THE COUCH POTATO HAS A HEART TOO!

Couch PotatoI just got 3 ties and 5 keychain from a friend today in Bangkok. I have worked with him for the past 6 months that I have been doing the project in his company but he has been a good friend to me. He has been very helpful though unrecognized.

It is just sad that because he could not speak English as fluent as people expected, he is misunderstood and often blamed for things he does for the sole purpose of helping us out finish the job faster. It’s a sad fate for him.

I got really hurt for him when some foreign colleagues tagged his as a couch potato just because they see him sitting on a couch every time they try to look for him. He worked so hard but it is just unfortunate that he is on the same spot every time. Well, I have my favorite spot as well to take a break anyway!

Speaking One's Mind © 2011I know he is offended by the way he is being treated but just because he is a silent guy, he never even complain about it. There was one occasion when people would talk to him in English and he would respond yes though he meant the other way around. I cannot blame him. Language and culture is something that is quite difficult to change overnight. At the end of the day, he should not be laughed about.

At one point, one technician who I believe never even had a college degree questioned the poor guy’s educational background! I felt it was way below the belt so I had to stop the conversation. How could you accuse a guy of not being educated properly when you yourself don’t even have a good education to show off or at least the right attitude to treat people right!

Language DiscriminationIn Asia, you will not become a manager if you do not have the credentials, experience and educational requirements. Maybe I am right and maybe I am wrong. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were dropouts but they were known to be good managers. Nonetheless, I am sure that they have not insulted people the same way as how this poor guy has been treated. It’s a saddening experience.

After finishing the job with him, we both had a short talk. I apologized for whatever behavior that our colleagues had towards him. In return, he handed me 3 ties and 5 keychain as a token of appreciation and friendship. He asked me though not to give any of them to the others who maltreated him. From there I knew that he was indeed hurt by the way he was treated. I gave him a pat on his shoulders and said goodbye.

I left him that day with a sad heart because the person whom they have laughingly tagged as Mr. Couch Potato has a heart too!

SPEAKING ONE’S MIND… HALF ASLEEP!

It’s 05:14 AM and I am still awake. This has been my routine for the past 3 weeks as I find it hard to sleep because I simply wanted to do so much things aside from my regular job. The pressure of being able to find a greener or perhaps the greenest pasture for my family has been so great that I cannot afford to sleep anymore. Time is so scarce for me to even afford a decent sleep.

Dreaming Half-AsleepMaybe I am just too paranoid about the future. It is funny that sometimes I think that where I am and what I have to this day is less than what I could have achieved. I see people with expensive mobile phones, signature clothes and fancy cars even if I think I am earning a little more than them. Often, I get to think whether I have trouble saving enough to fund a little luxury in life or if I am just outdated.

I bet you guys must have felt the same way at some point in time. I have so many friends in the call center industry who can afford to loan a car or even a condominium unit from the bank and still have a drinking spree almost every weekend! Note that they are even up to date with the latest gadgets – iPod, iPhone, iPad, Android Phones and all the new stuffs that most of us just tend to fancy as we window-shop.

Day DreamingSo here I am now blogging. I do not feel like being less fortunate though. I am thankful that God gave me a good job to even be able to travel the world for free. Well, it is not free actually as it is basically the nature of my work. Nonetheless, I am satisfied with my job but I am not satisfied with how I try to make my dreams come true. I lack a little pushing towards reality. I think too much. I hesitate.

When I was younger, I always get what I dream for. I buy the latest phones and computers. I work hard to go into places and enjoy the holidays. I buy a few clothes but not the expensive ones though. I do the same these days but perhaps my criteria for happiness and satisfaction branches out to the happiness and satisfaction of my wife and son. I have to make them happy and satisfied so I could feel the same.

I may sound a little redundant and pointless. Nonetheless, I have to speak my mind and my thoughts are going in circle right now. DreamingI want to relocate to another country. I want to get a new house and a new car. I want to have a long-term job and a retirement plan. I want to have enough savings for my son’s future and I want to have a good health so I could ensure that all these are delivered.

I want so much. Maybe that is the problem. I long for so much things in life. But then again, dreaming is free and why would I limit my dreams when it’s free! I just wish that I could relax a bit and put all my efforts into a good master plan towards the attainment of my goals. At the end of the day, all I need now is to put myself to sleep for the entire day and recover from all the stress of life. All will be well!

Good morning!

FINALLY! OSAMA BIN LADEN IS DEAD!

Osama Bin LadenAs of today, we have been hearing so many news reports that Osama Bin Laden has been killed finally by US covert ops in Pakistan inside his mansion along with 3 others which includes his son.

It was mentioned that he was shot in the head as he was resisting arrest along with his son and 2 other companions.  It was also noted that a woman used as human shield by the terror leader was also shot.

Well, we have heard so much about this man being killed for the past 10 years since the 911 attack. All the while we were told that he has long been dead or that if he was alive, he will definitely be in a cave outside Pakistan or Afghanistan but he was found instead in a tourist area.

I have watched the actual announcement of President Barack Obama just before lunch here in Manila about the death of USA’s Public Enemy No. 1. It was indeed a victory for those who believe in peace and this is indeed justice for all victims of terrorism. I appreciate the effort but I hope that this would indeed put an end to terrorism.

Osama Bin Laden CompoundSo far, it has been said that the US has custody of the terrorist’s remains. No photo is available to prove this. More so, CNN and BBC just announced that his body has been buried already in observance to Islamic tradition. Some say that all the while, the US government knows where the man was hiding. They could have gotten him a long time ago but perhaps today was the politically perfect time to put him down.

So now while every US citizen are celebrating outside, we are expecting at the least that the US government will release photos of him just to prove that his death is real and not a mere media campaign to divert issues away from the bombing in Libya that killed the dictator’s son and grandchildren.

We are all equally happy about this news but we want to also end all other violence around the world. We want to put a stop to all the offensives – be it from the alliance or from rebels or terrorists. We need to give peace a chance and make this world a better and safer place to live in for us and for our children’s children.

Just sharing…

ON SOCIAL NETWORKS & SOCIAL CLIMBERS

mug-social-climberI just spent a few minutes checking for updates on my Facebook while preparing breakfast and I got bored for the first time. I noticed that this has been a routine already not just for me but perhaps for most of you. It seems like reading dailies these days is not as fun as checking Twitter updates and Facebook shouts.

One thing I noticed too was that most status messages are not made to express but to impress others. People even put a lot of element of suspense in every status message they post just to attract attention and keep people guessing. Well, if it makes them happy, it’s fine. For me, I find it a little weird and maybe funny too.

Social networks are meant to bridge people regardless of color, beliefs and location. It is a good tool to keep friends and families together… virtually. Nonetheless, some finds it as a good venue to fame. It is the best place to show one’s stature in life. Maybe we are indeed in an era of extreme clamor for attention and gratification.

Social ClimberAnyway, it’s the social climbers’ business and not mine so I will just let things be. It is just sad that this Facebook thingy has become an effective tool to show-off. Some even use it to even judge people be it on the way you write and comment, the kind of photos you post or the number of friends you have.

I have heard couples breaking up because of social networks. There are even people being kidnapped due to too much bragging on their wall posts or even ladies getting raped due to sexy photos they publish online. Some are even beaten up or ending up dead because of Facebook.

I cannot blame the technology but I do blame the people using it. We all are abusive because we all have the tendency to overdo things and get into addiction. We need to change. If we do not put caution and even a little modesty on how we use technology, it will hit us back really hard. Just sharing.  

OF GO-LIVES AND LESSONS LEARNED.

I just declared today that my project in Singapore is now going-live on the new platform and infrastructure. Thanks to the entire project team for making this yet another successful implementation. This is the toughest site so I feel so fulfilled!

Like any other rollouts, we have had some issues both minor and major. Nonetheless, it did not reach a point where I had to escalate to the CIO because I was able to push each project team member to resolve issues in their utmost capability.

As they say, leadership is not just about issuing orders but getting things done by motivating and pushing people to their full potential to achieve a common goal. It may be an effort not fully appreciated but the result is what matters most.

In any given implementation, there will always be professional and sometimes personal arguments. We are still humans. But then again, all these forms part of the overall success of any project. I consider all discussions as brainstorming sessions.

10 Keys to ERP Go LiveIn the last rollouts I have done, I have seen how different people from different nationality reacts. Some are panicking to the brink of escalating without having to try resolving the issue first while some tries to find fault and pass blame.

Weird as it may be but there are times when everybody wants to be the head. This causes a lot of problems as too many hands could always spoil the food. Perhaps, it is about culture, upbringing or plain educational background. It’s a challenge.

There will always be hard and difficult people to manage. There will always be members who wants to be leaders and consultants who wants to take control of how tasks are ran rather than just focusing on their areas. It’s part of the thrill.

Dealing with Difficult PeopleOn my part, I try to be cool. I only escalate when I see things as being out of the capability of the project team. Besides, having to panic will not do anything good as the support team is miles and miles away. I need to make do with what I have.

On dealing with people especially with a few bad tomatoes, I had to professionally address issues and raise them if I have to. I have learned this over time from my previous bosses to fix issues before they explode.

I have not failed so far in any of my projects and I intend to keep it that way. Although I manages differently, I do not see anything wrong with the way I execute things because I deliver good results at the end of the day.

ARE WE REALLY FOR PEACE & HARMONY?

I have been watching news from CNN for almost every day now since the protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria and with Libya. Although I have mentioned in my prior post that I have no problems with people expressing their sentiments on the streets especially if it is about freedom and democracy. It is just the same as what I am doing right now speaking my mind using blogging. No issues.

The only problem with all of these is when protests becomes violent that people starts to take up arms to express their political opinions and principles. We can say that perhaps violence was triggered when their governments started dispersing them violently. Some may alleged that some goverments even hired thugs to cause anarchy and chaos so as to push the situation further into the international limelight.

I am not trying to take sides with any of the dictators being protested by the people. What I am worried about is that perhaps some bad elements are using the situation to stir up chaos without them being implicated as all blame goes to the government. When people are allegedly being shot by snipers, how can we verify if the perpetrators were indeed from the government or from other parties?

It is quite hard to judge. What worries me most is that the United Nations is taking sides with the rebels rather than taking a neutral position and pushing for diplomatic solutions to the problem. Instead, they have provided air support for rebel offenses rather than just focusing on protecting the lives of the civilians. The rebels in return attacks Pro-Government areas where Pro-Government civilians are harmed.

I am also deeply saddened by the move of the NATO by the influence of Britain, France and USA in arming the rebels when we do not know clearly if these rebels were purely civilians trying to fight oppression from the regime and hoping to liberate the people or they are just trying to take the opportunity to push their fight be it to put down a government or spread chaos. We do not know.

The best way here is to put a stop to both sides in their fight. We need to let all parties be in one table to discuss and resolve things amicably. We as civilized nations should not sponsor war of any sorts. It took a lot of money and time for Libya to buy armaments, put up infrastructures and build bridges that NATO is trying to blow up! For me, there is no justification in destroying a nation.

If for some reason that rebels get to influence people to put up a mass protests, will America for example not do the same in protecting the government and nation from chaos? What if these rebels start arming themselves and push to attack the White House, will America tolerate such act? What if NATO suddenly attacks all of America’s defenses, will America just sit down and let things happen? I don’t think so.

The solution to all these is a diplomatic dialogue with all parties concerned. The solution to all political unrests is not airstrikes and attacks but genuine reforms. People needs livelihood and equal opportunity. We all need positive changes and we cannot just demand all these without helping one another. If everything is acquired out of force, this will become a habit. There will always be unrests and chaos.

VIETNAM, IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN… NOW IT’S LIBYA!

I am advocate of freedom and democracy. I have seen several people power and I have shared the same sentiments with people especially when oppressed. Nonetheless, I also think that each sovereign nation should have the freedom to settle its internal affairs without the influence of other countries especially those known for instigating wars similar to what we have seen in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

I want the people to have their voices and to have their choices. I want the people to enjoy freedom the same as what we are enjoying in a democratic country such as the Philippines. Nonetheless, I do not want to see a nation destroyed by missile attacks and bombardments. We cannot correct a wrong by another wrongdoing. We cannot just go to a country and throw missiles just to put peace in place.

Though the goal is always humanitarian and to protect the people, the use of bullets and missiles that kills people may they be soldiers or civilians is just the same as the enemy firing over peaceful protesters. The soldiers also have their families. They do what they have to do because it is their mandate and their job to do so. It’s the same as the NATO pilots tasked to fire onto enemies. They just need to do their job.

I condemn the war in Libya. I am not against nations helping fellow nations. I am against violence of all types. You cannot force change. A classmate and a friend once told me about his father’s opinion over protests and wars out of politics. He’s paralyzed but he was able to utter the lines saying that one cannot change the course of a ship midstream. True indeed. Anyway, he is a retired state prosecutor.

All the countries behind the attacks should reconsider resorting to diplomatic means instead. Same as what Russia and China advised, the world should address issues peacefully and as  civilized as possible without resorting to arms. If we see a bully in school, do we gang up on him just to teach him a lesson or do we counsel him and put more attention on him until he changes his ways?

If the rebel groups in the Philippines decided to attack Manila or other cities for such reason such as the allegations of extra-judicial killings and corruptions, will it be okay for us if other countries will get to support them and start to bomb our military bases and other army installations? Will it be okay for us if these countries will start arming the rebels such as those known for terrorisms?

I know that my example may not be comparable to the issues in Vietnam, Iraq,  Afghanistan and Libya but I think that the use of force to install peace is so ironic. If the goal of everyone is to liberate people, then why did we not see a war with North Korea or with Iran? How about Somalia? We need to let a nation solve its own problems and we need to respect their sovereignty as well.

This is just my own opinion. That’s all! So let’s end the war now and let’s give peace a chance!

CASE LOGIC : SLRC206 – A PERFECT TRAVEL COMPANION!

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Just awhile ago, I got myself a new backpack for my laptop, camera and all other gadgets vital for me as I travel. I was contemplating onto buying something from Samsonite or Lowepro due to being a brand-conscious buyer but I settled with Case Logic instead. It’s a bit pricey at P5,999.75 but it seems to be worth it.

DSC_0421Come to think of it, all known brands sell almost the same type of bag for almost the same price range so my decision is not about price but functionality. Lowepro has the same model but it is less appealing as the SLRC206. It’s also a known DSLR bag so it is more tempting to the few bad tomatoes out there.

The bag has a Waterproof Base so you can place it anywhere standing without having to worry about the base getting wet. It also has a proprietary feature called Hammock Suspension System which stores the camera inside suspended as the name implies. By doing so, you can be on the go and move any way you want with less worry. It has enough pockets to hold other stuffs as well.

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It also has a memory foam so that it takes the form of the camera once stuffed inside it so the equipment fits perfectly. It has 9 + 1 compartments for camera and lenses and other peripherals which is protected with foam that also acts as a movable divider. It has another compartment for a 15-16” PC or even a 17” MacBook Pro.

So far, it’s a nice and fully-functional bag. It even has a strap to hold my tripod so I was more than impressed. The model that comes from Lowepro has none nor the one from Samsonite. Overall, it is a laptop bag that is also a camera bag that is mobile, functional and easy to carry around especially when travelling to many places.

BLAME THE ROBOTS!

Recycled Metal Robots

Great! I just arrived Manila! Security officers stationed at the immigration section of the Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam had to pull me aside for an extra luggage screening and note down my passport details due to items found on my bags which were said to be dangerous. I was alarmed! 

They had to tag the robots made of recycled metal in my hand-carry luggage as dangerous items because the robots had swords and weapons deemed too sharp to carry inside the airplane. It was the second time I have been put in the same situation. The first time was with my camera tripod. Now, it’s the souvenir I got.

Out of embarrassment seeing fellow Filipino passengers passing the area where I was, I told the officers that I am okay to just leaving the items or throwing them away. I told them that I just thought of buying the metal robots made or recycled materials because they showcase Vietnam’s creativity and resourcefulness.

After doing some sweet talks coupled with the fact that I was in a formal business attire with matching coat and tie, I was allowed to pass through. They have seen all the stamps in my passport and all the visa stickers proving that I am indeed a frequent business traveller and not a terrorist.

As soon as I got inside the boarding area, I sent SMS to my wife, parents and siblings because the officer told me that they got my passport detail so that if something happens with the flight where I am in, I will be the prime suspect. It sounds a little funny but I got so worried. What if I be tagged as a terrorist if something happens?

Well, who knows what else can happen. Worse is that I can be blamed for something and I am not anymore around to defend my name. Hahaha. So even to the very last minute, I had to think of my name and my reputation more than my safety. Anyway, it’s not just for me but for my son who is carrying my name as well!

So now I am home – safe and about to relax my wife and son. Next time, I will have to use my allowance for checked-in luggage in case I get to bring home some “pasalubongs” so as to avoid all the hassles. The good thing this is that SGN is indeed secured and that the security officers were indeed doing their job.

Anyway, this is just one of the many adventures I get to have as a traveller. Overall, the experience is always fun and memorable. Besides, I had to enjoy the comfort of the lounge and pig out with the free food and drinks plus free internet after being searched. Hahaha! More so, I am home now – safe and sound!

SWITCHING TO BLACKBERRY TORCH 9800

BlackBerry Torch 9800

I just decided to switch from Apple’s iPhone 3GS to a less famed BlackBerry Torch 9800. What for?  Well, it’s more about work this time rather than curiosity and fondness to new gadgets. It’s a business phone.

I want to be able to reply to all my company emails 24 hours a day and 7 days a week in the fastest possible means. I do not want to carry with me always my laptop just so I could check for emails.

IMG_0764More so, I want to have the mobility and freedom amidst busy work schedule. I want to be able to reply to all communication the fastest that I could yet I want to spend more time with my family too. Well, I travel a lot so having the facility to communicate is vital. Hopefully, my new phone will do the job.

So far, I got all the accessories that I could find so I am so much satisfied with the decision that I have made. I got everything that I will be needing! I got an extra battery for long travels, a docking station, an intuitive headset, USB cable, a leather holster and a screen protector.

BlackBerry Torch 9800The only thing that I will be missing for sure with the switch is that once I get to do Enterprise Activation, my phone will be locked out. I will not be able to install any optional applications and I will be limited to reading and writing emails only. I will have my company calendar and notes but I will not be able to use it as a fully functional smartphone. That’s the downside though.

Nonetheless, I have my new phone and my goal for getting it anyway is mainly because I wanted to work while being on the go. Thus, I should be fine with the limitations. Besides, it is a nice piece of technology though and I am so sure that it would work well with my purpose unless I get to start finding ways on how to get rid of the security restrictions. Hehehe!