Saturday, January 21, 2006

I am Atlas

My real name of course is not Atlas. Atlas is my cyber name, a name that I adopted to distinguish who I am from others in the digital world as well as reflect the kind of person that I am. Parents gave us name when we were born reflecting their desire of what we should be in our future as well as denote their expectations and their dream of us. Having my “own” name, in other words, reflects my “own” expectations, my “own” dream, and my “own” desire of what I am and what I should become. If so, of all the names that I could adopt, why Atlas? Well, to start with, Atlas is the Greek mythical being that carried the world on his shoulder. He is the one responsible for maintaining the world in order and not allowing it to "plunge" to oblivion. Though, I couldn’t carry the weight of the world on my shoulder by myself but I nonetheless, am willing to do my share in “carrying” it. Confucius once said, “The role of a gentlemen is to concern with the problems of society and carry its burden, however heavy till their demise, however long is it’s span.” I’m just a good student of the master and not a great humanist. At any rate, I believe that I could do my share in “carrying” the burden of society by sharing my thoughts however inconsequential to those who needs them and is willing to listen. To paraphrase Plato in his “Allegory of the cave”, a “liberated” man who have climb out of the dark cave and have seen the light, would feel that he should share this with “others” who are still left behind in the depths of the cave and for this reason, the liberated man who descend into the cave and guide those who are willing to see the light out of the cave and set them free. I don’t claim to have seen the light but I felt that I have a better “vision” than others and have seen things clearer than some and therefore, I felt nonetheless obliged to “show others” what the cave looks like for those who have difficulty seeing in the dark. It is for these reasons, that I adopted the name and created this blog.

Monday, January 16, 2006

BLOGGING, ONE YEAR AFTER: A BLOGGER’S CONFESSION

This is my 54th post for this blog and it is over a year since I started “blogging” but it is only in March of last year that I begin to write seriously. I had to admit that I had a different conception of what I’m going to write when I started but after a year and 53 blog posts, that conception is how would I put it, “expanded”. I got the idea of blogging when I happen to read about them in the papers and actually stumbled on one during one of my surfing sessions. I realized then that this would be my vehicle to “share” my thoughts. Ever since high school, I’ve always kept a journal of my thoughts. It is not a diary of everyday happenings but thoughts, a.k.a. my interpretation of things surrounding me as well as various quotes from “great men” and their philosophies. It is these thoughts that shaped the person that I’m now. I still continue that “philosophical” musing through college and until now. Then sometime in 2004, a bright young lady text me a nice quote and I felt obliged to “reply” with one and I send her one of my “thoughts” and it goes like, “Life today is not an abrupt jump from yesterday but the summation of the gradual accumulation of evolutionary changes that happens in the past.” She then replied and ask for another one, which I again obliged by sending her this quote, ”Life doesn’t wait for anyone. Take charge and siege the day.” After which, she suggested that I share it with the rest of the world. And so here I am, blogging to share my thoughts. Actually, I was quite reluctant to share my thoughts because these are personal to me. These are what made me into what I am and I am a very private person. To share it with a total stranger is unthinkable. However, I also noticed that there are some people I knew who are in my view “lost”. They seemed not able to grasp what is happening around them. In my view, they are both na├»ve and somewhat fail to understand who they are. I felt that I could help them understand, help them reach their potential because a long time ago, I was in the same dilemma but I am able to “grow up” thanks to my journal of thoughts. I know I could sound too presumptuous and cocky as well but if somebody or anybody for that matter could get something from my thoughts and utilize it in their lives then my blog’s mission would be complete or so I thought. As I go through with my writings, I began to explore. And in the process, I discovered something else entirely, something that I least expected. I’ve discovered myself. Blogging enabled me to measure the depth of my soul and helped me mapped out the limits of my being. By writing down my thoughts, I was able to understand that subconscious part of me that I always knew but never had the time to articulate nor discover. In the end, instead of helping others discover themselves, I discovered myself. Looking onwards to another year of blogging, I look forward for more of such discovery of myself as Socrates would suggest, “know thyself” in order to understand the world outside. However, I would so admit that I wouldn’t publish everything since my life isn’t an open book and I prefer to keep the most intimate details of my being to the people that I’m very close to but I would share as much as possible my thoughts. I still had many of them and I haven’t written all of them yet. My only problem is writing it. You see, I’m not an extemporaneous writer and I can’t write without thinking it through or without an inspiration of sort, which partly explains why my blog posts are quite long in the first place and it could actually take me days to finish a single post, which is why some of the topics written are “delayed”. However, once, I had “it”, I could go on for days and if you notice, the topics of my posts are somehow related to each other, it is because of that. I try giving myself deadlines to post an article and thus treat my blog like a newspaper column but I failed miserably. I failed because when I am interrupted, I could “lose” my inspiration and I find it difficult to continue with what I’ve written. This is why I had plenty of half finished articles, which I coined as “almost blogs”. Hopefully, I could continue them someday when I “regained” my inspiration but for now, I’m looking forward to the future and inside of me to discover, to explore, and to grow.

My first 53 blogs:
1. On my thoughts.
2. The sailor in me.
3. Saluting a great man.
4. The sand castle.
5. Rites of initiation.
6. The person that I want to be with now.
7. To Neverland and back again – on growing up and being a kid again.
8. The purpose of life – a reply to a friend.
9. Approval addiction – an analysis.
10. Another murder of my generation and I’m angry.
11. Sorry for the tears.
12. A quote and a historian’s rumbling.
13. The tragedy of Anakin Skywalker.
14. Listen to my wife.
15. My mini library – part 1.
16. My mini library – part 2.
17. The day of reckoning – simply unthinkable.
18. My mini library – part 3.
19. The martyr wife.
20. The seven stages of man by Willian Shakespeare.
21. On being 30.
22. On being 31.
23. My contract.
24. A manifesto of our commitment.
25. The road not taken.
26. Steve Jobs.
27. Chinese Valentines’ day.
28. Unrequited love.
29. My cousin Philip.
30. Outsourcing.
31. September 11.
32. A wise guy speaks.
33. When I’m 80….
34. Mid – autumn festival.
35. The tallest tree.
36. To my love, happy birthday.
37. The ceremony.
38. EVAT law and the Philippine society: a historian’s view of a crisis in the making.
39. Philippine politics and the economy.
40. 68 more visits to the grave……..
41. Book launching.
42. Writing about how to start a business: a disclaimer.
43. For the love of the game: the purpose of business.
44. What motivates you?
45. “My” philosophy of money.
46. December 25, 1914.
47. Ethics of greed.
48. Entrepreneur.
49. SWOT/TOWS
50. I condemn….
51. Day 1 of 2006, what a start!
52. T’is the season………
53. The new year.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

THE NEW YEAR

This is the blog that I should have posted last December 31/ January 1 but due to some unfortunate reasons, I wasn’t able to. It is only recently that I was able to finish the article.

In a matter of a few moments, it will be 2006, the new year. For most of us, a new year is a new beginning, a fresh start, and a chance for change. I must wonder though why is it so? The New Year is but just a day following December 31st. It is but just a continuation of the past just like any other day. Things don’t abruptly changed overnight nor would problems go away just because it’s the New Year. Surely, nobody would naively expect that by “tomorrow”, they would be living in a dream world, would they? Then why oh why do we imbibed the New Year with so much “hope” and so much “romance”? A very long time ago, when our ancestors were just beginning to eke out what is our civilization, they notice that the weather changes according to a predictable pattern and that pattern would repeat consistently after a period of time. Spring would be followed summer, which afterwards be followed by autumn and lastly, by winter and then, the cycle begins again with spring following the heels of winter (at least in the temperate climate). From here, our forefathers conceive the idea of a “year” and discovered that nature eventually “renew” itself quite predictively. From this, our forefathers preach the idea of a New Year as a new beginning, a new hope, a fresh start. Spring always come after the long cold winter. In this case, the New Year represents hope for the future, a better future, a future that will be according to our dream. But if the New Year is about hope and it is just a day in a year, why couldn’t we make everyday a “New Year”? Why not make everyday a fresh start, a new hope, and a new beginning? Why should it be January 1st? Before the 19th century, the Europeans celebrate New Year on Christmas day (apparently due to economic reasons since they couldn’t afford two major festivities in such short notice and aside from that, New Year is a “secular” feast as compared to the “religious” feast that is Christmas). The Chinese celebrates the New Year on February of the “Western” calendar. Other cultures have other dates for the “New Year” (The Greek Orthodox Church celebrated the New Year on January 10). So why January 1st, when we could have it everyday? Put it differently, why do we need to wait for January 1 to jumpstart a change, i.e., make a resolution? In fact, why do we need to set a date for change? Why do we have to draw up a demarcation line when there is none to separate with in the first place? Why should we “compress” the entire past and all the hopes for the future on a single point in time when change happen so inconspicuously, i.e., we only notice the “difference” when change has happened a long time after? Change could have happen way after the New Year and even way before it. All we need to do is will it to happen and make it so. Remember, life doesn’t wait for anyone (it’s a motto I kept reminding myself everyday when I opened my cell phone). Wait till the New Year to make a change and life will pass you by inauspiciously and left you behind.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

T’is The Season…………

Christmas to the New Year is the season to be jolly. Not only because of the holiday spirit and partying but frankly due to the fact that I’m making money. This January, the tune is different. It is the season of well, paying bills. This is the time when your bills kept coming in droves and the collectors are at your door every second of the day. However, the good news is it won’t happen until the middle of the month, which would provided me some more time to take a deep breathe. However, it doesn’t mean that the first few weeks of January is fun. This is the season of number crunching! Today, January 3 is my first day of work but I already started working since the 1st doing accounting work for my company. For accountants and I’m not one, this is the season when you do the “tallying” work of how your company fared the last year, specifically, this is the time when you sort out the numbers from the mess left over from the holiday’s frenzied pace. This is the season when one makes the year-end report, the year-end financial summaries, and balancing the seemingly “unbalanceable” financial statements. Not to mention the auditing works, inventory updates, maintenance check ups and others. It would be good if one has an accounting staff to work with but for small companies like mine, it’s part of the Christmas wish list that Santa kept on forgetting. And so, here I am, pouring through the paper works, pacing around the office trying to keep my sanity and running around the factory “inventorying” and auditing. Definitely, this is the season not to be jolly at but dread about. In addition to that, this is the season when one would experience a roller coaster sort of emotion ranging from sheer joy to down right exasperation. It is “rewarding” and exciting when one is tallying sales especially if it is better than last year but one could get really exasperated and uneasy when one is counting the costs and expenses and in the end, it is quite disheartening that all you work for in a year translate to a disappointing figure. However, it would be a consolation if the profit is within expectation or better than last year and a reason to celebrate when the profit is beyond one’s expectations. And there you have it, the drudgery and unkindness of accounting work, not knowing how the numbers would add up in the end while going through the unending tasks. But my work doesn’t stop there. After the number crunching comes the evaluation period. What went wrong? What did we do right? What should we be doing next? Any bright idea? Stuffs like that. I should have taken a looooooooooooooooonger vacation before going back to work but I can’t. Such is the curse of a business owner, one has to look ahead and keep a pace if not ahead of competition. One cannot simply afford to be “left” behind. I need another vacation after this.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Day 1 Of 2006, What A Start!

I was supposed post something else for the New Year but I’ve changed my mind because of the very recent experience I had. It all started with just a few minutes before mid night of December 31,2005. I took a breather from writing the article that I was supposed to post and came to the balcony to enjoy the fireworks, when my neighbor fired his firecracker to the power and sparks flew right beside me. Luckily, I manage to escape and wasn’t hurt at all but that incident tripped the power lines and suddenly, the whole neighborhood went into blackout just the countdown to the New Year winds down. My brother and me like the rest of my neighborhood greeted the New Year literally, in total darkness, no thanks to my neighbor. Not only that, we weren’t able to enjoy our mid night feast because it’s “dark” and I’m in no mood to have a candlelight dinner at all. I manage also to make my very first phone call of the year! I called up MERALCO to report the incident and requested them to fix it ASAP. Good thing there is a call center representative to attend to me and she is in a darn jolly mood to attend to my request. Eventually, my brother and I decided to go to bed and skip the feast. However, I could hardly sleep since I fear a fire hazard arising from the incident and if I did doze off, I manage to wake up every now and then. My brother is rather pissed about the spoiled celebration but I comforted him by saying that “look at this way, at least, we could clearly see the night sky free from the dazzling distraction of the lights.” However, I knew better that the night sky is far from clear as a result of the smog from the fireworks. At any rate, MERALCO came by around 350 in the morning as I was sweating profusely in my bed. However, to my disappointment, power wasn’t restored till 5 or 6 in the morning. It is then that I manage to sleep soundly and relaxingly till like 10. We were planning to go food tripping at that time although we doubted that there will be stores open when a very heavy downpour occur further dampening our already diminish enthusiasm. We end up eating the supposed dinner feast from last night, which require reheating and frankly, the food taste not that good and some even got spoiled because there is no refrigeration available last night. After the less than delightful meal, I went to work, preparing the programs that I’m going to use in my business. We went out late in the afternoon when the weather is clear to get sustenance and to get away from seclusion as well. We doubted however if the malls are open but to our surprise they are open and it is filled with throngs of people just like us, people who don’t know where to go on a holiday. More than half of the stores are closed today but thankfully, the bookstores are open and as usual, I do my rounds in their shelves. I felt at home and relaxed as if I was drunk and lying in the bosom of a beautiful woman. Worry free and indolent as I shifted through the pages of the book just as if I was caressing her face, her hair and explore the intimate depth of her …………… soul. It was pure tranquility. As I am in my state of trance, mindlessly walking through the store, I chanced upon a book, actually a journal with a very provocative title, “The 100 Places I Wanted to Visit Before I Die”. I opened the journal and nothing is written. The content of the journal was meant for the owner of the journal to write on his adventure. It got me thinking though, where do I want to go? I’ve only manage to be in few places so far and frankly, I don’t even have a clue to where I wanted to go much less to enumerate the 100 places. Perhaps, there is one place that I could go. My beautiful lawyer – friend suggested that I should go to Sedona, Arizona in the US and see for myself first hand how beautiful the Sedona’s Sunset is. She describe to me that how the rays of the setting sun would cast an orange glow on Sedona and transform the place into a scenic beauty never before seen. Someday, definitely, I would be there at Sedona and watch the setting sun. As the day winds down, we have a “respectable” meal than we have during lunch. As I was driving on my way home, my brother played the CD he just bought. It is Il Luvido, the voice opera quartet. The songs are mostly Italian I think and though I couldn’t understand what they are singing, I find it relaxing. There is one particular song that I enjoyed and that is their rendition of O Holy Night. I’ve heard numerous times, the popular rendition of the song and only once, the opera version of it and I heard the latter in the movie, “Merry Christmas”, the World War I story but it was in German. Their rendition however is in English and I never somebody sang that song in so much grace and beauty. It was so soothing that I practically thought that what happened this morning was but just yesterday or maybe, last year. Anyway, here I am, in front of the PC, writing a blog about how my first day of the year been, blackouts, sweat, sleep, bad food, heavy downpour, work, book browsing, and listening to a great music and of course, blogging. Tomorrow, January 2, well most people would be working but me, I won’t start till the 3rd. I had an extra day to make up for today and then it’s tackling the rest of the year.