Wednesday, April 24, 2013

CH165: Cruising

Cruising for information. Cruising on a yacht.

I find it weird that some people I know who I consider as friends are so intent on finding out about matters that are so readily available in the social media and this blog that I keep.

They go on to say: "I know something you're not telling". The tone used to fish for information. The fact of the matter is, I'm not stupid. Whatever it is you see in social media or written here are curated. The posts I create, the pictures I upload are all put out there with the intent to share my life. If I don't tell you anything personally, its because there's a boundary for privacy saved for family and super close friends. - But hey, I can understand the interest...I'm popular, I know hahaha jk.

Vicarious living has fine line between being satisfied with what's available and wanting to know more - borderline stalking. Although I appreciate the attention, I don't like people, you fishing for information. It's my life to live and love. You have yours, get moving.

Just to clarify:
1. The yacht cruise I went to after passing the certification was not paid by me, nor was it paid in celebration of my passing. It just so happened I passed on the day that a cruise was organized for a friend's birthday.

2. My plans to go to UK will be paid by myself. I don't have a benefactor to pay for my fare or provide my pocket money. I'm well able to provide and spend for myself. I've set aside a hefty amount for 2 weeks in the UK. Visa payments, British airways and Singapore airlines flight. All me...and well, a contract completion bonus.

So, there.

Monday, April 22, 2013

CH164: Reconciling God

During my vacation a couple of weeks back in KL with CP, there was a conversation that was brought up regarding faith, God and religion. The topic was simply brought up when I mentioned about praying to God to help me through my exam and the challenge of reviewing for it.

CP being admittedly "atheist" brought up the discussion on what, who or whatnot God is. Me being "agnostic" - in the sense that I don't believe in the relevance of concept of religion defended my views. During my study in UP Diliman, coming from a Christian/Protestant school, I became agnostic. But I've never put my thoughts into words to properly describe and encapsulate what my version of God and supreme being is.

Simply put:

1. I think my concept of God as a "being" is influenced by my Catholic and Christian upbringing. Catholic family - Christian school. I think the differences in views and practice of both religion was the start of my questioning and veering away from the belief in religion.

2. Contrary to belief stated in number 1 - I realized during my discourse with CP that, in fact, my version of God is more of a "state of order." I told CP simply that, it's hard not to believe in the concept of God when the proof and fact is all around you. CP mentioned that me coming from an engineering background should believe more in science than God.

3. Supporting the existence of God, I simply told CP. Science did not muddle my belief that there is a powerful being or state of order around - which for simplicity purposes we call God. Studying and learning the formulas and equations for physics, math, etc. I realize that these things would not be in existence had not there been an entity or force to put things into this almost tangible order of variables and operations. The natural order of things as in thermodynamics is the state of entropy. So, to put it simply, if the world's tendency is to be in chaos, there is a fabric of supremacy governing the order in which things are around us. I think I made CP realize that.

4. So, when I pray to God as I told CP I did for the exam, one could say that I am praying or throwing my wishes to a "being" or "state of order" to put into order something that I am uncertain of the results (i.e. in chaos, not sure of passing and possibility of failing  and order - as to say passing).

5. I considered that my thoughts could be blasphemous. But I realized that blasphemy is a concept of religion. Being agnostic, it doesn't have as much impact or scare to it.

6. But what about the belief of Christ and Holy Spirit and being forgiven of the sins we have had? Well, when I think about it, part of myself still can't let go of it as most of my life I lived believing it to be true. Some people say it's not made up but historical. So with this aspect, I'm still not sure of. If it is indeed true because it's historical, does that necessarily constitute fact that everything in the Bible is true? One could say that the occurrence then was in part orchestrated by a state of order to put things back into order, and Christ was its instrument to do so.

There's still so much to learn and understand in this world.

Friday, April 19, 2013

CH163: Certified

I finally passed my SAP certification exam! I'm now officially a SAP Certified Technology Associate - System Administrator (Oracle DB) with Netweaver 7.0. So what does this bring forth? I'm not sure really. Better days surely

I must admit, it was so hard balancing work, review and random tidbits here and there with CP. I was anxious the weekend before the exam as I was in Malaysia with CP and family. But, as the results show, I've pulled through and passed. I couldn't be any happier!

Had I failed, it would have been a huge disappointment and I would be crying right now in my room. After a while when I've moved on, I will remember that I paid 650+ SGD for the exam and get depressed again.

The total number of pages I had to skim through totaled 3000+ pages. That's consisting of 5 modules. TADM10 1, TADM10 2, TADM12 1, TADM12 2 and TADM51. The night before the exam I sped-read through about 1400 pages XD. It's such a humbling feat and I'm so so so soooooo thankful that it's over.

Now, on to other things and better days!

PS: CP booked a yacht tour in Groupon for his friends in UK. Very timely celebration later!

Monday, April 15, 2013

CH162: 27

Like how I usually am when my birthday is coming up, I tend to feel off and a bit of a recluse. After my 25th birthday, I tend to prefer low key celebrations and just go through it with very close friends and loved ones. Unlike before there was pressure to throw a celebration to accommodate different sets of friends. I think that bit of show-off and extravagance is culturally ingrained to Filipinos? We like to celebrate and host get-togethers.

Most likely because of ageing and a growing number of friends and sets of friends (i.e. College friends, work colleagues from different employments, childhood friends, friends met in PH, friends met in SG, family, family friends, etc). The network just keeps getting bigger and bigger and at some point, it becomes economically unsound to host a celebration for each set and subset - and that's when you also realize and see who of your friends and acquaintances matter most.

For my 27th, I would say it was very low-key and extremely different with how previous celebrations were held. First, I spent it with CP's family (mom and nephew visiting). We went to the Adventure Cove waterpark in Sentosa for the day. Prior to the waterpark and my rendezvous with them, CP and family suprised me with a birthday cake and birthday cards. I think it's the first time I've ever been suprised like that.

For the evening, CP just told me to dress smartly. Initially we were supposed to dine in Ku De Ta at Marina Bay Sands. Unfortunately, they were fully booked and CP booked elsewhere - New Asia at Stamford Swissotel.

Dinner was really fine - long with the magnificent view of the bay and financial area. Another surprise came when the staff walked in with a birthday cake to sing me a happy birthday. A very intimate celebration indeed and one that will surely be unforgettable.

The day after, CP, me and family flew off to KL for a quick holiday. I didnt get much picture of myself as I was taking it for CP and family. Another surprise came when CP gave me my gift. A new wallet from Montblanc!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CH161: Excessive

A realization just occurred to me when I was thinking about what to pack for my short vacation in KL this Friday-Sunday...I've been going out of Singapore monthly for the past months!

Oct-Nov 2012: Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, Las Vegas, etc

Dec 2012: Krabi Thailand, staycation at Ritz over Christmas

Jan 2013: Auckland, The Shire :-) New Zealand

Feb 2013: KL, Melaka Malaysia

March 2013: Bintan Indonesia

I know I always wish to travel more each year. But I'm not sure I made it a resolution for my 26th year of living. Soon, like very soon, it will be my 27th year. What resolutions will I make? What words will I try and live by?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

CH160: Open Letter

I'm sure most Filipinos and their family will be familiar with OFWs. Maybe nobody in the Philippines can go over a second degree of separation from OFWs. This entry is in part written to address and highlight a situation that any OFW families have to live and struggle with - to openly address and bring the "skeletons out of the closet." That a disconnect and void develop within OFW families.

I think in an OFW family, each distant family member experiences a void. Some fill that void in with finding a partner and husband/wife. Some fill that void with preoccupying themselves with a sport or two. Some fill that void by getting comfort from other OFWs and having groups and get together-s. Some fill that void with travel. Some fill that void material things. I filled mine with a sense of independence - that I can do anything I want, go anywhere I want, live how I want because it is in my power (and spending means too) to do so.

Filipinos are mostly non-confrontational I think. We'd rather keep issues to ourselves rather than cause a burden or problem to others. Or at least, that's the kind of thought and influence my upbringing had on me.

Apologies for obscuring the obvious, but I intended to just put a veil of privacy on the identity of people concerned and addressed. But it's should be easy enough to figure out.


Dear ________,

You can be overbearing sometimes with attention. and you should tone it down. [...] although im sure he appreciates like we all did how you spent for us [...] - it's a bit off putting when you keep saying, oh theres a cheaper one here or there or whatnot. like when we got you a Michael Kors bag as a gift, you go and say, oh im sure we can get this cheaper in an outlet store but thank i guess in a way, you are becoming or had become what [...] being an OFW for so long is - in the sense that you are disconnected and not sensitive to the right things but more sensitive emotionally elsewhere... except you've got longer to live.
[...] is perhaps nit picking on those details because he's in a bad mood right now - depress that might have been a thorn he had been keeping all along. [...] may not have expressed his thoughts because after bearing a weight on his shoulder for so long - he didnt want to rain on your parade and as he said suffer in silence. and only through his blog can he express those feelings. blood is thicker than water so it should pass.
im sure he appreciates you calling [...], but theres a point when it becomes too much? like you say you're concerned about him and like he said, he's old and independent enough. too much concern on somebody may make that somebody feel like you think they're helpless and in need - and nobody at all especially people who have pride would want to be made to feel that way. and i think everyone in the family knows that [...] is a proud person.
and i think you missed the point of [...] (the) entry. it wasnt an attack on you per as he never mentioned or singled you out per se so dont make it seem like it's about you with how much you used "I" in your message . he didnt say anything about him wanting you to spend for him. so this really shouldnt be purely about you but more of [...] his thoughts. if anything, it should be an awakening that perhaps you should assess how youve been and see that perhaps although you mean well - it might pass off as trying too hard and it can be irritating.
on that note, [...] im sure like everyone else wants to experience luxury and comfort. he's only airing out that the opportunity for him to do so when he was in the US was not fulfilled because you wanted to go cheap. despite you suggesting he can get better value for his money elsewhere - the suggestion in itself has a psychological burden. if he doesnt listen to you - then it will/might offend you. so he listened to you - but the suggestion/subtle promise of better value elsewhere was not fulfilled. so in that case - assess then for yourself why you suggested it in the first place without being able to guarantee the suggestion. maybe nobody has told you this before because the thought in itself is offensive...that perhaps, you don't appreciate what luxury is about've gone for quantity over quality.
we go back again to luxury. like anybody who has been working for so long, [...] would like to live the life of luxury - if not comfort. the luxury/comfort to travel, the luxury/comfort to live in one's own home. the luxury/comfort to eat and drink whatever. the luxury and comfort to be secure. [...] can afford those and go even further with our contributions. so, instead of talking this out, id suggest putting the talk into action and allow [...] to have that experience. that way, the genie as [...] personified himself, can come out again and see that his wishes come true. surprise [...] with action rather than doting him with words. provide [...] an experience rather than words and promises. instead of crying and feeling offended about it, just think of the blog entry as an old man's rant. im sure [...] had no intent on attacking just so happened that like i said you're probably disconnected and felt it appropriate to accept that the fault was all with you. and let's face it, the isolation and being an OFW for so long did not do much good on [...] emotional structure and how he interacts....the best analogy i can think of is US war veterans. they cant go back to normal life as easily...the strain of the war - in [...] case - being gone for so long, has put unnecessary stress on him.
lastly, we have to consider the fact WHY [...] had to put those entries in a blog as an anonymous user/under a pseudonym. the only reason i can think of is the disconnect within the family and how he'd feel it better to write it in a blog than say it to any of us.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

CH159: Easter Activities

Despite the long weekend, I didn't go out SG. A weekend of activities all spent in SG. Surprisingly, Easter came by quickly with excitement, adventure and fun!

Good Friday-
CP and I went around the National Museum of Singapore (with entrance fee - I forgot how much) as well as the Singapore Arts Museum (was free that day). It was a very cultural experience. My feet aches from all the walking we did after the day was through.

Having been to the MET in NY which had an enormous collection, I would say the NMS was dwarved in scale and collection. It did however compensate with how it presented its curated exhibit. The same can be said for the Singapore Arts Museum which has a good collection on display right now till June/July.

For people in SG, id definitely suggest going around both to experience something different from the usual past time of running, gym, billiards, sports, shopping etc. Go and visit the museums and enrich a different side! :-)

Black (?) Saturday -
CP and I just decided to go about the day at a slow pace. All we did was swim, go around Orchard and shopped. Took an afternoon nap. Ate dinner at Oreole in Somerset 313. Watched Side Effects (with seeing).

Easter Sunday -
We went back to Pulau Ubin. This time however, we tired the Black Diamond trail. Considering I wasn't wearing any protective gear, fear took over lots of times and I opted to get out of the bike and just push it up an incline or hold on to it going down a slope.

It was super extreme IMO. Can't imagined what the double black diamond would be like. I fell several times, got scratches and experienced getting thrown off a bike (with near flip and cart wheel) because I got distracted by a shop selling coconuts.

After a weekend of supposed solace, I've been enriched culturally, and lived through with scratches and gashes and a sprained finger (from falling).

As the young ones say - you only live once!