Back to you

I feel quite compelled to explain my absence, especially when I just started posting more regularly than before.  Mostly, I’ve been quite busy commuting from Manila, Philippines to New Jersey, USA.

With a trip that was 10 years in the making, August 21, 2014 marks as Le Beau’s first time picking me up at the airport purposely.  I’m quite thankful for my mom and my boss for helping me afford the long time off in time for Le Beau’s birthday.  I’m ecstatic how things have fallen in place.

Carlallan at JFK

It is quite annoying that Delta forgot to load my luggage along with others in the DTW-JFK leg.  But who am I to complain?  The string of good and blessed fortune just keeps coming; I can only be humbled by it.

I didn’t really announce to most people that I am going on this trip.  In the process, I missed at least two grad school parties, a get-together with my management trainee batchmates, and a handful of end of season sales in the Philippines, when I usually shop for holiday gifts.

Not to brag or anything, but it’s pretty much worth it.

Carlallan at Goethals Bridge

Whilst I continue to battle jet lag and the ceaseless energy my nephews and nieces have, I will do my best to update the blog and not bombard it with the cheese that is ever present throughout my stay.

A good friend said I am in cloud nine.  In my opinion, clouds are an understatement.

❤️❤️❤️

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The perils of government service

Okay, so I thought it’s about time I write something like this.

The Philippine government has been dominating (yet again, or as always?) national (and some international) headlines as of late.

PDAF Scam
Janet Napoles and her infamous list
Singing senator
Impeaching chief justice

And then there’s the privileged kin of the corrupt

Jolo Estrada, including his diplomatic passport
Janet Napoles’ daughter and her amazing lifestyle
And let’s not forget the consenting adult

It is also not a secret that more and more citizens are calling for a proper clean up of government offices.  Heck, even a radio jock’s sarcastic banter was taken so personally that these corrupt officials buried themselves in deeper shit.

All of these are frustrating (and entertaining, to a fault) because I work for government.  So when people say those who work in government should burn in hell or die or off themselves, I cannot help but be affected by it.

In the past, if you asked me when I was in college, I would never have dreamed of working for a government institution.  13 months of hardcore management training and a renewed appreciation of good governance, especially for countryside development, changed that.  I have been in government service for almost 5 years now.

And these corrupt fucktards are making me regret my decision.

To be honest, when I see those criticisms posted on my Facebook wall — BY THE BEST OF MY FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES NO LESS — I just ignore them.  I have never stolen or coveted or pocketed a single penny.  But if I will be persecuted by the number of Post It flags that I took home, I will be guilty of it — all 12 of those.

I come to work as early 7:30 in the morning.  I work till 5.  There was an entire year that I would also come in Saturdays, because the work has become so burdensome that it no longer fits the regular 40-hour work week.  And I am the “lazy” one because I have seen my officemates; some of them stay at work for so long, their love and social lives have turned moot and academic.

I diligently observe the No Lunch Break law.  My department makes sure that there’s always someone manning the phones and addressing inquiries.  My boss and I take turns in official travels because there has to be an officer left in our department to handle official matters.  Our small team of 4 handles the ATM network of our bank, all 300+ deployed nationwide, including the hundreds of thousands of cards and the hundreds more ATMs to be deployed within the year.

We made RA 9184 our bible.  We follow it to a T.  We are the mainstayers of the Bids and Awards Committee meetings because our acquisitions are always expensive and high profile.

We love being audited.  How else can we see our errors?  How else can we find ways to correct them?  If there’s no one patient enough to play the role of the devil’s advocate, how can our projections be fair and impartial?

We serve well.  I serve well.  And apparently, I should eat my friend’s shorts, kiss their rear and suck stuff (among others).

I worked ceaselessly for three years to afford a Paris trip and the first thing that welcomes me when I get home is a Facebook message from a (former) friend, asking if I enjoyed burning his taxes in Champs Elysees.

It makes me so angry.  The corrupt politicians are ruining it for all of us!  They’re ruining it for the account officer that deserves that performance bonus.  They’re ruining it for the janitor that stays extra late to clean the halls.  They’re ruining it for the security guard that does not charge his extended hours as he waits for his reliever.

Corruption is ruining it for the employees and other government officials that travel and leave their families — sometimes, for weeks — while they conduct research, close accounts, guide investors, and bring in the money for their institution.

They’re ruining it for the traders, the treasury people that gain the biggest in the stock market and remit 100% of their earnings to the Philippine government.

They’re ruining it for the government institutions that supports scholars, the impoverished, the entrepreneurs, rural banks, schools, highways, farm to market roads, ROROs, and all the other things simple government workers cannot even brag about BECAUSE A HANDFUL STOLE SO MUCH.

It pains to be in the service of people who have become ungrateful.  And you cannot blame the Filipino people for feeling that way.  We feel that way because WE GET TAXED TOO.  THEY STOLE OUR TAX MONEY TOO.  THEY DID US WRONG TOO.  US.  THE ASSISTANT MANAGERS.  THE MANAGERS.  THE RANK AND FILE.  THE JANITOR.  THE MANANG.  THE GUARDS.  THE TELLER.  THE DRIVER.  THEY STOLE FROM US TOO.  THOSE ARE OUR MONEY TOO.

So I guess I’m just venting here.  Because it’s hard to be in government service.  Because they make government service look bad.  So if the time comes when we leave and move on with our lives — migrate, retire, marry and settle down at home — who will replace us?  Who will do the hard work?  Who will do the research?  These people have demonized the posts that we hold at severe rates that NO ONE WOULD WANT TO BE ASSOCIATED BY IT.

Because of the handful corrupt, we are antagonized.  And if we get tired of being the “enemy”, when we get tired of being “thieves” and move out of our offices and into private practice, who do you think will run the paperwork?  The research?  The leg work?

No one.

Because if we won’t do it, who would want to?

Hope for Alzheimer’s

I don’t very often feature news in this blog, but this one is feature-worthy.

I woke up to the best news this week:  Scientists reverse memory loss in mice with Alzheimer’s.

As someone who has a family background of this illness, this is probably one of the better news ever.  I am now itching to look up and read what they did with their gene therapy experiment.  I am just overjoyed.

I hope this paves the way for the development of a drug or a cure to Alzheimer’s.  As much as I agree that pictures last longer, memories mean more.  And this is just… amazing.

Thank you for the good news, AFP and Rappler!

—-

Scientists reverse memory loss in mice with Alzheimer’s

The gene therapy study is hoped to lead to the development of new drugs to treat the incurable disease
Agence France-Presse
Published 11:11 AM, Apr 24, 2014 | Updated 11:11 AM, Apr 24, 2014

GENE THERAPY. Spanish scientists injected a gene which causes the production of a protein that is blocked in patients with Alzheimer’s, into the hippocampus in mice that were in the initial stages of the disease.

GENE THERAPY. Spanish scientists injected a gene which causes the production of a protein that is blocked in patients with Alzheimer’s, into the hippocampus in mice that were in the initial stages of the disease.

MADRID, Spain – Spanish scientists have for the first time used gene therapy to reverse memory loss in mice with Alzheimer’s, an advance that could lead to new drugs to treat the disease, they said Wednesday, April 23.

The Autonomous University of Barcelona team injected a gene which causes the production of a protein that is blocked in patients with Alzheimer’s into the hippocampus – a region of the brian essential to memory processing – in mice that were in the initial stages of the disease.

“The protein that was reinstated by the gene therapy triggers the signals needed to activate the genes involved in long-term memory consolidation,” the university said in a statement.

Gene therapy involves transplanting genes into a patient’s cells to correct an otherwise incurable disease caused by a failure of one or another gene.

The finding was published in The Journal of Neuroscience and it follows 4 years of research.

“The hope is that this study could lead to the development of pharmaceutical drugs that can activate these genes in humans and allow for the recovery of memory,” the head of the research team, Carlos Saura, told Agence France-Presse.

Alzheimer’s, caused by toxic proteins that destroy brain cells, is the most common form of dementia.

Worldwide, 35.6 million people suffer from the fatal degenerative disease, which is currently incurable, and there are 7.7 million new cases every year, according to a 2012 report from the World Health Organization.

In 2010 the total global societal cost of dementia was estimated to be $604 billion, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International, a federation of Alzheimer associations around the world. – Rappler.com

Mouse image from Shutterstock

A little here and there

How have you been enjoying our National Poetry Month features so far?  I wish to be more consistent, perhaps to catch up with the days I’ve missed — from both ends — I may be uploading more than one select poem a day.  Bear with me, but if art is something you wish to consume, I’m happy to serve it to you.

Here in the Philippines, we just enjoyed a good 5-day weekend, thanks to the Holy Week.  For the Catholics, it was a period of penance, but for us, it was more like stewing in our own sweat.  The summer heat is really knocking and it’s almost dizzying!  For now, we’re just thankful that the water company’s planned service period was put on hold.  We didn’t have to endure the humidity waterless.

I’m really thankful for the weather especially last week because the Sisterhood went for a quick photoshoot at the Ayala Triangle Gardens.  More on that later. ;)

I think I’ve been bathing twice a day now.  I really am not fond of summer, and it’s quite ironic, given that I live in a tropical country.  I love the rain still.  They have a word for it, I believe:

Pluviophile-500x260

Le Beau seems to be on a mission to make me love summer, or at least the beach.  He comes for a visit by December — just in time for my brother’s wedding — and some much needed R&R with me.  He asked me to take him somewhere we can really just relax and unwind.  My mind immediately goes to the summer capital of the Philippines and some light trekking here and there, but then, he fell in love with this view:

white_beach_5

Oh yes.  We’re headed to Boracay.

I’m still looking for a good enough hotel — not so cheap, but not so pricey — that can give him quick access to the best sand in the world, and a fantastic lounge area for my reading needs.  I know I know, I can be boring like that, but I can’t deny the joy and the calm that come with reading a book by the sea.

They say Boracay sand is perfect.  Never heats up.  Always cool.  Perfect powder.

I hope I enjoy it as much as he does.

That’s the basic musings for today.  Then again, it’s just Monday.

To the World Florist Association

Dear World Florist Association,

Some 7 or 8 years ago, I broke off a relationship for reasons I now do not understand.  That same person found his way back to me and we have been very blessed since.  He has calmed me, kept me composed, given me peace when I needed it the most, and tamed my potty mouth. His “level-headedness” is something I do my best to imitate.  He is quite an admirable man.

Imagine my giddiness when, three days before Valentine’s Day, he not-so-subtly checked if I will be in the office all day because something “may or may not arrive between 8am to 6pm.”

Imagine my suppressed laughter when, come Valentine’s Day, I can sense he’s forcing himself to stay awake until that something came.

Imagine my worry when his eagerness turned into anxiety, and then disappointment as the hours passed by and nothing came.

Imagine his frustrated tone when he finally admitted, the next day, that he picked out flowers for me that was supposed to arrive on V-day, and that he paid extra so it would arrive before lunchtime.

Imagine my surprise when he didn’t receive a notification from your company that the delivery was not made.

Imagine the tiny ounce of patience left in me when I calmly said, “Let’s see how they will apologize for it on Monday.”

Imagine my anger when you didn’t.

Allan never misses an occasion.  With almost 7,000 miles between us, he has made sure to never miss an event or an instance to profess his love for me.  (We long distance couples depend on these supposed convenient means to make our presence felt, just in case you are incapable of doing the math.)  So it all made sense when he finally admitted that it was the World Florist Association who did not deliver.

If he had not written an email about the non-delivery, would your sales team have informed him?  Not a peep, not a call, not a single PROACTIVE apology.  He had to tell you that you failed to do your job.

You did not even find it within the sphere of simple customer service and basic crisis management to just send the flowers immediately.  He had to wait for you to come up with it on your own.

You further insulted him, in my opinion, by throwing him a bone in the form of chocolates and a committed February 19 delivery.

A woman called at 3:30 pm today, confirming the delivery address and at the same time, assuring me that the flowers will reach me today.  It is now 10:00 pm and I am yet to see the shadow of the flowers my partner had lovingly picked out for me.

AND YOU STILL HAVE THE GALL TO CHARGE ALLAN FOR YOUR “SERVICE.” There is not a single soul in the business of complaints handling that would attest to your effective conflict resolution.  At least, not in this instance.

I could have done away with the flowers.  But Allan picked those out.  I want to see what he got for me.  He knows to pick exactly the ones I would love. He never misses an occasion.  But thanks to you, he has now.

I wanted to know at what level of disservice, dissatisfaction and inconvenience would trigger your tiny, tiny mind to actually deliver the product as requested as committed and also, grant him a full refund for every bit of trouble you’ve put him through?

Because given your poor comprehension of business ethics and the realization that you have not come close in making up for it — and my potty mouth ready to fire off at this very minute — a semblance of GENUINE, SINCERE, AND MEASURABLE APOLOGY IS IN DIRE NEED.

World Florist Association, sir, you are a cunt. You do not deserve his faith in your service, much more his money. You should be ashamed of yourself. Fucking give it back.

I am blessed with a kind-hearted man who will never talk down on anyone or make anyone feel bad on purpose. He will disagree with me on this, this email will lead to an argument, but I am not about to sit idly by and watch you STEAL HIS HARD EARNED MONEY AND CALL IT A QUALITY PRODUCT.

 
Absolutely never using your service again and OHMYGOD my LDR couple friends are going to so hear all about your assholery,
Me.