This was an email sent by one of our Pinoy engineers to one of the Chinese vendor-engineers:
But you need to be clear and describe exactly why the platform is rejecting a normal message.
IMPORTANT NOTE: PLEASE COMMUNICATE VIA EMAIL. I AM SORRY BUT I DON'T UNDERSTAND YOUR ENGLISH BY PHONE. ALWAYS, THERE IS A LOT OF INTERFERENCE.
Note that a lot of people were copied in this email. Kawawa naman yung Intsik. Kaso eh di daw talaga maintindihan yung English eh. Biglang-bawi na lang yung noypi nung dinagdagan nya ng “interference” sa huli.
I think the interference that he was referring to is the accent. Hehe.
Yes, I've started working again. It's a big leap from my previous one in terms of position so I just can't help but double-click on my name on the email recipient-list every now and then just to see my title, just to be sure that I'm not dreaming.
An S.M. at 32?
Not too shabby. ;-)
It's been a week since I've arrived from KL and I just have to say that being with the missus and my son has been overwhelmingly fantastic.
Changing his diapers, feeding him, burping him, and cuddling him to sleep have been such arduous but rewarding tasks ---for the missus. I have to admit that since I arrived I've, pardon the pun, been sleeping like a baby all night, unaware of Lucas' demands for milk and diaper-change. The missus was kind enough to let me catch my Zzzs while she wakes up for almost 2-3 times a night to heed my son's call.
I've only started to learn the above tasks for the past 3 days now. Even my 11 year telecom working experience meant nothing when it came to such a simple task as changing diapers. At first glance it looked simple. But when I tried it on Lucas it wasn't as easy as it looked. A certified engineer slash board-passer doesn't know how to put a diaper? That's right folks. But at my 2nd attempt I was successful. Now I can say it's definitely a cinch, as long as he's not crying, hehe.
Who would've thought that such a simple piece of compiled cotton can hold an enormous amount of pee and sh*t! How times have changed. I find it really amazing ---and smelly.
But besides the smells and the occasional cries, I can now agree to what most of my friends say. That it is such a wonderful feeling to have a child. Just holding him in my arms while he tries to visualize this other pair of eyes looking at him, singing to him a tirade of light-rock oldies such as "Father and Son" with missed lyrics is such an amazing, A-M-A-Z-I-N-G feeling.
"There was another passenger earlier who was rejected by Immigration since she had no clearance-letter. I’m afraid I cannot book you on this flight.”
Several images crossed my mind the moment I heard this:
I could be checking-in at the Pan Pacific Hotel nearby the airport, wait for Monday and hopefully things get sorted out with Immigration;
I try the airport-immigration and when they find that I’ve no clearance-letter, they shove me into the immigration office, get interrogated, and possibly jailed for trying to leave the country without their clearance.
But then I thought, I’m a Filipino. We are known to be more astig than the locals wherever we may be. “Unahan lang sa sindak yan,” a colleague in Singapore once told me. So, I took a deep breath and said to the lady at the check-in counter:
“NO! That letter is not needed! Immigration has already rescheduled my visa-expiry to an earlier date so that means they have checked and found nothing pending from my end.”
She paused, lifted her landline, and called to whom I assumed to be her manager. She then covered the mouthpiece and told me,
“Here’s what you can do. I will book you BUT I will not check-in your baggages for an hour. That will be enough time for me to assume that immigration has ok’ed you to travel.”
I agreed. I would have to proceed immediately to immigration which meant skipping my intended McDo breakfast meal (darn).
On my way to the escalator leading down to immigration, I was getting worried. “What if I get rejected and sent back? I would have to stay here over the weekend?” I told myself.
In that moment, I remembered St. Jude.
It was on the previous night when I was packing all the rest of our stuff from the condo that I came upon a stampita of St. Jude. At the back it said something like, Patron of Lost Causes. I never gave that much notice as I put it in one of my baggages until now. This seems to be classified as a lost cause, so why not try?
So as I was walking, I called on St. Jude to intercede for this no hope situation. “I sure hope he’s listening,” I thought.
The immigration-queue was fairly light. Not too many passengers traveling at lunch time since most of the flights are in the morning. I was in a queue with around 10 people with a tourist-couple at the front, seemingly unaware that one of the immigration officers was calling them to his counter so that the queue could move.
Seeing that the officer failed in calling the couple, I called the attention of the couple and pointed them to the waiting officer. They looked and went. The officer gave me a “thank you” look. Finally! The queue was moving and my fate was about to be determined.
Since there were 3 counters serving the queue, the choice of going to a particular officer was random. Then my turn came, and I was lucky to be put into where the tourist-couple went earlier.
I showed him my passport and browsed through the pages. “Don’t look at my visa!” I shouted to him in my mind, hoping he’ll hear. He found the visa-page of course. Then, as he was about to ask me something which I assumed to be asking for my immigration-letter, a female-colleague of his passed by and greeted him who seemed to have asked when he’ll finish his shift. This somehow lost his train of thought. He totally forgot about what he was supposed to ask and with his right hand, grabbed the immigration stamp.
A stamp on the immigration card.
A stamp on my passport.
He signed on both stamps and handed me my passport. I was free to travel.
I thanked the officer and, in tradition to my Dad’s PR skills, I asked him how long has he been working on his shift.
“12 hours,” he said, his eyes showing bags wanting to release sand-dust of sleep.
“I think you better go home. Get some rest.”
“Yes I will. Tired already lah.”
I said goodbye to him and passed the immigration counters. It felt like a big burden has been lifted. Never have I been so relieved to have passed by airport-immigration in my entire life!
These past two weeks have been hell alright. Malaysia must’ve been going to miss me so much that she pulled all the stops to make me stay. Of course, Manila is where I want to be.
There was one final issue 2 hours before my flight: I had 400 ringgit worth of notes in my wallet that had to be left behind, and a hungry stomach that needed to be fed.
Next stop: Duty-free shopping and Sbarro’s.
The past two weeks have been hectic for me. It seems that there was a connivance in the heavens to play a practical joke on me, which wanted to scare me with the thought that I may not go home.
I had already found a buyer to whom I will sell my trusty car through an officemate's recommendation. My heart sank though as I checked our apartment-mailbox the next day when I found 2 police-summons sent to my old residence indicated that MY car was involved in an accident last March and that the other party is claiming for damages.
This was preposterous of course, as I told the missus on the phone that we were never at the mentioned area at that date/time. And besides, there was not a scratch on my car which indicated my innocence. Anyway, together with an officemate slash police-by-night officer, I went to the KL police station to find out what's going on. It turns out that the "intelligent" police-officer at the scene of the accident had written down the correct license plate of the offending party on his report (3687) but f*cked up when he transfered the car details to the computer-system to issue the summon (3867 ---my car). May I add that the offending vehicle indicated in his original report showed "BUS" as its description. Although my mother's brother and father are certified pro-drivers of the Martinez Bus Company that runs from Manila to Ilocos Sur, I have NEVER driven a bus in my life!
My car was cleared of course, but as you know there was a 50-ringgit "under the table" fee to speed things up. Darn it! Ako na nga naabala ako pa nagbayad. Siya dapat yung nagbayad sakin eh.
I had an orbibike exercise machine that needed to be disposed since shipping it to Manila may cost more than the original value of the machine itself. So I sold it to another officemate at a dead-cheap price (80% loss on my part, in fact). Since the machine could not fit in her car I volunteered to deliver the thing to her place which I absolutely had NO IDEA how to go to. So she made a sketch on a piece of A4 and I went.
It was night and it was dark. Road signs were barely noticeable that I missed the exit to her place. I saw the sign too late but I stopped on the highway, and, seeing that there were absolutely no cars behind me I hit the gear to "R" and backed up at 80kmh to the exit lane with my hazard lights on. I thought I made the great escape when I was back on the right track when 2 motorcycle-clad police-officers chased me and pulled me over.
"Give me your license"
"Sorry sir it was dark and I got scared that I might get lost! (showing the map-sketch) I wanted to exit at this lane but I passed it."
(officer looks at the sketch, and, realizing that moi speak no Malay) "OK follow me I'll take you here."
"Here" was not I assumed to be. "Here" was the POLICE STATION.
"Sh*t!!! T*ngina ano na naman ang ginawa mo?!?!?! P*tang*na namaaaan!" I said to my idiot self as I followed the police officer to the station. I was already picturing myself behind bars crying for mercy like that old OFW commercial:
"IBALIK NYO NA AKO SA PILIPINAS!!!"
At the police station, four uniformed officers stood outside the entrance and met up with me. I showed them my Malaysian driving license which incidentally was inserted in my LTO casing that included my Philippine license.
"This is Malaysia. You're driving in Philippines cannot be done here."
"Sorry sir it was dark and I got scared that I may get lost....(excuses excuses excuses...)"
"No! I will give you police-summon!"
I realized that if he gave me a summon, I might not be able to sell my car. At that moment, I remembered my Dad.
Dad is a living example of how to use PR skills to your advantage. One shining example is how he had helped me get my 1st POEA Exit Pass. I was flying off to Malaysia in a few days but the govt. will not allow me fly without an Exit Pass. This usually takes 1-2 weeks. With my Dad and his PR skills, it took me 1 day. No he didn't know anyone at POEA. He just had the guts to enter the restricted areas and talk to the officer-in-charge and somehow found a way to speed up my application.
So with that in mind, I said to the police officers in a Malaysian accent:
"No no no don't give me summon! Maybe we can discuss this. (excuses excuses...afraid of the dark....excuses blah blah blah...boring the officers...blah blah blah...)"
When suddenly one of the four retorted, "OK go back (home)."
"Huh?" I said.
"Go back. We only give you warning. Go back."
"Jumping Jupiters Batman," I thought. It worked! I had managed to escape a summon and possible fine that I would've had trouble selling the car. As those Christian Ministers on Sunday TV would say, "Thank You Je-sus!"
It was Friday 9am. I was at the KL airport excited to go home but at the same time partly sad leaving Malaysia. Three and a half years here man. Going back to Manila to start all over is like going to another foreign country and readjusting. All these thoughts were in mind as I passed my passport and plane ticket to the lady behind the Malaysia-Airlines check-in counter.
"Do you have a return ticket to KL?"
"No. I'm going back to Manila for good."
"Where is your immigration clearance letter?"
"Your immigration clearance letter?"
"Sorry I don't have that."
"Then I cannot book you."