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first report from camp half blood

Boom-boooom-boom-bommmmm-boom-boooom-boom-bommmmm

I shall begin with the drums. Right now, the low throbbing of djembe drums cloaks the entire place. The sound – primitive, steady as a seasoned hiker’s footsteps, wild, necessary like heartbeat – wakes me from my doldrums and infuses my blood with a vision of how it had been in those times when grandma and grandpa Homo sapiens still had winter homes in prehistory’s prime real estates: caves and forests.

Other visions come spilling in: A necessary hunt before the start of winter so that the whole tribe does not starve during the cold months, and drums are beaten as the hunters depart to find the animals who are willing to give up their current existence so that others may live. And there’s a war council being called in the heart of the forest. Through the grave summons of the drums, the neighboring tribes are reminded of their alliance. They will come with warriors, of course. And they will be on the warpath.

But the drumbeats I hear today have nothing to do with war. The intentions are peaceful. Outside the room where I am writing this, I can see a group of students having their Asyano class in one of the bamboo huts that serve as alternative classrooms in this alternative school. Palms beat solemly on instruments with ancient origins. Goathide stretched taut across a rounded piece of wood and embellished with beads and carvings. The djembe. And it is just another afternoon in the school where I now teach. I will go off-tangent for a while so we’ll have a clearer picture of what’s going on. Imagine Percy Jackson.

Okay, if you haven’t heard yet about Percy Jackson, I will allow you leave the room to look him up. Considering that you’re reading this post online, you can open a new tab on your browser and let good ol’ Wiki and Google help you out.

So, where were we? Let’s say that the place where I am at right now is a school. But not a “normal”, strait-jacket bastion of institution that has somber buildings that have peeling paint and disintegrating pieces of furniture. Hmmm. Imagine Percy Jackson in Camp Half Blood. I am now in Camp Half Blood, where they teach demigods all they need to know in order to survive the world where monsters hunt them down and mortals always get in the way. But in my case, it is a group of kids from across the sea, from a country north of this country, whose telenovelas and fashion statement have absolutely infected (I mean that in a good way) Philippine culture. And I am part of a group of teachers who “impart knowledge” that the students would have otherwise missed had their parents enrolled them in the strait-jacket educational institutions that are in abundance in their country.

So, aside from the basics of speaking and writing English and the nitty gritty of Science, Math, and Social Studies, the kids learn how to cook; make musical instruments made out of a grass varietal abundant in this part of the archipelago (read: bamboo); make fashion accessories that they designed; dance to the groove of hip-hop; swim like dolphins and other marine creatures; and basically get in touch with their artistic slash creative sides that otherwise would have been lost if they had their education in a totally competitive environment. Oh, and the drum lessons are integral, too.

This Camp Half Blood espouses peace instead of war. Acceptance instead of discrimination. Free meals instead of hunger. Cooperation instead of individualism. Free breakfast, lunch and dinner (including snacks) instead of starvation. So, if you stay tuned in the coming days, Dear Reader, you’ll be getting sporadic reports of how I’m faring in Camp Half Blood. Right now I have to pack my gear because the school is going on a quest ot speak with the Dolphin Oracles in the southern part of this island. Ciao, then. Till next time and thank you for dropping by.

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Pancakes by the Hundred

One of the highlights of my life in the mission house is that on some days I have the opportunity to cook simple meals and snacks for the kids as well as for the occasional guests who come to visit.

Now, I don’t have any formal training or a degree in culinary arts nor did I spend years slogging it in the kitchen until I could make a perfect paella from just the freshest ingredients hours before a party of 50 is scheduled to arrive.  Cooking has been one of those simple joys I cherish in my moments of solitude. I enjoy the moments of preparation, from slicing the ingredients, to the hiss of spices in the frying pan, to the wafting aroma of a simple dish beckoning to those who care enough to sample the flavors of my cooking.

But let me reveal a secret: I usually cook to please myself.

A little background first.

The Korean missionary brought with him from Korea several cast iron molders of a type streetfood common in their country called boong-o bbang. These boong-o bbang are made from flour batter filled with sweet red bean paste. They are shaped like fish, mostly of the carp family.

smfishbean.jpg

the humble boong-o bbang

However, when the Korean brought the molders to the mission center, he immediately assumed that anyone could whip up a batter of this boong-o bbang and serve him some piping hot carp pastry with his coffee when he comes for a visit. He just told the staff of the mission house that the ingredients consist of flour and water. Indeed.

And the missionary wanted to give away some of the 60-ton molders (four in all) to the families in the community of Sleepy Hollow to kick start his livelihood program.

There wasn’t any problem with the entrepreneurial spirit of the Filipinos. It was more of how boong-o bbang, or fish bread as we decided to call it to give it some sense of adhesion to our memories, should taste since the Korean wasn’t generous enough to bring with him some samples from his homeland.

We had the families lined up for a workshop on boong-o bbang making. We preheated the molders and flexed our muscles, readying ourselves for the task ahead. We had pushcarts built to accommodate the behemoth molders so the families could peddle the Korean fish bread to the far reaches of this big city.

Yet, the problem remained. How exactly does boong-o bbang taste like?

Some of us theorized that boong-o bbang is a Korean version of the Japanese kamaboko. Yet one of those present in the boong-o bbang flavor development brainstorm proclaimed that it couldn’t be like kamaboko since kamaboko tastes like moldy football socks left in a tub of vinegar water for three weeks (no offense intended… it was only one person’s opinion which I had no chance to verify as of writing). Another thought that boong-o bbang should taste like the Japanese pancakes with cheese, ham, or ham and cheese filling sold in university canteens.

Others in the mission house have already tried developing their versions of the batter. The first trial batter consisted of flour and water, just like what the Korean instructed. The batter was poured into the hot molds, turned once, and voila! — flatfish cakes. And the taste? Don’t ask.

The second batter still had the constant flour and water. The new additions were the eggs and the heaping shovelful of baking soda. Result: passable but could use some sugar.

The third batter consisted of the ingredients from the second batter minus the baking soda, which was replaced with a heaping shovelful of yeast. Then milk was added plus the missing sugar. Result: major gas as the taste developers were also the taste testers. But the taste was better than the first two batters.

Another brainstorming ensued. It was decided that instead of focusing on how it was supposed to taste like, why not develop our own flavors that could appeal to the Filipino palate (deep!).

We had help from an uncle of mine who came to the mission house to bequeath to me a worn and mold-infested cookbook. He had training in the culinary arts so he’s legit. He stayed long enough to laugh at the stories of the failed batters and to teach all of us, from the cookbook, a recipe that changed our view about boong-o bbang.

My uncle assigned me to the task of developing the ingredients. Following the instructions from the Moldy Book of Shadows, Section on Cooking, I gathered

  • flour
  • milk
  • oil
  • eggs
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • sugar

mixed everything in a bowl, transferred the golden batter (ours never turned out that color) to a pouring vessel and poured the contents to the molders.

The result: everybody happy.

Well, not quite everyone. The Korean was miffed. We had completely adulterated his national street food. He didn’t comment on the taste and left us alone in our celebration of a finally perfect batter for the fish bread.

bbang.jpgThat day, we puttered in the kitchen, crammed fish bread in our mouths and laughed at inane jokes. There must have been a hundred of those fishies baked for all of us — including the children — gathered in the mission house’s kitchen.

But until now, we are still looking for any information about boong-o bbang’s original recipe.

Actually, the recipe we have for our fish bread is for pancakes. Sometimes for breakfast, I use the recipe for a batch just enough for the people in the mission house who’d be around early in the morning. I’d ditch the molders and prepare the cakes in a good old griddle. As the pancakes turn golden, I would sometimes catch myself sporting a self-satisfied smile.

And as for the Korean, he hasn’t inquired about his precious boong-o bbang yet.

What I learned in art class

Hmm.

Perhaps I can write about how it is working in a mission center, teaching kids from depressed areas how to appreciate art.

But first a little background…

The Mission Center

With partnership from two Protestant churches (one in the Philippines, another one in Korea), a Korean missionary came to the Philippines seeking to be of service to residents of depressed areas (as my mom insists is the politically correct term for squatter areas).

The Mission Center opened in the last week of February and offers livelihood programs, workshops and awareness seminars for parents. It offers, as well, as academic tutorial services,  a sports program and arts appreciation lessons for the children.

Recently, the Mission Center held its first Summer Class Graduation for the children.

The Community

I’ll just call the community the Mission Center serves Sleepy Hollow.

Sleepy Hollow is home to more than a thousand families living way, way below the poverty level. This depressed area has been in existence even way before I was born some twenty something long years ago.

I remember Sleepy Hollow from what memories I could dredge up from my childhood days. There was already a touch of irony when I enter the street that served as the entrance to Sleepy Hollow.

Actually, even if the entire street was marked by an arch saying Welcome to Sleepy Hollow! Mabuhay!, The real Sleepy Hollow stands on the right side of the street. Even then, the left side of the street was cleaner. There, a collossal private school stands proudly. It frowns down on its rat-infested, spit-strewn, dog-dropping-carpeted right side of the street.

That grim private school was my alma matter.

Also at the left side, at the end of the block where the private school stands, another street opens up. If you care to go further along this street, you will notice that the houses here are very big, well-kept. Cars are parked in garages. The gateposts have doorbells and proper family name plates are screwed on the gates. Some imposing gates even have surveillance cameras mounted on top of them. And there are rarely people loitering outside. It’s as if that crowded, filthy, chaotic right side of Sleepy Hollow’s street does not exist at all.

I’ve lived on this side of the street of Sleepy Hollow when I was little. I’m living here now.

And I was one of those taga-labas (from outside). The denizens of the inner Sleepy Hollow carry the badge, taga-looban (of the inside).

And so, allow me to take you on a brief tour of what Sleepy Hollow’s looban is, even today.

You see, the only thing that has changed in there was the density of makeshift houses that have inevitably sprung up, one on top of the other to accommodate the ever-growing families of the original taga-looban.

Let us wend our way through the mazes of dark, narrow paths into the stifling atmosphere of the looban. On days when the conditions are right, we can breathe in the low, putrid smell of the dead river, a few meters away further on to the right.

Families jostle for space in this area. Some have come from provinces as far as Tawi-tawi and Abra, in a stereotypical story of being lured to the city by the promise of a better life than what they had in the province.

Heavy in the air, almost as pungent as the smell of the dead river and human excrement thrown haphazardly into blocked esteros and drunkards’ urine on some whitewashed walls, is the palpable throb of unlived dreams and despair.

But there are also some people who have thrived in such places. There are families who have gained material success which are loathe to leave Sleepy Hollow because they have grown accustomed to the rhythms and flow of life there; even if they could afford to buy a decent property of their own.

Rarely will a day pass without Sleepy Hollow experiencing the upheavals of neighbor conflict. The taga-looban are a territorial lot. And they fight tooth and nail to defend what they feel is theirs. There is a strong sense of pride within the hearts of these people. Perhaps with the constant frustration and constant witnessing of something being taken away from them, it is easy for them to get incensed at the smallest bit of perceived threat to their dignity, to their property, to their person.

Children grow up and learn early on that in order to survive, they must talk back and assert their rights as individuals.

Parents have to slog in sweatshops all day, taking home the below minimum pay to feed a family of five, or seven, or nine, or eleven.

Many marry young. Many are left young and pregnant.

Many are involved in fisticuffs by the age of seven. Many are involved in assault with deadly weapon by age of twelve. Many are involved in armed robbery by age of fifteen. Many have served time in prison before the age of twenty.

Most of these children are intelligent. But intelligence is shunned in favor of street smarts and the way of the fist.

Anyway, as one of them have said about having dreams for their future: “…why bother dreaming when we have no means by which to support our dreams?” (…bakit pa mangangarap eh wala naman kaming pangtustos sa mga pangarap namin?)

The Now

I began teaching on a Tuesday.

The kids were rowdy. I could sense that most were eager to show off to a novice teacher who was obviously told to be kind to them. Some couldn’t care less.

For some, art class in the airconditioned room in one of the townhouses on the left side of Sleepy Hollow was just another diversion from the heat of the summer sun outside. Some wondered when  snack time was.

I asked them to draw their family.

Some wanted to escape the bleakness of their reality and drew their family portrait between trees, underneath a rainbow with a smiling sun.

Some drew airplanes to represent family members who have gone away years and years ago.

Others drew their family members holding hands with each other, a wish for unity because some of the other children have revealed that So-and-so’s family are always fighting.

Others drew only their favorite family members.

Others drew their family plus their pets.

And when I asked them to stand in front of the whole class to explain what they drew, they were very shy. Maybe because they weren’t used to public speaking. But maybe they were also scared of their friends’ teasing if they reveal just a bit of intimate detail about their families. But I want the reason to be the former. Because even the rowdiest child in class was tongue-tied when his turn came to explain his stick-people drawing to the rest of us.

That was just the first day. But my heart went out to those kids who have so little good things to look forward to in life. And as time flew, they’ve taught me important lessons.

Of survival.

Of honor.

Of honesty.

Of loyalty.

Of respect.

And of acceptance.

Thursday art class

~`Whew`~.

 must have lost 9000 calories just this afternoon. who’d ever said that being an art teacher is a breeze? it ain’t. but this afternoon was rowdy, messy, and fun. ilovedit!

the paint from korea (mixed by one of their national artists who refused to be named) finally arrived in the center and the kids painted the center’s walls last tuesday.

however, nobody was satisfied with the results of the first attempt so the entire group decided that it was good to repaint the walls — this time with more planning.

here are some evidence of what went on last tuesday and this afternoon (thursday)

[rockyou id=69167166&islocal=true&w=400&h=300]

Forty-eight hours of craziness (3rd part)

8 May  2007, Tuesday

I did a stint as an ESL teacher for two days. Then I quit the job.

I couldn’t stomach it.

It took all i had to maintain a straight face at the korean brother in law when he asked me why i disappeared quickly from the scenes.

Can i really tell him that i didn’t like the filth and the heat and the fact that there was a “Cockroach Killing Diary” posted on the bulletin board? And that I feel it was a great injustice that there was poster taped to the airconditioning grilles saying “Aircon should be turned on from 7 am to 7 pm only. 600 pesos charge when used after the hours specified”. Oh, and the fact that I felt it was unfair because part timers are not allowed to have breaks. Hey, even the place where I used to work was humane enough to entitle their workers to have half an hour off when they’ve already rendered four hours.

I guess I could. But I chose not to.

I could go on with so many more reasons.  But I chose not to.

And the book is closed on that.

They could have the four hundred and eighty pesos I’ve earned for two days’ work. It couldn’t reimburse the money i spent on toiletries, food, and fare to go there. Nevermind that those people there think I lack ambition because I cannot sacrifice and I cannot wait until my salary is increased.

They’ve truly misjudged me. It was really not about the money why I agreed to be there. And it still wasn’t about the money why I left…

Forty-eight hours of craziness (2nd part)

4:30PM (same day)

What am I doing, diary?

I should reveal the details now. The Korean who called earlier is supposedly a project partner of my mother.

But I wasn’t aware that he was a partner. I had assumed that he was some sort of sponsor and I hadn’t wanted to rock any boats coz he was kind enough to offer his help when he learned that I just resigned from my copyediting job. I guess he thought he was doing an act of kindness when he referred me to his sister-in-law as an ESL teacher.

But the problem, diary, is that I’m no certified teacher. I have no proper teaching experience to speak of except if Vacation Bible School, where I taught one time, would be counted.

And I’m bone-tired and stressed and wanting very much to go home.

But initially, I had thought that I was doing a good deed when I decided to agree to what this guy’s sister in law wanted. Because she had a need and I felt it was in me to help her out, I guess I was thinking of some pay-it-forward scenario.

Okay. I walked into the doors of the impressive-looking building. I was awed. I checked in my ID at the information desk and headed for the bank of elevators.

I won’t tell you the exact floor that was my destination, diary. But suffice it to be known that the office where I was “interesting” to work was far, far from the office I had first imagined it to be, an office that was totally out of whack with the chrome and glass of the entire building. Incongruous would be the word.

Oh, diary! The office wasn’t dirty. It was filthy. I had thought, when the elevator dinged me to my specified floor, that I had punched the wrong button. But it was correct. But I had thought I wandered into some sort of cargo forwarding company and not some “international school”.

Yet, hoping for the best, because the signage told me that I am at the right place, I opened the door and asked,

Me: Hi, I’m Feyoh. Ms. _________ asked me to come today.

Grasshopper disguised as bespectacled girl (GDBG): Oh, do you have your resume?

Me: Err… I…

GDBG: Nevermind. Wait here for a while. (Goes to inner sanctum and comes out again with a smile on her mandible lips) She will see you now.

I went with her to a nicely-furnished office with wall to wall carpeting, totally different from the peeling linoleumed flooring of the front office. The office was well-lit and cooler than where I came in from. Ms. _________ was at her desk and she obviously was the boss. GDBG kowtowed.

GDBG: Ms. _____________, this is Feyoh.

Ms. _______ (in her version of English): So, you want to teach, only part time?

Me: It’s okay. What exactly do I do?

Ms. ________: You teach Korean chidren English. You talk phone and then by video.

Me: Okay, that could be fine.

Ms. ________: You have crass at seven-thirty until ten-thirty pm.

Me: Okay. When can I start?

Ms. __________: You start now.

Me (eyes wide in panic): What?! You mean NOW?!! I…but…. I… I just came from a job interview in Ortigas—

Ms. __________: So you accept the job?

Me: I said they give me one week’s notice.

Ms. ________ (frowns): My brother in law told you I need teacher.

Me: Nobody said that it’s now, today. I’m sorry but I am not ready. You mean the teacher starts today?

Ms. __________: Yes. I need teacher now. I have two new students and they have teacher this evening. We need a teacher. Please.

I was about to say something and then I saw her brother in law. He was in another office and when he saw me, he gave a wave and came over.

The Brother in law (all smiles): You teach Korean children today?

Me: Err…

Ms. ________: We need teacher now.

Diary, they both said that I can refuse. I don’t know. The day was stressful for me. I had wanted to do a tantrum in front of them with Ms. __________ repeating that she needs a teacher NOW while in the same breath saying I can refuse and her brother in law smiling like someone in a toothpaste commercial because he’s helped a soul find work in the vast unemployment umbra of the Philippines.

Sometimes this whole pakikisama thing really sucks. But I said yes. Just to help her out. I thought Ms. ____________ was so desperate for a teacher that she has to get an unqualified one to fill the spot.

I learned that the pay was by the hour. I nearly snorted when she quoted the rate. It was not enought to pay for the fare going there and coming back. Yet she needed a teacher NOW and I felt pity for the woman.

I shall write about this job i got in another entry but for now, i shall give you over to chin, the nevergirl and she could describe her own experience of how it is to work as an esl teacher.

(…to be continued)

Forty-eight hours of craziness (1st part)

I’ve gotta write this out of my system before i go insane and go off running out the streets in my underwear.

Monday, 7 May 2007

Dear Diary,

It’s 7AM on a Monday morning!

I’m dressed in my black ensemble complete with the blazer even if I know that the weather is scorching. I have on my best pair of sandals with two and a half inches of pointy heels guaranteed to stick into the cracks in the sidewalks. And my hair is tame enough this morning that I was able to gather all strands in a ponytail.

I look decent.

You know why I’m dressed up today, Diary?

Coz you see, I have to be in Ortigas before 9AM today. I have an appointment, you see. It has to do with a call I received last Wednesday (2 May). I had almost completely forgotten that I had submitted my application for a job opening in a call center through their online portal coz that was some months ago.

I wasn’t serious in that application that time, you see, coz I was still a copyeditor then and never dreamed of doing anything else.

But, diary, boredom does things to a person’s sense of integrity or lack of it. So here I am on a Monday, hurrying out of the house with my ma. Ma has to go to city hall but agreed to drop me off Ortigas even if it was so out of the way.

It was so early that I just ate a hard-boiled egg and drank a mug of coffee made out of freshly roasted cockroaches (that’s what it tasted like).

You know, diary, Ma has this thing for asking God for specifics. So this morning she asked that we get a taxi that is driven by an honest and kind person. Some funny thing happened. There were lots of taxis which whizzed (a mouthful) past us, most didn’t have any passengers. But none seemed to slow down for us even if we waved our arms wildly and even if we were standing by the curbside.

After at least five such bypasses, Ma looked at me and shrugged. She said, “I guess none of those drivers were kind or honest.”

A taxi finally stopped for us.

And indeed, the driver was kind and honest, just the way Ma has specified.

And you know why we thought the driver was kind and honest, diary? Because, unlike most drivers, this one didn’t turn on his meter before we got into the cab. And because this driver allowed other cars to cut in front of him. He didn’t beat any of the red lights along the way, too.

But, diary, I was a bit nervous because it was nearly nine o’clock and the taxi driver has let four cars to cut and has stopped at at least two dozens of red lights. Waiting. Patiently. Waiting. I nearly wanted to tell Ma that maybe the driver was just too kind.

But you know, when I thought that I was already late for my appointment, it turned out that I still have half an hour to spare. Ma walked me to Ortigas Building. I had wanted her to see the place where I might work if ever I decided I liked the job. So I really appreciated that she came with me to the place even if it was so out of the way of her destination. Then she was off and I was alone.

There is something about call centers that tickles me, diary. It is the notion that getting in is soooooo hard, and that the job is prestigious and the pay is good.

I’m grinning as I write this, diary. Coz as I see it, call centers are impersonal. I have a suspicion that I could lie through my teeth and babble all I want in the interview and still could get away with it — as long as I do the lying and the babbling in near-perfect English. With accent, of course. But no worries, diary. I do not do things half-baked. I answered all questions in wholehearted seriousness and sincerity. No joke. And besides, I never lie when asked about something. But I did babble a bit because I lost my train of thoughts when I was asked what my personal plans were. (I thought it inappropriate to tell the HR guy about that world domination plot or that plan to end hunger and poverty).

I mean no offense to those who work in call centers. And for sure, not all of those who work in one are paid huge sums, no matter how much night differential one has accummulated. Anyway, as for prestige… well, it’s a reason for dressing nicely but comfortably — professional and polished. Although today, I feel so overdressed with the blazer and slacks. I wished for a more casual outfit but it was too late for that.

Here’s what went on the moment I submitted the requirements they asked for, diary:

  • Start: HR personnel called out names, including mine, and those who were called filed in a room with workstations. We were handed sheafs of paper and a clear plastic folder with what looked like test questions. The HR guy says that we’re to take an IQ test first. He have us one hour and ten minutes to finish it.
  • (Twenty minutes later) Okay, IQ test is done. I’m sitting in the waiting area for the results. Memorable question from the supposed IQ test: You are taking an IQ test now. What is the meaning of IQ? Choices were (a) Internet Question (b) Intelligence Questions (c) Intelligent Quotient (d) Intelligence Quotient…tricky question, that one
  • The HR guy appears again and calls a set of names. I guess I was one of those who passed the first round coz we were to take another set of exams, this time about grammar, syntax, etc… and some computer applications.
  • Comment about the second exam, quoting Khyria: Ning, always remember you ARE a copyeditor.
  • Finished the exam in half an hour. Waited again in the cold room with the huge TV broadcasting a noontime show.
  • Comments on the hour: Am already hungry.
  • The HR guy appears again and called my name. He told me to return at 1:40. Great, I still had over an hour for lunch.
  • Lunch.
  • At Robinson’s. I was pretty annoyed with the Shakey’s people coz they have overlooked my order and wanted me to wait for another twenty minutes. Walked out of there and moved my hungry ass to Deli France. To set the record straight: I am not really picky with where I eat. It was that Deli France was the only place in that whole wide foodcourt that has vacant tables. So I went there. And dined like some, uh, French.
  • Bought mouthwash after lunch from a drugstore. Loaded cell phone and called beau (miss you!). Called Ma but no answer.
  • Walked back to Ortigas Building under the noonday sun.
  • Got phone out from bag. Registered 3 missed calls, 2 messages.
  • Message 1 (from some unidentified number): Hi, this is ___________. Where are you?
  • Message 2 (from Ma): Hello. I gave your number to __________. Sorry I didnt consult you. Did he contact you?
  • Missed calls were all from the unidentified number.
  • My phone rang again in the Ortigas Building’s 5th floor women’s toilet. It was that unidentified number.
  • The call was from a Korean. He wanted me to go to his sister-in-law’s office in Ortigas. I was already in Ortigas. I told him I was to be interviewed for a job. He asked when could I go to his sister-in-law’s office. I distractedly said “in a while” because my name was being called already.
  • I forgot about the call and proceeded to do blather with the HR guy in the call center who was my interviewer. I was beginning to find him a bit cute after seeing so much of him since that morning.
  • Interview done. HR guy was puzzled when I requested they give me a week’s notice before I accept the job. But I guess I passed again coz he gave me the situational test. It was fun and I blathered through email. Nice. Impersonal.
  • After the interview and test, a lady showed me the way out and said they will call for a scheduled contract signing (?)
  • Out of the Ortigas Building. Was prepared to go home already.
  • Phone started ringing.
  • Oh. The Korean.
  • It was a missed call.
  • Then an SMS.
  • Message: Hi, this is ________. Are you interesting (sic) to work as a part time English tutor?

Okay, diary. I replied yes. And asked where the office was. I asked the guard outside Ortigas Building and he gave me precise directions.

Walked, walked, walked. I saw the building cutting a smug blue outline in the grey horizon.

Orient Square…

Wooooooooow, I said to myself. Isn’t the building somewhat impressive diary?

So I thought that what I was in for was something nice. Anyway, if the interview I went to this morning didn’t push through, at least I could have some fallback.

With these thoughts, I walked up the steps and a doorman ushered me in. I must admit, I was impressed. (to be continued)

CEDs got the bug

EXTRA!EXTRA!

Extremely lethal bug epidemic strikes!

It’s contagious… As of writing, the bug has claimed 3 new victims in this joint and they have been displaying the usual initial symptoms:

  • itching fingers
  • selective hearing
  • obsession with a computer keyboard
  • severe uncontrolled trembling when they are placed 50 meters away from their keyboards
  • staring into space
  • produces a manifestation of the disease in the form of a blog

The bug, Bloggeritus copieditii, is a seasonal neuronal microorganism which lives off human hosts who have an affinity for words and literature. This bug is usually present even in utero but usually remains dormant within the host’s central nervous system.

Environmental triggers such as extreme boredom, sudden inspiration, the uncontrollable urge to put feelings and thoughts into writing usually creates the ideal environment for the bug to become active, feeding off the literary juices which flow from the victim’s grey matter.

So far, when the symptoms progress,  a blow to the head to induce temporary amnesia is the only known antidote. But previous victims have found it more convenient to let the microorganism feed off their hosts in certain occasions.

This joint was given a list of the latest victims of B. copieditii (in alphabetical order):

  1. Dean
  2. Lorilyn
  3. Orven

We here in this joint offer our deepest sympathy for these victims.