Wednesday 26 March 2008

Playing Guidance Counsellor

Sugar and I have twelve years between us. She's still in highschool while I can't even remember anymore what I did in highschool. It was forgettable because I was forgettable. I was just an awkward, bony (though my curves showed up later, along with unwanted bilbils) and kutu-on girl (yep fleas-infested but I assure you, not anymore!). I just wanted to be left alone, terribly shy of the limelight (well it was not as if anybody wanted turn the spotlight my way.) Sugar on the other hand is different based on the reports from my Mom. She's an achiever, a Quadrant-1 kid. And like any other Ate, I am proud of her.

Since I have been here in London we managed to keep in touch more frequently than I was in Manila. All thanks to my company, very kind indeed not to ban IMs! So what do two people, with a generation gap between them talk about? No, we don't talk about boys. She's still innocent, I think! I hope she has sense enough to stay that way until she finishes college. But nah, with today's media influence that might be like wishing for the crow to turn white (nga moputi ang uwak ba). We don't talk about boys. Not yet anyway.

We just talk about her school because that's where her world revolves around now. About how some of her mean classmates tend to be yeah, mean to her. How she's affected by their pranks. And how miserable she sometimes is because of them. Oh phulleaasse, how serious can that be? Mean kids at school? It's not even 10% close to Global Warming or War in Iraq in magnitude? Why oh why does she have to make such a fuss about that?

Because she's still a kid. And it's not right to shrug off a kid's worry as insignificant. They might resort to actions you would regret. Or worse, go to gun down her class in a shooting frenzy before committing suicide... oh knock on wood!

And so I, naturally she looks up to me because of the fact that I'm her Ate (nothing she can do about that), listen to her patiently. After she's done pouring her heart out, I try to give her advices. I give her words of wisdom, which typing them gives me the creeps. Why the creeps? Judge for yourself, as I list some of these words of wisdom...

  • Don't judge others, you don't know who they really are. You don't know what they're going through in their homes. Maybe they're just misunderstood.
  • Yes, perhaps they envy you. But don't get that into your head. Don't act as if you're better than them, maybe that's the reason why they hate you. Be humble.
  • Don't fight fire with fire. Don't dance their tune. Maybe if you'll start being nice to them, they'll reciprocate the niceness. Lead by example.

Feeling the creeps? If you're not, well I am... Ka-hilas jud nako oi, kilatan baya ko! But what else can I say except give her those words of wisdom? Why not share to her the stuffs I picked up during the twelve years lead? I have to be a good Ate. Never mind that I myself is still having difficulty practicing any of them . She doesn't need to know that :p

Whenever I am suffering this ala-Dalai Lama or Oprah catatonia, my sister would just listen to me, assenting that I am, what else, right. At least that's what it always seems at my end. Never mind that I can't see her if she ever stick out her tongue in disgust. Well she's smart enough to know she has no choice but to agree and hail me as not only drop dead gorgeous but also an amazingly wise sister. Or else she'll receive no allowance!

If I am having a difficulty taking on this role of a "wise" older sibling, how much more raising my own kids someday? That not only my words but also my actions my kids will be eyeing for guidance? So good luck to all my friends who have their broods now. I bet you need more than luck. You need hard work!

Thursday 20 March 2008

The Underdog

Before the work week ended, prematurely because of Holy Week - yahoo!!! (That yahoo is an expression of jubilation because Easter is coming and we'll commemorate our Lord's resurrection. It's not because there's no work. But that is of course an icing on the cake.) Ok as I was saying, before the week ended I was moved to another team. My first task was to create the design document. There's a section that should enumerate the persons in the team and their corresponding roles. While doing that I found out that I am the most junior, not only age-wise (my new colleagues seem 40ish and above), but also job-description-wise. I bet all of them have more than a decade of technical experience tucked under their belts. In our team of six, there's one delivery manager, four technical architects and there's me, the java developer and the only madame - oh you've got to say that the English way!

So you see, I am the underdog. The less experienced. The lowly developer. The only Asian. But in consolation I am absolutely - 100% sure, no doubt about it - the fairest of them all!

I have to admit I am a bit intimated. But I am also delighted. I welcome this opportunity to learn from the experts (teka, I think I have this same statement in my CV). I am ready to take on the challenge (yung challenge na magpapanggap na magaling?) I can't wait to blow their socks off! (why? i-fo-foot reflexology ko ba sila?)

Wow, no one is immune to my sarcasms - not even myself.

Or maybe they just need someone to serve them coffee or tea? Hmmm?

I just can't believe how fast time flies. The four months with my previous team, our application was released to system testing without any showstopper fault by the way, flew out of the window like a snap of a finger. Just like that.

Sunday 16 March 2008

Australia, anyone?

I attended the 2nd day of Australia Needs Skills Expo this morning. The Expo featured Australian employers, each of them had a booth set up, looking for highly skilled workers to fill their shortages. You just have to visit those booths, submit your CVs to the employers that you like and wait for them to call you in weeks or months to come. Cross your fingers that they will shortlist you for a position. Because if an employer fancies you, they will sponsor your migration to Australia.

I noticed a lot of Pinoys there but most of them are nurses and caregivers. I was delighted when I heard the unmistakable two Bisaya talking in one corner that I couldn't help but say hi and introduce myself. In no time we were tossing around jokes in Bisaya. I savored hearing phrases like 'ah mao ba?', 'tarung ba' or 'wala ka kuyapi?'... Oh what a blast!

One Bisdak is named Mercy, a nurse who came from Bohol. She wants to migrate to Australia kasi sawa na daw sya sa London and she wants a higher salary because she's up to neck in loans. She said she bought too many beaches in Panglao than she could handle... ang taray!

The other Bisaya is named Jojo is a caregiver student in South England. On evenings and weekends he has rackets so he can send money home. One of his racket is walking the dog of an English woman in which he is paid 8 pounds per hour. Another racket is taking care of an elderly on evenings. All he has to do is assist an old lady to the toilet if nature calls in the middle of the night or accompany the old lady to Tesco (a 24 hour supermarket) if trip nya mag midnight shopping. With that he's paid 80 pounds per night - that's 6400 already in our currency!. He says dapat magaling ka lang daw dumiskarte and di daw dapat maarte maglinis ng popoo ng mga oldies. Hmmm I'll just go for walking the dog...

I am sharing what I learned from the expo... some tips that will increase your probability bagging an Australia migration sponsorhip. I'm afraid that these only apply for IT professionals. I didn't inquire about for nurses or other fields. Sorry.

  1. Get an assessment from the Australian Computer Society (ACS). For those with Bachelors degree NOT related to IT, like moi, they told me in the expo that this assessment is a must!
  2. Take the IELTS exam and aim to get AT LEAST 7.0 points (both listening and written).

Once you have those two submit an application to an Australia employer right away. How? Browse the internet! I tell you I heard many success stories in the Expo, so don't underestimate the power of the World Wide Web people! Pag may tiyaga, may nilaga! Or register to an Australian Needs Skills Expo so you can personally scout prospective employers. Just visit their site from time to time for schedules they might have in your country.

Sunday 9 March 2008

Bb. Pilipinas bruhaha

Like most of girls, I had wished at one point in my life to be a beauty queen. But because of my genes, I didn't grow up to as tall, as statuesque and as pretty as any pageant contestant should be. So I just resigned to be a fan. But I am not a beauty pageant freak like my better than ice cream friend Mau. I just have a fascination of it and when our bets manages to bag the international titles - I am like every Filipino, jumping with pride. But alas this Bb. Pilipinas 2008 seemed to robbed me of what little respect and fascination I had for the institution. I was horrified watching this video Ria forwarded. It's like watching a Bubble Gang episode except that there were no Michael V. and Ogie making faces after the cue, and her statements were not meant to be punchlines at all. Makes me wonder how could the judges let her win?