Thursday, May 26, 2005

Listen to My Wife

Don’t take this wrong. I’m definitely single and haven’t been married yet. Its just I read an interesting article titled, “Listen to My Wife”, written by Matt Miller of New York Times in today’s newspaper (BusinessWorld, Well, the gist of the story is that people, especially women struggles to balance their professional lives with their time with families and love ones. Trade offs are usually made towards this end but in the end, something has got give and for women, they usually sacrifice career for the fulfilling role of a mother and wife. That’s reality. Juggling both roles is not only taxing but will have a profound effect on the other role. My father died when I was young and my mom raised my siblings and me. We grew up fine but somehow, I always hear my mother say that she regretted that she didn’t take good care of us when we are young because she needed to work, out of necessity. My aunt too is a working mom and I could also hear her saying that she didn’t take care very well of my young 8 year old cousin (she shuttle back and forth on two territories every week with weekdays spend at another territory and weekends at her home territory). So there’s the dilemma, which one to choose? Career or family? Or in the words of the author, “should people sacrifice meaningful relationship every human craves as a price of exercising their talent?” Lets rephrase that, “should women pay with their career for her to enjoy a basic human relationship?”. To be fair, its not that only women craves for familial relationship and seeks a balance between work and family, men too. However, it would seem to be “logical” for women to give up their work in favor of family whereas for men, doing so would elicit criticism of being “weak and senile”. This is because a child is inadvertently maternal dependent while society view men as the “bread winner” of the family hence the “logical” expectation of gender choices between career and family. But I wonder, aren't women also human just like men? Men could have dreams and ambitions and megalomaniac delusions of grandeur but could a woman have it also? Of course they do! Should they give it up for family???? Some women worked out of necessity due to their economic situation. But for women of higher economic status, the necessity of work is not present. Would working for career be an acceptable excuse? Or better yet, could women have other responsibilities other than family? Responsibilities like running a business of their own or pursuing a worthy cause or interest. Simple questions but things aren't that simple at all. It is basically such questions that led to my breakup several years ago. I quarrel with my ex several times when we are together and one of our “quarrel topics” is what is her role after marriage? (Yep, we went that far) Honestly, I don’t know or more likely, I haven’t thought about it. Ok, I’m a jerk but truthfully speaking, has anybody thought about it before they get married? Very few, I think. I always think or more like, made to believe that marriage is the end all in life and everything afterwards is just a cruise down happyville. You hear fairy tales that ends in settle down, get married, and lived happily ever after. Its actually living happily ever after that has more problems than getting someone to agree to get married. So from the breakup, I came to the conclusion that women indeed have ambitions, have aspirations, have dreams, and even delusions and they shouldn’t be tied down by family. I mean women wanted to hear other people to say, “the talented and beautiful Mrs. Y and her husband, Mr. X” rather than “Mr. X and his lovely wife, Mrs. X or simply Mr. and Mrs. X”. However, this doesn’t mean that women should leave the family matters to men alone. If women could complain and demands that their men spend more time with their family, I only think it’s fair that women should do the same. Furthermore, I think family should not be an exclusive women’s domain but be a conjugal thing. If that is my conclusion, my next question is, is that practical or better yet back to question one, how to balance? Seriously, it’s actually easier said than done. Matt Miller suggest that both men and women should band together and demand corporations restructure jobs to enable the individual both men and women to balance their life and enjoy more quality time with their family. Yeah, great idea but in the meantime, do I have a second option? Frankly, I don’t. But somehow I suspect that I will need my management training to manage the process but other than that I don’t have a clue. Anyway, I’m not married yet nor am I getting married anytime soon, so I could postpone answering that “hard” question until then. However, I do sometimes ponder on the question especially when reading a good article like “Listen to My Wife”.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Tragedy of Anakin Skywalker

Note: This article may contain some clues and depict some scenes about the movie Star Wars Episode 3. If you want to be surprised, don’t read this article and just watch the movie lest it spoils the fun.
Today, May 19, 2005 is the opening day of the movie, Star Wars, Episode 3: The Revenge of the Sith and tonight, I went to see the movie. What can I say about the movie? It is spectacular but not that powerful because I was only moved during the battle scene between Obi Wan and Anakin as well as the last part when the Skywalkers hold the baby Luke and looking into the choreographic sunrise of Tatooine. The movie is like the classic George Lucas films, few simplistic words bereft of emotion and more action and even more spectacular special effects. Well, in this movie, the words are still few but convey more meaning and emotion. The action is simply awesome especially the light saber duels and what can I say, Yoda still rocks! The special effects are unimaginably incomparable. Just watch the space battle in its full breadth, Star Trek can’t simply compare. Sorry, Gene (Roddenberry) but don’t worry I’m still a Trekkie fan. The overall plot is somehow illogical and inconsistent at best. For in its effort to link up with the original Star Wars episodes, the plot has been severely bent to twist in order to fit with the popular legend. Somehow, all of it seemed illogical conjectures and force fits. Another thing that I couldn’t understand is why Obi Wan kept on referring Anakin as his “brother” when it was made clear in the previous episode that Anakin treated Obi Wan as a father figure. Could George is trying to superimpose a “Cain and Abel” type of conflict into the movie? Another point in the movie is the not so subtle Bush bashing and the treat of subversion of democracy in favor of a strong dictatorship. Sounds like Marcos and strangely, the sith Lord, the Emperor Darth Sidius looks like Marcos. Anyway, the part that I was move is during the light saber duel between Anakin and Obi Wan. I just can’t get myself to believe that how could two people who are so close to each other to the extent of risking each other’s life for the other would eventually turn against each other with such fury and anger and hatred. The other part that touched me is the last scene, which conveys a ray of hope of the eventual salvation after going through all the darkness of the human’s soul. In essence though, this movie is not about the revenge of the Sith rather this is about Anakin Skywalker and its metamorphosis into the “evil” Darth Vader. I wasn’t really appalled or “scared” of Darth Vader rather I felt a genuine sadness for Anakin. For no matter how powerful he is, he is just a victim of fate much like everybody else in this world. He struggled with fate. Tried to conquer it, tried to master it, and tried to control it but in the end, fate overwhelms him. He was just a mere pawn among those who resides in Mount Olympus. His sin was not in pulling out the light saber and tip the balance of the duel between Mace Windu and the Emperor in favor of the latter nor was his ambitious and impatience nor was it in his fear of loss of his wife, Padme as seen through his perminission. Rather, his only sin is that he is too human possessing all of its strengths and promises but equally wrought with its own frailties. This Darth Vader is not the same Darth Vader of the original Star Wars. The original Vader is a fearful, subservient, obedient, cold ruthless killing “machine”. This Darth Vader is an ambitious, emotional, and frail man, desperate of whats going to happen because he can’t do anything about it. So human, so helpless and so futile…. This movie sounds more like a Greek tragedy rather than a modern space romance or adventure. Which is why I propose to rename the movie, “Star Wars Episode 3: The Tragedy of Anakin Skywalker”. I enjoy watching the movie and I wish you too would also enjoy the movie.

Monday, May 16, 2005

A Quote and A Historian’s Rumbling

I read a great quote today in my newspaper and it made me think. This quote is attributed to John Maynard Keynes, the father of modern economics and could be found in his book, General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. The quote is "The difficulty lies, not in new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify into every corner of our minds". The reason this quote got my attention is because for so long, I believed that the reason people resist changes is because of new ideas, which are so revolutionary and contradictory to what they held and believe. It turns out, people resist change because the old ideas define who they are. It is a part of their lives and a core foundation of their existence. The source of their capability that worked so well for them. To even think that it is wrong would tantamount to a denial of their existence. Interesting, for in the larger world history, this denial is expressed in the form of a struggle between an emergent idea, an emergent system, an emergent future civilization against what is current, against what is proven, against what is the way it is. It is the eternal clash between the new and the old manifested as a revolution that influence the course of history.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Sorry for the Tears

A friend of mine sent me a text message the past 2 nights about her latest heartbreak. Though the text message is emotionless, I could feel the pain and sorrow being sent to me via the airwaves. My friend didn’t part ways with her love because of some silly irreconcilable differences over virtual nothing rather they separated because he is leaving for a foreign land. She is crying, she is hurt and she is in terrible pain. She is asking me what to do? Honestly, I don’t know what to say to comfort you. I don’t know what to do to ease your pain. I’m stump!!! I don’t know the guy. I don’t know what he did, why he is doing it and I don’t know what he is thinking. I don’t even know what to say as an excuse in his behalf nor should I say anything in his behalf at all. Except that maybe for this one. In behalf of all men who walked in this Earth, living and dead and yet to be born, who loves a woman such as you and still somehow manage to be stupid enough to break your heart, I just would like to say “ Sorry for the tears and thank you for your love”. We don’t know what got into our heads; we don’t know why we did it. We probably are as confused as you are but believe me when we say this, “we never intended to make you cry nor we ever wanted you to be sad”. We always wanted to see you smile, to see you laugh because that will make us happy too. We felt so lucky to be loved by somebody as special as you. We may not admit it now nor want to believe in it but we know that the day we say goodbye to you is the day a part of me died and never to be revived again. We somehow know someday that we will regret this but……… Forgive us for our stupidity, for being a pompous ass. Forget about me and move on, for we are not worthy of your memory but we will always cherish you for the rest of our lives. We are sorry and we ask for your forgiveness. We ask you to move on and forget us, if you must. Again, thank you for your love and save that tears, for we couldn’t live up for each drop.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Another Murder of My Generation and I’m Angry!

I came back to the office after lunch today and started to read the day’s paper. I found out that a young Filipino - Chinese couple was murdered yesterday as a result of robbery. Personally, I don’t know the victims but nonetheless, anger is brewing inside me like a volcano ready to erupt. The reason? The couple has the same demographic profile as I am and for the past few years, a number of my generation has been brutally murdered, one of them a year or two ago was my friend in college. He died because he struggled against his so – called barkadas who tried to kidnap him and extort money. Fate could be so cruel and unfair. My friend doesn’t deserve to die like that. He is a jolly fellow and always cheerful. He is a good Christian and always ready to help. Never the one to say no to a friend, he would help his friend even if is to his detriment. I warned him in college that he shouldn’t give too much to his friends and keep some for himself but he would have none of it. He is a boy scout both literally and figuratively speaking and he is active in civic engagement. He is a great friend to be with and one you keep for the ages. It is not right to take him away and he deserves better. He should be allowed to get married and have kids and even grand children. He should have die in a hospital at a ripe old age due to some lingering sicknesses surrounded by family and friends and not like that. I never attended his wake for I don’t want to see him like that. I don’t want to see him because I don’t want to see myself….. To my friend and others like him of my generation who have been brutally murdered, I mourned, I grieved, and I’m angry! They and their likes are at a time when it is the beginning of their golden age, where they become a productive member in society. They are the future face of our people and its success, the forthcoming bearers of our nation’s pride and dignity, and they are the country’s hope. How could I not mourn? One good guy down, one hope lost and the lost is irreplaceable. The future has got darker. How could I not grieve? To take it all away at once, so sudden, so unthinkable, so ……. How could I not be angry? I then remember my father and the anger and pain becomes all the more unbearable. I ............... Right now, I just want to end this monstrosity and hunt down those bastards myself. Stalk them like a mad hunter that doesn’t rest. Always behind them, ready for the kill whenever they let their guard down. I would cut their head off, tear their limbs and eat their flesh but this is not enough, not by a long shot. If there is hell and an afterlife, I would bring their soul to the deepest part of hell and I will dig an even deeper hole for them in hell and bury them there. Then again, my friend and others like him and my father as well couldn’t come back to life even if I had done that. I’m angry, I’m mourning and I’m grieving. This got to stop somehow!!!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Approval Addiction - An Analysis

I went malling last Sunday and as usual, I spend the entire afternoon leisurely walking in between the aisle scouring the books. And in my “drunken” wander, I noticed a peculiar book nestled among the shelves. The title of that book is “Approval Addiction”. I am tantalized with the book partly because I never heard of the term, “approval addiction” and partly because I seemed to agree with the concept but with reservations. So I read the brief description of the book at the back and I found out that the book is somewhat a religious – psychology – self help book of sort, which is not my kind of book. Even though I didn’t buy the book, I kept on thinking on the concept even on my way home. I was thinking is there approval addiction at all? It seemed to me that there is no such thing. I mean the entire society that we lived in is based on approval and we practically grown up on the system. When we are young, our parents practically cultivated our “addiction”. We are rewarded for good behavior and punished for bad ones and as such, we craved the reward and practically seek their approval every chances possible. As we grow older and gone out in the world, we seek the approval of our bosses, our customers, our friends, our peers, and our relatives and why not? With approval, comes the reward except that candies no longer satisfy our rewards, we seek approval in other form, specifically, psychological. Funny, for in a corporate setting, approval is a complex process. An approval takes time, several signatures and reviews and a lot more people. Could all this whet our appetite all the more? Extending this reasoning further, this cultivation of approval addiction is crucial to the survival of society. Our notion of good and bad, our concept of morality, our thirst for knowledge, and our productive and creative are developed using this addiction. We seek other people’s approval and so we learn and grow. I also remembered my behavioral science class, the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs. Isn’t psychological satisfaction a higher need and hence, a motivational factor? Peer approval is one such motivational factor. Given all of this, I wonder, is approval addiction an issue at all? We encourage it, we cultivate it so why the big fuss? Well, approval addiction is a real issue and important simply because we are humans, reek with emotion however irrational it maybe and not some cold calculating logical machine. We couldn’t control ourselves and we let our emotions, particularly fear gain the better of us at times. It is not just a psychological issue but rather it also a socio – cultural – political and ethical issues as well. Drug dependents craved peer approval and that is why they take drugs. Government nowadays behaved “irrationally” because of approval addiction. In fact, government spent countless sums to finance opinion polls to understand the “will of the people” in the vain hope of maintaining their approval rating. They sacrifice long – term stability in favor of short – term gains. Corporations also do the same with their investor. Great men in history in their moment of truth always think about how history would judge them and in effect seek history’s approval of their action. Approval comes when they are praised, acclaimed, saluted, and remembered in history on their decision or else they are simply vilified. It seems that concept of right and wrong is no longer relevant and even ignored. Approval addicts just simply aim for that psychological satisfaction of approval and they value it so much that everything else is irrelevant. Sometimes, I simply couldn’t understand why. Could it because I’m a loner and I don’t give a damn to what other people say? Maybe, I’m just being practical. I wonder if the approval addict has two different sets of people he or she would want to get approval from, how would he or she choose? My guess is that he or she would to weigh on whose side has the most reward to offer, in materialistic term or in psychological terms. And this is where my conclusion comes in. There is no such thing as an approval addict because even though humans are emotional, we are still logical. The so – called approval addicts simply made a trade off between seeking approvals and the psychological benefits and rewards it could get. If the reward isn’t lucrative enough for them to seek approval, he or she wouldn’t seek their approval at all. In this case, everybody is an approval addict. The only difference is in what they value and how high a premium they placed on in.