Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Nearly Got Something Cut Off Today

11:30 am, Convergys, Makati City

Thank God the knife was dull and made of wood. Thank God the guy with the wooden knife pointed at my groin was Sifu Russel. Thank God this was just a martial arts demo.

The audience had gasped, sensing that this wasn't your standard demo drill. And in spite of my own two seconds of helpless panic-- I totally did not expect him to scoop under my leg and lock me down, groin exposed to a knife-- I loved it.

Half the fun of a martial arts demo is watching the light bulbs flash over the audience's heads, regardless of who was playing the martial arts hero or the goon who was going to be very sorry he messed with the wrong guy.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Doing "It" with Friends

In a perfect world, we'd all be friends; we'd all be living together; working together like stepford neighbors high on a totally harmless form of hash. But the world is not perfect; and sad to say many of us will probably never ever get along. It's God's game of craps-- all right, baccarat-- that brings disparate people together. And it's only God, and your neighborhood shrink, who can predict how you'll all turn out.

A decade or so ago some common friends --a group of twelve or so uniquely talented individuals-- decided to pool their artistic strengths together and make a name for themselves as a Power in the commissioned art business. For a few short months they established Camelot. They were an art commune/tradesmen's guild/peripatetic philosophical society all rolled into one package way cool for its time and place.

"But why," you ask, "have I not heard of them?"

Like Camelot, the Power imploded, taking with it carefully nurtured friendships that should have been immune to poverty amid plenty and well-meaning neglect. The founders of that new Camelot were young and naiive, professing faith in contracts sealed with a smile and a handshake. Naturally, they could not have succeeded financially.

Camelot's knights broke under pressure from their angry parents, who railed against the injustices done by friends to friends. They broke under the pressure of academics-- which they had neglected on the off-chance that their mutual quest would bear lucrative fruit. They broke under the pressure of their own infighting as-- egged on by parents, failure, poverty and broken promises-- friend turned against friend. Heroically, they tried to regroup and recoup their losses but with Camelot's knights leaving the order one by one, there was nothing they could do to stop the end from happening.

When the dust settled, there were no more knights. Just tired souls wary of taking risks and trusting people.

Soredewa, kyameroto no menbaa wa iro iro tokoro ni itte, oboenai kuni ni oboenai michi wo aruita.

What's the moral lesson here? Aside from "always have an ironclad contract" it's never go into business with friends.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

It's hard custom-building an English test for ex-college students whose high school and college English teachers deserve to be shot.

The students already know some of the stuff you're talking about, so they get bored easily with tests that involve the very basics of the language. Trouble is, that's where they may need fine tuning. Too, as a teacher you need to be seven steps ahead of your study group. You've got to be able to anticipate every question they'll likely throw your way.

Now, imagine that you have to brush up on your English simultaneously with a foreign language that:

1. follows a basic sentence pattern that's not normally used in English;
2. makes use of "post"-positions, (instead of prepositions) and particles (instead of articles) ;
3. conjugates past tense verbs as if they were adjectives;
4. treats the conjugation of present- and future tense verbs in practically the same way

I need a tylenol.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Momma's Boy

Yelled at my mom again like a spoiled brat. It's bad, shameful even, as it was in the workplace that this happened. It's just that she can say the most condescending, patronizing things if she doesn't get what she wants. Which is why I didn't want her for a boss in the first place. It doesn't help that I'm a guy who doesn't want to do something I've already done. I'm not a miracle worker.

But I was wrong to yell. And I'm very, very sorry.