Sunday, May 13, 2018

Really Now?

I believe that romance, while good in general, can be a negative force in excess. And frankly, I think it's reached epedemic proportions in pop culture, especially in movies and television. The thrill-of-the-chase leading to the kiss-at-the-end-of-the-movie is the stuff of most romcoms and cheesy paperback romance novels. And it's easy to see why. It's the most exciting part of the relationship, and it climaxes with a happy ending. Structurally, it's sound.

It's also the reason why a lot of people have unrealistic notions of love and romance. And no amount of "my parents are separated/divorced/not together anymore" is enough to counter the power of beautiful actors and actresses falling for one another at a click of a screenwriter's keyboard.

I've been thinking I should start a movement. It means I need my own production company and/or my own publishing house, so yeah, it seems it'll be capital-heavy. But I want to start coming up with anti-romance romance movies. Yes, I know, it's contradictory. I'm just using that label cuz it's easy to remember. Okay, maybe it's more accurate to say that I'd want to produce a slew of romantic comedies that are more realistic, more grounded, and doesn't always end on a happy note. It could be sad, hopeful, ambivalent, or a mix of several. Whatever. But what it should do is not lie to its audience that there's a "happy ever after." There is no forever. There is only what you have, when you have it. And when it's gone, you appreciate it for what it was. And move on.

I'm thinking of calling it Get Real Productions, even though it sounds like I'm going to make a reality show.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Tale of Two Tweets (and Two Mothers)

On this Mother's Day, let me talk about two mothers.

True, Miriam may be the one who could have given the SC the tongue-lashing they deserve for the ouster of Chief Justice Sereno via quo warranto. She's someone who will not hesitate to speak her mind; in fact, she'll even relish the attention she'll get.

And there's the rub with Miriam. The reason why I didn't vote for her is simple. I don't agree with her on several things, most glaringly, her stand on the Marcoses. She was willing to allow them back into the country and back in to power, thinking that the law and civility will be enough to keep this greedy family in check. Now I understand why sometimes compassion should tak a back seat to justice, and that Filipinos should learn to be less accommodating. This is where the oft-praised "Filipino resiliency" fails us. Forgive? Give them another chance? Do leaopards change stripes? 

No wonder Delamar left The Morning Rush (TMR) after years of keeping the morning drive bearable for a lot of commuters. From her tweet, we can surmise that some higher-up from the station didn't want her to be a role model for single motherhood. Someone must have a real problem with strong, independent women. So I applaud her move to leave.

While it's unfair to ask Chico (and to a certain extent, Gino) to make a stand on behalf of Delamar, I wonder why the boys of TMR allowed this to happen. Yes, the boys' livelihoods are at stake, and they have much to lose--aside from a regular salary, they most probably will be not allowed to bring their show to another station, as per contract. Given Chico and Del's popularity, RX93.1 will be foolish to make the duo (or even trio, if Gino joined them) leave their stable. 

We may never know yet the full story behind the departure of Del, but with the surfacing of this tweet, I can't help but feel a bit disappointed by the boys. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Irony (It Has Happened To Me)

Rain on your wedding day, a free ride when you’ve already paid, a black fly on your chardonnay—as rightly pointed out, these are more of a bummer than ironic. You know what’s ironic? Leaving your call center job for an ad agency, but only to leave said agency for a writing job—at a BPO.

Now isn’t that ironic, don’t you think?

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Re. Start

Ever since I left my cushy job at CNN Philippines, I have been hopping from one job to the next for two years now.

First I tried going back to an advertising agency but it turned out to be more of an events agency, so the fit wasn’t great; I stayed there for only half a year. When I left I told myself, that’s it, no more advertising agencies for me. After several months of burning whatever savings I earned from there, I was desperate for a job, so I applied for a job at a call center seven minutes away from our house. My schedule was turned upside-down (our client was US-based), but at least there was no traffic going to and coming back from work. The work itself was demanding and stressful—it’s no joke to be in that line of work, so I learned never to say, “He’s just a call center agent.” But despite that, the pay was not enough to even cover the cost of paying for my car. So when my friend Louie called me out of the blue and offered me a higher-paying job, I immediately jumped at the chance. I didn’t even give my call center employers a month’s notice; I gave my resignation letter around 9am; by lunch time, I was cleared by their HR (it helped that I was there for less than two months). I left the call center even though Louie’s offer was for an advertising agency position. What helped me convince myself were two things—the much-higher pay, and the fact that this was going to be an in-house creative agency for a ginormous multinational client. “An ad agency with a twist,” I told myself.

One month into my new job, I knew there was trouble brewing for me. I can see the reasons why Louie got me, but after a month of knowing more the job and my teammates, I realised that I was not the best fit for my position. Someone else with other qualities more suited for the job should be there. If I were to stay and be good at my job, I really needed to grow into the role. Luckily (or unluckily?), Fate intervened.

Let’s go back several months ago, when I had just left my job at an advertising/events agency, and way before I took on the call center job.

Even before my last day in at the agency, I was already looking for opportunities outside of the advertising industry—and outside of the country. Yes, I was very much okay with being away from the Philippines for the next six years. I saw a job as senior copywriter for an online marketing company based in Bangkok. Even better, I knew someone, a Filipino, who currently works there. He assured me it was a good, stable company. So I immediately applied, took their online tests, and forwarded to them some of my published works. Then I waited.

And waited. And waited.

By December my funds were non-existent; and it was Christmas time! I asked my friend in Bangkok what the status of my application was. He assured me that I was being seriously considered, but unluckily, December was also the time when most of the decision-makers there were on leave.

I took the call center job, thinking that it’s temporary.

By January I asked my friend again. He said it was just a toss-up between me and a local Thai girl. I though, “That’s not good. A local girl will cost less compared to an expat.”

When Louie called, I snapped up his offer. And in my mind, I shrugged off Bangkok.

January faded into February, and I was getting a better handle on my new role. In fact, I had decided that I would need to step up and evolve for this job. I even started hunting for places to stay near our office in BGC, so I don’t need to wake up at 4:45am to get to BGC by 7am so I can have a spot in the parking lot.

Towards the end of February, I received an email from Bangkok.

Apologies for the delay, they said. But the reason why they took so long in getting back to me was because they were busy setting up an office—in Manila! Specifically, in Ortigas! Then they asked me, “Are you still interested?”

Weeks of interviews and negotiations later, I told Louie I was resigning. I told him on Good Friday.

Tomorrow is my last day of work in BGC. On Monday next week, I start in Ortigas.

This was two years of jumping from one job to the next, grabbing whatever was available. The Bangkok-now-turned-Ortigas job was something I wanted. As my friend Leigh said, everything else was out of desperation; this was out of desire.

(Of course, there are no perfect jobs. So good luck to me in this new journey.)