Singapore’s leading publisher, SPH, reported that the country has the “highest density of millionaires” around the world because of the state’s small size and the number of millionaires living here: 99,000! A typical millionaire, the report says, has an average of 3 signature watches (SGD15,000 each or half a million pesos), and...
Once upon a modern time, before iPhone 4s was released, my game designer friend Jay warned me, in an arcane tone, that the way you look at mobile phones will never be the same again once you use an iPhone. Since I was never a techie person, that geek data he was trying to feed my electronics-proof head didn’t really come through. The...
Today’s a lovely day. I’m back at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) headquarters in Los Baños to start another issue of Rice Today. IRRI is just beside the UPLB campus, so walking around the university brings me back to my golden days of 2001 when I was a freshman. I felt like a student again walking with young...
For the most part of my life, I was that skinny little poor flat-chested thing buried on the pages of novels well into my early 20s. Until one day, like in the movie Persepolis, the body decided to pop some boobs and swell the hips to 35 inches. The face remained boyish with thick eyebrows and upper lip hair, zits every ‘bloody’...
When I checked in and entered my room, I literally stopped in awe at the room reserved for me (my mind said: omigoshoigoshomigosh). Like in my other trips, I don’t expect much from the places nor do I read so many travel guides since they may spoil my own impressions. One funny habit I have is, I read travel blogs of a place after...
Oh my. Vietnamese food is all goodness. Heaven’s delight. pho Honestly I had zero idea what specialty Vietnam has, until my co-editor at IRRI, Lanie, advised me to try pho, noodles made of rice! (they’re abundant with rice, Vietnam being the world’s second largest rice exporter (after Thailand). That advice came to me weeks...
Do you remember me, Ms Ai? would always be the exacting question of a former student whom I'd run into; I'd answer not with a categorical yes or no, but with a classroom no. and seat location, or a topic in research paper--that's where you sat, that's what you wrote in class, I would answer; then comes the predictable reaction...
Couple of days ago, I solicited suggestions for all-time tear-jerker movies, the kind that will give you swollen eyes and runny nose. And here’s what I got: Rizza: A Moment to Remember Kamille: I Am David Andre: The Notebook Raymond: Simon Birch, The Love of Siam Jay: Never Let Me Go, Grave of the Fireflies, Toy Story 3, Up Connet:...
In Japanese, the name Ai means- love. (Says meaning-of-names.com) If the tsunami in Japan sent waves of panic and end-of-the-world thoughts (and jokes) around the globe, I could only think of that statement. In Japanese, the name Ai means- love. Our social conscience would tug at our heart strings, feel for Japan, and offer a prayer or a...
*to Juni, who lent me dvds of gayness, after he talked about his clothing designs and love affairs, the first time I met him one evening in Quezon Ave. Issues of gender are difficult to evade because along with social class, education, religion, nationality (among others), gender is part of one’s subject position-or the...
Once, my prof in Classical Literary Theories teased us: do you want to know the books that you should read at least once in your lifetime? We asked for the list and he e-mailed us this. How many and which of these have you read, dear reader? You can’t possibly be reading blogs all your life, can you? I hope my professors don’t...
Our fingers, our toes – they register our hardships or lack of such. “Nail experts” can read how and how often we use them. A professor of literature once observed that social classes can be read in one’s toes. Ginger toes for the working class, silky white for the well-scrubbed.
Few months ago, I was having a foot spa and pedicure, the lady doing my nails said she wants to do my fingernails too. I said no, thank you, my fingers are sensitive, I bleed easily, she said she’ll be gentle (and she looked like a relative anyway so I gave in).
The lady must’ve cleaned and painted a thousand nails already for she knows how I (don’t) take care of my cuticles. She knows I always trim my thumbnails, but never the rest of them. She knows I’m lazy in using the nailcutter.
Some people are experts in astrophysics or theology; some people specialize in nails.
The first thing you need to know about Bangkok is how the heat can make you do crazy things in April.
One morning, after the usual breakfast of croissant, eggs(?), fresh orange juice, coffee, and banana at a backpackers’ hostel in Siam, I searched for beaches near Thailand’s capital and found some islands a few hours away. Instead of going to airconditioned museums or malls, which was my usual fare in humid Bangkok, I took an MRT ride to the bus station (Bangkok Eastern Bus Terminal). And that’s when my misadventure began.
I can’t read Thai, I don’t understand and speak Thai. I asked for directions in basic touristy English where I can buy tickets going to this specific port at Rayong. I was led to a window where I bought roundtrip bus and boat tickets. The lady said I can still catch the last boat that night if I leave before 4 pm. The last bus leaves at four.
Looking at my ticket gave me a sense of uneasiness in that unplanned travel to the rural side of Thailand.
At 4pm, I wasn’t sure where my bus is, so I showed my ticket to a woman in uniform who’s calling out for passengers. She told me to board the bus in front of her.
I was directed to my assigned seat and was given free cupcake and cold water in a sealed plastic cup. Cool, I thought – but I was scared when the bus started to move. I was alone in a foreign country whose language I don’t speak, and I was moving away from safe Bangkok to the outskirts full of Godknowswhat. Nobody knew where I was (didn’t leave a message to my Korean roommates, didn’t post a Facebook status, didn’t email anyone).Read More
I’ve been locked out of my blog for some time to avoid any hacking incidence that’s been crippling my host’s websites, so to make up for it, I’ll try to write every other day starting today.
First, some realizations.
In less than two months, I have written about 80 articles: news re-writes, breaking news stories, and full-length articles; also interviewed CEOs, politicians’ media personnel, university professors, international experts in medicine, health professionals, and other sources. I am not sure how I did that since I only used to write one full article in three months in my previous job. Amazing. And tiring, said my eyes.
The first month flew by rather smoothly because of generous guidance from the editors in Australia – and the happy fruit basket we receive every week.
Last week I started getting distracted (but I tried so hard to contain my disappointment) when I saw my tax. It’s about a quarter of my salary. I went up to the supervisor. Nothing can be done about it. Status quo. ”Welcome to the Philippines” my officemate said. I went out for a long walk that morning.Read More
New year, new job, new home, new cut.
Getting haircut is something I never did for three years until 2013 when I felt I need a big change in myself to signify the latest turns in my career. Cutting my almost waist-length messy, curly hair was a big decision any girl would encounter, but since I’m bidding goodbye to my relaxed lifestyle of beach bumming and escapades, I thought a nice crisp short cut would go along with my change of environment: the office.
Shampooing, conditioning, drying, and styling my long tresses have become time-consuming activities, too, and this won’t be practical if I need to rush to the office. Hairstyles should match lifestyles.Read More
At the onset of this year, I was hired in Manila as a journalist for APN Educational Media, where I write for the Australian magazines Campus Review, Education Review, Insite, Nursing Review and TechGuide.
Before I blog about the perks and rewards of the new job, I would like to say thanks again to all the people from my previous job as editor in IRRI and in Singapore. I’ve been getting praises in my current work and I guess it’s only wise to attribute my skills to the kind of training I received from my former bosses and colleagues.
Thanks, first of all, to the kind team of Communication and Publication Services at IRRI, headed by the legendary Gene Hettel who can whip a clever title up in a few seconds during pressworks. One thing about Gene I’d really admire, aside from his funny side comments, is he knows his stuff. Really dedicated both to the world of rice science and the art of communication. He’s also the dream boss that anyone could wish for because of his management style–relaxed but output driven. Billion thanks for inviting me to CPS trips and lunch at your lovely house that sits atop Mt Makiling.
In terms of grammar and stylistics, Bill Hardy taught me the most, I think. He’s the copy editor of Rice Today and every journal/book/poster/whatever has letters that comes out of IRRI passes through the senior and superior hands of Bill. IRRI scientists hold him in high regard, I was told. He’s like the principal of English Grammar School and writers obey his edit marks. He’s very vocal about how he feels toward a wrong preposition or wrong information or wrong subject-verb agreement and he wouldn’t hide his frustration when confronted with ugly writing or wordy sentences. What I like about Bill is his dedication to standard English usage, his loyalty to Merriam Webster Dictionary (the tome! not the online one), and his name–just because I read Hardy Boys when I was younger (plus, it sounds rock n roll). Oh, and his office full of books from Art to Literature to Rice Science.
Thanks to my co-editor Lanie Reyes with whom I shared stories about world events, history, politics, economics, fashion, travel, food, beauty, health, family, grammar, plant genetics, rice hybrids, cross-fertilization, climate change, carbon credits, and more.
Many thanks also go to her boss, Sophie Clayton–PR head and “IRRI’s finest.” Her politeness that I’ve observed among other Australians comes out naturally and genuinely. What I’d like to pick up from her is the ability to stay cool, calm, and collected amid tension and pressure. Her decisions are quick and wise, and like Gene Hettel, her approach has this Filipino kindness with a dash of elegant strictness. What I like about her is her outgoing personality and healthy lifestyle (yoga, cycling, walking).Read More