An unfortunate motorist gained national attention and scrutiny when he was featured on national TV after he was caught trying to drive his car unsuccessfully through floodwaters.

Recently, a local news program caught the unfortunate mistake made by one motorist at the height of the spate of heavy rains. Motorist Christopher Lao happened to drive into some serious floodwaters and ended up transforming his car into a ruined rowboat. Interviewed by a reporter shortly afterwards, and the video of his misfortune and the succeeding rant has caught the attention of many all over the country. While this has elicited hearty laughter and chuckles from many, some have gone so far as to create hate pages on Facebook with many harshly judging and even demonizing his character and personality for his rather nasty rants afterward.

The ongoing insanity as a result of the video going viral has forced the hapless motorist to release a statement wherein he hit back at his detractors for causing himself and his loved ones incessant grief, while thanking those who offered their support to his difficult situation. GMA 7, the network responsible for airing the video on national television, even issued an apology stating that the videotaped report was not intended to cause grief to the reported person, even going so far as to show the statement of Mr. Lao and hiring an expert to explain what could have caused the unfortunate incident and how it could be prevented.

The incident does show a negative side of our free-wheeling media, as well as the sad fact that we have a tendency to prejudge people based on their first impressions. Need we go through this ridiculous “holier than thou” mentality?

I, for one, welcome calls to stop persecuting a man who made an unfortunate underestimation of the depth of the floodwaters and had to deal with the serious consequences of his decision. It was bad enough that he got his car (and himself) into big trouble after a bout of poor decision-making. Having a reporter cover your mishap on national television and then stick a microphone into your face afterward is no one’s idea of a good time, which would explain his on-air tirade.

I was once taught to always think hard before you point a finger at anyone, because three fingers will always be pointing back at you when you do so. Or as Jesus himself said to a crowd who was about to stone a woman for alleged adultery, “He who has no sin shall cast the first stone.” Gotcha.

*****

I started working for my current account (Zynga) a year ago after some dramatic events at my former account (Trend Micro), I was initially optimistic of my chances for growth within the company. After all, it was a place where I could re-establish my reputation and start anew in the company of people I had known and trusted from my previous accounts as well.

But then, the struggles began. I had (and continue to have) difficulty keeping up with the required numbers, and the pressure remains especially great for someone with my lengthy tenure to keep up with the rest of the talent coming in. I have vowed to live by the motto “work to live and not live to work”, to prevent my anxieties at the office from causing me to go all loopy.

Due to the continually growing nature of my newest workplace, irregular changes in my work schedule and being moved from one supervisor’s jurisdiction to another became a part of my routine. This also made it more difficult to remember who my teammates were, and made it far more difficult to find people who I could actually get along with.

Fortunately, my short and rather unstable run with the ZERC (Zynga Events and Recreational Committee) did yield a few friends within the continuously growing population. It at least assured me that there were always a few people I could reach for in the event the workplace became humdrum and monotonous. And my current crop of teammates has assured that I would somehow have an effective work support system coupled with occasional laughs for good measure.

Other than the obvious difficulties of having to handle two customers at any one time, I’m actually enjoying chat support for once. The real-time nature of addressing customer concerns hearkens back to my phone support days, when I miss the noise of hearing colleagues chatting with customers and the somewhat more hectic pace of the typical workday. I also was better at responding to the usual customer retorts on the phone and having to handle just one call at a time, it made handling customer concerns much easier. For now, chat support is the closest I’ll have to that, and I’ll enjoy it where I can.

The pending move of the account from Discovery Center in Ortigas Center, Pasig City back to Market! Market! at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City has mixed emotions for me. On the one hand, I actually look forward to seeing the Ayala mall that was my office for more than two years when I started working and the many shops I had access to within and outside the mall. On the other hand (and more predominantly), I am not excited about the distance (and corresponding travel time) to and from the area, and the anticipated difficulties this will pose. But at the moment, circumstances dictate I accept the move and make the most of it. Looks like I’ll be spending a sixth of my working day in a vehicle again.

With my winning an iPod Shuffle at the last recognition event and my involvement in a well-received video for the quarterly business review for the account, I have managed to crack a smile in the face of my continued disappointments with life at work.

The fact that I made it to my first year in my third account, especially considering the times I contemplated tendering my resignation, has given me some hope. And the best hope I have is expecting less of it from work itself and more of it from the rest of my life outside.

*****

Despite the raucous crowd cheering them on, the Azkals would lose to the Kuwaitis 2-1 and lose by aggregate 5-1 to miss qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

The Cinderella story of the Philippine national football team (a.k.a. the Azkals) has finally come to an end, after losing to the Kuwaitis by aggregate from their last qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup. Despite this, the team is happy with the amazing progress made so far and are gearing up for a slew of regional tournaments in the coming months to further improve the team’s standing by gaining valuable experience against our neighbors.

But the sudden rise of the national football team’s popularity has shown two major weaknesses of the sport in the country, both of which are even bigger obstacles to overcome than qualifying for the World Cup tournament itself.

First, it shows the sorry state of Philippine sports development in general. It has been known that in earlier international sporting events such as the Southeast Asian Games, the number of officials in the delegation well outnumber the athletes who spent years training for competing on a grand level. These official treat these events as opportunities for grand vacations outside our shores. And of course, these same corrupt sports officials are known to pocket the millions of pesos intended for the athletes’ needs. If many of the more popular sports in the country already have lackluster development programs making us incapable of being competitive with other countries, what more for sports with smaller followings such as football?

Second, despite having one of the oldest national football teams in Asia, we lack a serious football development program for many of our local athletes and the team has always done poorly as a result, having never qualified for the World Cup. Calling in “half-breeds” (as my football-loving friend calls the part-Filipino players) such as the Younghusband brothers (James and Phil) will only be a short-term solution to this problem at best, since they can only play for so long just like any other athlete and there are no guarantees of their availability in the future should the need arise. In addition, they overshadow many of our local talents and detract from the more pressing need to develop a grassroots football program to promote and recruit players from all over the country. While their recruitment has resulted in growing interest in the sport, it has also brought out the many “bandwagon” fans who only watch the games to get their fill of the good-looking (admittedly) “half-breeds” without knowing what an “offside” is or  why the “aggregate score” is so important.

But I have seen some brilliant local players who have held their own against their half-breed counterparts, and have shown true potential to excel in the beautiful game. And while we may have to wait several more years (possibly decades) before we finally book a spot in the World Cup, the signs are encouraging.

Having studied in a school where football was a sport that many of my mates excelled in, I could imagine how sweet it would be for them if there was only a football program that gave them the opportunities they so richly deserve. Who knows, one of them might have given us a World Cup trophy by now.

Hence what I have said all along. GOAL!

*****

Former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri resigns from his position after allegations of poll fraud in the 2007 elections indicate he benefited from the vote rigging to gain the final Senate seat.

The recent resignation of former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri has highlighted just how firmly entrenched corruption is in our political system. Proof of allegations of electoral fraud in the 2007 elections was brought to light by the policemen and security officers who were supposed to be protecting the ballots, and these votes were found to have caused Zubiri to take the twelfth and last senate seat by a slim margin over rival and friend Koko Pimentel. In an interview he gave after he announced his immediate resignation, he said that the recent revelations had bothered him deeply even though these “padded” votes had given him the victory, and he denied ordering cheating of any sort during his campaign. He also stated that decided to resign out of delicadeza, or proper ethical behavior in a particular situation or sensitivity, valuing his commitment to serve the people honesty as well as restoring the friendship with his rival that had soured hinging on allegations of electoral fraud. He even mentioned the possibility of running again for the position in 2013, to be able to continue his platform of public service.

So what drives people to kill their family members and friends as well as spend millions, even billions of pesos to gain a place that pays substantially less? According to one expert, the leading problem is corruption of morals, wherein constituents (the voters, in short) expect people in power to be rich and accept graft and corruption as part of the culture of politics. This puts pressure on those who wish to run under the banner of true public service, making otherwise good people capable of becoming thieves and murderers in a short amount of time. The uneven distribution of wealth perpetuates this cycle of graft and corruption, making those in power richer and those under their thumb poorer. And of course, the lure of power as an easy way to get rich is something that attracts people to it like moths to a flame. But unlike the moth, everyone else gets burnt as well.

Shocking as this conclusion may be, it seems to answer why the challenge of ending graft and corruption will be a long hard-fought battle at best. Despite the uncertainty, we cannot let another generation suffer from those who believe politics is self-service instead of public service. And as the late Michael Jackson once sang:

“If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change…”

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