Rainbows and Rain

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Sadly, I was born and raised in a country where too many still associate being gay with weakness and sin. I have always believed that God is love and that He wouldn’t be so great if He stood in the way of true love. Why does love have to be between a man and a woman?

Religion may be founded on God’s principles but because people uphold and propagate religion, it is too subject to invention, manipulation and reinterpretation. I would rather believe God is love than swallow a judgmental narrow-minded tradition that attempts to prevent love in any form. I would rather believe in my God than in the flawed, sedentary thinking of people.

I have friends, loved ones that are gay. One of them, I know I’ve lost to his internal battles. He couldn’t love himself because his religion told him God couldn’t accept and love him for who he was. If he had been in an environment which encouraged his right to love whoever he wished, to love who he was, I wonder, would he still be alive?

I am happy that you will be born in a country that just a couple days ago, made a bold statement to support all kinds of love. Although legalizing same-sex marriages nationwide may do little to modify the mindsets of people, you will be born on a year that will be noted in history for what I think is an amazing, positive change.

Love still has many barriers to break, probably the biggest frontier being the one surrounding my home country, the Philippines (notably the only country which hasn’t legalized divorce but let’s not get started on that). But winning this battle in the United States, such a powerful country of influence, gives me hope that you will grow up in a better world.

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Baby Bear writes to Papa Bear

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“Dear Dad,

It’s me, the baby from Mom’s belly. We’ve been sending each other our thoughts back and forth and we agree that people don’t see how much credit you deserve for this pregnancy.

Well, first, I want to thank you for giving me to Mom. She told me that you’re a very fun guy that enjoys playing video games, traveling and staying out with friends. I know deciding to have me must have been tough for you because caring for me would take away time from your favorite things, including sleep.

Second, I want to thank you for looking after Mom and me. You’ve been doing so much around the house while she feels sick or tired from carrying me. You’ve been driving around to help feed us both essential food and wild cravings. From Moo-moo milk to pandesal, from fruits and peppermints to carrot cheesecake, from Asian stores to Jollibee, you’ve been really supportive of us.

Finally, you comfort Mom by being there for her during her tough pregnancy. You accompany her on most of her important tests and doctor visits. You try not to upset her by cooking smelly foods outside the house. You stay at home with her to watch movies and Friends marathon. You take her out when she feels well enough to get out.

You’re a really great husband and I already know you’ll make the best dad. Thanks for all you do now for me and Mom. I promise that when you meet me, I will love you so much and make it all worth it.

Happy First Father’s Day!

P.S. Mom also thinks you will be the one to spoil me so I’m even more excited to meet you already.”

The Family Photographer

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My life on earth is reasonably well documented in photos, thanks to my father, who had always owned some kind of camera and had been snapping away since I was a baby.

Growing up, I realized the value of capturing memories through images I could readily access and look back on. So, when I was younger, I collected older photos in print. As I got older and as technology progressively allowed, I stored digital albums in one platform or another.

I never had the discipline to learn the basics of taking a good photograph like my father could. But I do credit him for my acknowledgement and love of pictures as reminders of life’s greatest moments.

More importantly, I credit my father for being there not only during most of my life’s greatest moments but also many of the little ones. The ones that are too small to be photographed but are engrained in my memory nonetheless. Like when he soldered some wires into overlapping sine, cosine and tangent graphs, so that I would have the most banging project in Trigonometry class (nerd). Or when he randomly initiated popsicle and ice cream bar pickups from convenience stores. Or when he set shopping budgets for me and my sisters, allowing me to waste money on stuffed toys as my older sister bought books and my younger sister kept the cash to save for bigger, better things.

I believe a lot of my weirdness comes from my father. But I am thankful because having him as a father had given me stories that go beyond what pictures could tell. Having him as a father had both literally and figuratively made the snapshots of my life… a lot more colorful.

Happy Father’s Day, Papa. I miss and love you!

Love and the Rain

On rainy nights like this one, I remember being younger…

You see, your father and I didn’t use to live together. We weren’t even in the same country or continent. During his summer vacations from school, he flew to the Philippines to visit me. Summer in the United States meant the rainiest months in the Philippines.┬áHaving only a couple of months in a year to spend together, we didn’t mind the rain.

We went on dates, with umbrellas that were pretty much useless with the downpour we experienced almost everyday. After my classes in college, and years later, after my work hours, we ate dinner at nice places, watched movies and played at arcades. If we had enough money and time, we went on trips.

We felt the need to compress a year’s worth of romance into his limited time in the country. The days always went by too quickly. And on the night before his flight out, all the fun and happiness would turn back into the misery of separating and resetting the cycle of waiting.

Eventually, we got tired of the distance. We found a way to finally be together but we don’t recommend long distance relationships to anybody. It takes a lot more than going out on rainy nights for two months in a year. There are those 10 other months or more to deal with… that can make or break you.

Your father and I now detest leaving the house when it rains. Still, as I’ve told some of my friends, the rain makes me nostalgic. I like to smell the rain and imagine our younger selves barely fitting under one puny umbrella. How we’d laugh ourselves silly as we got drenched to make the most of our time together.

The rain reminds me of how your father and I started, and how long we’ve loved each other. I look forward to the years to come.

Overtime as a Form of Waste

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The end of the 9-5 mindset can be interpreted in two ways. Employees and employers may associate this idea with the ability and willingness to work outside of traditional office hours e.g. nights and weekends, and beyond the confines of office walls (telecommuting). The second way of digesting this concept involves acceptance of performance measurement on the basis of achieving quality results rather than the number of hours worked.

I believe in flexibility where job requirements and advancements in technology allow. In fact, as mentioned in a previous post, I am currently on a partial work-from-home arrangement due to a pregnancy-related health condition (Hyperemesis Gravidarum).

I am also willing to work extra hours when needed, like to help cover for a coworker or to meet an unplanned and urgent client deadline. However, a recurring need for overtime, as learned from my past experience in Supply Chain, is a symptom of chronic inefficiency. If employees are rewarded for regularly working excessive hours – whether the reward is in the form of money or recognition, the employer is cultivating a culture that encourages waste.

Overtime may be a sign of working harder but with insane frequency, becomes the total opposite of working smarter. If people are expected to put in more hours all the time, the underlying reasons should be investigated. The usual suspects are: poor planning by management (why not hire more people or reallocate tasks?), weak/inconsistent worker performance (could tasks be finished in less time?) and systemic issues (could methods be further simplified/automated?).

Time is a valuable resource that companies should invest with the same thinking as they do money: why spend more, when you can get more – for less?