What’s Your Time ?

Yesterday I was at a large mall in the most multi-cultural part of the city. You’d think you’re in Guyana if you come to this place on a Friday night I tell you 🙂 The place was packed with Christmas shoppers as well as parents who were lining up to get their kids a Christmas photo with Santa in his makeshift castle. Frankly, I disdain going to packed malls but had to go with the wifey and the daughter for our usual Friday night dine out . As I was sitting at a bench idling my time away as my wife and daughter were busy shopping, I noticed a woman approached the middle-aged African-Canadian man seated a bench away from me, politely ask ” what’s your time ?” The man spoke to her for a bit, surely more than telling the time so I guess, perhaps he just wanted to socialize 😉 Then about 15 minutes a young lad approached the man again asking the time and he spoke to the lad for a bit as if he was explaining something. Out of curiosity, I moved closer to the next bench, broke the ice and told the man ” tsk, tsk, some people are just too lazy to carry a watch eh ?” He replied “ I know but the time in my watch is African time and I don’t know what time it is here “ 🙂 LOL, no wonder. He then told me he was from Nigeria, visiting with his wife for 2 weeks and staying with her wife’s family in the city.

I don’t know about you but I change the time on my watch the moment to go to a place in a different time zone. I need to know the darn time where I am not where I came from ! I know some people abhor wearing watches. My former boss never carried a watch. He relied on his cell phone for the time. He was just uncomfortable wrapping some leather or metal around his wrist. But he wasn’t the type of guy who would go around asking people for the time. It’s one thing if you can’t afford a watch and another thing if you’re lazy to carry one. Being a watch freak myself – I have 21 clocks in my house – I am always tempted to answer a person asking for the time with the proverbial reply – “ it’s time to buy your own frigging watch pal ” 😆
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Manny Pacquiao – No Fear, No Doubt, No Hesitation – in Showdown with Cotto

pacquiao_cottoThe Pacquiao-Cotto fight on Nov 14 isn’t about boxing supremacy nor a prelude to the most awaited showdown for the pound for pound crown with undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. This fight is about Pacquiao making history – a phenomenal 7th title in 7 different weight classes. A win will be the affirmation of Pacquiao’s almost superhuman prowess – 7 world titles from 106 to 147 lb. weight classes , a feat no human has ever achieved in the annals of the sport of boxing. I couldn’t care less if Pacquiao quits boxing if he wins this fight. Proving that he can conquer Mayweather is no more than icing on the cake, if not to trample and silence the loquacious and arrogant Mayweather who bad-mouthed Pacquiao with his malicious allegation of the Pacman using steroids to defeat his much larger and bigger opponents. Rumors in the Quiapo middle earth point to the Pacman’s exceptional strength to his possession of an extraordinary amulet from the indigenous carabao, the country’s national animal and symbol of raw and indestructible fighting power. 😆 Or it might just be the samson-like effect of the balut or the boatload of rice and kilawin that turbocharges his biceps like what spinach does to Popeye’s. 🙂 You’d make more sense to say that the Pacman is a freak of nature than someone who dopes himself to win fights.

Advantage Pacquiao

pacquiao_supermanThis post would be useless without a prediction so like what most odd makers say, I believe Pacquiao has the advantage to pull a win in this fight. I wouldn’t go to much details but my contention is based largely on the fact that just like de la Hoya and Hatton, Cotto switched to a new trainer for this fight. Switching trainers does not guarantee you’d find the magic formula to beat your opponent. de la Hoya gained nothing by employing Nacho Berestain, the famed trainer of Marquez, for his showdown with Pacquiao. Hatton learned it the hardest way. He dumped his former trainer to get the services of Floyd Mayweather Sr. for the Pacquiao fight, only to get knocked out senseless in the 2nd round. Hatton simply forgot that his old trainer took him to an impressive 45-1 record prior to his fight with Pacquiao. For some reason, Manny’s fighting style had been a nagging riddle even to the most astute trainers in the business. Hall of fame trainers Angelo Dundee, Emmanuel Steward and commentator/trainer Teddy Atlas always eat crow with their predictions on Pacquiao’s fights. They never get it right. The reason is they base their predictions solely on the tale of the tape forgetting that Pacquiao, aside from being an aberration, a freak of nature, has a team that makes him a progressively smarter and better fighter. Corners are the strategists and boxers the tacticians. No matter how superb a tactician Pacquiao is, he can’t win by himself. The evolution from good to great is a progressive fusion of confidence, strategy and tactics between the trainer, coaches and boxer. Disrupt that team chemistry and you would likely start over again. Cotto will be at a psychological disadvantage, precariously treading on new water with his new trainer in this fight. When Manny wins, team Pacquiao wins lest we forget.

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In Search of the Needle

dr32This present swine flu pandemic threat gives me that eerie feeling that something has gone awry with this world of ours, that a gene mutating virus is out there to kill us or even turn us into monsters. I guess I’ve been watching too much sci-fi movies lately 🙂 The good news is the antidote, the H1N1 vaccine is out to protect the human race from the dreaded virus. The problem is, there’s not a lot of them and priority is given to the most vulnerable among us – young children, the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases. The rule in this city is everyone must be patient since we will all get our shots before the end of December. Last Wednesday night, by some twist of fate, while at the mall in a nearby town, we unexpectedly got our shots when the H1N1 clinic operating near its pretty spacious food court decided to accept about 60 people more even if the clinic already closed. We were right by the door wanting to inquire about the schedule when the clinic decided to let a bunch of people in, some 20 minutes after the 7pm closing. Our timing was perfect and the elusive search for the magic needle was finally concluded.
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The Illusion of Ownership

” Imagine no possession, it’s easy if you try”

Remember that line ? That’s from John Lennon’s song Imagine. Nice try but in this day and age, in your dreams pal. Perhaps 1000 years down our road to enlightenment. For most of us this life is all about acquisitiveness, a lifetime rampage of passion to own things beyond our reach. I’m thinking – what would the world be like of all of us aren’t obsessed with owning things that are for the most part, materials that exceed our needs and meant more to boost our egos? To prove that that this kind self-indulgent behavior is dysfunctional , isn’t it our utmost satisfaction albeit subconsciously, when we know that what we own is beyond the reach of people we know? Therefore, does it mean that the less friends and relatives we have, the less obsessive and greedy we become? Imagine if there are no people to brag to, or everyone can have the same things you own, would you have the same level of acquisitiveness?

Some of us would argue and say, “don’t I have the right to the better and finer things in life ?” Sure all of us do but our problem is identification with ego. Oftentimes we don’t look for the finer and better but the most expensive because it makes us standouts in the eyes of society. We are under the illusion that the most expensive stuff are the best quality when they are not. People who rave for a certain product believing it is the greatest are often hoodwinked by clever marketing hype into thinking that it is. Our egos dictate our brains and influence our decision. We buy a 60 in. flat screen and throw double the money because everybody else has less than 60. We build expensive private schools and exclusive housing subdivisions because we want to put a tag on our identity as members of the elite to separate ourselves from the pack.

People who have been to Cuba, one of the last bastions of communism left in the world today tell me that Cubans cannot easily own assets of substantial value and that even food is rationed by the government, the only employer in the country. The concept of free enterprise does not exist therefore people cannot enrich themselves and fulfill their version of the proverbial American Dream. The country looks like decades behind in terms of infrastructure development, much like the 50’s. Yet when I look at the Human Development Index ( HDI) rankings for 2009, Cuba places 51st amongst the 182 countries sampled, 54 slots higher than Pinas. Cubans might look poor for they can’t own much but they have free health care, free education at all levels, adequate housing and no one is dying of starvation. Contrast this scenario with a densely populated, cramped city like Manila, proud owner of the three of largest malls in the world but surrounded by extreme poverty, unemployment and an unstoppable population growth behaving like a runaway train. All because of our obsession to own and belong leaving the others on the other side of the fence where we think they should be ? Is this what we call the virtues of freedom under a democracy?

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