Procrastinating Like There's No Tomorrow

>> Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm not an exception. I have a hundred tasks to do and I don't know where to begin.

It's Sunday and I woke up at 9am to have an early start. The early start became 11:30am since I dozed back
to dreamland as soon as I hit the snooze button on the alarm. By noon, my early start began rather slow as I counted drips on my improvised coffeemaker for a full-bodied dark mug of coffee. I got impatient and decided to make a latte instead, assuming that lattes are three-fourths milk. Coffee chugged down, face chilled. Time-check: 1pm.

'I need to do the following things', my mind kept on scrolling this on my line of sight. 'I should make a list,' I thought. Make that thing for mum. Make that thing for school. Make that thing for the team. Make
that other thing for the school. Make one more thing for the team. And so I sat down in front of the computer and made photo collages for my Friendster account.

Editing my photos and posting it on Friendster ate most of m
y afternoon. But one thing leads to another when you're online. Before I knew it, I was already wiping off some unworldly specimen just in time for Kala's buzz in YM. `You haven't been blogging,' she said. After a quick chat, I logged on to Blogger at exactly 6pm. Thanks for bringing it up, Kala.

Now, here I am with a hundred things to do. I lie. Only four of five things. But these are major, lose-your-job-if-you-don't-comply things. I don't feel any sense of urgency nor panic. I figure, I still have a hundred hours left before bedtime, so what's a nice movie to watch?


Out of Gotham

>> Saturday, November 1, 2008

The kids were all excited for the much-hyped Halloween party. I'd like to think that I did not give it a lot of thought but I can't deny that I spent close to 500 bucks just to make my 5th grade class beaming with happiness. There was only one thing left to do on the 30th of October--cram for a costume.

I had a short list. Shrek, too green. Hulk, too buffed and too green. Barney? Too purple. Zombie, possibly. The Joker, perfect. The Joker is the costume of choice for last-minute people. All I needed were white face creme and mum's liquid eyeliner and checkered vest . I locked myself in the classroom, put on make-up for about 10 minutes and borrowed my student's tie (in exchange I made him up as The Crow).

The Joker is out of Gotham and the Batman is not the only one having some Cantonese action. Now that it's all over and the rushed look was a hit, I think it's time for a few (excuse me for saying this) 'shout-outs' ew. I'd like to thank myself for my hair and make-up. And I'd like to thank ExpertVillage for their crash course on The Joker look


The Tourist

>> Sunday, October 26, 2008

How to spot a tourist: a map, a camera, a bottle of water, cargo shorts, rubber shoes, big backpack (or worse, a belt bag), possibly loads of shopping bags, overly giddy smiles, and a whiff of designer perfume with base notes of sweat and confusion. These things I try to avoid when I go to Kowloon , Hong Kong . The last thing I want is to be labeled a tourist, I don’t know with you but “tourist” does not sound too positive to me, i.e. a poser. Besides, I’m part of the ‘local’ crowd now—legal aliens marooned indefinitely for the promise of a brighter future. How to spot a ‘local’: settled and bored.

I’m on the routine now. Spend six months on the territory and you’re bound to know the tourist spots (and try to avoid it or at least go there discreetly), know which buses to take and which trains to transfer, where to shop cheaply, and know a few Cantonese sentences to get you by through the day and perhaps get you hooked one lonely night in a bar.

Culture shock here is not when you see a bunch of old Chinese folks doing flawless Tai Chi every morning at the park or being amazed (or nervous) around a gang of tattoo-clad kids with extreme fashion-forward `dos. Culture shock here is when you see a flood of Filipina domestic helpers along sidewalks at Central on a Sunday. One is guaranteed of this tear-jerking moment as random flashbacks of Milan , Anak and Caregiver overwhelm the first-time visitor. I’m used to the sight though. Like me, they’re already ‘local’.

Urban legend has it that Filipinos are more hard-working abroad. After more than a year as an OFW I’ve completely dispelled myths that Flips are lazy. Take away the trisikad, tricycle, trisiboat, multicab, jeepney and the occasional habal-habal and see the Pinoy walk. Here in HK, Filipinos adapt to the system without much qualms. We walk, we fall in line, we alight on designated bus stops and we don’t complain. This energetic and disciplined lifestyle reflects on one’s performance at work. At the end of the day, I’m tired but proud of myself for surviving yet another day without the usual conveniences.

So I get used to the absence of a nearby sari-sari store, tipid packs, and E-load and embrace a culture that has been perfected through centuries. Start the fireworks and throw the confetti, I’m a `local’.

And as part of the routine, when the work is done, the `local’ goes back to his quarters through a sea of lonely, weary workers on crowded walkways and trains, opens the door to his apartment, throws his bag on a corner, collapses on the bed, picks up the phone, and calls someone back home.

How to spot a tourist: a long face, phone cards and two mobile phones.


Work It

>> Friday, October 24, 2008

I hate to admit it but the long silence, despite all or any of the reasons, was nothing more than just me hitting the wall. It certainly took me awhile to get back because I was afraid to face the blank white space.

I hope the header is symbolic enough. I have arachnophobia. I have a new template. If eating freshly popped fear is easy for you to understand, we're transmitting brainwaves in the same frequency.

In any case, I'm back (yet again), with new harder equipment, a faster wireless connection, and a stronger sense of commitment to my blog. It should be better now, I think or else I'll have to give you the finger (video by


Not Too Far From the Tree

>> Friday, June 6, 2008

Teaching has always been part of my agenda. My idea of it involved college students, a night schedule, one creative subject like TV Production or Theater and a very cool professor. The day I walked inside the Primary 5 classroom, I knew I only got one of my requirements right and I'm holding on to my cool no matter how other teachers view it or no matter how much the kids test my boiling point.

Ladies and gentlemen, I don't fit the type but yeah, I am a teacher. Highly respected (I call the kids dude or bro), well-regarded (our 'handshake' is the knuckle rub), and all-knowing (does anybody have a calculator?) teacher.

Since day one I've made recess and lunchtime a PSP open-tourney, taught them Rent's Season of Love in Music class (maybe next year I can show them the movie and have them close their eyes during the strip show), played basketball with them during PE and called it hoops, and told them to go crazy on a piece of paper for their Visual Arts class. If you thought Robin Williams' unorthodox professor in Dead Poets Society was rebellious then you haven't seen me sing Crawling with my students while holding sour gummy worms.

My teaching style might be too racy for some but I think it's the only way to get more kids to listen. Boring teachers only get the attention of the smart ones. But what about those who are always distracted or daydreaming? You only need to watch an episode of Late Show with David Letterman to understand what I mean. Annoyances are sometimes necessary to keep your audience focused, imagine the irony. Back in my primary school I'd always look forward to classes that my favorite teachers handled and they were the ones who knew the language of my generation.

When I was in fifth grade, my dad taught my PE Class (funny how life comes to a full circle sometimes). He was one of the cool teachers. I guess I can give him props for that. Like they say, the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree, but personally, I prefer the "shit doesn't fall far from the ass" analogy. Bun intended.OUT



>> Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I was on my third week of my two-week vacation back in Davao in December and enjoying every minute of it when I asked my mom, quite casually, if I can work in Hong Kong instead. What began as a conversation piece quickly became a serious plan that the very next day, I filed my resignation from my mid-east stint.

I’m in Hong Kong. It’s official. I’ve been trying to keep it secret for several reasons. One is because my boss’ er ex boss’ son reads my blog and I don’t want them to get the wrong idea because I wrote an entirely different explanation in my resignation letter. Another was because I had to wait for certain formalities here in HK. But now that everything is quite settled, and Lee has agreed to keep mum about my whereabouts, I’m seriously going back to blogging now.

For the past three months I’ve been a semi-bum because I’m not allowed to work and receive compensation. It sucks. After having a busy and ‘happening’ life, it was hard to go back to being a slacker.

More than a year ago I was on my way to becoming a filmmaker. Well that was the plan anyway. But I had to put that on hold and go to Qatar. Now, sidetracked yet again, I’m here in Hong Kong living, according to Kala, the dream city and dream job. But that’s not my dream. I’m still hoping that I’ll get to that goal. I’m on the longer, more scenic route (I’ve always chosen that option in one too many psych tests).

Being sidetracked is part of life and those who say “you’re in control of your own destiny” are just plain lucky.OUT


It Used To Be So Simple Then

>> Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I feel like a stranger in my own skin. I lost the rhythm and I might have lost the drive, too. But I’ve been meaning to face the blank page once and for all and I have to say that it took a lot of guts to even begin a sentence. So, I’m thinking baby steps.

As far as I can remember, even before my Choose Your Own Adventure days, I have always wanted to write. Doogie Howser, the father of blogging, I think, inspired me to keep a daily journal. Okay, it was more like a yearly thing. Okay, fine, it was more like an if-I’m-in-the-mood kind of journal. Like Clockwork Orange is already a feat if you really think about my writing habits.

I reached 30 last May 4 and it was a slow climb to midlife. I think I’ve reached a plateau so I’ll use this time to get ready to ascend my peak (big thanks to my life coach for the optimism.)

So yeah, the secret is out. I’m 30. I might as well be dead. Let me see a show of hands, who of you here has reached this age and thought that we are merely kids in wrinkly skin and bad arthritis and that, more than ever, we are more accountable with our actions because apparently, we are ‘adults’? For example, a naked 3-year old kid in public is funny and cute whereas a naked 30 year old man in public is asking for jail time or the straitjacket.

I miss the days when I answered to a teacher and not to a boss, when I received allowances and not salaries, when problems were limited to maths and not life goals. But I’m happy at the moment and unless you’re starving or stuck under rubble, you really can’t complain.OUT


Where Was I?

>> Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I’m back on the blog. After a very long silence I think it’s about time I let my readers know, if there is anyone left, what happened since I stepped on the plane that took me home. To hell with the unpublished entries (yes, I’ve had quite a few lined up), to hell with the “12 Things I’ve Learned in Qatar” series, and to hell with past sentiments. What’s important is right here, right now. Now, where was I?

I was away from blogging, and the only reason is because I was back to my old life. I started Like Clockwork Orange the day I left the country but now that I’m back I didn’t feel the need to blog. It would be unfair to abandon it just because I’m enjoying my vacation. All my patient readers have followed me through my downs, it’s only right to walk them through my ups.

There’s not much to say except that I’ve been partying and eating a lot. Drinking every other day is still not enough to flame the breathalyzer after a year of almost zero alcohol. So I’ve been hanging out with friends, alternating between coffee and beer. I’ve been sleeping during the day and roaming the scenes at night. In short, I’ve been a total slacker.

So, there you have it—instant recap of weeks of absence from the blogosphere. I’m sure I’ll come up with a more detailed post one of these days. What’s important is you know I’m still alive. I’m taking this opportunity to jumpstart my blog, it’s the new year after all.




Abre Los Ojos

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

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