Sunday, October 12, 2014

Good news for Filipino teachers

I was browsing Facebook this morning when I saw this photo and I thought it's worth sharing. Without a doubt, the teachers in the Philippines has something to get excited as the holidays are coming; however as of this posting this photo has already earned different reactions from the netizens citing that this announcement might just be one of those 'broken' promises the politicians carelessly utter to assure another political term. 

Just recently, the Department of Education (DepEd) announced that the Performance Based Bonus (PBB) of public school teachers this year might be released this month so it won't take that long to know whether there is truth to this 17,000 bonus.  


This is another 'let's wait and see' case. I personally believe that every Filipino teacher deserves more and I am fervently hoping that this promise won't remain a promise. 

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Why Do I Write?

Warning: The following post is a"trash". Read at your own risk.


Just recently, I received a feedback from a certain 'critic' about how I can't be corrected. This reader commented about how 'trashy' and 'half baked' my posts are and that I only share trash in the net, that how he/she hates bloggers who don't take suggestions. At one point this critic went on to say that bloggers are just bloggers and are not/can't be writers. So, here's my point:

Google Image
Of Being a Blogger/Writer

I have always been passionate about writing. During my high school and university days, I wrote for the school publication even though most of my articles had to go through a number of revisions before it could finally pass the editorial board. In most cases, my published articles were posted because of persistence. Perhaps the editors got tired of me knocking their office over and over again so they had to approve my articles lest they'll be seeing the same 'me' the following day. I was not a good writer but I write anyway because I love writing. 

When I came to Thailand four years ago, two new-found blogger friends encouraged me to blog - John of Khon Philippine and Ate Janet of Schenker's Chronicles , I thought I found an outlet for my seemingly declining English skill. True enough, I blogged and great because I earned dollars for every bit of trash that I shared in the net. Somehow I've bought a piece of land because of it and few personal belongings (This is my personal testimony of "pera sa basura"). So that's typically writing for money, right? Come on, let's get things straight here. We work abroad leaving our children, our parents, our loved ones behind because we want more than what we earn back home so earning a little bit extra at the side is a golden opportunity. 

Am I a good blogger? No I'm not but I blog anyway because I love to. I care less about people calling my posts as 'trashy'. I will write anyway. If nobody reads my posts. It's fine. I'll blog anyway.

On Corrections/Suggestions

I don't mind being corrected and I definitely welcome suggestions. I consult friends when I need advice especially with things that I am aware that my knowledge is limited. I go to people when I am not very confident about my grammar because I am not a writer but rather just a struggling blogger. I'd be more than happy if somebody would help me improve myself. Learning is a continuous process and I have loads to learn to get there.

It goes the same with job related issues. What gets into my nerves about people giving 'suggestions' is when they sound as if "they are my immediate superior" and "that the efforts I did doing my job are nothing but waste". Sincere suggestions are those that are meant to help a person grow not seeking to magnify their incompetence and inadequacy. I wouldn't like to take a suggestion of an angry man who has just awakened at the wrong side of the bed and goes pushing every bit of his ideas to my throat without even giving me a minute to digest. Who would?

On Facebook

According to statistics Facebook is the most popular social media in the United States (September 2014) accounting to as much as 58.88 percent of all social media site visits and even world statistics reveal that Facebook remains to be number 1. While it is true that it is the most famous site, it is also a very dangerous social media platform. The Telegraph reported (October 7, 2014) that Facebook-linked crime comes every 40 minutes involving cases of murder, rape, assault, death threats and fraud among others. The most prevalent of which is harassment or cyber-bullying.  

Cyber bullying causes the infamous suicide of Ms. Phoebe Prince, a freshman at South Hadley High School, Massachusetts in 2010. She was subjected to taunts and bullying for months before she took her own life. Several murder cases are also linked to Facebook posts, blackmailing incidents, identity theft and the list goes on and on. 

In other words, we have to be on guard as to how much influence we allow ourselves getting from Facebook. There are many bullies out there who could easily crush your spirit.  The last thing we would want to read when we wake up in the morning is a post containing angry remarks about just anything else. That to me is a 'trash' that ruins all positivism while starting a new day.  Believe me, you are doing yourself a favor if you get rid of these kind of people in your friend list because you are freeing yourself from negative vibes. 

On Being Intellectual

I'd rather not be called 'intellectual' if I had to go through regular bickering and bantering against those who don't have the same view and idealism as mine. The world is already filled with so much hate thus creating chaos and strife. We don't need 'WORD' war by now but rather peace and calmness in the midst of many societal complications we face.

Life is not at all about (extraordinary) intelligence. Character does matter. By now I have learned that wherever we go people may admire us with how excellent we do things but in the long run we will still be fondly remembered by our character and inner qualities, by how sincere we are with our advocacy. Simply put: walk your talk.

A careless word may kindle strife. A cruel word may wreck a life. A timely word may level stress but a loving word will heal and bless.  
An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot tempered man abounds in transgression. A man's pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor. Proverbs 22-23
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Friday, October 3, 2014

How Thailand honors Teachers

Retirement ceremonies here in Thailand are joyous events that honor and celebrate the lives of the retirees in a way that their exit from their workplace is memorable and truly grand. I have been to several occasions in three different schools and I have witnessed the usual routines and yet I never get bored in any of those because I marvel at how they honor the teachers who have served the academe for years. 

Teaching Profession in Thailand

Teaching is one of the most highly regarded profession here in Thailand. In 2006, the Basic Education Commission has approximately 610,000 teachers in its list at the basic education level. This number had a considerable increase in the next five years. While it is true that Thailand has a 'teacher shortage' problem, teaching is still one of the most sought after courses in the universities. In 2007, there were 64 universities that offer education programs throughout the country and in 2008, the Teachers Council of Thailand approved more that 800,000 teaching licenses.  

Highly valued as it is, there are two special days regarded as Teachers' Days in Thailand. First is January 16 which is a nationwide public holiday. Although there are few official commemorations, most schools close for the day to give a one-day break for teachers.  The second is the 'Wai Kru' Day which is a traditional Thai ritual wherein students express their gratitude to their teachers and pay them respects and is usually held at the beginning of the school year.

Wai Kru Day 

Wai Kru is a vital part of the Thai educational system and is held formally to signify the start of the academic year. Normally held on a Thursday, students offer their teachers the following items as a symbol of their respect and readiness to learn:

  • Ixora (Local Name: Khem) - it's closed form pointed buds symbolizes sharp wit
  • Cynodon Dactylon or Bermuda Grass (Local Name: Ya Phraek) - it's rapid growth and resilience symbolizes perseverance and the ability to learn
  • Popped Rice (Local Name: Khao Tok) - symbolizes discipline
  • Eggplant Flowers - which bow low when nearing fruiting, symbolizing respect and humility
On this occasion, the teachers are seated in front of the students who are chanting Buddhist prayers and singing songs that depict appreciation to their teachers. The lyrics normally include words of indebtedness, gratefulness and thanksgiving for having taught them well in the past and wishes of good luck in the future. Towards the end of the ceremony, each student must crawl up to their teachers on their knees with their heads down. Then the students offer them their individual bouquet of flowers wrapped with candles and incense. The teachers receive the flowers and give the students some pieces of  advice. Some teachers will also pat the student’s head to encourage the knowledge to absorb into the child’s brain. The flowers from the ceremony are  taken by the teachers and staff to decorate their rooms and offices. As it is a Buddhist ritual, non- Buddhist students only participate during the presentation of flowers. 

Retirement in Thailand

Thai teachers have a mandatory retirement age of 60. In 2013, there was a move to extend the retirement age to 65 for teachers of English, Math and Science to address the 'shortage' problem, but it is not yet clear whether it is already put into law. Depending on the budget, the government also launches early retirement programs for the teachers along with the lucrative offer of regular monthly pension or lump sum buyouts. When teachers choose the latter, they get around one million baht in cash during their retirement. 

Retirement ceremonies here in Thailand are joyous events that honor and celebrate the lives of the retirees in a way that their exit from their workplace is memorable and truly grand. Retirement season is always at the end of the first term - October. So on or before this month, programs and farewell tributes have already been lined up.

Students' Tribute

The students tribute is usually held during the morning ceremony where students are given the opportunity to do their final 'wai kru' to the retirees. In most occasions that I've witnessed, students give bouquet of flowers, chocolates, self-made cards, customized photo frames and garlands. They also sing songs, shout chants and cheers and do their final bow to them.

Final Bow. Chalermkwansatree students paying respects to the retirees of the school.

Teachers' Retirement Party

In a separate occasion, the school administrators and staff will hold an exclusive farewell party in a grand ballroom complete with entertaining music and dances, great Thai food and fine drinks. This occasion will never be complete without tributary speeches for the honorees and video presentations about their lives while in the school.

Radiant Smiles. Ajarn Puangrat , a member of the English department of Buddhachinnaraj School
retires @ a party in Rhuean Phae Hotel. 

 Teachers' Retirement Trip

This is one of the most awaited events during this whole retirement season where all the retirees are treated for a 2 or 3 day trip with the school administrators, teachers and staff. As we are in the Northern part of Thailand, most trips that I've been in were usually headed south for the cool beaches and delectable sea foods.

Dinner by the Beach. At Bankrut Beach @ the Retirement Trip of Phitsanulok Pittayakom School

By Department Retirement Party/Trip

Aside from the one organized by the school, there will always be a separate party thrown by each department where the teacher retiree belongs. The department party that I have attended made me travel to the nicest places, dine in the luxurious Thai hotels and restaurants, wore fancy costumes and visit different temples and markets in the country.

And in one/any of these occasions, some schools give their retirees a parting gift of gold piece of jewelry (ring, bracelet or necklace).


What better ways to say goodbye to your workplace but with these special tributes. Don't you think all teachers deserve this kind of grand exit? 

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Why I Support #boycott Bench Campaign

My own Bench collection
I am a Bench fanatic. From socks, underwear, shorts, shirts, jeans and perfume I usually go to their shops because aside from being trendy, their price-tags are more affordable compared to those signature foreign brands like Lacoste, Marks and Spencer, etc. Quality wise, it is not disappointing. Some of those jeans that I'd bought some years ago are still with me until now and they are definitely wearable still. I particularly love Bench 8 body spray and I wear the scent everyday to work. I'm a fan! I definitely am.

But why do I support this #boycott campaign? Because I join them as...

Seriously, there are more far-better concepts than those what has been presented in their recently concluded fashion event. Concepts that are classy and elegant. Concepts that promote respect and human value and never demoralizing nor degrading anybody. 

I am still a fan of the product, but not until they change their promotional strategy, then I won't spend a dime for them just yet.

That's the naked truth.


Please share your thoughts by writing your comments below. 
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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Youth group pushes BENCH boycott campaign


An online boycott campaign against Bench is starting to make rounds in Facebook that says "Bench, please bring classy back" in response to the company's underwear show-The Naked Truth held on Saturday, September 20 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Bench, one of the leading clothing brands in the Philippines, have received negative feedback about segments in the recently concluded show including the part where Coco Martin walking onstage with a model in her underwear, wearing a leash. Many also condemned the part where two models kissed each other onstage citing that the scene was degrading and dehumanizing portrayal of women. 

In their Facebook page, YouthPinoy, a website for Filipino Catholic Youth, posted their slogan with this headline: "When you disrespect a person's body, you disrespect the person. Bench, please bring the "classy" back" and was then followed with a hash tag "boycottbench".

Below is the slogan:

The campaign has already garnered support from its members.

As of this posting, the photo drive has already earned more than 400 likes and more than 200 shares. 

To know more about YouthPinoy or if you want to join the crusade, you may visit their website or like their FB Page.


Share your thoughts by writing your comments in the comment section below. 
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