Sunday, February 13, 2011

In Honor of Auditors and People of Integrity

I admit I didn't know what the job of an auditor entailed.  It only became clearer in the later years.  Even when my mom became the Director of Internal Audit of the department she worked for, it was still a blur as to what exactly she did except for signing countless papers that piled on her desk.

As I listened in on the tales that my mom and the other retirees told of their experience while holding the same position, I learned of the responsibilities, the detail-oriented work and most especially of the challenges to integrity and value that an auditor came across.  It's not a job for the weak-hearted.

My mom held the post from the time she returned from her last post abroad in 2002 'til she retired and was asked to extend her retirement for another year.  When asked a second time to extend her post, she declined, joking with others that she didn't want to add to her already long list of enemies.  Yes, you run across many people who want to befriend you only to have you approve and sign a paper that showed a "red flag".  And when that paper is not signed or comes back to the owner with a memo, that person suddenly doesn't want to talk to you.  Oh, the tales they would tell, the corruptness of man, all for the love of money.

I write this in the middle of the corruption scandal the AFP is going through in the Senate and Congressional hearings.  I see the likes of Heidi Mendoza, who like my mother, has taken her stance against a corrupt system.  "It was already corrupt when I entered the system", is what the late Angelo Reyes was said to have stated.  "Nagswapang ba ako?  Naghingi?"  No, he didn't need to.  It was given to him on a silver platter, which he accepted, as he was part of the system.  My mother on one of her birthday celebrations at her office, was given gifts from vendors.  Humingi ba siya?  Hindi.  One vendor, thinking that they would "befriend" her by giving her gifts, gave her a cake, not P50 million, just a cake.  "Huwag mong tanggapin. Ibalik mo.", was my mom's order.  "Pero Ma'm...", her assistant looked in dismay.  Sayang naman at umalis na yung nagdeliver eh.  I don't know what happened to the cake, but I think her assistant didn't follow mom's order.

If you believe in something at the core of your being, anything that you become a part of, or any group, company, organization you join, will not dishonor you or bring you dishonor.  Only you dishonor yourself by making mistakes, by making the wrong decisions, by not doing what is right and true, by accepting something that is not yours or by simply keeping quiet.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chinese New Year

Kung Hei Fat Choi!  That's a greeting of Happy New Year in Chinese!  It was the Chinese New Year yesterday, February 3, the day of the first new moon of the year.  We were at SM yesterday after picking the kids up from school.  There were many festive Chinese decorations all around the mall to celebrate this day which not only Chinese or Filipino-Chinese celebrate, but which has also become part of the Filipino culture.

Here's a picture of Benjo and Joselyn in front of a "money tree".  On closer look, it seems to be a real tree that was painted gold and on another closer look, those money envelopes were just envelopes with no money in them.  Of course. Or else none of the envelopes would be left on the tree...


What is all the fuss about?


These students, elderly man, along with Jojo and Benjo were all looking at this billboard which showed the Chinese horoscope for this year, the year of the metal rabbit.  Though I respect those who believe in the Chinese horoscope, I myself am not a believer.  But for anyone who is interested, here's one site for Chinese Astrology for 2011


There was also a lot of loud noise in the directions of the 2nd floor, where 2 "lions" and 1 "dragon" were dancing, one lion in gold, another in red, and the dragon in green...


This is the traditional lion dance, where men weave and sway the lion body in and out of the stores - for good luck and good business, in exchange of a donation which the store manager gives.  I noticed that the lions would stop in front of a store, first asking permission, then proceeding with their dance once the manager/supervisor gives them a nod.  There are many stores in the mall and I'm sure the dancing lions were quite prosperous that day.

So as we welcome in the year of the metal rabbit, we do hope, as in all years, that this may bring all of us, no matter what year you were born, good health, prosperity and fortune (merited by good and honest hard work and not gifted as "pabaon" or "pasalubong" :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What I Gained From Losing

So I didn't win any prize in the Minute Maid Pulpy competition, that I had thought I had a chance of at least getting something for my design.  But it wasn't a design competition, it was a blog competition with the majority of the score going to the creative writing portion.  I'm not sulking in my loss.  I looked at the winners' entries and yes, they deserved to win, with good commentaries and a story behind the writing, with accompanying pictures.  I guess that's what the judges were looking for, not just plain text with separate, non-related pictures, as I had in my design.  A loss, somewhat, but I did gain some knowledge from entering this competition, which I hope to apply in my own personal blogs and maybe future online contests...

What I learned:
1)  I found other sites that provided free flash banners and other tools to add animation to a site, specifically Flashvortex.com

2)  Though I have about 500 friends on my facebook account (my husband and I share the account and more than half of these people I do not know), they were not interested in helping me out with the comments part of the contest.  I'm not sure if any of them actually commented on my site, though I did get one from an Anonymous.  Disappointing, yes, especially since I emailed some of them personally to ask for their support aside from the post on my FB wall.  I know most of them live abroad, but all I asked for was a comment, even a small feedback on the look and design of the site.  Silence maybe speaks louder than words and maybe they didn't think much of the site or didn't believe in the product, but I'm trying to look on the bright side... to at least boost my self-esteem.  So what did I learn?  To look at the bright side and just smile :)

3)  I was able to look at the different design options on blogger and created what I thought was a real pulpy background.  The background designs provided on blogger does not give us the ability to "tile" the background image, which you can do if you have a customized image.

4)  Yes, my blog post was mostly text, which is hard to read and rather boring as compared to those who won.  They actually had a story, like the one who went from being fat to a little sexier, showing actual images of her "before" and "after".  My blog was impersonal, I realize.  I'm not one to flaunt my picture on the internet.  But this is what blogging is about.  It's about the person, who we are and people want to actually see the person and personality behind the words.

5) I got a renewed spirit of creativity in designing the Minute Maid blog, so I decided to recreate my own personal blog and look into other ways of making it more attractive and useful for the readers.

It was a great experience entering this contest.  Going back, I may have changed things on my blog if I was a little clearer on what the organizers wanted.  It was the first contest I've entered online and even, offline.  In any contest, we take risks and I'm glad that I was able to gain valuable experience - even if I didn't win.