Sunday, October 28, 2007

You Own my Heart (and Spleen)

"May I see your diploma? I just wanna make sure they're not from some med school in the Philippines."

All too often, doctors and nurses in the Philippines have been subject to ridicule not only from foreigners but even from fellow Filipinos as well. A rather obscene "joke" I have once beheld was a simple logo in a T-Shirt: UP Diliman College of Nursing.

There are, over here, a set of infamous career paths that, despite their potential to yield higher wages, are most certainly in the not-something-to-be-proud of list. Call center agents, for one, earn that much more because, in return, they are disrupting their normal lives for a more stressful environment. Imagine inverting your Circadian cycle, what, every week? Every month? Still, they are subject to ridicule and the job is considered "dishonorable" by almost any non-desperate IT graduate since, after all, it does not require intelligence, only proficiency in English. I must admit, I am not exempt from that way of thinking.

Nursing, too, is another job deemed "ugh" by many. I have to admit that a lot of nurses are brilliant individuals. Even doctors study nursing because there is that much more money to be made of it (assuming you do get to work overseas) The problem is that the lucrative call of cold hard cash has been responded to by greedier, yet less talented, individuals. I know it's the same everywhere and I'm not singling out the nursing profession. Besides, that's not also my point.

What I'm trying to say, though, is that, despite my unfair thoughts towards nurses, they still have something I absolutely envy: the power to save the ones they love. After all, what can I, a mere IT programmer, do to save anyone? Oh, shall I help you email something to your relative in Manila so she could send money back home for your mom's operation? Hmmn, shall I use this length of LAN cable to strangle that picaroon who's robbing you in a dark alley? Shall I help you make a "jazzy" Friendster account to help rescue you from your suicidal depression?

Seriously, nurses, and medics, in general, are people I've always envied because of the power they have over life and death, no matter how small. When I was young, I also wanted to be a doctor (mostly because the pay is high) until I learned I have to deal with blood. I'm not scared to see blood or anything but I also wasn't too keen on getting it all over my hands, all over my clothes and, mostly, all over the place. Something about it is just... unsettling.

Why am I saying this right now? Only too recently, I've had a very disturbing dream.

I was walking along a dark sidewalk with the love of my life... well, maybe the current love of my life, who knows? :P He took the outer side, the one exposed to traffic. From behind, a large truck climbed up the pavement and struck him down. When I got to him, he was all bloody and his breath came in rasps. He is unable to speak and his lungs were filling up with blood (don't mind how I knew, it was a dream) and, sorrowfully, there was nothing else I could do for him.

When I woke up, I quickly checked my IM list and, thankfully, he was still alive. He may not know it, and, by God, I hope he doesn't ever, but he's one of the few people I would gladly die for. More specifically, he's one of the few people I'd ever think of giving my blood to (I'm of blood type O)

In any case, that is the reason I, a rogue sorcerer, envy those from the order of the white mages. I may be fairly capable of destructive arts but things like that rarely save people. I do find it quite bemusingly ironic that an offense-type spellcaster as I should seek the mastery of curative spells.

There is no greater joy and glory
than for me, my life, to give,
when Death whispers out to thee,
that there be a chance for you to live.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Dark Bite... Fatman!

Both your mouths always eat.
One of them devours the seat.
The other bites into dead meat.
You don't really know when to quit.

I hate fat people.

Actually, I don't really dislike all obese people. To be more exact, I feel absolute hatred to those waistline-enriched people who act as though they are entitled to that extra space they occupy.

For example, when riding a bus, I was unfortunate enough to have been seated in what once was a three-seater. The other person's bottom, however, stole space equivalent to that occupied by two and a half butts of average people. To make it worse, the bitch kept on wriggling in sleepy discomfort and muttering under her breath as though I was the one who had wrongfully encroach on her sleeping space.

In a jeepney, there is also an abundance of horribly ill-mannered pigs. A fat man seats himself with open legs while other passengers are forced to assume uncomfortable positions. Some had to twist their bodies into strange shapes while some have only half their bottoms seated. (Kinda gives a new meaning to the term half-assed, don't you think?) This obnoxious guy, on the other hand, had his entire gluteous maximus and a healthy part of his massive upper thighs on the seat while, on the back rest, lie his back, shoulders and even his elbows. On a jeepney full of passengers, such conduct is gross and unacceptable.

I have also encountered a bevy of heavy girls, walking side by side. I'm afraid I err against charity when I say the truth that they are lumbering about, occupying the entire sidewalk. Now, I have no problem walking side by side with my friends but, in a sidewalk teeming with pedestrians in a hurry to get to wherever it is they are going, I believe ethics should take precedence over trivial acts of shallow friendship. There is, I fear, much acrimony I feel but I'd still like to point out that it is wrong to block another hurrying person's way when both of you have equal rights over a public pathway. Equally wrong is hissing in annoyance whenever one inevitably brushes against you as we hurry on to our destinations.

I am perfectly aware, though, that I'm having double standards here. After all, I do get annoyed when there are times I feel as though I live in a world designed for pygmies. I do get inconvenienced by low doors and ceilings, by mirrors that cut off my reflection at the chin or by grocery cabinets that put items deep inside the lowest shelf. I do complain, from time to time, though, generally, I just accept that the world is made that way. I don't believe it is quite ethical of me to force my friends to hang their mirrors, paintings or shelves that little bit higher. Neither do I believe it is acceptable to cuss at people for having low ceilings in their houses, apartments, jeepneys or buses.

I am aware that not all fat people can really help it. It could be genetic or something medical. However, do pardon me for admitting that most fat people remind me of individuals with no self-control when it comes to eating or, at least, practicing healthy eating and exercising habits. I still hold hatred for obese people who arrogantly steal public spaces and other people's private space. I do, however, know that not all people shrug off their largeness as easily.

There was this voluminous lady who boarded the bus alone. She sat behind me and, as the conductor passed, she paid the amount for two people. Kudos to the fat woman who acknowledges her extra girth and pays her way! Boo to the insensitive jerks and bitches who conduct themselves as though they were thinner, slimmer or sexier than they really are!