vibrating, from the smallest screw to the most sophisticated machine part.  of course, i shall be there, one of the men who will operate them, who will guide them through the day, to oversee that they do right, to be productive.  but then, on second thought, am i different from the smallest screw of this machine i am assigned to operate?  was it not that day in, day out, within the year, within many years, i have been upon this machine? so much so that i have known it and it has known me, silently?  ROUTINE.   my god! routine has reduced me to just another part of this machine!  for eight full hours, i keep on, struggling to be in constant rapport with every other part, so that without failure what is expected will be done.  and so, am i still different?  human?  yes, yes!  for one, i am capable of praying, praying like this:

o Infinite, another day has come. 
after the work-bell has sounded
 i shall be again as a machine myself.  
protect me, keep me from harm. 
ensure that i am always aware of what i am doing.  
i am different, human.  
i bleed.  i feel pain.  i cry.  
and, at the end of the day, i have family to go home to, 
earnestly waiting for me to arrive in one piece.

prayer does make a difference.  having done so, i am confident that i shall end this day with a smile.

Monday, March 26, 2012

congratulations! (you've earned another step in the ladder ..)

she did it! our daughter.  she had finished college and earned a degree in the advertising arts.  congratulations, daughter!

the wife and i attended her graduation day rites yesterday.  we shared a moment of achievement with the graduates and their mentors and fellow parents.  we are all very proud.  i can't say i was not a bit teary-eyed yesterday.  i am a soft guy.  well, she was just 5.13 pounds when she came into this world. she was very sickly and frail during her childhood.  and now, as i looked at her as she ascended the steps to receive her diploma, i realized she is now a full fledged member of the human race, an adult, full of confidence and strength and richness of body and mind. a young individual who will continue to seek her niche in the Infinite's scheme of things.

a i often remind her, this is not the end.  this is just another step in Life's ladder, in Life's journey, in Life-Making.

this is the reason i pored over my old notebooks.  i knew i had written something in the past. a song that i imagined my own father could have written for me when i myself earned my degree.  here, i'd share it now.

for my daughter.  well, humbly, also for all of those young individuals yesterday, with exuberant faces and throbbing hearts full of anticipation for what the next rungs in the ladder of Life will bring for them ...

this is in tagalog. the english translation follows ...

awit ng ama

idilat mo ang mata,
buksan mo ang iyong isip
ikaw ay hindi na bata
sumapit na ang oras
upang ikaw ay iwan
sa Buhay ay makibaka

anak, ang dagat ng dilim
handa ka bang tahakin?
kay dami ng balakid
na kailangan mong supilin.

pakinggan ang Puso
ito ang magtuturo
landas na dapat piliin
at sundan mo ang Araw
ito ang iyong ilaw
liwanag gabay na lihim

'pagkat ikaw ang bubuo
ng musika ng Buhay mo
sa iyo nakasalalay
kung pait o tamis ang dulot.

kaya't gumising na
buksan mo ang 'yong mata
ayusin mo ang damdamin
'wag kang mag-alala
ako ay maghihintay
sa dulo ng iyong landasin. 

father's song

open your eyes                                                      
and mind
you are a child no more
the time has come
to leave you
to face Life

daughter, the sea of uncertainty
are you prepared to sail on?
there will be many hurdles
that you will have to conquer.

to your Heart listen
it will be your mentor
on which path to tread
and follow the Sun
its light                                             
will be your secret guide

because it is just you
who will craft the music of your Life
it is in your power
whether it will be a sad or a happy song.

and so, awake
open your eyes
strengthen yourself
worry not
i will be there, waiting, 
at your journey's end.

to you my daughter and to all your co-graduates

travel on ....

Sunday, March 25, 2012

how to be a poet .. (maybe)

when friends are able to read the verses or poems i am able to write some ask me how i do it.  often, the answer i give is " i really don't know.". 

when i sit down to write, to attempt to record an interpretation of a feeling or emotion i felt, or describe a slice of life i experienced, it just happens.  words tend to come together, sound good together, and project the feeling or the image under a different light.

i just finished poring over my old notebooks and reread my writings and probably this answer to the question, how to be a poet?,  might be true ... 

the trick is to be holy or to be divine
to be a conglomerate
to let lives intertwine
to partake of hunger and excess
to know full hand pain and happiness
to be a man and a woman
to be solid and liquid
to be a sinner and a saint
to be birth and death
to be above and underneath.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


i remember this very well.  the wife was trying to organize her files in her laptop hard drive. she had just completed finalizing several big office reports which she had painstakingly documented over many days and nights even to the unholy hours.

now there was this stubborn big file that she was trying to delete. she saw that this was a duplicate of another file that she had just updated so she's trying to remove it to free some space. yet, however much she try to select it and use the delete key on the keyboard or the delete command on the file management menu the file does not erase or delete itself. it mockingly stayed on hoarding those precious bytes of hard drive space she wants to free.

she got impatient and sought our daughter's help.

" i want to erase this duplicate file and i can't seem to do it with the delete key.  can you help? "

" mother, there's another way of removing files even big ones.  you can use the the short-cut key combination, shift-delete. " our daughter volunteered.

" show me."

our daughter worked the laptop mouse and browsed over the file directory.  " is this the file? " i heard her ask the wife.

" yes."

i saw her place her thumb and small finger over two separate keys on the keyboard.  "there, it's done." she declared and went back to what she was doing.

the wife took over the mouse and went over her files. a few seconds later i heard her agonizing scream.  she dropped to the floor crying, thrashing her arms and legs like one possessed.  "YOU REMOVED BOTH FILES!  HU-HU-HU!  I TOLD YOU TO DELETE JUST THE DUPLICATE. O, MY GOD, A MONTH'S PAINSTAKING WORK, ALL GONE!"  she sobbed uncontrollably.

my daughter and i were both stunned.  the daughter hurried over the laptop and went over the files. nothing.  the updated file and the duplicate both gone. i stared angrily at my daughter and there was this anguished look on her face.  she was trying to grope for words to explain what had happened but her mom's tearful rantings was all we can hear.  i remembered looking into the recycle bin where all deleted files normally go.  turned out the shift-delete maneuver removes files totally and never stores them to the recycle bin so they can be restored later if need be.

" how can you be so careless! " i berated my daughter, " your mom worked so hard on that file." 

" i only tried to help.  i asked her to confirm the files before i deleted. " she defended herself.  she was also teary-eyed.  " i'm so sorry, mother! " 

daughter sat there by the laptop and i saw she was googling something over the net.  file recovery tools.   she was searching.  i admired how she managed to stay calm through all these.  i know she knows it was her fault.  she made a major mistake.  the three of us were quiet for some time. no one was talking.  the wife's sobs had ebbed now and she had started to compose herself..

" sito, we need to bring the laptop to the computer shop.  i'll just pay them to recover that file." she declared,  " i need it very badly. " 

at the computer shop we were told that we have to leave the laptop with them and it will take at least a week to recover the file but they said they cannot guarantee they'll be able to retrieve it in full.  further, they were asking so much for this recovery service.  i saw the sadness in my wife's eyes and the acceptance of what had happened. " let's just go home, " she declared, " i guess nothing can be done on this.  i learned my lesson.  i just have to build this file again. "

at home, the wife sat slumped on a seat. 

" mother, i was able to search for a file recovery tool.  if you will permit me, i'd like to try retrieving your lost file.  i'd like to correct my mistake. "  the daughter pleaded. 

" do what you want to do, " my wife answered coldly, " anyway, i'll be working on that again. i will spend many days and nights again building that report.  i just hope that you yourself learned a lesson on this.  carelessness will not do you any good. "

the daughter feverishly worked on the laptop.

 after a while, she declared triumphantly, " mother, father,  look! " 

we stared at the file directory.  there it was.  the lost file.  the wife opened it to confirm if the retrieval was successful. the look of desperation on her face faded.  the exhausted countenance gone.  she smiled sweetly at the daughter.  i was able to heave a sigh of relief.  this was a good ending for this episode.

in life, we will always find occasions to be careless. to be on the shift-delete mode.  to act swiftly without much thought or careful consideration. often, it is only later that we find we made a mistake.  most times, our ego will dictate on us, assuring us that it is okay not to undo these mistakes even if we have hurt or have inconvenienced others of these acts.  and so with indifference we go on, unrepentant.  yet,  the masters and the sages had taught that the Infinite has ways to get things evened out. for scores to be settled. for mistakes to be corrected. 

the law of karma.  we reap what we sow.  cause and effect.  debit and credit.  even if we manage to follow the ego's dictates to ignore things,  Life itself will keep on giving us opportunities to square things out.  even if it means living life again and again...