Ikigai, success and why delaying something is okay

The year was 2013. It was Politics of Education class (one of my electives) with Sir Louie who became one of the closest professors I’ve ever had. We were discussing the works of Paulo Freire (The Politics of Education: Culture, Power, and Liberation, 1985) when we touched on the concept of Ikigai.

Image taken from forbes.com.

This image represents the best way to describe what Ikigai means. It is a Japanese concept that means a ‘reasons for being’. It’s described as the value of being alive which makes one’s life worthwhile; it’s about finding satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life. When we do what we love, we pursue what we’re good at, we get paid for doing it, and when we do something that impacts the world around us, that’s what our Ikigai means.

According to Freire, the oppressed must be their own example in the struggle for their redemption. Linking it to our Ikigai discussion, this means that people (in our context, the students) can make and remake themselves when they learn. When they find their reason for existence, not only they learn out of their struggle but they unlock the knowledge and realise the importance of finding their purpose and taking responsibility for themselves as being because everyone can know that they know and knowing that they don’t.

I used to think that my reason for existence was simple – be rich, live life to the fullest… all I wanted was to live in a nice house without the fear of not being able to provide for myself. I know most of us want to do this but I really wanted travel and experience adventures from time to time. When I started working and when this pandemic took place, what used to be important to me means nothing now.

I realised that growing my savings and earning money is okay but my personal time is more important now. I know it’s not just me when I say that there are days when I couldn’t get out of work on time because of overflowing tasks. However, on most days when I could log off work as soon as the clock hits 6, I find time to do things that are not work-related which includes a lot of sleep since I work night shifts.

Why is this important to me? I discovered that I feel successful when I make time for family gatherings and I never miss one. I am happy and at peace when I find time to play gaming consoles to end a long day at work. I bet if everything was still in the old normal I wouldn’t be able to find time to do these things. I was also determined to finish my goal of reading at least 50 books this year. The sad part I am nowhere near half of my goal.

These days, when things have gone bonkers because of the pandemic, I felt that it’s okay when all I ever thought about was my safety and of those people around me. Delaying something and adapting to the changing times is more important and that does not mean I failed (I still read books every now and then).

I still do not know what my Ikigai is but it now makes sense to me.

  • Things happen in my own timeline and pace and if I keep comparing my story to others, it will only bring more harm than good;
  • What once meant the world to me may mean nothing in future;
  • Changing priorities is okay;

When you found your reason for existence please hold on to it, defend it, and ensure that it gives a positive impact to the community that you belong to. If you haven’t found yours that’s okay. Things will fall into its rightful places to those who know how to wait.

A message to my readers (and soon-to-be-ones)

I lost track of time. I know it’s not only me when I say couldn’t recognise what day it was already. I forgot about my passion projects, thinking that the ‘lock downs’ were only going to last for a couple of weeks, if not three months max. When traveling and seeing my friends were my only refuge and escape away from my cloudy thoughts, I couldn’t do it because of the situation these days.

It’s been more than six months since strict quarantine measures have been in place. The situation has barely improved in my country and it feels like it’s getting worse day after day. I’m quite disappointed and I feel sorry for not being able to write the past months. I wanted to focus on how I can stay alive, and here I am!

I Was Catfished And Here’s My Story

Warning: the post is explicit and may cause anxiety attacks

Catfishing, to those of you who are not familiar with it, happens when someone creates an online identity (or identities, to some extent) to trick someone into an emotional relationship.

Unlike others who fell in love with someone using a fake online identity, my story was different. I was not tricked. I was not scammed. I did not meet the culprit and thankfully, nothing serious happened to me but I was greatly traumatized by this incident in 2018.

This entry wouldn’t have materialized without the issue of Jzan Tero with Sam Morales on Twitter. Whilst reading the entire thread, I couldn’t help but recall how distressing my experience was. The trauma was too much to handle that I haven’t had the chance to tell this one to my close friends. But now that I have mustered enough courage to do it, I’m sharing my story with the world.

2018 wasn’t exactly the best year for me. At that time, my grandfather just died due to a heart complication, I’ve had issues with my health, and work-related tasks were getting out of hand because of multiple ongoing projects.

I used gay dating/messaging apps sparingly during those times because admittedly, I simply don’t have the luxury of time to do it. But one day, this person (see photo below) messaged one of my colleagues at work through the Grindr app.

My colleague reached out to me on our internal messaging platform and said that my boyfriend is waiting for me downstairs, at the building lobby. I felt weird about it because I told him that I do not have a boyfriend and have been single since late of 2017. The person kept insisting to my colleague that he’s waiting downstairs to meet me. I had to open my Grindr app and see for myself. I really don’t have any idea what’s going on – am I being pranked by another friend of mine? If yes, then this prank is definitely not a nice prank at all.

As soon as I opened the Grindr app, I got a message from this “FUNtastic” person, and here’s a translation of what happened (for my non-Filipino readers):

  • FUNtastic (F): Hi bb
  • Me (M): ?
  • F: Miss u bb. I waited for you last night. I was talking to your office mate
  • M: Huh?
  • F: Yes
  • M: Who are you? I neither know you nor I remember you
  • F: Don’t you love me anymore? After everything, you became like that. You even denied me to your friend.
  • M: I don’t really know you, okay? I will report you to the building admin if you don’t stop. I don’t even have a partner.

The person didn’t stop there and went on by revealing some details about me (fyi, this information is available on my LinkedIn and Facebook before I turned my account private):

  • F: Why will you report me? Don’t you want to admit that I became your partner?
  • M: When did we become a couple, assuming that we did? And what is my full name and what are my details that you know?
  • F: Do you want me to tell it one by one?
  • M: Go. I dare you.
  • F: Your course was Development Studies at De La Salle (University). You already worked for many BPO companies. Your dad is a seaman (seafarer). You went to St. Mary’s for high school. You became an exchange student at Chulalongkorn (University). Your brother just graduated from ICS (Immaculate Conception Seminary).
  • M: Of course, you’d easily know those things through my social media account. Again, when did you become my partner? I don’t remember meeting you ever at all.
  • F: You don’t trust me at all, do you? Do you have a monthly period now?
  • M: Again, when did you become my partner? I know I had one last time and I’m sure that was not you.
  • F: After you tasted me? Of course, you only had one partner last time because you didn’t have two. Haha. I will go there to pick you up.
  • M: Again, when you become my partner? I need (the) exact dates. Also, if you were my partner, how come you don’t have my number? All of my partners have my mobile numbers.

I thought he’d finally stop because he didn’t reply for a couple of minutes. I have already sent a report to the building admin and to the security team about the incident before going home. That night, since I was working following the U.K. time, I usually get out of work around 12AM, I actually couldn’t get home by myself. I was scared that someone might just show up and harass me. I had to call my family for help and asked them to fetch from the office.

The next day, this freak messaged me again and started harassing me more. He said he’ll send a photo of me having sex with him to my mum. I didn’t flinch and dared him to do it because I’m confident that I don’t ever let anyone take a photo of me whilst having sex:

  • F: That’s why it will go loose (he’s talking about why my ass would be loose by now)
  • M: Oh, why don’t you answer my questions? Ah, right! It’s because it’s not true. Haha. You’re busted, sir. Also, I’m not a bottom. Son of a bitch.
  • F: You’re a son of a bitch, too! Haha. Let’s have sex again?
  • M: You’re trying to trick me, you son of a bitch? I have your picture with me. My colleague sent it to me. Don’t you ever come near me because I have already reported you to the authorities! And for once, I don’t do casual sex with just anybody. Look for others whom you can fool.
  • F: They cannot stop me. I will go there. No? You’ve already tasted me, haven’t you?
  • M: If we got together, send a photo that we are together. Son of a bitch! Don’t you ever fool me, you’re just wasting time.
  • F: I’ll send a photo whilst you’re sucking my dick? You keep cursing – that’s bad. Shall I send it? The one where you ate my cum?
  • M: Send it. Go. But you don’t have a decent picture of us being together. Too bad! You’re busted, sir. I blew up your cover and discovered you’re fake.
  • F: Shall I send it to Tita Sally (my mum)?
  • M: Go, send it. I can even go with you!
  • F: You’re crazy! Why are you mad? I already went to your office to pick you up last night?
  • M: Are you nuts? Why would you even pick me up, I don’t even know you in the first place? Who are you? I don’t even know your name. You can’t even say when exactly we got together, and yet you keep saying you are my boyfriend? Are you crazy?
  • F: Yes – crazy for you! Why do you keep cursing? Your mouth needs some cleaning! I’m already here (saying that he’s at the office lobby once again)

unnamed11

The following day, he still messaged me through the app – “Hi bb (gesturing something about fucking in the ass)”, “Afternoon bb”, “Bb miss your asshole”, “Blow me bb, I’ll pick you up…” but I didn’t engage with the person anymore after filing a police report.

Thankfully, my work setup allowed us to be agile and flexible and so my manager encouraged me to start working from home after the first two incidents. Honestly, I wanted to “block” the account from messaging me but the police officer advised me to keep the account open and active so there will be enough evidence if anything happens to me. After a few days, the account just died and the person didn’t bother me. I’m relieved that the incident didn’t continue for days (or weeks), or else I don’t know where I’d find myself anymore.

My family thought it’s one of my ex-boyfriends in the past but I actually don’t have any bad blood against them and we’re in good terms; civil, at the very least. I don’t know who in their right minds would dare do this but I have an idea about who it could be but I’m not dropping names without enough evidence on my hands. I’m also sure that the photo they used for this wasn’t theirs (see photo below) and I feel bad about whoever owns this picture.

unnamed12

This tremendously affected how I was performing at work. I didn’t want to touch my phone. I didn’t want to interact with anyone for days. You know, I never thought I’d report back to the office anymore because of the fear that somebody might just show up and do something nasty to me.

On a personal side of things, it also affected how I connect with people. My dating life got skewed because I had trust issues with everyone. For a couple of months, I didn’t want to meet anyone from the online world. I had to deactivate my social networks for weeks. My friends didn’t know what was going on because I didn’t want to come forward and tell them – I was too afraid, in shock – and I felt sorry about it.

This could happen to anyone out there, regardless of their orientation, background, affiliations… and it can cause a lot of distress to anyone. For those of you who easily overcame a similar situation, good for you! But to those who have to go through and are going through a difficult time processing things, please know that we’re here to help you and we understand where you are coming from.

With that, let me end it here by mentioning some of my key takeaways:

  • Whilst it’s okay to engage with people you meet online, you have to make sure that you’re talking to a real person. About how you’d find out about that, I’m not so sure, but always give a second (and third, and fourth…) thought if somebody looks and feels too good to be true.
  • When interacting with someone, never ever over share about you or about your family, especially when you just started talking to each other. This can be very difficult to control because you’re torn between opening up to this person you want to engage with and keeping yourself some privacy on the side. You have your judgment – you have to own it and use it wisely.
  • I urge you to check what’s posted and written on your social media accounts. Ensure that you’re not sharing too much important information publicly, such as your location, birthday. Trust me, it’s not going to be worth it.
  • Always have your emergency contacts ready. May it be your family, friends, significant other… you have to make sure you have easy access to their contact information if anything bad happens to you.

A Taste of Japan in the Philippines

Yu-Fu-In Yaikiniku and Japanese Restaurant
Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines

When I want to learn about someone I always ask them about their food choice. It’s music to my ears when I have an idea about the kind of food that they consume and understand their eating behaviours because it creates a ton of opportunities for me to ask them more questions and never let the momentum die down. Really, it will be an understatement if you say that I love food because I really do.

Leo from Vancouver, Canada. Follow him on Instagram @leosamilo!

Last August 2019, I met Leo, a Filipino-Canadian based in Vancouver, who was in the Philippines for a quick vacation with his family. Through him, I had a delightful time learning about Vancouver, how the city is known for fresh seafood and how he’s a huge fan of Japanese food.

After my work schedule, I drove from Meycauayan City, Bulacan to Quezon City to fetch him. On my way to meet him, I thought of bringing him to Manila (around Malate) but I didn’t know any good and authentic Japanese restaurants around. So I thought, why not Yu-Fu-In in Angeles City, Pampanga since that’s been my go-to Japanese restaurant ever since 2016? Boy, it did not disappoint!

Osushiya San Bento

My craving for yakiniku was left unaddressed when we got to Yu-Fu-In. Their yakiniku was only available until 10pm and we got there about 15 minutes past 10pm. They have this yakiniku set + hot pot (good for 2-3 persons) which does not cost more than 1300 Pesos ($25). We were left without a choice but to order something from their regular menu.

Since he mentioned that he like sushi and fresh seafood, I made sure to get my staple fix of Oshushiya San Bento for only 490 Pesos ($9.42). What’s nice about this bento is you get to try nine (9) of their best sushi and it gives you an idea what to order next as a starter. My personal favourite would be the Ika Nigiri Sushi (Squid Hand-formed Sushi) because of how it just melts in your mouth.

Salmon Sashimi

It would not be a complete Japanese dining experience without ordering some nice sashimi (thin-sliced raw fish or meat). Salmon Toro (Salmon Belly) was our choice but it was not available at that time. Our attendant suggested Salmon Sashimi for only 295 Pesos ($5.67) and I know that it’s good.

I was quite hesitant ordering this because I’ve had an experience in the past when the sashimi from a different restaurant was awful. Sashimi has a recognisable smell – a stingy, fishy one – and you would only get it if you smell it directly. However, if you sit upright and notice this smell, then that might be an indication that the sashimi isn’t good for consumption anymore. Luckily, that wasn’t the experience we’ve had at Yu-Fu-In!

More than its freshness, the sashimi was flavourful. I like having it with fresh wasabi but without the sauce. As much as possible, I would always avoid having sauce in any food. Japanese food has a distinct flavour which I love – not savoury but extremely mouthful.

I could eat Omurice (Fried rice wrapped in omelette) everyday for my entire life and not feel bad about it. I know other Japanese restaurants have a cheesy version of this which, by the way, is good but I like mine simple, plus this is cheap! I only got mine for 170 Pesos ($3.27) and it’s actually good for 2 persons already.

We didn’t know what kind of tempura (battered and deep-fried) to get so ordered this mixed tempura for only 380 Pesos ($7.31) which could already serve 2-3 persons. Aside from Ebi Tempura (battered shrimp), my favourite would be Ika Tempura (battered squid), and yes, you can already tell by now how much I love squid!

Kushiyaki Set

Kushiyaki is Japan’s version of BBQ. However, theirs aren’t limited to specific meat, like pork, but it could be any poultry and non-poultry items. This set has six (6) different kushiyaki and is already good for 2 persons. Each set costs 295 Pesos ($5.67) only and you have the choice whether to smother it in their homemade sauce or just have a dash of salt and pepper (our choice, by the way).

What I love about Japanese food and the Japanese dining experience is how they put premium about sharing food. You are sharing a portion of who you are to the person you’re with and you experience this satisfying connection that only a good food can create. It’s as if sharing your food with someone is a journey of mutual understanding and discovery. Maybe this is what we miss when we get too preoccupied about ‘adulting’ and we miss the chance of experiencing this connection, who knows? When was the last time you created a meaningful relationship with someone over and through food?

Yu-Fu-In is located at 1st Street corner 2nd Avenue, Balibago, Angeles City, Pampanga, 2009 (view map here). You may contact them at (045) 635 5537 / 0908 874 2847 / 0917 842 6627.

*$1 = 52 Pesos

Above Sea Level: Home of the Giant Butterfly Squid is Taking Your Seafood Experience to the Next Level

Above Sea Level - Home of the Giant Butterfly Squid

Above Sea Level – Home of the Giant Butterfly Squid. Photo taken at Above Sea Level – The Gate.

A good sight to see: those hand-painted murals at Above Sea Level – The Gate branch.

We come from a family of seafarers. From my grandfather (+) down to my dad and uncles, every older male in our family is a seafarer. So when we see these miniature life rings, it instantly makes us happy.

I grew up in a land locked province, and we are from a town that’s totally far from bodies of water. We weren’t famished because we’ve been considered as one of the top rice producing places in the country, but one thing is for sure, and my mum can attest to this – we are totally fond of seafood!

I guess it’s obvious to say that we’re in love with seafood simply because we don’t get to eat them anytime we wished to. If there’s a chance for us to have it, we wouldn’t let it pass. I’m not kidding at all – my mum can eat a whole casserole of steamed crabs in just one seating; my brother can down a platter or two of buttered shrimps; and I can devour huge fried butterfly squids without flinching. This is probably one of the best reasons why we love dining here at Above Sea Level.

Super Giant Butterfly Squid for 250 Pesos ($4.63) per piece, good for sharing (2 persons) and comes with free two (2) Java rice.

It was my grandma who invited us at Above Sea Level – The Gate branch. When we dined in here last 1 September (our second time), it was actually Nanay’s fifth time already. I’m not joking, it’s probably the first time, for a very long time, that I saw her get so fond of a restaurant, apart from our usual Hap Chan weekend family dinner. She said, one of our close relatives discovered this and brought her here. From then on, Above Sea Level has always been our go-to place for the past 3-4 weeks.

In case you’re wondering, there are different sizes for the Giant Butterfly Squid. So it’s not just a giant Butterfly Squid but there’s actually a bigger size than what we call as giant. I find this very interesting because where the heck do they get these bigger squid sizes!? I’m dying to get one. Anyway, here’s the list of the Giant Butterfly Squid sizes:

  • “Giant” – 190 Pesos ($3.33), good for 1-2 persons, comes with one (1) FREE Java rice;
  • “Super” – 250 Pesos ($4.63), good for 2-3 persons, comes with two (2) FREE Java rice;
  • “King” – 350 Pesos ($6.48), good for 3-4 persons, comes with three (3) FREE Java rice;
  • “Groot” – 450 Pesos ($8.33), good for 4-5 persons, comes with four (4) FREE Java rice.

Above Sea Level – The Gate Barkada Treat. For 1000 Pesos ($18.52), you can enjoy four (4) Giant Butterfly Squid, four (4) Java rice, and one (1) Seafood Festival platter. Photo courtesy of Above Sea Level – The Gate Facebook page.

One good thing about Above Sea Level is their Barkada Treat which comes four (4) Giant Butterfly Squid, four (4) Java rice, and one (1) Seafood Festival platter. You can enjoy this for only 1000 Pesos ($18.52), not a bad price, especially if you’re dining with your family and friends. I highly suggest that you get this instead of single orders to save a lot of money.

Seafood Festival platter, good for sharing (2-3 persons) for only 380 Pesos ($7.04). Tip: Get one (1) serving of this for FREE when you order a Barkada Treat!

I kid you not, the Seafood Festival platter really looks and tastes nice! As what the owners have shared to us, the Seafood Festival platter is not only cooked in butter but with crab fat/meat (alige, in Tagalog), too. The toppings include kernel corn, crab, mussel (tahong, in Tagalog), and shrimp (hipon, in Tagalog). So to those people who have high cholesterol count, who are prone to high blood pressure, and who are on a diet, this dish isn’t necessarily what you’d like.

Above Sea Level – The Gate also offers other à la carte options such as Squid Overload (all-squid platter) which is good for sharing (2-3 persons) only for 250 Pesos ($4.63), Firecracker Shrimp for one (1) person and it comes with FREE Java rice for 180 Pesos ($3.33), Bacon Wrapped Shrimp for one (1) person + FREE Java rice for 240 Pesos ($4.44), and Squid Fest which is good for sharing (3-4 persons), comes with three (3) Giant Butterfly Squid, and with FREE three (3) Java rice for 490 Pesos ($9.07).

For drinks, they serve HUGE towers of either a Blue Lemonade or a Red Iced Tea. You can choose whether to get a 16 oz. individual order for 50 Pesos ($0.93), a Jar (1 liter) for 100 Pesos ($1.85), good for sharing (2-3 persons); or a Juice Tower (2 liters) for 180 Pesos ($3.33), good for sharing (4-6 persons).

Fact: in our family, it’s only me who eats squid tentacles. So when we dine in here, I’ll be the one to finish everything off.

More than its affordable price, availability (as of writing, Above Sea Level has more than 50 branches across Luzon) and its sumptuous food, our family likes an excellent customer dining experience. To the owner of Above Sea Level – The Gate, Ms. Monina Lindo, thank you for always welcoming us with big smiles and open arms. These days, it’s so rare to find such a hands-on owner who makes sure all of our requests are attended immediately. I look forward to more visits soon! X

Above Sea Level – The Gate is located at The Gate (beside Walter Mart), Baltao Compound Ortigas Avenue Extension, Bgry. San Isidro Taytay, Rizal and they’re open from Monday to Sunday between 12pm and 10:30pm. I highly suggest you visit them on weekends around 7pm-8pm and on weekdays to avoid any queue. For any advance orders, reservations, you may directly coordinate with them on their Facebook page.

Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. Photo from bookclubchat.com (Source: https://bit.ly/2HFUekX)

Money does make the world go round

In the Philippines, you’d easily spot those who are truly wealthy – and they would call themselves as comfortable, but being rich isn’t enough. More than money, you need connections that many people don’t have, powers that one would never think exist, and a handful of attitude to carry everything out. Who would have thought that being rich can get really crazy? This is everything summed up on Kevin Kwan‘s Crazy Rich Asians, his first book from the trilogy.

The crazy story all started with Rachel, a Chinese-American, NYU economics professor, and Nick, an Oxford-educated bachelor and a professor by profession, planning a getaway “to the east.” “Like Queens?” Rachel asked, but Nick had other things in mind. He wanted his family to meet Rachel. He felt it was about time after dating for more than two years. Besides, it would be the wedding of his best friend, Collin, where he’d be the best man and he wouldn’t want to miss that once in a lifetime chance. All along, Rachel thought everything would be smooth sailing but not until she finds out that her boyfriend is an heir to a massive fortune in Singapore.

Character roll call

A lot of names were mentioned but here are some of the notable characters that have stood out from the rest:

  • Nick’s Ah Ma (grandmother), Shang Su Yi, whose mansion is beyond imaginable, guarded by Gurkha army men, and has been well visited by various heads of states and their respective delegates because she is that powerful. Her fortune is what you’d call as the old money in Asia because their family, both goes for the Shang and the Young, have been rich for many decades (and even centuries) already;
  • Nick’s lovely cousin – 2nd cousin, if that makes any difference at all – Astrid Leong, a free-spited, sophisticated lady who adores Rachel right after meeting her. She has more than 40 high-end real estate properties across Singapore and Asia and shops for all haute couture in sight. She’s the fashion goddess, somebody who is influential in the fashion scene for the young women in Singapore. With oozing hot Michael Teo, an ex-Army man who now serves as the CEO of a tech company, as her husband, they form a formidable couple that most people would get envious with;
  • Rachel’s college best friend, a “trust funded” lady from Singapore who she hasn’t seen in a very long time and whose family is into the construction business, Goh Peik Lin. She was not just Rachel’s best friend. She could even pass as Rachel’s fairy godmother. From getting her stunning but not revealing clothes, letting her stay in their lovely mansion after her hiccup with Nick, to even bringing Rachel all the way to the Tyersall Park for the family dinner hosted by Nick’s Ah Ma. I wish we could all have a Peik Lin in our life;
  • The ‘wedding of the century’ couple, Araminta Lee, a supermodel icon and daughter of Annabel Lee, a renowned hotelier in Singapore and across Asia, and Collin Khoo, Nick’s childhood best friend whose family owns the hotel where Rachel and Nick would stay for the wedding. It was Rachel’s first time to meet the lovely couple when they picked them up at the airport and had Chicken Satay for dinner at this famous Newton Food Center (Hawker Center). It was clear that both Araminta and Collin loved Rachel immediately with the way they welcomed her in Singapore;
  • Oliver T’sien, Nick’s 2nd cousin from the T’sien side. He was the one who made sure Rachel would know who she needs to and she does not need to trust in the crazy clan of theirs. It was not a surprise when he instantly liked Rachel but had to do his job to diss Kitty Pong, a soap opera star in Hong Kong and the fiancée of Alistair Cheng, another 2nd cousin of Nick, simply because she would never be a good addition to their family. Oliver was frank and would know his worth more than anyone else in the family, albeit not a crass;
  • Dr. Gu was not someone you’d notice until you’re more than halfway through the book. He’s described as a link to a forgotten world where being rich wasn’t just defined by money. Why is he important? The way he remembered Nick’s grandfather, Sir James Young, was as if money and power never have existed. Nick’s grandfather spared his life during World War Two. This proved that being wealthy is not just about accumulating so much money because there is a world beyond that;
  • Then there’s Eleanor Young, Nick’s mother and married to Philip Young, one of the wealthiest men in Asia. She does not joke around. When she has her eyes on the prize, she’ll make sure to get it no matter what. Eleanor is how you’d picture out a rich lady who cared about who Nick would date, even going as far as Shenzhen with her friends to investigate on Rachel’s background.

Okay, here we go

The first thing you’d notice from the book would be the luxury brands, but the thing is these rich people do not chase these big names. One particular instance of this was Astrid’s private shopping for jewelry in Stephen Chia. Mind you, those weren’t just regular jewelry but antique ones, even dating back to those of Chinese dynasties. A pair of earrings could pay a mortgage of two houses in Singapore. Another one was Eleanor and her friends who all went to Shenzhen to simply have a spa weekend, only to find themselves at the hidden shopping paradise for all overrun designer goods. A designer luggage  priced at $2500 will only cost $700 even if these are of the same quality. No one will ever forget that moment when Peik Lin brought Rachel to a shopping spree before the night of meeting Nick’s relatives at the Tyersall Park, the name of the mansion where Nick’s Ah Ma lives. Perhaps one reason to explain this habit of our rich friends is that they would always want to keep it low key. In fact, if you’d observe around you, Chinese or non-Chinese, those who are filthy rich wouldn’t even look like they are rich at all. I guess it has always been ‘less is more’ for them.

Speaking of less is more, I could never forget that moment when Eddie Cheng got shut down by his family. Eddie is the eldest son of Alexandra Young, youngest sibling of Felicity (Astrid’s mother) and Philip (Nick’s father) and Dr. Malcolm Cheng, a renowned heart surgeon who has this thing about protecting his hands and needed a chauffeur. Why do I have to mention this? Eddie wanted to fly from Hong Kong to Singapore with his whole family in a private plane – something that his best friend from Shanghai, Leo Ming, loaned to him. His family didn’t agree to avoid any issue and so as not to be a show off, but that’s what Eddie wants – fame, attention, paparazzi sprawling around him. To cut the story, Eddie is an ass, even when they were still kids. Up until the time when he married his wife, Fiona, and had kids, he has never been better. In fact, he just got worse. He is the living proof of how a rich kid could become a spoiled brat simply because his parents were well off. What prompted Eddie to be like this? He has this thing of comparing his family to that of his friends and couldn’t accept why his parents have always been cheap to him.

Another thing I’ve realized was that these rich people were not totally different from what an outsider does in life. They weren’t invincible after all. It was definitely shown when Astrid was having problems with Michael. Astrid caught Michael having an affair but only to find out it was not real, thanks to Astrid’s childhood love, Charlie Wu, a tech billionaire now based in Hong Kong, who flew Astrid the night after Araminta and Collin’s wedding from Singapore to Hong Kong because this was where Michael was seen with another woman and a boy. Even if Astrid’s character was a strong woman who could buy everything she wanted to, there’s also a weak side of her and that was her love for Michael. I knew she would be like this when she have already seen the dirty text message on Michael’s phone but wouldn’t want to confront him simply because she didn’t want any commotion before the wedding and that they’d appear as happy, formidable duo (or trio, if Cassian, their son, would be in the picture). I’ve learned that nothing could ever beat love, especially when one gets so blinded by it that they’d throw away whatever wrong doings their partner have committed. Did it really matter what others would say about her and her failed relationship with Michael? I guess it does if you’re coming from a prominent family like hers. But in reality, I don’t think it makes sense.

Kwan also gave a nice glimpse of the how complicated and how big the family tree, an extended one if I may say. Right from the start, I knew that it would be like that since it’s not new to most people that most of the Asian families do have huge family trees. I just had to mention this – even with non-Chinese families, we normally call elders as auntie or uncle, even if we’re not blood related, to show respect. But as what Oliver T’sien said, the honorific should be earned. Gone are the days when younger generation would simply say yes to everything that older people would say. Oliver even said that his auntie and uncle, Nancy and Dickie respectively, do not give a shit about him so why should he bother calling them that? Class!

What also spelled the difference was the kind of love that only a mother could give to their children. Whilst Kerry, Rachel’s mum, could be so jolly and candid, it wasn’t the same case with Eleanor, who does not show her emotions and makes sure she’d keep Rachel guessing for her next move. Kerry was so used to being western that she does not even care whether Nick comes from a family with good lineage. She simply wants Rachel to be happy, to be respectful of their culture, and for Nick to look after her only daughter well. Eleanor, however, could pass as the definition of how crazy an Asian mum could be – did an in-depth background investigation of Rachel Chu, flew off to Shenzhen so she could avoid meeting her for the very first time, took advises from people who are not even blood related to her, made sure she puts a stop to Nick and Rachel’s relationship… I definitely felt for the woman. Besides, I know she was simply doing her job to protect her son’s interest at all cost. However, to pin down all the blame to her is absurd, even if Nick’s dad did not even care who he dates at all and it was only Eleanor who’s trying to put a stop to what was going on with Nick and Rachel, because this reflected the cultural differences, albeit coming from the same Chinese background/race. I thought that Kwan brilliantly sewn these parts together so it would be easier for readers to understand how the Asian culture works, especially those who are coming from a conservative background. From an outsider’s perspective, this could result to a disaster because, really, what would you don’t like about Rachel Chu? She’s smart, always curious, prompt, and could speak Chinese, but from an Asian perspective, we have to understand that everyone is almost connected in the family that what the parents say (and even those from other relatives) matters.

What I’m saying is that…

Crazy Rich Asians movie poster

Crazy Rich Asians movie poster courtesy of IMDB (Source: https://imdb.to/2MHYynj)

It’s been more than 2 weeks since I had the chance to read the book, but I still couldn’t get over it. Aside from the urge to become rich, I thought that the book was a good eye opener to the rising consumerism and materialism in Asia. The book represented Asia not just a hub but a superpower; it is the melting pot and this is happening right before our eyes.

Moreover, it was not hard to connect with the story even if I don’t have a knight in shining armour like Nicholas Young, even if my family was not as rich as theirs, even if I don’t speak more than 3 languages just like them because of the way the story unfolded. I loved how Kwan described things and people and it made me feel that they truly exist. From describing how peaceful it was when Rachel and Nick headed to the Young’s vacation house in Malaysia, how the Tan Hua flowers bloomed beautifully at night but withered moments later, to the private island where Araminta, her friends, and Rachel went for the bachelorette party, I didn’t have to wonder if they truly exist or not because it was believable.

One pain point I did notice, however, was the spotlight on the other members of the family. I know, I should wait for the second book because they’d probably be there, but I was craving for more details about what the others do in life. I definitely liked how the story introduced some of the family members and their ongoing issues, but I was hoping to go on with more drama. Funny that I hate family drama in life but that’s what kept me hooked all throughout the book.

I also hoped Kwan could’ve explored more of Collin’s anxiety issues. It was a good topic to touch on because this isn’t a new thing with most Asian family members who would always felt pressured to do well in school, to get a high paying a job, to marry as soon as possible and have an offspring. I felt for Collin when Nick noticed he wasn’t really ready for anything bigger than his responsibility of being a bachelor. Collin said that whatever is good for the business is always good for the family, even if it would sacrifice his own happiness (this was of the merger of the Khoo and Lee families after his marriage with Araminta Lee). It was as if everything is a competition to these people and being ahead of the game is a must, but come to think of it, who do they have to compete with?

I really wonder what happens next after Rachel, Nick, Peik Lin, and Kerry, Rachel’s mum, went to the Marina Bay Sands to catch some famous Singapore Slings – did Fiona and Eddie make up after their misunderstanding? I hated Francesca, and I wonder what would happen to her once she finds out she was not the chosen one after all? What would be Eleanor’s reaction once she finds out Nick and Rachel would still end up marrying each other? How will Astrid be able to cope up with Michael moving out of their family If the answers are on the next book, China Rich Girlfriend, then I can’t wait to have my copy delivered soon in our house! X

**Here’s my reaction video/movie review on the Crazy Rich Asians movie – don’t forget to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE on my YouTube channel. Thanks! X

 

A Dining Experience Like No Other at KOS Greek Ouzeri

Complimentary flat bread and fresh baguette

This was our first time to dine in a Greek restaurant, and boy, KOS Greek Ouzeri at UP Town Center did not disappoint at all. We’ve known Greek food through dad when he makes Galaktoboureko, a Greek dessert of semolina custard in filo, and being the adventurous family that we are, we didn’t hesitate to try it out. One thing we’re sure about Greek food, though – there’s no rice! They served a complimentary basket full of flat pita bread and oh-so-good slices of baguette.

Tiganita – deep-fried zucchini and eggplant with yogurt dip. 195 Pesos ($3.65)

We started our food adventure with Tiganita – deep-fried zucchini and eggplant with yogurt dip. It pretty much resembles a Japanese tempura but the yogurt dip was what makes it different. The dip wasn’t strong and it helped us clear our taste buds before being served with the main course. I bet this was mum’s favourite because she’s a big fan of vegetables.

Gyros – roasted meats wrapped in pita bread with garlic sauce, tomatoes, and onions. 250 Pesos ($4.68)

Mum’s main course was Gyros – roasted meats wrapped in pita bread with garlic sauce, tomatoes, and onions, served with chips, and opted for the lamb. Due to the number of Tiganita serving she had before her food, she was not able to finish the serving. Luckily, being the one who always finishes off leftover food, I was able to taste it and it was a sumptuous. The slightly toasted pita bread goes very well with how those finely sliced, well-done, and juicy lamb chops. The garlic sauce was such a delight because it gives a good kick to the already-good dish.

Whilst my brother opted for Arnisia – grilled lamb chops with roasted vegetables and mint yogurt sauce, I decided to go for a Kotopoulo – herb roasted chicken served with potatoes and roasted red bell pepper sauce. Of course, being the brothers we are, we often share and trade insight about each other’s food.

Arnisia – grilled lamb chops with roasted vegetables and mint yogurt sauce. 450 Pesos ($8.43)

The Arnisia – a well-done lamb chop – can give any steak run for its money. I thought this was the highlight of our dining at KOS Greek Ouzeri. It wasn’t my first time to taste lamb meat, but with how they prepared the meat, it made me feel like it’s my first time to taste one that day. The meat was so tender that each time the fork would piece its way to the meat, the meat juice would just ooze out of it. It was such a delight to see that moment happen.

Kotopoulo – herb roasted chicken served with potatoes and roasted red bell pepper sauce. 315 Pesos ($5.90)

The serving of Kotopoulo was already good for sharing. For someone who does not eat a lot, I would recommend that you share this with someone. It wasn’t just the thigh-leg part of a chicken but it’s actually bigger than what’s expected. I’m a big fan of herb-roasted chicken meat. I couldn’t recognize the herbs that used for the dish but would definitely guarantee that the taste does not end from the chicken skin. Usually that’s the problem with grilled chicken, where only the chicken skin and some portion of the white meat would have the taste (earth calling, Mang Inasal and Bacolod Chicken Inasal!) but with Kotopoulo, the taste actually goes as deep as the chicken bones! The bell pepper sauce provides a tangy flavour that goes very well with the grilled potatoes. Just don’t forget to dash the chicken meat with a slice of lemon on the side and your dining experience will be in the heavens!

KOS Greek Ouzeri at UP Town Center

As much as we wanted order some Galaktoboureko, we simply couldn’t because we were all full and fixed. More than being served good food, it’s the overall dining experience that made our visit a good one. I recommend that you visit KOS Greek Ouzeri on a weekday to avoid long lines and any hassle, and you may want to call them before going for reservations, especially on weekends. The service wasn’t as bad as what the online reviews say. I thought it was rather understandable that the food may take a while to prepare. Without a doubt, for a reasonable price you are going to experience a dining like no other at KOS Greek Ouzeri.

Can You Survive Metro Manila for 1 Week in 1,000 Pesos ($19) or Less?

Where are you headed to?

Where are you headed to? Photo taken in Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City, Philippines using Nikon D3200.

What if everyone could take the public transportation because you know it’s efficient? We’re confident that our trains wouldn’t break down because it’s been maintained well. We’re happy to take the major roads and never worry about getting late for school or work – but that’s in a parallel universe where we don’t live in.

I had this ‘Eureka!’ moment last weekend when my mum and brother got stuck at UP Town Center because of heavy raining. While having some sumptuous late lunch at KOS Greek Ouzeri, I wondered, what if my job don’t pay as much as I get now? Will I survive an entire week of not being able to buy what I want and just stick to only those what I need? For this week, I’ve challenged myself to limit my work week budget to 1,000 Pesos ($19).

In a hot Friday afternoon, I’ve decided to ride an ordinary bus from Bulacan to Makati – I didn’t regret that moment. Photo taken in Valenzuela City, Philippines using Nikon D3200.

Cost breakdown

What’s a good way to prove an idea and to tell a story? Experience it, and so did I! It wasn’t easy to start the week in a morning schedule whilst half of Metro Manila is ‘submerged’ because of the heavy raining for the past 48 hours. I do not know what’s with mornings but it wasn’t easy to course through the traffic. Gladly, I was able to manage this – I rode ordinary buses in broad daylight whilst exposed in dirt and pollution; to get to my destination, I walked for more than a mile or two to save money; I even have to ask for mum to drive and take me to the train station to cut my expenses down. I am very lucky to have supportive parents, but what about those who don’t have such luxury?

Total transportation cost sums up to 741 Pesos ($13.72).

I was lucky for my 2 days training at the Ateneo Center for Continuing Education, they served free food – morning and afternoon snacks, and full-course lunch meal, all in a managed buffet style – (Shout out to Villa Salud!) During the remaining days of the week, I’ve brought packed dinner with me and some biscuits, crackers to save money. Moreover, I used the Starbucks stars I’ve accumulated in exchange for free drinks. The only two instances I bought food this challenge week were last Monday when I met my best friend and ate lunch other and last Friday when I bought turon and pancit on my way to the office.

I think this was the most difficult part of my challenge. I cannot simply win over a battle against hunger, and I realized – what if I didn’t have those stars, where could I’ve ended up to? What if I didn’t have time to prepare for my packed meals each day, would I be able to survive? What if I didn’t have those 2 days training, would I be able to eat decent meals?

Total food cost sums up to 184 Pesos ($3).

I usually have my hair cut every 2nd or 3rd week of each month. Coincidentally, my hair cut is scheduled during the course of this challenge week. I felt torn between sacrificing 200 Pesos ($3.70) with my preferred shop and going for this newly opened hair salon for only 40 Pesos ($0.74). I ended up choosing the latter despite the bad service. My hair cut was fine, but I wouldn’t date to go back there.

Total miscellaneous cost sums up to 40 Pesos ($0.74).

There’s a missing 30 Pesos ($0.56) which I couldn’t remember where I placed/spent on but I as of writing, I’ve managed to save 5 Pesos (less than 1 centavos in US $) the entire week.

The first time I felt helpless was when it suddenly started to rain heavily and I wanted to take a cab going home but couldn’t because I simply can’t afford one. Photo taken in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig using Nikon D3200.

About budgeting

I thought I was just too confident to ask people favour. I always believe that desperate times call of desperate measures. I also have instilled to value of walking instead of taking public transportation. With how the Metro Manila traffic is going, especially when it’s raining and the roads are impassable due to flooding, the only best option left sometimes is to walk. I have also skipped meals when possible and I could. This wasn’t something I’ve done before because I usually eat when I want to and when I have to.

If you’re wondering what’s the secret, really, there’s none. I don’t think that’s budgeting that I did because it felt like I didn’t have much to budget in the first place. Now I suddenly felt envious with those people who would just walk going to work from their residence. I wish it was fast, easy to commute from Bulacan to BGC, Taguig. But here’s what I have realized:

  • One battle you cannot easily win over is hunger. This is one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, problem to deal with. If only my level of discipline was heavens high, I could easily do this, but I have a body of a mortal that needs feeding.
  • 1,000 Pesos per week is not applicable to everyone. As a disclaimer from the video teaser I made, I implicitly mentioned there that there is no ideal budget each week. Some people would spend more than 1,000 Pesos (like me), whilst others could spend less, but that doesn’t mean that we, who spend more than 1,000 Pesos each week, have inferior budgeting skills than those who spend for 1,000 Pesos or less every week.
  • The thing that will differentiate us from each other would be our expenses. If you’d have a look at your expenses, you’d easily notice that your weekly expenses would differ from each other – and that is okay.
  • Always think twice, thrice before purchasing anything. The first question you should always ask yourself is if you really need this thing you want to buy. Definitely, if you can afford and have extra money, go ahead. Otherwise, don’t. Don’t even dare to think about using your credit card, if you have one, to meet your ends. It’s not healthy for you and your financial credit, most especially if you can’t pay off the credit right away and/or not familiar with the ins and outs of credit cards.
  • Find alternative options… only if you can afford it. I hate to break this, but most people these days wouldn’t trade comfort and convenience for anything that’s practical. I felt that a lot of people do not patronize carinderia anymore and we all have our reasons – sanitary issues, proximity, availability in the area, laziness to walk around… I am guilty of this and should never use my time as an excuse since my work has a very flexible schedule.

In Metro Manila, you can’t afford to walk slowly, most especially when it’s rush hour. You’ll get bumped, people will push you… you simply can’t. Photo taken along EDSA corner Shaw Boulevard using Nikon D3200.

What I’m trying to say is…

Open your eyes.
Notice what’s happening around you.
Remain vigilant.

I have a renewed and now a never-ending respect for those people who are able to stick with their budget, especially to those who have a family to support, those who need to pay for their rent/housing, those who can afford to save even if there are tons of expenses each month. I am definitely not alienating anyone or any group here, but to those people who have the sheer determination and the ability to provide for their needs – the inspiration to do better and to keep a good financial standing moving forward is simply overflowing.

Some of my observations include:

  • Our traffic has gone from bad to worse. When I was in college, sometime in 2013, to get to my university, I used to take the same McArthur route from Malanday bus stop in Valenzuela City to Muñoz, Quezon City for only 1 hour. Now, it would take me 2 hours to do the same, and 3 hours at most if the traffic is really awful. How come, despite tons of road widening, improvements, that this has been the case?
  • If living within your means is fine, how about those who couldn’t even afford basic needs? I’ve always been told by my parents to never live beyond what I could pay for, and that’s true. I’m very lucky to land a good paying job to support my needs and wants and to, basically, live independently. I just feel for those who couldn’t even support their basic necessities in life. I wish the world isn’t that unfair but who am I to complain? I’m just a tiny voice out of the vast jungle full of predators ready to swallow me whole.
  • The basic burger with fries and drinks now cost at least 80 Pesos ($1.48). It used to 50 Pesos ($0.92) but now, your 50 Pesos can only buy an à la carte – without fries and drinks.
  • The commute to work or school kills us. This is a reflection of how bad really our traffic and transportation system is. We haven’t even reached our destination and yet we’re already tired. It’s exhausting – imagine allotting 5-6 hours each day on road, this could have been spent on other more productive things.
  • Our transportation system couldn’t support the volume of commuters each day. I wish to find options was as easy as changing socks. Could you imagine what kind of life we would’ve had only if our mode of transportation is more convenient?

This challenge also brought me to another level of understanding of how our supposedly basic needs are easily affected because of the changes in the tax scheme, the worsening inflation of the country, and the surging prices of goods and services. Why am I saying this?

My point is simple – my 1,000 Pesos ($19) last year could already last for a week and a half. Now, it barely lasted for a week. Had I not taken desperate measures, I would’ve gone overboard. Last year, my daily budget for commuting was just amounting to 165 Pesos ($3). This year, it has gone up to 180 Pesos ($3.33). Whilst some of you would think that it’s only 15 Pesos ($0.28) difference, it’s still a big amount of money – multiply 15 by 22 days (average no. of work days in a month), that’s still 330 Pesos ($6.11). I could’ve spent my 330 Pesos to paying for our water bill which don’t normally go above 400 Pesos ($7.41) per month.

Is this what we deserve after working hard, trying to provide for our families, in the hopes of being a law-abiding citizen by duly paying their taxes and contributing to the country’s supposedly booming economy?

I don’t know, but what I know is that I survived 1 week with 1,000 Pesos – if have to grade this, then my grade would’ve been “Barely Passed.”

*$1 = 54 Pesos

The biggest mistake I ever did in an interview


Photo credits to Luxebag.com.

Last year, prior joining my current company, I got contacted by my dream company. What I meant with dream company was that it’s my employer of choice; that when I finished college in my university I see myself working there for the rest of my life. Fate has different plans and brought me to different industries and employers, but last year was the opportunity I’ve been waiting for a very long time.

My dream company wants me. They. Want. Me.

They were very discreet about my application because I honestly told them that I didn’t want my employer (former) to know that I’m exploring opportunities outside early on. They agreed. We went on with the processes. I got endorsed to the next steps. I was feeling it. I was close. It was a home run, so I thought.

“Correspondence… we regret to inform you, Kim, that we won’t be moving your application to the final step which is the interview with our boss based in UK. Thank you for your time!”

What happened? We were all positive and head on with the interviews, so what went wrong? How could this happen? I was so close. I even asked the manager about the feedback and he said,

“Hi Kim,

Thank you for going through the interview process. We appreciate the fact that you were consistently early for your interview schedules and demonstrated a clear grasp of the subject matter. We also appreciate your being very transparent with your accomplishments, challenges and how you overcame them to get results. We also believe that you’ve demonstrated a strong passion for Employer Branding across industries – this was very evident in our conversations about your work. Finally, we have observed that you are a very driven individual, and you have a strong desire to achieve / excel in any role you take on.

We did however find that there were certain topics where you could have been more concise, and answered more directly – while we appreciate the nuances of your processes, we would have wanted more insight into the solutions you had proposed / the results you generated.

It was a pleasure to meet you, and we hope to work with you again in the future.

Thanks!”

I didn’t respond to the manager after but I sent my regards. It was my first interview for a very long time. I got so used to being the one conducting the interviews that I forgot how it feels like to be questioned. Now the lingering question is, what went wrong?

As a Recruiter, I’ve dissected every step of the application process and I was able to find out the big mistakes I did during the course of the interviews and assessments. Here are my takeaways:

I was not giving any solution.

While I was able to present myself confidently to the manager and the rest of the team, I was not able to articulate the solutions that I have formulated and implemented. It should be 30-70 take – 30% you should appear strong and adept all the time, 70% you should discuss what you did to address a problem/situation in your team.

The manager’s question to me was to ‘Tell me about a time when you had to face a difficult situation.’ I kept mentioning things about undefined process, difficult manager to work with, unbelievable hiring timeline vs. the number of hiring requirements being raised. Sure I was able to mention my above the average organisational skills and impeccable intuition to prioritize things, but I was not able to present to them anything deeper than that.

As a candidate, it is very important to always mention the steps you did in order to attain certain result. The more specific, the better. My answers were vague and lacked clarity. It has a structure but it lacked thought and meat; hence I was speaking gibberish. I sounded like a whiner more than an advocate of change and improvement.

If I was the interviewer, that’s already a flag.

Over excitement.

I could not contain my emotions. Whenever I’d go to their office, honestly, my heart is jumping for joy. This over excitement spilled over to my interviews. Later I realised I was talking and sharing too much information. It benefited the interviewer but it wasn’t the case for my application with them. I was sharing information which should not be shared to my potential employer – strategic plans for next year, future campaigns, failed marketing strategies… anything they’d ask from me, I’d give them.

The thing about this is that I should have filtered the things I should be sharing to them. It’s okay to be transparent, indeed, but it really pays to carefully curate words in your mind before sharing; thus, limited information would be shared but those would’ve been the more important, more relevant ones than sharing the whole of everything.

Less is more, keep in mind!

Over confidence.

I was cool and I easily have established rapport with the Manager and his team, I could tell that with the way we were exchanging jokes as if they’ve known me for a long time already. Perhaps I saw that as a good thing, but maybe not to them. Did you know that most of the companies’ hiring process these days would incorporate unique methods for candidate selection, such as group interviews, video interview/selection, and behavioral assessments will provide a diverse, robust, and comprehensive idea of the character and passion of the individual? Meaning, there would be companies where their assessment starts right when the candidate entered the building and interacted with the Receptionist and Security Personnel. Who knows, I might have been watched all the time, right when I first came to their floor/building?

Pro tip: Always, and never forget, to treat everyone right. I didn’t miss this mark but it might have been better if I toned down the interaction level I’ve had with them and it might’ve come across to them as being too over confident. It would always pay off to temp check the atmosphere building showing your giddy-easy-going-side.

Overall, here’s my assessment and scoring per competency:

  • Communication: 3.5/5
  • Thought process: 2/5
  • Behaviour: 4/5
  • Technical knowledge: 4/5
  • Organisational skill: 3/5
  • Results-driven: 2/5
  • Culture fit: 2/5
  • Attention to details: 2/5
  • Overall score: 2.8125/5 – failed

What do you think was your biggest mistake ever in an interview? I’d love to hear more of your thoughts and experience! X

The Day I Quit You Was The Day I Started Loving Myself

 

Photo taken at Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, on a busy Tuesday afternoon.


I’m in a limbo
. I couldn’t say that I have moved on already but I know that the hurting is not there anymore at least. I don’t know why, but maybe I’ve moved on even before we broke up. I saw it coming. I had to be ready.

I remember when you talked to me once sometime around last week and found out that I was having a crush on somebody, you got upset and jealous. I didn’t understand why you were like that but I knew to myself that I was not making any form of revenge against you. But, did you realize that when you told me you had a crush on him I didn’t even flinch at all? Did you not think I got hurt? Did you not feel that I was upset but I was just not showing it to you? That day, I realized that I had to quit you.

You were my opium because you kept me high all the time that I didn’t even feel that I was hurting. You were the drugs you knew that I couldn’t quit before. You were the rapist because you used your charm to abuse me and my existence. You were the storm that kept raining on my parade. You were the excess baggage that I had to carry every now and then. You were once the alpha, but never was – and never will be – the omega.

Today, I’m planning my next adventure and I am so glad that you are not even part of it anymore. Moreover, it was really a tough decision to leave the group and to cut ties with you, even when you were offering friendship and peace to me, but this has to be done. It’s not about bitterness but finding a good way on how I could pick myself up again.

Then, you told me that you two were finally together but in a not so smooth sailing though. I was not hurt that I found out about the two of you. Why? I knew and learnt the hardest way possible – that getting sad about something that has been broken before is absurd.

Today I had to quit you to find myself that I lost 2 years ago for you. This time, I am ready to find a new love; to start a new chapter of my life; to settle down for good; to leave those lingering memories behind. Today, I had to quit you to make room for new learning for myself. Today, I had to quit you to give myself some breather and happiness. Your presence once shackled, suffocated me and I deserve nothing about you. You were once my sweetest downfall, but never again. +++

Changing Priorities Are Diamonds – It Lasts Forever

 

Let’s face it – we are living in a world full of sudden and unexpected changes. From our little dreams when we were kids to the things we ought to do for the week, it only shows that we are creatures of change. But, why do we change? Have you ever wondered how a cheerful, optimistic person suddenly turns into a monster of sadness and pain? How does a 30 minute drive from work to home changes one’s mood? How do we become so religious and spiritual when life gets us into trouble? How? Why?

I know most of us will definitely answer that priorities change due to various life circumstances that may come along, but that answer does not suffice my craving for the answer to this question. The longing for the key to this mystery still clings, like how most of us cling to what has happened before. I desperately need answers but I’m left in this void.

“How does one become so happy now and sad an hour or two after? Why do we change our feelings for a person whom we have loved and known for long already when we meet somebody along the way? Why do we stop living our life when we lose somebody over death? Why do we need to move on if we have had always been happy cherishing every moment of the past? If God is making new people each and everyday of this life, then why does He need to take away the others, don’t they have the right to live longer? How do we un-love something we had grown so much with?”

These are some of the questions I long to answer but don’t know how to and where to find the answers. If I had become so smart and was given any chance to choose a superpower, I will definitely be choosing something to help me find the answers to these powerful questions that I have at least on my mind. But more than the superpowers, I feel stronger now as compared before because of the lessons I have learned about priorities in life.

I have grown mentally and emotionally, and I realized that I have grown tired of waiting for people. If you’ve had known me quite well, then you would know that I am one of the most patient – if not the most patient – person ever in this world. You could make me wait for an hour, or two, or three, or four, and that I wouldn’t be mad at you. It came into a point, when I finally learned something from my experiences, that I don’t deserve waiting on someone to prioritize me; that nobody deserves to wait in vain without knowing what will happen next.

If he does not look for you first thing in the morning, then probably he won’t be looking for you before he sleeps at night, too. If she does not care about as to whoever you are with, then she probably does not care at all about you. If one does not see or feel your absence, then your presence is and will never be appreciated. It really takes a lot of courage to suck these things all up but that is just the way it is – we can never be everybody’s priority.

I’ve learnt to finally accept that despite being good to most people around you they wouldn’t mind leaving you, most especially if you have done them wrong, even just for once. We could never please everybody, and that contributes to the changing of priorities in this life. Pleasing everybody makes everything worse, because the very best thing that we could do about it is to accept that few people would like us and a lot would turn us down. That is the harsh but truthful fact about living in a world full of priorities.

WE can never give the same love to two different persons.
WE cannot give something that we didn’t really have in the first place.
WE can never fake happiness.
WE are not in love unless we really feel it.
WE can un-love somebody.
WE can let it go.
WE can stop if we are tired.
WE don’t deserve to be cheated.
WE should not stop learning.
WE should work our way up.
WE can forget things.
WE cannot be the same person we were few years back.
WE cannot be somebody else to complete others.
WE can get hurt if we want to.
WE can get sad, too.

But above everything,
WE can be a priority, too – someday, somehow, we will be.