Goodbye Madam Miriam

Miriam Defensor Santiago died at the age of 71.  This news shook me and brought me out of my work frenzy.  I was so busy at the the office.  Trying to finish as much paper work as I can when I decided to stop for a while and check my news app on my phone.  Surprised is an understatement.  While  I am well aware of her health conditions (she had a stage 4 lung cancer) I was optimistic that she will win this battle eventually.  I am so brokenhearted right now but I don’t have the luxury of time so I just decided to write a little about this great woman and her impact on the Filipino people.  She will always be remembered as a tough talker, intellectual public servant who will not cower to anyone.  She had a long and successful career in the government and even run for president during the recent presidential election. I voted for her even if I knew she was sick and the least likely candidate to win the race.  I voted for her because I believe in her.  She is one of a kind.  She always made a senate hearing exciting and lively. She is one of the few public officials that I respect and look up to.

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The Winner Stands Alone : not a review

I just finished reading my 10th book for the year.  I know. I am going too slow with my reading challenge progress.  I’m supposed to read (and finish) at least 30 books this year and I am currently 10 books behind.   For the past week I finished two books, not bad huh?  Hopefully I can finish another book before the new term starts ( I have one more week, the joy of the trimester system).

This is not a review, I don’t even know how to make one.  This is just me trying to put down into words the things that came into my mind when I was reading the novel.  There would be  spoilers though so be warned.

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This novel is about dreams; the lengths people are willing to go to and the price they are willing to pay just to achieve that dream; only to realize that fulfilling one dream will be never be enough and they end up slaves of their own need to do more, have more and earn more.   This is not about someone going after her dream, working hard for it and lived happily ever after. This is about human nature and how greed, fame and power consumed us.

Almost 90% of the novel revolved around setting up the final stage.  One by one the characters were introduced.  They are all interesting people and you might have met them all in your life.  Their personalities vary from the simplest to one of the most powerful people in the world aka the Superclass.

The novel tells us that:

  • Everything is just a facade. The glamour, the glitter, and all the fancy things, they are just there to hide the fact that everyone is suffering, that no one is truly free and everyone is just going through the motions, hoping that it will all end soon and they can finally do what they have always wanted to do, that they can finally be free but they are just fooling themselves.  The Superclass may appear like they have everything they could ever want or need but it’s just a front.  There’s always something shiny they want to buy, a bigger mansion, the latest car.  There’s always something they have to conquer after achieving something.  They seemed to the ones everyone is envious of but they have this void inside and hoped that maybe their power, fame and wealth can fill that void.
  • Fairy tales aren’t real, there is no such thing. No one wakes up one day with opportunities knocking at their door, presenting itself on a silver platter.  The Superclass never had it easy they struggle just like us.  However, they do have talent, skills, patience, determination and the grit to survive the hardest of situations. They had once dreamed of something, followed it, worked really hard, accepted the smallest chance given to them, give so much only to receive so little. They dreamed of getting their revenge someday but only the toughest will get it.

I don’t want to end up like Igor. Not just because he killed people for Ewa but because he believed that he can put his life with Ewa on hold while he was busy securing their financial stability.  He thought that he had it all figured out. He’ll work nonstop to achieve financial security until he longer have to worry about money and obligations and he can finally enjoy his time with Ewa.  He put a very important part of his life on hold never noticing that time passed him by so swiftly and that time has changed both him and Ewa. I don’t want to put  everything on hold while I was busy pursuing my ambitions, believing that I have enough time to do all the things I really want only to realize that there is no time left, that it’s too late. I vow that I will see to it that I do at least one thing that makes me truly happy everyday even if it’s as simple as eating my favorite food or browsing books in a library or bookstore.

It’s bad enough to read about serial killers but to know the victims first before they die is worse.   You know about their background, dreams, plans, you already like them then they’re dead, how George RR Martin.

There are some parts where it feels like Coelho was over describing everything and it would sound redundant.   There are also parts where the story kept my heart racing and my eyes is simply not fast enough to satisfy my curiosity like when I was so sure Igor will strike again and I was anxious to know who will fall this time; will it be Jasmine or Gabriella? And the confrontation between the three main characters; Igor, Ewa and Hamid was nerve-wracking.  I wasn’t sure whether Igor would kill both Ewa and Hamid or just one of them so that the other would suffer the loss.

I wasn’t clear why Igor believe that “destroying worlds” will be a clear message to Ewa. Maybe simply because he is a deranged sociopath and has his own version of  a perfect society.  He actually terrified me.  He is so unhinged from reality and doesn’t notice it.  He is so well versed in the art of killing and very wealthy he can basically get away with anything.

Another thing that felt like a lose string for me was the investigation of the killings.  Both Savoy and Morris are working really hard to solve the case (not that they care about the victims or justice but for the fame they will enjoy once they succeed) but its like they were forgotten at the end of the story.  Or probably that’s how it supposed to be.  My bad, for a while I thought I was reading a whodunit novel.

Paulo Coelho is one of my most favorite authors because he effortlessly tells a story while successfully interjecting thought-provoking questions.    I just love how his story flows.

Note to Self : Cramming sucks

I wrote this more than two months ago and I just have to post this as a reminder to my self, since another term has just started and I need to start as early as now on cases studies, projects and what not for both of my subjects.

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You would think I have learned my lesson by now.  More than a year into business school and I still can’t balance my time well.  Here I am now slaving and cramming on my action research proposal due next week.  This is the hardest requirement I have ever encountered in my four terms in MBA.  My other subject this term is so demanding in terms of required output and it is basically eating up all my time for studying.  Work is equally challenging, the coming week would be so busy for me.  The other subject I am enrolled in seemed to be just fine at first (management action research aka MAR).  The discussions are interesting until we started the online class.  I don’t mind a hybrid class, I have attended one last term and it was good.  I learned a lot, it was very demanding too but I did really well and I got my highest grade so far (3.5) and to think so many students are apprehensive to take this subject (Quameth).  However, this class (MAR) is not meant to be taken online.  The topics are just way too abstract and needs actual interaction.  The online classes were basically a forum, where we can post our insights and questions and students will try to respond but that is simply not enough, we need our professor’s input.  Yes, we have exercises we need to submit but our professor rarely give feedback on online assignments.

So here I am reading and trying to understand everything.  I am kind of panicking.  I have to finish the majority of the paper this weekend or I’m done.  I still have class on Monday so that’s out and this is a very busy week at work so I’d probably end up working late at the office.  I hate cramming but I am still doing it.  I never intended for this to happen.  I had plans.  I was supposed to have two weeks to work on the paper but work is crazy and I got sick for two days (probably due to fatigue).  I had to miss work and when I returned there are tons of things to be done and last Friday I stayed at the office until 9 pm just so I can finish some paper works.  I have deadlines to beat both for work and school.  I don’t even have a social life now.  All I do is work and study, what a bore.

I wish I have this daily reminder to myself to start on a paper as early as possible because cramming sucks.  It stresses me out and the quality of my work is compromised.   I have to print this journal and bring it with me all the time.  I have to be disciplined.  I need to focus and stay centered.  I am doing this for a reason (eyes on the prize!).  I need to establish a regular study time despite my heavy work load.  I need to leave the office on time.  I have to give myself a break from every now and then because times like this really make my life so boring and stressful at the same time.   I need to manage my time well and balance my life.  I am sick of weekends spent working on a paper.  I need to get out and have the time of my life while I am still relatively young (lol).  Get a life woman!

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Lesson of the story?

Stay focused.

Work on my school stuff everyday even just for an hour, even if I don’t  feel like it.

At least try to live a well balanced life 🙂

Go out sometimes, be young and wild and free 😉

Dear Tim, is this our last night with you?

I should have stayed home and watched the game.

I am so emotional right now.  Spurs bowed down to Thunders with 113-99 at the sixth game of the Western Conference semi-finals.  It’s not the team’s loss that breaks my heart.   It’s the realization that it might be Tim Duncan’s final game and I never even seen the game live.

Since I have to work and can’t watch it live, I have been following Spurs vs Thunders Game Six via twitter.   I started checking Twitter for updates by 3rd quarter where Spurs is trailing Thunder by 20 plus points already.  That made me really nervous.  I was hoping that they would stretch the series, reach game seven and eventually win the Western Semi-Finals.  I want them to reach the finals so bad.  I have a feeling that this might be the year the great Tim Duncan will retire and I want his last game to be freaking awesome.  I want his last game to be one where they won their 6th NBA championship.  I want everyone to remember him as one of the greatest NBA players ever.   I remember watching Spurs win their second Larry O’ Brien in 2003 with David Robinson retiring and figuratively passing on the torch to Tim Duncan.  I wanted that for Duncan, so bad, because he deserve it.   Well, we can’t always get what we want.  I admit, I cried a bit when I accepted their defeat because I am so worried Duncan won’t be back next season and the same could be said with Manu Ginobili.

Duncan is one of the most underrated NBA players of all time and people always say that San Antonio Spurs is so boring.   All I see is a man who is more concern about the team than his own fame and a franchise that does not breed superstars but builds great team that will stand the test of time.   I became a fan of the Spurs back in 2003 when I happened to tune in and watch the NBA finals between them and the New Jersey Nets.  I instantly fall in love with that team.   Not only they play beautiful basketball, they are classy and the camaraderie is genuine.  I love how Duncan plays the big brother role effortlessly.  I adore his brotherly display of affection.  I admire him not just because of athleticism but also his humility.  I have never seen a more humble NBA superstar.  Duncan always chose class over flash.  He is not just a great leader but also an excellent team player.  I just love the man.  And I will miss him for sure.  There will be no one else like him.

The whole time I was following the game’s progress via twitter I was a bundle of emotions.  I wish I just took a leave from work and watch the game live.  This could be Duncan’s last game for all I know.

I will always be Spurs fan for the rest of my life.  I love not just Duncan but the rest of the team.  Love live Spurs, until next season.  Hopefully Duncan and Ginobili are still around.  I don’t want this to be their last game.

I just want to go home and cry.

Malala Yousafzai: not your ordinary teenage girl

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We always thought that we have to be extraordinarily different from the rest of the world for us to have an interesting story, to get people to listen to us, to get the attention of the world and to spark a change.
I am lazing around on a Sunday afternoon and after running out of Scandal episodes to watch, I decided to watch something inspiring (not that Olivia Pope does not fuel the desire in me to rule the world one day at a time lol) and would bring me out of my catatonic state.   So I decided to go through my other videos and stumbled upon Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize Speech.  The speech was quite long but very inspiring especially coming from a 17 year old Pakistani young woman who fights for education for all most especially girls.

Her quote about telling a story that is not unique but a story of so many girls sparked something in me and ended up writing it down.  For years I have strived  to be the best version of myself , never content with who I am, not believing that I currently have what it takes to get what I want and to contribute something to this world.  I always felt that I am so ordinary, that no one would care to listen to my story because there’s nothing special about it.   I always thought that only exceptional people get to do amazing things.  Then it occurred to me that I don’t have to be special and maybe I won’t be a special or important in this world ever and that is just fine.   Malala made me realized that my story may be very common but how I deal with situation is what will set me apart.  I don’t have to wait for an event to happen for me to take charge and turn my dreams into reality.

Furthermore, Malala inspires me to share what little I have to make this world a better place.  She was just a kid when she started blogging about the situation of young girls in her country when Taliban took over control in their region.  She was so young yet her mind is already concerned with grown-ups issues.  While girls of her age all over the world are busy watching music videos of their favorite pop stars, keeping up with the latest trends and cutting classes just so they can hang out with their friends, she is bothered by not being able to go to school.  She got shot in the head by a Taliban member and almost died but it did not stop her.  It only fueled her determination to fight for the right to education.   And now not only she was able to continue her study, her message resonated to the rest of the world.  She won a Nobel Peace Prize and inspired millions and helped so many young girls and boys all over the world to have access to education.

It’s so amazing to see how far she’d come and knowing that the work never stops.  She keeps on promoting rights to education for everyone and as she keeps on doing that thousands of lives are being transformed.