Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Postscript: Best Place to Work in Manila

   Gloria left for the US in the fall of 2006.  She began searching for a job in the city of Louisville, Kentucky as soon as she received her green card.  At first she worried that she might not find one because she had no documentation to support whatever was in her resume.  In the Philippines one has to present a diploma or curriculum vitae, reference letters, etc.  None of the companies in America she applied to asked for any.  The management called to verify her most recent job, GA Manila. 

   She was hired as Administrative Assistant by a small real estate company that managed condominium home owners’ associations (HOA).  It was an all women company, and all white women to be exact.  It was a good break-in experience for her.  She felt comfortable with the ladies, half of whom were her age and the other half were younger.  Unfortunately America was at the threshold of the Mortgage Crisis which went full blown by 2008.  The earliest hit businesses were those in real estate.  The company she worked for had to close.   She was there for barely a year. 

   Her second job was Executive Assistant for a bank which has foot prints in 12 mid-west states.  Her boss was the Retail Executive managing 60 branches divided under four Regional Managers, each was handling Branch Managers.  Gloria was surprised to get hired by the prestigious bank when in Manila it would take an arm and a leg for her to get that position.  Although she did pass the on-line tests and the bank management called her former boss at GA Manila.  There was a dress code that she loved.  She had to come to work Mondays to Thursdays in a suit.  Casual Friday meant she can come in slacks and a top with the bank logo embroidered in front.

   Her new workstation was huge.  She had her own telephone extension, her business card was ordered for her by HR.  She was given a corporate credit card with an impressive credit limit.  She was to use the credit card for company purposes only.  Still it was an amazing turn.  She was the only Asian on the seventh floor, actually the only Asian in the whole building of 12 floors.  She thought nothing of that at first.  It was a big city.  Maybe the Asians were on the other end.  Later she realized there were almost no Asian in corporate offices in that whole city.  She was almost proud that she got her foot on that door.

   Her new officemates were not used to dealing with an Asian and a Filipina at that.  Gloria spoke English with very thin accent, however, for people who are not used to hearing the language spoken by a non-American no accent was fine.  She waked in on them in the break room while they were bashing her for wearing pink in winter.  (Filipinos wore any color anytime or season.)  

   After two years, Doris, an employee from the mailroom was retiring after serving the bank for 35 years.  The bank announced there will be a sendoff for her on the second floor at lunch break.  Gloria assumed the company will serve lunch for the party.  Instead she found cupcakes and soda for everyone.  The party broke exactly at 1:00 pm for everyone to go back to work. 

   “You know, if Doris had worked for GA Manila and retired after 35 years, we would be dancing all night at Hard Rock, dinner and drinks on the company.” Gloria proudly told her American colleagues.
GA Manila batch 2000

See also:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Silent Life

   At the corner of J. Galvez (formerly Polo Road) and F.B. Harrison Street lies the Philippine Schools for the Deaf and Blind.  It was founded in 1907.  Over one hundred years later television in the Philippines and all over the world still does not have sign language translation.  Closed captioning may or may not be available and mostly in English.  Why has their presence in society been so ignored?  Could it be that there is no market for merchandise in the deaf community?  Surely those people eat, drink, work and live productive lives with buying power.  Has anyone ever seen a deaf homeless?  Or a deaf criminal?  Or a deaf drug addict?  

   The deaf don’t show up in the six o’clock news protesting, rioting, stealing, or driving under the influence (DUI).  They marry, have families, get sick and get victimized by evil like everybody else.  The only difference is they live normal lives in silence while the rest of the world look the other way.

   In keeping with Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 24:14And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” the Jehovah’s Witnesses website has the JW Library Sign Language App to quickly look up scriptures, easily download videos with simple navigation and space management.  It has the Bible and other publications in sign language in all of 79 languages.  

1.     American Sign Language 
2.     Auslan Australian Sign Language
3.     Bahasa Isyarat Indonesian Sign Language
4.  Bahasa Isyarat Malaysian Sign Language
5.      British Sign Language 
6. český znakový jazykCzech Sign Language
7. Chinenero Chamanja cha ku Malawi Sign Language
8. Dansk tegnsprog Danish Sign Language
9. Deutsche Gebärdensprache German Sign Language
10. Deutschschweizer Gebärdensprache Swiss German Sign Language
11. eesti viipekeel Estonian Sign Language
12. Filipino Sign Language 
13. Ghanaian Sign Language Ghanaian Sign Language
14. hrvatski znakovni jezik Croatian Sign Language
15. Indian Sign Language 
16. Irish Sign Language
17. Kenyan Sign Language 
18. Langue des signes belge francophone Belgian French Sign Language
19. Langue des signes française French Sign Language
20. Langue des signes québécoise Quebec Sign Language
21. Latviešu zīmju valoda Latvian Sign Language
22. lengua de señas argentina Argentinean Sign Language
23. lengua de señas boliviana Bolivian Sign Language
24. lengua de señas chilena Chilean Sign Language
25. lengua de señas colombiana Colombian Sign Language
26. lengua de señas costarricense Costa Rican Sign Language
27. lengua de señas ecuatoriana Ecuadorian Sign Language
28. lengua de señas mexicana Mexican Sign Language
29. lengua de señas uruguaya Uruguayan Sign Language
30. lengua de señas venezolana Venezuelan Sign Language
31. lengua de signos española Spanish Sign Language
32. Lenguaje de señas cubano Cuban Sign Language
33. lenguaje de señas guatemalteco Guatemalan Sign Language
34. lenguaje de señas hondureño Honduras Sign Language
35. lenguaje de señas nicaragüense Nicaraguan Sign Language
36. lenguaje de señas panameño Panamanian Sign Language
37. lenguaje de señas paraguayo Paraguayan Sign Language
38. lenguaje de señas peruano Peruvian Sign Language
39. Lietuvių gestų kalba Lithuanian Sign Language
40. Limbajul semnelor românesc Romanian Sign Language
41. Língua brasileira de sinais Brazilian Sign Language
42. Lingua dei segni italiana Italian Sign Language
43. Língua de Sinais Angolana Angolan Sign Language
44. Língua de Sinais Moçambicana Mozambican Sign Language
45. Língua Gestual Portuguesa Portuguese Sign Language
46. magyar jelnyelv Hungarian Sign Language
47. Nederlandse Gebarentaal Dutch Sign Language
48. New Zealand Sign Language New Zealand Sign Language
49. Norsk tegnspråk Norwegian Sign Language
50. Österreichische Gebärdensprache Austrian Sign Language
51. polski język migowy Polish Sign Language
52. shqipe e shenjave Albanian Sign Language
53. slovenski znakovni jezik Slovenian Sign Language
54. slovenský posunkový jazyk Slovak Sign Language
55. South African Sign Language South African Sign Language
56. suomalainen viittomakieli Finnish Sign Language
57. Surinaamse Gebarentaal Suriname Sign Language
58. Svenskt teckenspråk Swedish Sign Language
59. Tenin’ny Tanana Malagasy Madagascar Sign Language
60. Vietnamese Sign Language Vietnamese Sign Language
61. Vlaamse Gebarentaal Flemish Sign Language
62. Zambian Sign Language Zambian Sign Language
63. Zimbabwean Sign Language Zimbabwe Sign Language
64. Ελληνική Νοηματική Γλώσσα Greek Sign Language
65. български жестомимичен език Bulgarian Sign Language
66. монгол дохионы хэл Mongolian Sign Language
67. русский жестовый Russian Sign Language
68. српски знаковни језик Serbian Sign Language
69. שפת סימנים ישראליתIsraeli Sign Language
70. नेपाली साङ्केतिक भाषा Nepali Sign Language
71. ශ්රී ලංකා සංඥා භාෂාව Sri Lankan Sign Language
72. ภาษามือไทยThai Sign Language
73. Myanmar Sign Language
74. ភាសាសញ្ញាខ្មែរ Cambodian Sign Language
75. 한국 수화 Korean Sign Language
76. 中国手语 Chinese Sign Language
77. 台灣手語 Taiwanese Sign Language
78. 日本手話 Japanese Sign Language
79. 香港手語 Hong Kong Sign Language

   Now, that’s what Jesus was talking about!!!

See also 
The Signs
Google It
See You in Paradise

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Standbys of Makati

   Jessie and his family rented the top floor of a three level walk-up condo.  It was located in South Cembo, Makati.  He has never lived in that area before.  He was bullied in high school. 

   The first thing he noticed was the group of ‘standbys’ (‘Standbys’ was a word used for people who hang out in the streets.)  The group congregated in the street corner store, right in front of his new home.  The standbys looked menacing, always with beer or some kind of liquor in their hands.  Bullies have been known to pick on new residents on the block.  Usually they would ask a guy to come have a shot of whatever they’re drinking.  Then if he refuses they will pick a fight on the grounds that he had insulted them by rejecting their invitation.  If he took the drink then he would have to contribute to the drinking budget for the evening.  He dreaded the day when he comes home from work and be that lucky guy.  There was no way to avoid them. 

   When Jessie’s mother, Laila found out their new address she went to visit them unannounced.  There was nobody home so she went back to the street and waited at the corner store.  She ordered soda and told the lady owner she had come to visit her son Jessie and his family.  The store owner introduced herself, her husband and children.  Then Laila turned to the drinking standbys.  She asked them if they have met her son.  They said they’ve seen him but have yet to actually get acquainted.  Laila took note of the beer they’re drinking.  It wasn’t that expensive.  She bought a round from the store.  That took the boys by surprise, a pleasant surprise.  Then she engaged them in a conversation.  They joked and laughed like old friends.  When Jessie's car pulled up she bid goodbye to her new friends and joined his son and his family up the stairs to his new digs.  Jessie didn’t see his mom come from the store.

   A few days later Jessie’s car needed maintenance so he had to take public transportation.  That meant he would come home in the evening and walk past the standbys around the corner.  All day at work he dreaded the anticipated encounter.  When the moment arrived, true enough, the standbys called out his name.  How can they even know his name when he has not been introduced to them?  They were asking him to come over.  He braced himself for one ugly moment.  

   “Hey you’re mom’s alright!  Man, any problem you got from anybody in this neighborhood you just tell us and we’ll fix it for you!” one of the guys said as he got closer.

   “My mom?” Jessie asked.

   “Yeah, we met her when she visited you last week.  She’s ok.  You have a good evening.”

   Jessie thanked them.  The next time he saw his mom he mentioned what the standbys said about her and asked what she did to gain their friendship.  

   “Honey, they didn’t call me ‘Kanto Girl’ for nothing!” Laila replied.  'Kanto' means street corner.  She was one of the  standbys of Pasay.

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Sword

   A little girl was looking for coins in their cupboard when she found a long black metal.  It was too heavy for her small arms but she got curious and inspected the item.  She pulled at the sheath.  It was a sword.  She asked her grandmother where it came from.  Her grandmother, Nina told her the tale of the sword.

   In 1936, World War II was already taking shape in Europe.  It took 5 more years before it reached Philippine soil.  When the Japanese occupied the Philippines the school a block away from Nina’s home was turned into Japanese army barracks.  The school occupied a whole block surrounded by four streets on four sides.  A sentry was staged on both sides along the two roads that led to the public market.  People who passed by needed to bow to the soldiers manning the sentry.  People who did not bow soon enough were slapped.  Nina’s elder daughter was one of them.  Because of Japanese army atrocities against the Filipinos, Nina’s eldest son, still in his teens, joined the guerilla underground movement.  

   Nina owned a stall at the public market and she passed the sentry every day.  One day she met the Japanese Commander on his way to his office at the barracks.  He was an old man, about 15 years older than her.  She didn’t speak Japanese and the man did not speak Tagalog.  Their friendship began with just one look into each other’s eyes.  She was invited into his office.  She was given some goodies as gifts and then sent home.  

   The Commander had been lonely for his family he left in Japan.  He was not looking for an illicit relationship.  He just wanted the company of a human other than his army.  Nina married in her teens and was beautiful at 40 years old.  She loved her husband and six children.  That same love compelled her to keep the friendship with the Japanese Commander as protection for her family in a city occupied by the enemy.  She was invited time and again to the Commander’s office where they ate and talked in broken languages and gestures.  Goodwill transcends the language barrier.  Their platonic friendship gave the old man time off from war in those fleeting moments.  The Commander gifted her with bags of Japanese money they were printing and other privileges.  Her home was exempted from soldiers’ searches called ‘sona’.  

   In October of 1944 Gen. Douglas MacArthur arrived in Leyte.  The Commander was being sent to battle.  Nina was summoned by the sentry soldiers as she passed on her way to her store.  The Commander wanted to say goodbye.  He gave her his sword as a token of their friendship.  He said if any Japanese soldier should come at her door she should just show the sword and she and her family would be safe.  She never saw the Commander again.