Sunday, March 31, 2013

"So...What Do You Do on the Weekends?"

First time playing host to a friend in Manila, the author was probably most stumped by this particular question.  After a day of giving the usual tour of the city, from the old walls of Intramuros, the hectic business activities of markets and shops around Chinatown and Quiapo Church, and ending the day with a dinner and few drinks in restaurants, bars, and clubs of Bonifacio Global City, Greenbelt, and Resorts World Manila, the author was genuinely out of ideas on what else can be done in the city limits of the Filipino metropolis.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Inherent Inequality of Expat-Local Workplace Relationship

After a night of unproductive carousal at the local nightclub, the author is starting to get the realization that perhaps developing more substantial (i.e. not strictly work-related) relationships with one's coworkers may be much more fulfilling than trying to carry on pointless conversation with a complete stranger in vain hope of finding some sort of common ground.  After all, in the case of coworkers, one can always fall back on talking about entertaining rumors and incidents of the workplaces, when attempts at conversations of other topics falls flat due to, say, lack of common interest or cultural differences.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Too Much Fatigue, Too Much Expectations, Too Much Money Spent...

The author has not gone out often, ever since the day he departed London and all its grad-school-justified alcoholic mayhem.  The high alcoholic prices in Malaysia only served to discourage going out even more, just as the work culture, with sweaty operations and tough hours, brought down spirits.  The situation only got worse in the Philippines, as work became six instead of five days a week, and more work-related worries (read: homework) made the prospect of going out even less.  The result is an all-round loss of any urge to seek those fun moments that lasts well into the wee hours of any day.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Paying Respect to Independence of the "Invisible" Muslim Filipino

Back in December when the author first arrived in the Philippines, his spoke of Muslims in Malaysia at his first dinner with his real estate agent in the local shopping mall.  The first reaction of the real estate agent, a good Catholic Filipino, born and brought up in an exclusively Catholic environment, was to express his detestation of Muslim food.  "Those Muslims are so filthy...I cannot eat their food...I'm afraid I might get sick."  His straightforward condescension toward the country's Muslim minority (less than 5%, concentrated in the deep-south island of Mindanao) was simply shocking.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Physical Scars of American Imperialism

Walking around the half-empty and extremely sparely populated (by Filipino standards) Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ) just north of Angeles City, the author was chased down by a pack of street kids asking for cash.  While the behavior itself is nothing out of ordinary here in the Philippines, something struck the author's psyche so much that he kept staring at the kids even as they ran away.  These kids, judging from their looks, very extremely dark...not dark as in dirty and unwashed, but genetically...and looking a little closer, some of the boys even had short curly hairs, not characteristics of Filipinos at all...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

"May I Have Some Money for..."

Walking around the mall on a lazy afternoon, the author was suddenly tapped on the shoulder by a middle-aged Filipino man casually walking by.  "Hey, I remember seeing you at the hotel lobby," the man cheerfully recalled, noting the dual-purpose hotel-condominium complex that the author currently resides.  The author quickly noted that the man is the security guard as the complex, and struck up a casual chat on his way to the store.  The man noted that he was on his way to meet his family to celebrate his 5-year-old daughter's birthday.