Saturday, November 27, 2004

Thanksgiving daw o!

The US celebrated Thanksgiving this week. Canadians had theirs last September, I think. I wonder why we don't celebrate Thanksgiving Day. We do have a lot fo be thankful for, don't we? It cannot be the cooking for we can also cook turkey as the bird can be homegrown. Brusselsprouts? Well we do have cabbages, and they're even bigger!

Well, for all it's worth, my family has a lot to be thankful for. No not, material gains, but emotional ones. The feel so good type of things. I believe we maintain a stable, happy family, so far.

First, I have to congratulate myself for it is now officially a whole week since I stopped smoking!!! I am smoke free, my friends! And this is not yet known to my family. Kim, my youngest daughter would be ecstatic if she finds out I have not been smoking for a week! Oh, I almost did.. You see, Angie, Nitz' youngest sister, just arrived from Saipan. So too, did the family of the nitz's sister's hubby. So part of the celebrations is a dinner at Dad's last Thursday and a big Filipino dinner last night! I almost broke my promise not to smoke. The strongest urge came to me this morning when Angie gave me a pack of Marlboro lights! I let it lay in front of me while I bloghopped! Then, decided I couldn't take it anymore. I took it out and gave it to a neighbor. See, i do have a strong will power if I wanted to. For that i have to be thankful!

See, my children can have titles if they wanted to and enjoy the privileges, if there are any, of each title. Kraiganne is the eldest, which says a lot! Mickey is the oldest son! Kim is the youngest daughter, and Coby is, well, the youngest! O walang inggitan, di ba? (No jealousy among the siblings, right? :-)

OF course, the school where I teach and where all of my kids go to, celebrates its Foundation week this week. And yes, my wife belongs to the same university system so this school is very much a part of us. I have been working here for twenty years, my wife, even longer. As part of the festivities yesterday was a concert given by the Music Department, (we do have a strong Music Department) where my eldest son, Mickey, played solo violin and i have the whole performance on video! That was a natural high. When he was called tp the stage, I was a bit nervous. Let me backtrack a bit. This was a bit of a masterplan, you see. When Nitz and i got married, I told her we will have a child who will play the violin. Funny but it was the violin, not the guitar which I can play. When Kraiganne was about 4 years old, my wife took her to St. Scholastica for piano lessons. I thought, so okay, I may be wrong with my foresight. Anyway, since we didn't have a piano, Kraiganne practiced on a make shift, drawn piano my wife borrowed from a friend. Picture this, you have a board of piano keys, not producing a single note, and all you do is rely on memory as to which key to press or what finger to use rather than how each of the key would have sounded. That's how my Kraiganne learned how to play her first piece. So, when recital came, i was really a mess. Jittery and frightened. When Kraiganne stepped on the stage, all smiles and confident, I was ready to be crushed! But lo and behold!!! She played the piece without a single error! Well, after that, she probably realized singing was easier and so stopped taking piano lessons.

Her siblings came and still no sign of my own Itzhak Perlman.

Then, one day, during one of my breaks inside the faculty room, Mickey (who was in Grade three then, about 9 years old) approached asking me to sign a paper that says I was willing to let him take violin lessons as his activity. You see, our students are given one elective subject starting at this age. I said sure. Then, after several months, he comes to me again asking me to buy him a violin. I had to tell him "No. First you have to show me you are really that interested. I don't want to waste big bucks on something you might lose interest in after several months." That really got him frustrated. But good son that he is, he obeyed and we would go home with a borrowed violin from school. After several months, I realized he was really interested. He never let the borrowed violin stay away from his sight anywhere he went. It was easier to look for him when we were about to go home from school because all I had to do was follow that nursery tune he was trying to master. At night, you would hear Kraiganne complaining, "Papa, I want to go to sleep but Mickey won't stop his eng-eng!" Smilingly, I would tell her to just learn how to sleep with the noise. After all, i have this belief that "the world will not stop just because you will be sleeping,my child!" :-) Now, Kraiganne, although she wouldn't admit is, is his biggest fan! Well, okay , second. First being his mother of course.

One last thing, Mickey seem to have had a fondness for the guitar. One day, he tried tinkering with my guitar. Asked me to show him where the notes were. To my surprise, he learned Earl Klugh's "If you should know by now" alone! Well, I knew he could read notes but i didn't know he could transfer the information so easily.

Another thing we have to be thankful for is the gift of friendship. We keep a very close knit group of friends with whom we celebrate every occasion imaginable . This started with two of my best friends who I used to work with in the audiovisual center of the university library. While we have separated ways, ( while Redjie Jimenez is now the head of the unit where we worked in, Ollie Marcelo, now manages hiis own thriving printing press business.) This friendship grew and we are now composed of seven families who celebrate Christmas eve together, birthdays, go out on trips (we've practically covered the whole of Luzon, except for the Bicol region) using a common trust fund. Since its going to be a long weekend, we are all going to Subic tomorrow and staying there till Monday!

Lastly, I am thankful for having started out this blog! Not only did I have a venue to practice writing, I have earned a good amount of friends whose ideas i respect so much and help me shape the man i am today. You see, inspite of my 40+ age, i am still developing into something. As the cliche goes, life begins at 40, and i believe it. So, even though we don't celebrate Thanksgiving day, THANK YOU WORLD, THANK YOU LIFE!

Monday, November 22, 2004

How long does one learn a job?

Just been to the cat's domain and read about Patricia's apology re the Faye fiasco which appeared at the Philippine Star on Nov 19. Some people have been very angry at Patricia for having reported about Faye without checking the data yet. So were they angry at the cat for having sided with her. In comments to this article alone, there appears two anonymous comments deploring Patricia's apology. I seconded ting aling's defense and counter rebuttal in the same post. Yeah, why are they so angry with a passion? What has Patricia done to them? So, the Faye story is a lie, so what? Have they lost a lot of invested money and time?

At any rate, this got me thinking. While it is true that Patricia should have checked her sources first before she wrote anything, she committed a mistake and apologized for it. Come on, she has been into the journalism business for merely five months. For that alone, I'd say cut her some slack. I am not ashamed to say that as a teacher of twenty years, I still commit mistakes from time to time. I am not ashamed to say that half of the years I have been working in the same school was spent learning the tricks of the trade. I wouldn't be surprised if I found out taht I did not make any impact on my students during my first years of teaching. Even colleges admit that schools do not provide everything that will be experienced in the workplace. That's why most school's have included a practicum subject, or ini a teacher's case, "a practice teaching" lesson for would-be teachers. The workplace is so different from what you are being taught in school.

Lastly, should we condemn Patricia for her error? Why? I am just glad the Faye story is not true. I am one reason less why I hate the powers that be in government.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Teaching - does it pay well?

I had always been told that teaching is a vocation. As such, it is very much likely that one cannot get rich in this profession. That makes the teaching profession above the normal run of the mill jobs there are. But then, what career is not a vocation? Being a doctor is a vocation. It is service-oriented. It should be. A lot of people depend on a doctor for survival. If there's a doctor who is dedicated and passionate, it would be my friend, Doc Emer. For one, he patiently answers questions from readers and tries to explain every single thing there is to know in relation to that question. Now, you don't see too many doctors like that, do you? Chances are, you'll get a "see me in my clinic" type of a response. What about being a lawyer? That is a career and at the same time should be a vocation, too. If a lawyer's only goal was to get money from you, you'll never see him/her in court arguing passionately in your behalf. Afterall, you have already paid an acceptance fee, an appearance fee, etc. But this is not the case. In a lawyer's mind, winning is the game.

The point is, a real pro should see his/her career as a vocation. It is only in this way that one can be assured that one will be good at what one does.

Going back to teaching, when a teacher is asked to perform a job other than teaching, like designing a stage, chances are he/she will not be paid. (I am) It is part of the commitment. What a.... Why do I get a feeling that this is a very good way to usurp power and extort somebody's talents? Isn't this intimidation of the first kind?

I have been an idealist for half of my life but when I started to have kids and had to earn a living to feed a family, the world revealed a different face to me. It is not as beautiful as my heroes presented it. It is lots of hardwork. There are humongous bills to pay. This led me to believe that being committed is not what employers (not mine, mind you) profess all the time.

Being committed is working your ass off and being good at what you do. That your students learn everything they can get out of your system. Never mind not being paid for overtime work. They can't quantify the amount of work you've rendered for the students at home preparing lesson plans, checking of test papers, room displays and all that anyway. Now that is part of teaching. But when you're asked to do something outside of your job, I believe one should be paid accordingly. Even a paltry sum. At least, you're paid for your efforts, right?
Then you don't have to sell longganisa or bags and shoes on the sides.

Going back to the issue of having a vocation. Priesthood is a vocation, and so is being a nun. Do they get rich? Maybe no. At least not individually. But they do--as a community. See those schools they run? They own it. Allow me to air out what thousands of teachers have on their minds. "I have no pretensions of getting rich with what little knowledge I have, but please, provide me with sufficient funds so that i can live decently."

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Sa aking mambabasang si Olga,

Salamat sa pagbisita mo sa aking blog. Ikinalulungkot kong sabihin sa'yong tila hindi ko kayang mapagbigyan ang iyong kahilingan na isaliln sa Tagalog ang mga sinulat ko sa panahong ito. Hindi kita kayang pagbigyan dulot ng maraming masalimuot na mga kadahilanan na habang ang iba ay madaling maintindihan, mahirap naman ang ilan.

Ang una ay sa kadahilanang kulang ang aking oras at marami-rami na rin naman akong naisulat dito. Sa totoo lang, ako ay halos hindi na natutulog upang makagawa lamang ng isang akda, kung akda man itong matatawag. kung minsan ay pinapalad din naman ako at nakakanakaw ng ilang saglit dito sa opisina upang makabisita sa ibang blog at makapagbigay komentaryo sa ilan. Hindi lingid sa mga bumibisita rito na ako ay isang guro at alam mo naman na ang pagiging guro ay hindi nagtatapos sa silid-aralin lamang. Ewan ko lang kung maniniwala ka na ang isang guro ay guro hanggang sa siya'y matulog. Bukod dito, ako rin ay isang ama, ng mga apat na bagamat malalaki nang mga anak, ay nangangailangan pa rin ng patnubay. Lalo pa't iisa ang aming computer sa bahay.

Pangalawa, at sa aking palagay ay napakahalaga, ako ay walang tamang kakanyahan upang isalin ang aking mga sinabi sa wikang tagalog. Alam ko na maaaring may mawala sa pagsasalin kahit pa ng isang dalubhasa dito. Huwag kang mabahala na baka ako ay nagyayabang. Bagkus, ako ay buong pagpapakumbabang nagsasabi na ang makapagsulat at makapagbasa sa ibang wika ay hindi ko maituturing na pribilehiyo . Unang una na rito ay kadalasang kulang ang aking kakanyahang isulat ng wasto ang aking damdamin sa limitasyon ng aking bokabularyo na siya rin namang dahilan kung bakit marami akong di naiintindihan ng tama sa aking binasa. Alam mo, ako ay isang biktima lamang ng pagkakataon. Ako ay tinuruang mag-isip sa ingles. Tinuruang magbasa, magsalita at magsulat sa isang wika na di ko naman kinagisnan. Sabi nga ni Heber Bartolome ng Banyuhay, ako ay tila isang asong di makatahol pagkat ako'y ngumingiyaw. ANg idiyoma na aking natutunan ay inggles. At dahil dito, isa rin ako sa mga nag-akalang lahat ng bagay na mula sa mga taong banyaga ay magaling at ang dito gawa ay mababang kalidad. Ang dali kong natanggap na ang magandang babae ay iyong mestisahin, matangos ang ilong, maputi, kulay mais ang buhok at mahahaba ang makikinis na paa. Ako ay natutong umawit at magkahilig sa mga kantang banyaga. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Grandfunk Railroad, CSNY, James Taylor, banggitin mo lang at alam ko na kung ano ang iyong tinuturan. Bigyan mo ko ng ilang nota at kakantahin ko na sayo ang awitin nila at sasabihin ko pa sayo kung anong taon ito sumikat sa Pilipinas. Sa aking murang isipan noon, pangit ang atin, maganda ang kanila. Ngayon ko lang napagtanto na hindi ito totoo. Ito ay dulot lamang ng mga ipinarating sa akin ng maling komersiyo. Binugbog nila ang aking isipan na magaling sila at ako ay isang mangmang kung ako ay hindi maniniwala. Kaya sa aking palagay, hindi man nakatanikala ang aking paa't kamay, naibuhol naman ang aking dila, isipan at buong kamalayan.

Pangatlo, ako ay nagsusulat upang kahima't ako'y yumao at hindi ko na makita ang aking mga anak at mga apo, pwede pa rin nilang gawing gabay ang aking mga isinulat dahil nakapaloob dito kung ano ang nilalaman ng aking payak na pagkatao. Kung sila man ay sumunod o hindi, wala na akong magagawa. Maaari nga namang hindi na angkop ang aking mga sinabi. Pero ang importante sa lahat ay nalaman nila kung papaano ako nagdesisyon sa mga bagay-bagay. Iyon lang naman ang aking tunay na layon. Kung ikaw man, sampu ng mga taong bumibisita rito ay nasisiyahan o nakapag-iisip dahil sa aking mga isinulat, ito ay isang napakagandang bonus sa aking pagsusumikap.

Huwag ka sanang malungkot kung hindi man kita napagbigyan ng ganap. Ako naman ay makatuwirang tao. Kung mayroon kang gustong itanong sa akin o hindi naintindihan sa aking isinulat, iparating mo lang sa akin at aking pauunlakan ng aking sagot.

Muli, maraming salamat sa iyong pagbisita at pagbibigay sa akin ng pagkakataon na maibahagi ang aking isipan. Kung anupaman, nais kong ibahagi muli sayo ang aking salin ng isang tula na pinamagatang Desiderata na sa palagay ko ay naglalaman ng aking mga mithiin sa buhay. Ito ay matatagpuan dito. Puwede mo rin marinig ito dahil ito ay binigkas at inilagay sa internet ng ating kaibigang si Batjay at ito ay matatagpuan dito

Hanggang sa muli,
Tito Rolly :-)