Bitch in Heat

>> Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Today was a good day to kill someone. After the adrenaline rush in my last post, I thought I was ready to write something light. But this morning, I was faced with yet another pisser that goes by the name Hossam. He confirmed for me, that a pile of shit with a necktie is simply a gift-wrapped turd.

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I proceeded with my day as usual, although I was already a bit on the edge because I wasn't able to sleep the whole night on account that I walked from Costa Coffee to the office which was a good two hours from 2AM till 4AM. Add my pinoy pal scratching the surface of my crankiness with his usual annoyances. In between that were the boss and Mustafa passing work like they're feeding pulp in a paper mill, expecting me to churn out glossy pieces of A4 from the stinking crap they come up with. By noon, I was ready to explode.

Hossam is a newbie to the office. Three weeks old but already a hotshot since he is Mustafa's best buddy. Hossam and I never really got along well. He has issues and they extended to me.

For some reason, I feel that he hates my guts. I don't mind, you can't expect everybody to like you. And he's the last person I'd want to be friends with anyway. As long as we kept to ourselves though, there wouldn't be any problems. But this morning, Hossam decided to cross the line, invade my space and claim it as his own.

Here's the scenario: I was busy working when Hossam barged inside my office and asked, and not in a nice way, for some letterheads. I proceeded to print five. At the table in front of me, my officemate Abdalla asked for help on his computer so I went there, leaving my post empty while Hossam waited for the printing to finish. After a while, Hossam started tinkering with my PC without even asking for my permission. He was unaware that I was already giving him the WTF look. He then left the room. A little bit later, he was back again, and said that he needed eight more letterheads so he used my computer, without asking me again and that was the time when I snapped, calmly.

"Hossam. Please do NOT use my computer without asking permission," I said slowly so he would understand simple English. His arrogant reply got me trembling so bad I wanted to punch him in the face the way Shia LeBouf's character in Disturbia punched that Spanish teacher. "This is not your computer, this is the office's computer, this is not only for you, this is for everybody."

What. The. Fuck. Is he sick? Obviously, the concept of privacy is lost in this dimwit. So I told him and not so calmly this time, "Hossam, is it so hard to ask permission? I don't go to your computer and use it at whim! I'm not forbidding you to use my computer, all you need to do is ask, I'm right here in front of you!"

"Hey, the boss asked me to do something. This is for the boss I'm doing, if you have a problem, talk to him!" was his reply. "Oh, I definitely will!" I said. And that was the end of our spat.

I think I don't need to tell you how I almost unplugged the computer, bring it to Hossam's table, and throw it on his head. I talked to the boss though and told him that one of his golden boys was stinking the office with foul behavior.

Hossam and Mustafa always seem to get props from the boss. In fact, when I told the boss how a piss-off his favorite rookie was, I hinted that he tried to defend the twat by saying that he "did ask Hossam to do some things for him," to which I replied "But that doesn't give him any right to use my PC without my go signal because we both know what kind of sensitive information we have in there," then I gave him the wink wink and I'm not referring to my porn collection either. The boss has emails that only the two of us know of. "Please teach your boys some manners to go with their suit and tie," I told the boss and left his office. God knows what the boss said to Hossam after I left, but I bet it's something short of dealing with a naughty baby--there there now, don't be naughty again next time or papa will get angry, OK?

For the Nth time, I don't really care about office politics and these guys simply don't get it that I don't want their jobs nor have I aspirations like them to become a boss. I just want my peace and quiet and a little respect (how pink is that?).OUT


Malu Fernandez is Not a Pig

>> Saturday, August 25, 2007

Thanks to my friend Martin who forwarded the email containing the now famous Malu Fernandez article entitled "From Boracay to Greece" (page 30 and page 31 of People Asia Magazine), I am in the mood for some ranting. Quite timely for my NC-17 Rating anyway. But I suppose I should say something, being in the Middle East and all, even if I'm one of the last people to know about this outrage.

Before I actually react to Malu's article, let me say that (even before you point it out to me) I am aware that, like Malu, I have written humorous posts at the expense of others. But, unlike Malu, I am not a paid writer (not even a pro blogger) so I don't answer to an editor or to sponsors.

It is not to say though that I am irresponsible. I have a good idea of what is acceptable and what is not--stick to the truth, avoid generalizations, minimize attacks. And one thing I always remember: when I point out the silliness of people in my posts, I make sure that they don't get to read it.

So what's the difference between this:
Edmar is the kind of Pinoy you don't want the other races to base their Flip stereotype on. It's not good to judge the book by its cover, but a couple of amateur tattoos can tell you a lot about the person. He hails from the northern part of Luzon. He's the kind of Filipino that Rex Navarette makes fun of in his routine--wer for where, soaf for soap, etc. Although Edmar is a blast to talk to in kanto-level conversations (ie "nakakain na ako ng tao" or "I have eaten a man" -- a statement that can only come from a post-fried brain), I'd avoid speaking to him when other officemates are within earshot for fear of being accused of racism.
-Jap@Like Clockwork Orange (a lousy blog)

and this:
The duty-free shop was overrun with Filipino workers selling cell phones and perfume. Meanwhile, I wanted to slash my wrist at the thought of being trapped in a plane with all of them… On my way back, I had to bravely take the economy flight once more. This time I had already resigned myself to being trapped like a sardine in a sardine can with all these OFWs smelling of AXE and Charlie cologne while my Jo Malone evaporated into thin air.
-Malu Fernandez@People Asia (an International Magazine)

Admit it, the former is funny while the latter is simply insulting. Therefor, I claim my right to rant about Ms Malu Fernandez.

Malu is not a pig. A lot of
bloggers and vloggers have called her Ms Piggy or Oink Oink, but I refuse to call her a pig because even though she resembles one, she is still human. The issue here is not why this jet-setting socialite flies economy and cannot afford a much-needed liposuction so she can fit in a sardine-can airplane. The issue here is how she addressed millions of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and millions more of their families back in the Philippines.

I guess she has her reasons. But I don't get why she should be embarrassed to be trapped in the same space as OFWs. I'd be embarrassed to be trapped in the same space with Paris Hilton wannabes who think that Jo Malone EDTs and a few visa entries stamped on their passports can get them goddess status in Greece.

Before she made an apology, she had the audacity to justify her article:

In the end, Malu Fernandez 'resigned' from her jobs at Manila Standard and People Asia so we're supposed to feel sorry for her.

I actually feel sad for Malu, because no matter how much perfume she sprays on her body, no matter how many designer clothes she buys, and no matter how many air miles she flies around the world, she is still a Filipino--born in a third world country. If she wishes to be of another nationality, maybe we should gladly accept her renouncement of her citizenship.

I just hope that for Malu's sake, fate won't let us share a plane ride because I have a feeling I will accidentally spill hot soup (and the rest of my in-flight dinner) on her face.


For Adults Only!

>> Thursday, August 23, 2007

After all my self-censorship--policing my language, restraining my fingers from typing four-letter words that start with 'f' and end in 'ck' (trust me, you can't find fack, feck, fick, fock or fuck in this blog...until now of course), and veering away from subject matters concerning sex, fornication, drugs and extreme violence--I still get this:

Now I know how Joey Reyes felt when he marched along the streets of Manila shouting "Live Show is not porn!" and asking the president not to ban the critically acclaimed film which was locally known as "Toro".

"Like Clockwork Orange is not porn!", I shout. But it won't change anything. See how they rated my blog:
This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
  • jap (7x)
  • shoot (2x)
  • fags (1x)
'Jap' is my nickname and not a racial slur. 'Shoot' does not incite violence, it's a film terminology, and 'fags' is a Brit slang for cigarettes. Much as I would like this blog to have an 'R' rating to add a controversial feel to it, it seems silly now that the rating was based on words that are not controversial at all.

So, I'm thinking that maybe with this post, I'm going to earn my 'R' Rating, in or out of context.

Here goes:
I watched Vagina Monologues before and enjoyed it so much that in my speech class, back in college, I performed Penis Monologues as my finals speech presentation. I sucked at my 'Penis' act but the teacher gave me a good grade anyway. I didn't give a rat's ass about my grade. I was glad that boring class was over. All the girls did in that speech class was put on make up that made them look even more slutty. Thanks to the mirror in each cubicle (which was supposed to guide students on proper mouth openings), girls used it to check out themselves, boys used it to check out the girls, and gays used it to check out their mouth openings and how it would look in the event of a blowjob.
I hope that was dirty enough. Do I deserve it now?

A quick follow up: after posting this, I just upped my rating to:

This blog is too hot for primetime!OUT


Care For...

>> Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Would you like to join me to care for?" Khalid asked me as I was filling up my bottle from the office water dispenser. I stopped half-full, puzzled by the question. "Care for what, Khalid?" I asked. I eventually found out that he wanted to go to Carrefour (karfur/karifor French for 'crossroads' ), the hypermarket at the mall. He needed to buy some things because he had reached his own crossroads and had decided to leave Qatar.

Like me, and most foreign workers in Doha, Khalid is fed up of promises that were never kept. Lured by the prospect of good pay and a secure job, we gave up a big part of our lives in order to help keep another country's economy running smoothly only to find out later t
hat it's not worth it. Throw in nasty office politics and it completes the disillusionment.

During his last few weeks in the office, Khalid mastered the art of ranting as he spoke of the scheming others and how they're `taking over the office'--conspiracy theories that are slowly becoming real. When the thing that keeps you hanging on to a job is your concern for your boss, the last thing you need is a fit of jealousy. So when it was obvious to Khalid (and to everyone else) that Mustafa is the boss' golden boy, he decided that it was probably time to go home to Sudan.

Personally, I don't care about the office anymore and how these people are running the show. I've had my moment under the spotlight. I got m
y increase but they also tripled my work load so I'm basically the same overworked, underpaid expat. I've accepted my fate and I am patiently waiting for my contract to end so I can move on. I keep in mind that at least I'm better off now than my first six months here.

But ask Khalid and he'll tell you that he can't wait any longer. The sooner he's out, the more intact his pride is when he goes home. This office can take away his job and his salary but it cannot take away his pride.

I never got to join him at Carrefour, but I did see the things he bought. A new suit, shoes, and watch. And for the family, a blender (wtf?!) and a flat screen LCD TV. He needed to look like he didn't make a mistake working in Qatar. Dignity seems to count a lot in his country.

The day before Khalid left, Edmar and I invited him to a Filipino restaurant.
Had it been another officemate leaving (particularly those who hail from the land of pyramids), the boss would've taken the staff to a lunch buffet. But last Sunday, it was only the three of us. As it turns out, the two people I make fun of in my blog sometimes; the same two people who annoy me sometimes--are the same two people in the office whom I truly care for.OUT


Thanks for Rubbing It In

>> Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tactless people annoy me. Sometimes, this is the downside of friendship--tactlessness. So when my Pinoy pal told me that I'm spending way too much time in front of the computer, I knew he has entered the comfort zone and there's no turning back. He'll forever terrorize me with reality like Boy Abunda's mirror glaring back at me whichever direction I face.

Edmar, our office/tea boy, is fond of pointing out the obvious, only in more exaggerated terms:

I work as a sercretary/media & communications officer/ accountant thus the computer is my best friend. Edmar barged in my office and said "Pare, lagi ka na lang sa computer a!" (Buddy, you're always in front of the computer!). I smiled and said "Yes, that's true". I wish I could barge in in his kitchen and tell him that he's always making tea and coffee.

One time I was in the kitchen talking to Edmar and I stretched. Then, with a ghastly reaction, he alarmingly said "Pare! Ang laki na ng tyan mo!" (Buddy! Your belly is huge!). I smiled and said "Yes, that's true", although I find it unfair that he has the same expression saying that line as how he would react to a natural calamity. I mean, I never come up to him and say "Pare, ang pangit mo!" like it was the apocalypse.

I drink a lot of water and he says "Pare, water therapy tayo ngayon a!"

I wake up early and he says "Pare, ang aga mo naman!" (Buddy, you're early!)

I wake up late and he says "Pare, late ka na nagising a!" (Buddy, you're late!)

I eat late and he says "Pare, mamatay ka na nyan sa gutom!" (Buddy, you'll die of hunger!)

I eat on time and he says "Pare, lalo kang lalaki nyan!" (Buddy, you'll get bigger!)

Man, I'm annoyed but there's nothing I can do. "Pare, na-iirita ka na ata wala kang magawa!"OUT


Brain Rape

>> Monday, August 6, 2007

In the dream, I was headed to a video shoot. I knew it was a dream right away because how on earth would I be carrying Angel Locsin, playing the part of an angel with cheap crepe paper wings, while she, supposedly, tried to save Richard Guttierez from an inevitable career plunge? I was certain that it was a dream because I was carrying Angel but at the same time I was operating the camera and going for a crane shot--how else can I be in two places at once? I played along because dreams are not real anyway. Not unless it becomes too familiar; then you know it's time to wake up.

The shoot ended in a wrap party. Every one of my friends were there. I was so happy. So ecstatic, in fact,that even if they closed me off from the party in some producer's house, I walked home alone but literally jumping for joy. I realized later when I woke up that I dreamt this part because of a recent comment I made in Gypy's blog about having a job you love.

Then, as I was walking gleefully along the dark streets of Qatar (my only clue were the lightning fast cars on the road), a car chase straight from Grand Theft Auto ensued. Up ahead, an SUV flattened a dozen lamp posts before it crashed on an island.

The driver, dressed in black, got out of the vehicle and walked towards my direction. I sensed his ill intentions so I hid behind a palm tree that obviously only covered half my body. The guy in black approached me and pointed a gun at me (this is what I get from watching Zodiac the other night). I only got to plead twice before he shot me on my chest. I got angry and promised that I won't let him get away with it.

To my surprise, he chopped my head off and put it in a box then he went to a cargo truck which was loaded with the same box he was carrying. I followed him in spirit, meaning to scare him off with my ghost. When I tried to reach for him I found out that I wasn't following him as a spirit at all but as a headless body!

That was the time I woke up. With a smile. And the first relevant thing I saw was a pile of textbooks on my bedside table. Some Qatari student had asked me to do his research work. Although he's paying for it, I still can't help but feel a bit brain raped.

The metaphor was too clear to be dismissed. Believe me, there's a thin line between dreams and reality.OUT


Lost in Tarjama: Arabic for the Pinoy

>> Saturday, August 4, 2007

As with any new language or dialect, the hardest part in learning it is not the new characters or letters, it's keeping a straight face when your teacher says a new word but translates to something bad or funny in your native tongue.

Like our ancient Baybayin, the Arabic alphabet reads like the alibata or the Tagalog abakada. There is no link between Arabic and Baybayin or Tagalog but coming from this language, it was easier for me to understand the concept.

The Arabic language does not have vowels in the standard alphabet which consists of 28 consonants. Words are formed as you would imagine an SMS message devoid of vowels to maximize the alloted space. For example the Arabic word for "girl" is BINT but since they don't spell out vowels it is only written in Arabic as BNT or بنت. It's confusing because the beginner might read the text as BaNaTa so to aid the student in sounding off the word correctly, vowels, in the form of orthographic signs, are placed on top of the consonants.

The Arabic language can sound scary to the uninformed ear but once you get used to it and open your mind and listen to native speakers, you'll find that it is beautiful and quite easy to learn.

One thing I had to remember early on was that the Arabic alphabet does not have a letter "P". I noticed this when I first arrived in Doha because my boss can't seem to decide whether to call me Jaffy or Javvy. He simply cannot pronounce the letter "P". In place of this, the "B" is sounded off thus, pen becomes 'ben' and paper becomes 'baber' and "Jap, please pass the pen and paper" becomes "blah". Check out how my nickname is spelled out in this particular thread at Qatar Living where Arab speakers even type "b" instead of "p" making my handle sound like a kung fu move.

And so I started learning the alif, ba, ta, tha, etc. I can say that I've mastered 80% of the Arabic alphabet (reading, writing and sounding off), with the exception of a few letters that demanded glottal stops a'la Regina Spektor or what the judges in American Idol term as vocal gymnastics. The ع ('ayn ), for example, looks deceivingly easy to pronounce basing on the guide but in reality resonates like somebody choking from between your legs.

To learn several letters quickly and be familiar with some words, my mu'allim taught me some words that were simple enough to write and read and remember. Other words though are unforgettable because of the inevitable crossover of languages. It's good if two words from different languages are almost the same in sound and in meaning, like bantaloon=pantalon (trousers), but what if it's something dirty?

I almost laughed at my mu'allim's face with a generous serving of spit when he gave me the word for the day. "Today, I'm going to give you a word that is very important to Qatar, it means 'pearl'," my guru said, writing the word in Arabic on a piece of paper. "Now repeat after me," he said. "Lu'-lu'". I almost died of stifling one of the best laughs of the year! "Lu'lu'" mu'allim said again because I have stayed quiet for a few seconds. With lips quivering, I repeated a fast "lu'lu'". (For those who don't get why I found Lu'lu' funny: Lu'lu' means masturbate in my Ilonggo dialect).

I thought the worst was over. "Now what if you say "the pearl"?" mu'allim asked. "Al Lu'lu'?" I guessed. "No, it's lu'lu'-ah. Again, lu'lu'-ah." (now he's just commanding me to masturbate him). I wanted to share to him this funny coincidence but I figured he might get offended since a lot of Muslims treat their language as Holy so I decided to keep it to myself...but share it to the world.

I'm now reviewing the Arabic alphabet and will be having my exams soon. Next month we'll probably be doing grammar and more words.

It's back to pre-school for me. Meet my classmate.





Abre Los Ojos

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Thirtysomething educator who holds the secret to the meaning of life. =P

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