In A Previous Life

I work in Human Resources in a non-HR function.  I am the Executive Assistant to a Senior Vice President in this financial services giant I work for.  While I am known as one of the higher paid assistants around (and I am), the company gets its money’s worth out of me and much more. 

I am, what my peers in the field of Development Studies in UP call, underemployed.  I have a JD tucked under my arm although I am shy of a dissertation before completing the Juris Doctor program of the Ateneo School of Law.  I managed to convince the Supreme Court of the Philippines to allow me to take the Bar Examinations of 1995 without completing the Juris Doctor requirement of a thesis defense, because the Philippine Rules of Court does not require a JD to be allowed to take the Bar Exam.  It lists a slew of legal subjects that needed to be completed which I had successfully done.  And pass the Philippine Bar, I did.

So you have a Juris Doctor level senior executive assistant.  My pay grade?  A decent paralegal’s salary. Naturally, the people around here only see me as an assistant to their boss.  They do not know that I have a JD.  They do not know my legal background.  Many of them are even unaware that I worked with the Asian offices of two other financial services giants in the life insurance industry, one of which is another bigwig here in the United States.

Last week, in the midst of contract negotiations for a job offer for a senior post, I was neck deep in completing the offer package which, besides the customary sheet of figures, actually had an offer letter which was contractual in nature.  The generalist in charge of the offer made an offhand comment that I seemed to have quite a good grasp of contracts because I knew better than to change the wording of a date specified in the letter which impacts on the efficacy of the offer.  She did not say it but I knew she meant that I seemed to know more than what one would expect of a mere executive assistant.  (Then again, she didn’t know about the JD.)

I let the comment pass without giving her my background.  I had taken the time to explain why I know what I know to others before and it didn’t matter an iota at all.  She would be the last person I would try to impress as her condenscending tone has affected not only me but many of my colleagues here as well.

I didn’t have to let her know that in a previous life, I was regarded better than she would’ve been, had we been in a different setting.

 

"Magulang"

The word “Magulang” has two meanings in the Tagalog language.  As a noun, it means “parent”.  As an adjective, it describes someone who takes advantage of others.  I just had a long chat with my bestfriend who was incensed at how a friend of hers has been taking advantage of her kind accommodation.  It’s too long a story to tell.  The other lady is not exactly a friend of mine.  But I was telling my bestfriend she just has to put her foot down.  Other people, clients specifically, are going to be affected.  After money has changed hands, it is now the obligation of the one paid to render service.

I’m writing very cryptically, but then it all boils down to the sense of frustration one feels when you see an otherwise decent person treating another indecently.  Sometimes when money is involved, the judgment of people get clouded.  They forget about friendships and think only of the monetary reward.  It gets worse when one is afflicted with an addiction to something as destructive as gambling. 

While I am not one to pass judgment on our third friend, I must say I am terribly shocked and disappointed.  All I could do was listen.  All I can say is I hope she wakes up before she loses all her friends and finds her karma getting back at her.

 

"THE NOTEBOOK"

I have never been really one who cried easily, but I have shed a tear or two while watching a movie be it onscreen or in the privacy of our home.  Alan had ordered THE NOTEBOOK from NetFlix a while back, but it took me forever and a day to finally sit down and watch it.  By the time I watched it, he had seen the movie on the plane and was apparently pleased by what he saw because he kept egging me to watch.

When I finally did, I found myself crying in the end.  (No, I don’t have the energy to write a synopsis here, so go watch the movie yourself.)  Alan seemed pleased and had actually expected me to cry at the end.  I cried not just because it was a moving love story, but because I could relate to the love that Noah and Allie (I am not sure I remember her name right) felt for each other.  I related to the story because that is the love I feel for my husband.  (He’s probably chuckling reading this and saying how dramatic I’m getting again..)  I was so touched by the love which I knew, if I were in a similar situation, I would cling to in the face of having the one you love forget who you are.

Alan and I have had this conversation before where I told him I hope I don’t go before he does because if I do, I would worry who would take care of him in his old age.  I would want to be the one to help him before he goes.  He usually finds such talk a morbid topic, but I have always believed in preparing for the unexpected, more so in the light of 9/11 here in New York.

One reason I decided to put all my eggs in this basket is because I could see myself growing old  with him.  I can see us driving through the country, enjoying Sunday brunch with our family or by ourselves, still discovering new things — in our golden years.

I cannot imagine how life would be without him.  Even just thinking about it makes me teary-eyed.  I feel myself truly blessed for having found this love of my life which keeps me going from day to day, now further blessed by the presence of Angelo.

Haw Flakes

I don’t remember when I first ate Haw Flakes, but even in my adulthood, I find them to be a favorite comfort food.  Little round flakes referred to as Chinese champoy (but isn’t the champoy Chinese in the first place?), it was quite a relief to find them available at the local Chinese groceries here in Queens.

Usually going for 50 cents a pack, they were on sale for 3 for $1.00 over the weekend.  I couldn’t help it.  I grabbed my stash.  Today I have so far opened two little tubes.  I’ve had my fill.. my sweet tooth has been satisfied without overloading my system with sugar.

That’s it for me.