March 16, 2012

international women's month

disclaimer: i am trying my best to become gender neutral. instead of using the words "man" and "woman", i will use "male" and "female" which are more biologically appropriate for the discussion. i will only use the term "man" and "woman" to quote the statements of the speakers and other characters in this entry. in addition, i don't want this entry to seem like a reflection paper in college so i am cutting the statistics, the references etc. after all, this is my blog -- my travel and mental diarrhea blog. i have added some icebreakers too. however i apologize if the entry would seem boring and sterile.

last march 8, 2012 was "international women's day" and we were called for a telecon for women but was hesitant to attend due to our ballooning work list. my manager tells me that i cannot skip it because it's a telecon for women's month and i will like the topic. she was wrong about that part. i have a love-hate relationship in women talks but then i thought it wouldn't hurt if i give it a try. at 4 pm the four of us rushed in to get our seats only to find out that we are the only participants of the event because the people working on dayshift in our department is just a handful.

it's a man's world out there in the oil mining industry...

the talk was about the place of women in the corporate world -- in a petroleum company to be specific -- wherein the workforce is predominantly male. the hosts were two males and the guest speakers were two female evps working for our company with one of them authoring a book about women empowerment. the conversation started with the book's summary which later progressed on how the idea mirrored in our current company's situation. for the record, there has been no female ceo in a petroleum company yet.

last 2009 would've shaken the petroleum world had linda cook got the ceo position however, peter voser, was the one who rose to power. unfortunately, pete took the position at the time when a lot of females become ceo's, such as andrea jung of avon and ursula burns of xerox just to name a few, that the issue then became myopic on "women in a petroleum company". when he got the position, there have been a lot of estrogen-overdosed comments from female bloggers saying that the petroleum company will always be a "man's world". but genitals aside, if you're going to look at both competitors' accomplishments, it's a tough fight. peter voser is a legitimate competitor and deserves the position. i am not saying that linda cook is not competent enough to take the role. she is known in the corporate world as the woman with "midas touch" as every business she takes over earns higher profit no matter how exhausted the accounting spreadsheets of those companies were before. however, pete has to have it with his project at that time gaining more income and cutting more costs that is on mainstream. and i must admit that i am a fan of is sharp mind.

because both males and females have to be reminded on why they are working...

ice breaker 1: we were given chocolates during the telecon as one of the corporate giveaways during women's month. but since we're only very few, the facilitator allowed us to take as many as we can as he would need to dispose of all of them after the talk.
while having pre-conceived notions that the talk would concentrate on radical feminism of the vagina ruling the world, my ideas were debunked as the topic progressed to the concept of family. the speakers mentioned that the main reason why people are working is for them to support themselves and their loved ones and should not drown themselves in the demands of the company. with this as a premise, businesses should make continuous improvement plans on how the employees would attend more to their families. a perfect example of family-centric companies the speakers have cited is microsoft wherein the office serves as a meeting place rather than a working area as they have shifted to virtual working. i also know of accenture daycare centers where mothers and fathers can bring their children so they would be taken care of while they work. one of the female speakers mentioned that the business should focus on where a person is coming from no matter how petty some things would seem like providing reserved car parking areas for working fathers and mothers who are sending their kids to school before going to work which currently is a privilege only given to executives. 

a loving home hones and builds better generations. we may have mothers and fathers with complete attendance in the office but their children have been longing for their love and care. becoming parents means not only just giving material happiness but also emotional, psychological, and spiritual happiness which can only happen if a family is complete. if these will not be given, families become dysfunctional and in worst cases become broken. in my own inference, the increasing number of divorce cases are due to the fact that couples were not given time to nourish their relationships through open communication and body language such as hugging, kissing, holding hands, or even as simple as sitting or sleeping together as a family; thereby resulting to "irreconcilable differences", "third parties" which are love affairs mostly found in the work place or in hang out places nearby the office (as what my mom has always said, "some people find love outside home because there's none in their own." also, a person will seek out relationships, no matter how solitary one can be, either through another person or through a divine being), or "infertility" which according to doctors can be stress induced. moreover, some religions speak of the "broken family" curse wherein if a child came from a broken family, he or she will have one as well. i see it true not because of supernatural reasons but because most children from broken homes never experienced a happy family with loving parents as they grow up that when the time comes for them to start a family, they don't know how to work things out.

moreover, since we are speaking of families, the world needs more people despite of the increasing number of the world's population. while we worry about over population in this country, in other parts of the world they worry about how to have their citizens marry and have their own children. korea is one of the countries with the longest working hours with ten hours working time as an average, has a very low fertility rate since people are gearing towards career having less time to build families. the statistics is a challenge to all the koreans as no one would replace the country's work force in ten to twenty years time compared to us with a fresh average age group of twenty five year olds. of course, i am not dismissing that fact that there really are some people who wouldn't want to get married and have children in the future out of their own personal reflections as i myself have considered it as one of my options. however, if survival of the human race is concerned, we need fresh individuals to fill up the spaces of the people in the workforce once they near retiring age.

gender roles

icebreaker 2: red velvet cupcakes by "sophie's mom" were also given away by our department to all staff to celebrate women's month. since my mom waited for an hour for me before we went home, i gave it to her... to celebrate all that is her -- a mother.
in other women talks, it has always been "hey, women are better than men" which have irked me for a while from such conversations. the truth is, men and women are not equal. if that is the case, then we all should have the same set of genitals and procreate with ourselves; however, we are all equivalent that for whatever one lacks, the other compensates. in chinese medicine, although males have naturally strong bodies to endure physical work, females have stronger hearts to compensate the physical strenuous tasks of managing the home and child birth. thus biologically, both genders are strong in their own way. equivalent but not equal.

most people, unfortunately do not understand gender roles and i have heard that in the later shifts, people have been asking radical questions such as "if you really value women, why aren't there any women in the executive board" or "if this is women talk, how come you are not talking about women?" which, according to my manager was not answered in the telecon. hello, jaw... meet the hard and cold floor! i am guessing that the reason why those questions were not answered, aside from the lack of time, is because they were immature and not well thought. as mentioned before, females were not the center of the conversation because the focus is gender cooperation in a corporate world. the talk won my heart when the speakers said that "a good working environment is when women are given the opportunity to cooperate with men in achieving a goal" because the truth is that males and females coexist in this world to work together. of course, if they asked their questions, i also asked mine:

"what are the values/behaviors are needed for a female to become the first ceo of a petroleum company?"

the speakers told of the company's progress from just hiring males to do the dirty jobs of oil drilling, plant maintenance, and other field work to females wearing cover-all's climbing oil wells and staying in sub sea level plantations. moreover, more females were hired in the corporate side of the business as the years passed by. i was able to interact with them myself and have always been at awe whenever i hear their stories of battling their way in a testosterone-driven company while also being mothers at the same time. one of the female leaders i have interacted with before told us in her "pearls of wisdom" session that when she started in the plant where she was first assigned, someone hurled a comment at her, "what are you gonna do here? flaunt your legs?" another story was from our very own evp, who was referred to as "the lady in hr" by the males as she was the only female in the first plant she worked for. instead of taking the remarks as an insult, they used them as an inspiration to make them "stronger women". all of them, the speakers in the telecon and the evp's i have talked to shared the same value - authenticity and working hard towards one's goals. in the end it's the contribution that is being looked at and not your genitals. the discrimination part only happens on females who succumb to these insults, who eventually become incompetent in the process thereby tarnishing the idea of a "working woman" similar to people smirking at some car accidents after finding out that the absent-minded driver is a female thus the term "the lady driver".

going back to my question, if i am going to give the same answer - hard work and authenticity. you don't have to be mulan and pretend your a male. a female just needs to become what she is and work hard to be recognized as a leader. it's all a matter of knowing where you are good at and not pretending you are what you think is fit for the work. moreover, if you are yourself -- you know what your beliefs and principles are -- you will become a great leader. 

March 11, 2012

boredom at its finest

after my desperate attempts in trying to become a red bull rampage freerider* at the filinvest trail, which made me bring home "minor bruises, scratches and a slight bump in the head" last thursday night (yes i rode and battered my bike at night time) *sarcastic undertones*, i have to rest this weekend so i called-off our saturday road-ride with sir suiee. so here i am stuck for two days with nothing to do but smother boredom. however, being bored at home is a good thing for me as my intuition often attacks during these moments and i arrest it with a pen, a pencil, or a camera. for today, the camera is my medium. herein below are some of my shots.

doggie, the kitten i have salvaged last year from the wrath of 4 year-old kids, was following me around the house this morning until my mom came. he didn't mind posing for photo shoots.

"do you want a cup of tea?"

my parents love antique stuff. one of my favorites is this set of tea pot and cups, which my dad bought when he was assigned in india. we had this ever since my sister and i were kids. before, mom placed it on top of the refrigerator so we won't reach it but we were both strong enough to climb our way to the top with the help of a chair. 

my mom and my sister used to play the piano but due to work constraints, no one's playing it anymore. the keyboard is made of original ivory (yeah... kill me elephant lovers!) that a lot of unscrupulous piano tuners attempted to persuade my mom in exchanging them with plastic ones saying that plastic would save us more from tuning often (because ivory is brittle) but they did not succeed.

one of the many antique jars at home.

this is the view from the second floor of our home.

this angle of our staircase reminds me of alice in wonderland

yes, we also have candles everywhere

here's another candle but what i like most about this one are the pebbles i have added on the plate. i took them at the nearby river at sir remy's home in sibuyan.

... and a candy corner

this is the favorite spot of my dad, myself and the cats at home. we always fight for reservations in this part of our home.

he owes me his life so he has to share with me.

books and magazines...

sunset view in our living room

a chic place mat my mom bought at a very cheap price

redbull rampage -