My Social Prerogative Versus An Occupational Must

A brief rundown of my social history and characteristics:

Quiet and shy. Never a social butterfly. More of a larvae: unmoving; socially retarded. That’s me.

Push me into a ‘sizable’ group of female acquaintances and there’s no chance you’d hear my voice for two hours straight. Dumb smiling or listening is all I’d be able to manage. Confounding, yes. It’s actually one of the great mysteries of this planet.

In the company of ‘a modest number of’ friends I feel comfortable with, I am gregarious. My close pals would vehemently apprise others, “Geena (my blog name now, btw) is quiet and shy? No way.”

In college, my attempts to look cool, like my “gangmates”, included lighting up a cigarette every now and then during our hangouts. Still, for all my stab at sophistication, the flavor of smoke on my tongue was atrocious. So in the few seconds my pals weren’t looking, I’d spit out the foul taste on a nearby soil. I’d turn around only to see them laughing at me.

In my 20’s I started carrying a persona which was equivalent to: “You don’t like me? That’s tough. As I couldn’t care less.” Not entirely or always accurate from my core, of course.

My 20’s also saw me conducting with a lighter carriage amid my dealings with the opposite sex. I don’t know. Compared to women, it’s a breeze to be genial around men. It might have something to do with my being a tomboy as a girl. Plus the fact I simply like men.

The male bestfriends I had had were mostly gay; although my closest confidantes have been female. I believe it’s practically impossible to have a straight man for a ‘real’ bestfriend. Deep inside, straight men could consider only a fellow dude their true bff.

I’ve adopted a torpid stance in the pursuit and preservation of friendships these days. All relationships require effort. I figure why go pleasing certain #&@% when my own company is a lot more pleasant. Right right, I could get self-absorbed I admit. Or maybe, this is another plain manifestation of growing older. But really, most ladies my age here I find too blabby, as in blah blah blahbby bohring. Am I of semblance, as well? Indubitably not. Don’t forget — I am strange.

I hate pretending, to boot. Albeit there’s Breaking News: This coming summer season at school, whatever remains of my social skills will be put to a test – in the performance of my job. However did that come about? Story below.


I have two bosses – both foreigners; both from the land of unrepentant consumers of our beloved Bow-wow-wows. I am at the moment sitting across from the more difficult head honcho. Inside his room are he, the head teacher, and I. The special meeting has been going on for nearly an hour.

Our company is in the red – especially throughout off-peak seasons. We must try harder to keep students and not lose them, regardless of their disposition toward learning English. Teacher M, you have to pretend – even if the students aren’t good enough or well-behaved. No doubt as to your competence, but…you must strive to be like the other teachers who have to put on an act that all students are likable. For the benefit of our school.”

Holy Mother of Monster Tuna, how am I supposed to pull off something that repulsive (I ponder with worry).

Can I rely upon you on this matter?”

A painful pause. Sir…..I’ll try.”

You can’t just tell me you’ll try. Tell me you’re going to do it.”

A long, difficult silence befalls.

I don’t know… allow me some time to think about it.” Well, my conjecture is management can’t castigate me for maintaining my bar — which aims toward my predilection for diligent students, over the insolent and indolent ones. They should know I have my privileges, in view of my pioneering role in the academy.

My boss senses this. He begins to execute his last recourse: Teacher M, I’m begging you…”

Now that is mortifyingly awkward — sussing I’ve reduced my boss to pleading to his mere subordinate. Oh dear old MrPark, you need not beseech me.

Okay sir, I’ll do it.” I blurt out. “I am going to pretend. And I’m doing it only because you ask me to. This one I’d be willing to do. Just for you.”

A hint of blissful reassurance glints underneath my boss’s reserved demeanor.

It’s a tall order I may not be able to follow. I must remind myself, however, of the times my bosses put up with me, of the many times they had been patient with me – especially in one, no, two instances when I had plonked my job on the line for personal reasons (uh, that’ll be another blog post). I owe them that much.

We all came out of the meeting with a lighter heart. Giving in to his request somehow provided a hush, sided by a feeling of gladness.

Now I have to make a pact with myself to do a double sign of the cross each time I enter a classroom.



This favorite dance tune of mine by Bobby Brown was from the soundtrack of “Ghostbusters 2” a movie I didn’t like much. I love “Ghostbusters 1”, though, largely because of Bill Murray, whom I have adored ever since his first major hit — the wonderful and delightful film “Stripes.”

This star-studded video also (for a few seconds) featured Christopher Reeve, the original Man of Steel no other actor playing Superman could surpass.

Anyway, here’s the talented Bobby Brown before his messy marriage to the famous singer. I am of the opinion, too, the song is another underrated piece of his.

Talking About My Job Which Has Become The Biggest Part Of My Life

This blog is a running record of my life, my thoughts, my emotions. Therefore, I am entitled to express anything I wish regardless of who I might offend. K?

Taken a week ago by my student using my Polaroid tablet. Polaroid stuff are supposed to take very good quality pictures, right? Nice view from glass window behind me is surprisingly non-existent. But  I look 8 years younger, at least. :-)
Taken a week ago by my student using my Polaroid tablet. Polaroid stuff are supposed to take good quality pictures, right? But the nice view from the glass window behind me is surprisingly non-existent. Well, this shot made me look 8 years younger, at least. 🙂

As a teacher, I am well aware of my abilities. I love what I do. Give me a student who is willing to study, who’s willing to be taught, and I’m good.

A group class is more challenging for me, which is abundant during peak season, a period each occuring at the middle and end of the year. Handling a group class provides the same benefits of a performance; I like being in charge in front of an audience who, in this case, are my students.

There were a few students who became dear to me – something that could only be engendered by the enthusiasm they had shown me in studying the language. Without that, there is really nothing much to connect me to any of them. In case you’d be intrigued to know, throughout the annals of my teaching profession, I can count with two hands the mere number of trainees who had shown interest in assimilating my favorite dialect.

There is another confession to be made here why I am not crazy about these kind of people: They are among the highly self-absorbed inhabitants of this planet, IMO. The superiority complex has been attributed to their rapid financial progress since the 1990s. You may get surprised how the new generation is spawning bratty kids who have no genuine desire for gaining knowledge; who may end up economically dependent on their parents their whole lives. You’d also be surprised to know most of them dislike the English language – and the American people.

But the more disturbing reality for me is their general lack of concern for animals. The majority of them even hates cats. The most repulsive fact of them all? They eat dogs – something that’s deemed legal in their state; Heart-crushing for an animal lover like me. Well, I live in a country where dogs get eaten, too (I know I know, how horrible), especially on drinking sprees during festivities. I find it abominable to my very core. It’s considered against the law, nevertheless, and we do not have legitimate restaurants for dog-meat consumers.

Why then am I working for them? I was past 35 years of age when I got this job. One hardly gets hired where I live once you start approaching your 40s. Besides, this line of work was decidedly ideal for me because I love English. I didn’t want to go back to accounting and administrative work – the line I had been trained for in college. A wonderful opportunity as well to read the good books that are available in the academy for my self-development beckoned. And I needed the income.

It has been eight years now. There has been countless of times when I’ve had misgivings on the worthiness of it all. Heaven knows what I gave up for this job within those years.

This is how I’ve honestly felt in spite of my fondness for English and my vocation. A bit of hard sentiments from me I guess, but I’ve come to augment my standards on the ones I interact with.

And perhaps you now get a better understanding as to why I just have to frequent the blogosphere and seek my few favorite writers who give me back my sanity at the end of a full day’s work. 🙂

How Helen Gurley Brown Shaped My Life (So, have I been a good girl or a bad girl, really?) part 1

Yep, it’s Helen Gurley Brown, baby. That legendary Cosmo lady who has been considered the best friend of every woman over the age of consent. Potent in her frank, offbeat trademark, the best-selling dame of the advisory genre from the 1960s to the 1990s shed appreciable light on the ups and downs of the single girl who juggles life, career, and love all at the same time. Her books – plus the Cosmo magazine which she headed as Chief Editor for decades – have served as my compass in my dealings with men for the longest time. As a consequence, even if I have not always been successful in handling my friendships, romantic liaisons, business undertakings with them -mind you- I have had wonderful times in their company on the whole and still love love love men as a species in general.

HGB (Feb 1922 – Aug 2012)

In my 20s to early 30s, I got to be a fan of the HBO megahit “Sex and The City” – in spite of its oft ridiculous storylines. I thought then the show owed its success big time to Ms Helen Gurley Brown, who pioneered the serial concept of Sex and the Whatever. The HBO series, by the way, which I followed from beginning to end had Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte forming the NY quartet struggling through their demographics in the many areas of love, sex, gorgeous clothes and pricey shoes. I can say I am a cross between all of these quirky gals – minus their expensive wardrobe and Samantha’s long list of bed partners. (Take note: I might have been amazed by Samantha’s incredible libido [gasp] but I could only slam her for most of the yucky men she slept with. Why couldn’t she have been more picky?!)

the girls of SATC
the ladies of SATC

When my aunt migrated to the U.S., she left us big boxes full of stuff she couldn’t bring with her anymore. In one of them I found an old, tattered paperback copy of Sex and the Office – a guide to the intricacies of the workplace jungle. I was soon to start college, majoring in Accounting, so I thought I’d need the book for my future reference as an office gal. How I got hooked reading her book and from then on became a life-long fan of the celebrated editor of Cosmopolitan magazine. My collection of HGB books expanded to Sex and the Single Girl, Having It All, Outrageous Opinions, and The Last Show.

In an era when feminism was yet to snowball, Ms Brown was able to transmit categorical codes to the female species about how ok it was to yearn for love and lust, whichever would come first; to feel normal being “out of control” concerning the affairs of the heart even (just no telling the men, please); and how alright it is to delight in men as the opposite gender – them being friends, lovers, family members, business associates, colleagues at work, not to mention your favourite cleaning man or delivery boy.

While my dear parents took turns imparting time-honored modes of thinking and morality, HGB was also infusing me with new directions of thought and conduct. Honestly, the proverbial good girl is what I’ve been most of my life even though I confess to have gone astray a few times on my way to “maturity.” In what manner, you ask? Er, let me get back to you with that in another post.

As my elder sister was the fragile, graceful princess of the family in our growing up years, I was the shy tomboy who played basketball, ran around with the boys in the neighbourhood, went biking all day with my brother and who’d proudly do a perfect somersault well into my teenage years to impress my friends and playmates. I was also the shy tomboy who liked boys – as buddies and playmates. And who would nevertheless feel giddy around the gallant, masculine, good-looking ones.

Sort of the rebel daughter – that was me, too. It had been difficult to totally commit myself within the shackles of my parent’s Good Girl paradigm – as they would repeatedly insinuate the very importance of being pure on your wedding night. Secretly, I was thinking, “You two must be kidding. I can’t wait that long!” I questioned deep down the necessity of saving a girl’s virginity for her future husband. That resulted in my losing “it” at the age of twenty with my first serious boyfriend. Foolishly – in retrospect.

Now I think my parents were absolutely right all along. tsk-tsk…

HGB might have overlooked several factors in her books – especially with regards to marriage. She dished out counsel and viewpoints as though all men are qualified or would end up to be good husbands to their wives, and vice versa. That once you’re able to snag a guy, that’s it. The path is set for connubial paradise. You could only die happy being married to some guy. That’s where she got things dead wrong I believe.

Don’t get the mistaken idea. I love and adore Ms Brown. For the major reason she taught me the value of work and how crucial it is for every woman to stay financially independent.

There are actually substantial things many single women, like me, don’t take seriously and fail to feel grateful for. A fine case in point: I may not have found the man of my dreams, but the consolations Life has provided me aren’t godawful. I still receive a pay check every month; my good health is intact; my independence is something I prize eminently, and the possibilities to savour my life are boundless. These are the blessings a single girl tends to forget time and again – all because of the constant need for “male attention” she’s been encouraged and programmed to seek her whole life.

A question you might ask: Have I learned my lesson well? Not to the max. Unfortunately. Probably because I am a woman. I possess a delicate female heart, which is no different from every female heart inhabiting this planet. A heart that up to now periodically longs to be attended by the power of the masculine realm.

Oh well, your suspicions are right. I just may be a bundle of contradictions. But at least, it’s something I got to write about here. To shake me to my senses somehow.

But the one question remains still which might never have an absolute answer until the end of my days is: Have I been a good girl – or a bad girl my entire life?


Perhaps only Helen Gurley Brown could have helped me answer that.

June Babe Musings

The verdict has been out. Our current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court just got impeached for his major offense of failing to declare his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth honestly. The drama that dragged on for months on end here like a tiresome soap opera has finally concluded. I’m relieved it’s over, hoping the dust will settle soon, paving the way for a new paradigm of governance in our country.

Early weeks of May also has seen torrential rains that are quite uncommon within the period that is still considered to be the peak of summer season. I have not gone to any of our beaches yet. So I guess that spells the end for my prospect to become this year’s undisputed beach babe. 🙂

I actually envy those with motherlands having four wondrous seasons. Winter.. Autumn.. Spring.. (I left Summer out coz I ain’t a fan of the sun’s oppressive rays and heat) I’ve seen these splendid seasons on movies and photos and had people who have regularly experienced them described their splendor to me. And I go, “ Wow..” or “Oh, oh wow..” Everytime..

My side of the globe has got only two seasons. Summer and Rainy. Just like Black and White. Nothing paramount in between. What a drab.. I wonder if my life is like having four seasons instead of two.  I find myself contemplating on that..

What would my favorite season be? I think I might adore Winter because of the snow. Snow falling everywhere can be the most magnificent sight in this world. Besides, I love the color white in everything, like I’m forever basking in its heavenly glow. Autumn will come in second for the mild, lovely somber mood it can bring. Legends of the Fall is one title I’ve kept to heart for my whimsical love-of-words why and wherefore even though I’ve never watched the movie. Same for the faint melancholy I fancy in the phrase The Autumn of One’s Life.   

a rare ladies’ night out for me during the weekend. That’s me on the left wearing a green shirt

“Marj, you work too much.” A seemingly nonchalant soft remark from the last guy I had been seeing while we were having dinner several months back. That was after he learned I had been working on Sundays closing down a few minor business transactions.

“You think so?” was all I could manage in response. We broke up soon after. Thinking about it, I guess I simply fell naturally in a sort of routine then. I never consider myself a workaholic, because I really am not one. But at that time, there seemed to be no better way to spend my time productively.

Gone is my penchant to casually hang out with colleagues or pals just for the sake of spending time away. For some inexplicable reason (getting older perhaps?), they cease to be my cup of tea. And these days I only go to the mall for the sake of getting my main form of exercise which is, walking. A year ago when I discovered the joy of reading and writing blogs, I was in seventh heaven with my new-found avocation as I find myself spending my time rewardingly indulging in my favorite language. I admit to have never tried Skype yet. (Yes, you must be thinking from what hollow cave did I rush from) Webcam I had done only twice some time ago with a cousin who migrated to Canada.

only 1 bottle of Red Horse and I was done. Ok, perhaps 1 & 1/2, I swear 🙂

I told one of my colleagues the other day I wish I could just spend most of my time reading blogs, honing my “blogging” skills by simply writing. But the thing is, I’ve got a full-time job. An 8-5 Monday to Friday act. When I get home, I’m already a bit worn-out, what with holding a full-class schedule at school.

There’s a confession I’ve got to make when it comes to my reading and following blogs. I confess to following only three or four blogs currently using RSS Feed. These are the ones that have smacked me compellingly enough to become their religious follower way back. I’ll be totally honest in admitting I can’t get myself to click Follow easily even after some bloggers did acknowledge my post by Liking it. The sole reason is that I hardly have the time to follow more than a few blogs. The last thing I want to do is follow a blog ostensibly as it isn’t fair to the blogger who’s been keeping the “Followed” blog. So I sincerely apologize for that..

Before winding up my musings here, let me mention two of my most favorites for now that freezes me right on my track. There’s this intelligent lady blogger who can dish out loads of wisdom in exceptional, no frills, smooth-flowing writing style, whether she does it with her sagacious comments to other blogs, or putting out twenty-four-carat post pieces in her own site. It’s like I’m getting life lessons from a much wiser sister. I do feel fortunate to be one of her followers.

Then there’s this young talented, bright blogger who keeps an adorable blog writing his way into women’s hearts with beautiful, at times metaphorical prose of unsent romantic letters that mention of unicorns, and flowers blooming in secret gardens.. creating worlds beyond time and distance..
Somehow he makes me want to believe again in faithful hearts and pure, undying love. Exquisite..

Girl bonding in Eastwood Centre