Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cord-Cutting

   “According to a new survey … data show that the so-called "cord-cutting" phenomenon — where consumers jettison traditional cable and satellite packages in favor of streaming services… Half of respondents said they were satisfied with online streaming options like Netflix and Hulu, while 30 percent said pay TV was too expensive.” (NBC News)  More and more people are cost cutting by cancelling their cable television service.  My family is one of them and it’s good to know we’re not alone.  

   When I was in Makati City, Philippines I had a cable TV provider that gave us very bad reception.  We waited a couple of months to see if it will get better before we complained.  When I called for service no one came to do anything.  I had the cable TV cancelled.  When I got to talk to a neighbor ‘standby’ by chance and mentioned my cancellation, the boy offered to reconnect my cable for free, just for friendship’s sake and I won’t have to pay the cable company monthly.  Amazingly the boy did give me cable TV back with absolutely perfect reception, something the cable company was not willing to do for me.  In gratitude I gifted the boy with PHP300, he wasn’t even asking for.

   In Louisville, Kentucky I had Insight cable TV.  Insight gave me basic channels for $20 a month.  Their basic contract came with History, Comedy Central, Discovery, Showtime, Lifetime, no HBO but all local channels, etc.  I was happy with Insight.  Then the company was bought by Time Warner and changed the name to Time Warner Cable.  Now I see the basic cost is $29.99.  

   When I moved to California, I got Xfinity which offered the basic at $49.99.  The basic channels that I got had so many Spanish channels.  I don’t speak Spanish and except HBO, none of the channels mentioned above.  I am guessing the Latino community got all the English channels.  The probable reason for that is so the customer would upgrade from basic to a more expensive contract just to get more channels in their language.

   My daughter and I decided to let the cable TV go.  Since we have Hulu and Netflix we still catch our favorite shows just a day late.  As for the Filipino channel we couldn’t afford on top of the cable TV cost, I find my ALDUB updates streaming in their Facebook page titled Eat Bulaga KalyeSerye Full Episodes.  Like the American cable TV shows, I get it later than broadcast date, but let me tell you, the ALDUB thrill is the same whatever day you watch it.  

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Barkada Mentality

   We have friends we love more than others.  We have relatives we love more than our siblings.  These chosen friends and relatives have qualified for a category called barkada.  Here in America there are Filipino communities one can join for a common interest.  Despite the shared belief and goals not all members will be elevated to the level of barkada.  

   The barkada mentality is the theme of movies like Stand By Me, The Hangover, Grown Ups, etc.  Eat Bulaga, a noontime show in the Philippines, uses the word Dabarkads, the flipped version of barkada to refer to their hosts and followers.  

   When I was 10 years old, a very impressionable age, I used to hang out at the corner store with the teens called standbys.  One day another teen came by with fresh bruised face.  The standbys asked him ‘who did it’?  Apparently he was bullied as he passed through another neighborhood.  The standbys said “come on, let’s go back there”.  I was amazed that the standbys were willing to get hurt in a fight not their own.  That’s the barkada mentality.  I was hooked for life.

   How does one become worthy to be called barkada?  If you have any one of these: envy, treachery, back stabbing, meddling, bragging, self-entitlement, seniority, crab mentality, you will be no one’s barkada.  

   Barkadas are cultivated.  Just like a marriage, one works at it to stay compatible.  One must know how to respect the other person’s boundaries as you do your own.  Just because you are friends don't think you can overstep your bounds.  

   Verbal, physical or emotional abuse happen between friends too.  Emotional abuse is often used to manipulate the other person.  Verbal or physical abuse like slapping, pinching or hair pulling could be done in jest.  No kind of abuse is acceptable.  

   The happily married couples I know are those who were barkadas in their youth.  No false pretenses, no exaggerated expectations, those couples knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  They have emotional security in the knowledge that they are on the same side in every twist and turn of life.  Those who have aged together are assured of having a barkada at home when hanging out is no longer an option.  

   I was the only girl in my family, with a father abroad and a mother who mostly stayed in her room, I grew up virtually alone.  However, I had my cousins and neighbors who were my barkadas.  When I got married I raised my children as my barkadas and I expect nothing more than to be treated as one.

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Monday, September 7, 2015

The Lunchbox

   There is no college course for motherhood.  The profession is passed on from generation to generation shaped by culture, education, religious orientation, financial capacity and social status.  While mothers do their best, each do things differently.  Household management depends on the local norms, individual preference and available resources.  All these affects the lunchbox.

   Mothers with live-in maids could have the lunchbox delivered to the kid’s school at lunch break so that the rice and soup would arrive warm, the fruit fresh and the iced drink cool.  Most mothers just give their child food allowance.  The kid could pick anything they want from the dining hall but the child would have to know how to budget to make the money last for a week.  

   From the late 70’s to the 80’s, I was a working mom.  I didn’t have time to work on the lunchbox.  I made arrangements with the school dining hall management to give my three children credit and signing privileges.  I didn’t have to worry about the cash or lunch delivery.  They ordered what they wanted and signed on a list which I paid monthly.  A credit card would have made things a lot easier but credit cards were not commonly used in the Philippines back then.  

   Now that I have retired, I have the time to do the lunchbox.  My daughter writes down on the board hanging on the fridge door what she wants for lunch for each day of the week.  There are salad days and then there are soup days.  Rice comes with vegies every Friday.  
   I get fruits free from Brown Bag and thanks to YouTube I have learned to be creative with fruit presentation.  I make her flowers made from strawberries or little balls made out of melon then sprinkle with Splenda.  I make her cocktail drinks with fresh squeezed oranges mixed with Fresca (7Up or Sprite) just for the fizz.  Sometimes I use a sachets of Snapple Ice Tea to go with blended (peeled) apple or pear

   I actually have fun doing the lunchbox.  By the way my daughter is now 35 years old.  Motherhood never ends.