barack-obama-21Everybody is getting on the Obama bandwagon these days. Sean Combs, aka Puff Daddy opined in his interview with CNN’s Larry King that he feels like there is more honesty in Obama than the proverbial old boys of politics and I couldn’t agree more.  Everyone seems to be suffering from the effects of a wicked recession these days so we all seem to be on Barack’s back cheering him on, irrespective of our political stripe. To me, Barack’s victory epitomizes the fulfillment of the desire for equality in the U.S. of A – not in Canada, France , Britain or anywhere. Credit the U.S. of A for such an achievement in the pursuit of equality, truly a milestone in its history. For those of us who aren’t Americans we can only cheer and perhaps hope that our countries can be equal to the task of giving its citizens equal opportunity to succeed and realize their dreams. The Kenyans have their reason to celebrate. After all Barack’s father was from Kenya and they can claim Barack to be their son too and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

At our usual cafeteria lunch talk last week, an Indian officemate of mine said, “I wish there will be an Indian (bombay) U.S. president in the future”.  I murmured to myself, darn we’re really going global, aren’t we? 🙂 And of course , not everyone is giddy with Obama, and that’s to be expected. Obama’s line in his inaugural address – ” to our enemies, we will defeat you” didn’t bode well with America haters, especially those hypocrites who hate America but continue to live in America, including those haters who live abroad but work for an American company.  The irony is , at the end of the day, the devil they so hate puts food on the table for their families 😡  Their disgust turns into cynical comments such as ” Obama isn’t really black. His mother was white – that’s why he won”.

Obama’s victory certainly inspired not only the visible minorities in America but also those in other parts of the world who are struggling with their identity. In many ways, Obama’s victory was heralded as their victory too. Even Manny Pacquiao’s pugilistic success is deemed to have parallels with Obama’s rise to power according to this article.  I don’t know about you but I get annoyed with some people who can’t delineate fantasy from reality,  especially those  who think a sports celebrity can save his ailing country through his victories. Another downside of such delusion is people’s tendency to equate patriotism with rambunctious cheering and flag waving.  Patriotism has more to do with good citizenship and nation building than cheering in the bleachers.  Obama stands a chance to change and save his country.  Pacquiao doesn’t – even if he knocks King Kong out in the first round. 

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honestscrapI have been tagged and bestowed the Honest Scrap Award by blogger friend Blogusvox of The Sandbox 😉  It is with great pleasure that I thank him for the accolade 🙂  In line with the spirit of the meme, I am honored to comply with the rules as stipulated below :

Here are the rules, recipient have to agree to, before accepting this award:

“When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to said person so everyone knows he or she is real.” “Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have 7 friends. Show the 7 random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with “Honest Weblog.” Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon. List at least ten honest things about yourself. Then, pass it on!”
I have gotten a few awards before and bestowed awards to blogger friends who  I have known for years. Perhaps now is the appropriate time to recognize 7 relatively new friends who I feel deserve of the Honest Scrap Award. Let me just reiterate that I value the friendship all all my friends in my blogroll and all of them are important to me.

A Man of My Town – interesting journal of a blogger who shares his musings, personal and work experiences in a down-to-earth and respectable manner.

Backpacking Philippines – if you want to visit a city in the Philippines visit Tutubi’s blog. Chances are you will find the city and more importantly, information on how to get there, where to stay and how much it will cost you. A great resource in my opinion.

 Dong Ho’s Nightscape – a great collection of photos from Dong’s non-stop island hopping in the Philippines. The blog is updated quite frequently which makes you wonder if photo blogging is Dong’s primary occupation 🙂

Lawstude’s Journey – another photo blog that contains a wealth of great photos and valuable information on Philippine tourist destinations. We know that Lawstude is a lawyer by profession and I am truly amazed with his seemingly impeccable time management skills with work and blogging 🙂

 My Sari-sari Store – Sidney’s blog isn’t just a collection of pictures. It is photo journalism about the Philippines. Another blog that has a wealth of cultural information about the Philippines. Frankly, I discovered a lot about Pinas from Sidney’s blog 🙂

Princesa’s Anatomy – Prinsesa Musang might talk about her cat a lot but this young woman ocassionally comes out with thought provoking posts that belie her age. Such posts impressed me hence this stamp of approval for the award.

The Sandbox – a great way to hook up with what’s happening to our OFW brethren in the Middle East. Great self designed cartoons, straight to the point style works for me.

I’ve done quite a few of these “things about me” tags and I am running out of things to reveal about myself . Here’s 10 honest things about me :

1. I like to iron my clothes. I’m one person who doesn’t want to enslave my wife with household chores, more so that she is a working wife.  I think she likes the idea 🙂

2. I take care of mowing the lawn and vacuuming my house. It’s forced excercise for me. My favorite song when vacuuming the house on weekends is Happy Man by Chicago 🙂

3.  I value privacy a lot.  I don’t think I would relish the idea of having household help at my house any longer. I hate the idea of strangers roaming around my house listening to every word I say to my family.

4. I love to eat anything with mayonnaise

5. My ( dysfunctional) uncles taught me how to drink. I remember when I was 17, an uncle gave me a bottle of White Label whiskey at 10am, December 31 and asked me to drink nothing else and finish the bottle by midnight Jan 01 and I did.

6. Somehow I dig women with well modulated, calm sounding voices. It soothes me when I hear them talk.

7. My favorite daily after shave lotion is Aqua Velva. If I go to parties, I go for a stronger after shave like Giorgio for that million bucks smell 🙂 I don’t like cologne.

8. I am very impatient with details. I generally prefer a high level approach to things without getting into the nitty gritty.

9. My first baptism of fire at work was managing a department composed of 16 people. I was only 28 years old. I survived well but stress took it’s toll on me in form of a nagging backache. It disappeared when I started playing tennis like crazy 🙂

10. I was always at odds with my disciplinarian father when I was in high school. When I went to college away from home, I vowed never to return and live with my parents again when I finish my schooling.  I did exactly that and it made me know myself more and appreciate and love my parents better.


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What’s In It For Them ?


When I think about the staggering amount of $50 billion  Bernie Maddoff milked from his clients with his Ponzi style investment scam,  I’ve always wondered – why has this scam gone on unnoticed for so long ? Where was the breakdown ?  Barely a year ago, another scam artist, Lou Pearlman was sentenced to 25 years in prison for defrauding investors of some $300 million.  Pearlman , the creator of the famous Backstreet Boys and NSYNC boy bands enriched himself shamelessly with the millions the bands made from their records and endorsements while sharing them peanuts. The rip off was so bold and calculating that Pearlman made himself the 6th Backstreet Boy in the contract thereby making it difficult to trash him legally.  The presiding judge had offered a reduction of one month of his sentence for every million Pearlman returns to his investors. 

Isn’t it about time for the justice system to impose the death sentence on these kind of monsters who shatter people’s lives by defrauding them of their lifetime savings ? Aye ? Nay ?   I hate the thought of Maddoff sitting in his well appointed cell watching CNBC and browsing the net waiting for his time to croak.  Even if he is deemed not high risk or danger to society like a psychopath he should not be walking around free. He should be in the dungeon sleeping with rats to give his victims the feeling that he is being punished 😡

The Maddoff incident reminded me of a rule I read in the book The Rules of Wealth.  I thought that the author had some wisdom to impart to ordinary folk like myself with this rule .



  I don’t want you to be paranoid generally but it is OK to be paranoid when it comes to your money. There are a lot of sharks out there looking for easy pickings from the less awake amongst us. Watch out.

 Jeremy Paxman, the UK broadcaster, always interviews politicians with a basic underlying assumption that they are hiding something and he has to find out what and why

Obviously we don’t want to go round believing everybody is out to get us, but there is a good technique here that we can adopt to question anyone :

  • Offering us a money-making proposition
  • Offering to “look after” our money
  • Looking to invest in our future or schemes
  • Offering us any financial advice
  • Offering to work for us
  • Offering us a partnership
  • Offering us products or services

You have to be suspicious of anyone and anything that could make inroads into your wealth. Be wary of anybody who:

  • Promises to help you get rich quick by short-cuts using tax loopholes or dubiously legal schemes
  • Uses the word “offshore”
  • Uses the letters MLM or pyramid selling
  • Claims to be incredibly wealth and is offering to share their secrets with you – the secret is they make money out of people like you!
  • Offers to increase your wealth by using the Internet
  • Asks for money upfront to seed investment, pay for promotional material or carry out a survey

And there are three things to always remember:

  • If it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is a duck and don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t
  • If it looks too good to be true it probably is
  • Not all that glitters is gold

Remember to keep asking “What’s in it for this person? “ Don’t trust anyone. Don’t give your money to anyone to look after for you. Check the small print of anything you sign. Be on your guard.


Folks like Maddoff and Pearlman undoubtedly had business savvy and charisma which made their job much easier. Even if we get sweet-talked by friends and well known people we must not trust easily. One time I had a couple of lunch meetings with a financial advisor who claims he works for a big bank. I wondered why he always wanted to meet at a coffee shop and granting that it was close to my office and he carried official business cards from his bank, I wasn’t too sure. On our third meeting, I asked that I meet him at his office and true enough he was completely legit. There was no way I was handing him anything at the coffee shop 😯


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It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over

images_11 It happens to all of us – in all forms of competition . Haven’t you noticed how damn hard it is to close the game when you are ahead – tennis, chess , golf – any competition for that matter ? We’ve seen improbable comebacks and tragic blowouts in both individual and team sport events – name the sport and it happened. The irony is, when there is a glorious comeback for the world to celebrate and cherish there is equally tragedy, the feeling of immense disappointment and frustration on the other side of the fence, to those who let the golden goose slip from their hands. The hardest part to accept is when you bust your ass to get ahead and all you need to do is coast to the finish line but instead you lose your composure, fumble and eventually botch your chance to win. Here’s what I mean when you bungle a winning game which for some could be a chance of a lifetime and may not happen again.

The bottom line is, winning is more mental than physical. A missed serve on a match point, a missed putt on clinching a tournament, a missed kick to win a football game – all of them had something to do with mental state of the person performing in a state of extreme pressure. It is no wonder that nowadays a new discipline has emerged in professionals sports – the sub-culture of sports psychology.  Atheletes today hire sports psychologists to condition their minds and nerves into playing the game at the highest level , impervious to the pressure, distraction and other elements that can affect their game. A tough mind is hard to beat. Until you get the handshake and raise the cup, the game continues. Yogi Berra  “eloquently” summed up the wisdom with a few words with his famous quote” it ain’t over till it’s over“. It does motivate to pursue the win for the one ahead in the game and gives much needed  hope to the one trying to catch up.

Yogi Berra’s proverbial quote also has its place in real life applications.  I remember many years ago, after having being intervewed a couple of times and given a tour of the facilities by the last interviewer, I was told I was hired. Human Resources was to contact me regarding the hiring procedure and all the required paperwork. HR did call me to inform that an offer letter is being prepared and will call me within one week to come and complete the hiring process. The call came but the news was gloomy. Reason – the company was acquired and merged with a competitor and all hiring was frozen. Yikes. That was a close call. I was glad I didn’t celebrate prematurely. More importantly, I was glad I wasn’t hired ! It ain’t over until its over – don’t get excited, keep it under your hat, hold your horses, don’t execute your plans until the golden goose is in your hand and I couldn’t agree more.

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The Simple Pleasures of Life

They say things that give us more meaningful and lasting happiness are the simple pleasures of life. It appears that simple and healthy living can provide more contentment, compared to the glitz and glamor of a rich but hedonistic lifestyle, let alone the baggage the comes with it – the vanity and self-indulgence that often destroy relationships and even one’s sanity. Yes, we occasionally blow our pockets to feed our whims but in truth, happiness is like a chameleon and has many faces. In the end, we embark on a search for a kind of happiness that is honest, pristine, uncomplicated. At this point in my life, contentment would be a simple house near a golf course, a lake and the woodlands where I can hunt and fish. A 15 ft. bass boat, broadband internet access and HDTV cable would be real dandy. And of course my dear genie, I also must not need to work 🙂

Well, in these cold days what makes me incredibly happy is watching a real nice DVD or movie on cable TV a couple of hours before bedtime and snacking on glorious fish balls. Not the dirty looking fish balls from the street hawkers but the clean and healthy variety made from squid and cuttlefish that we often see at the frozen section of Asian supermarkets. Deep fry them in peanut or canola oil until they brown and bloat a bit. My favorite dip would be a combination of malt and white vinegar with lots of chopped garlic. Man, they’re heavenly taken with tea on the sides. Take these babies on a single toothpick until you finish your plate. Don’t forget to ask your partner to get her own toothpick – just in case she forgets that the toothpick is meant for the fish ball 😆 For some reason these babies don’t taste good if eaten by hand methinks 😉 And never take these balls with rice – you can’t stop and you’d be having your second dinner for the night :mrgreen:

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