opinion

NEGATIVITY KILLS

May 27, 2020

SOMETIMES, we feel our life is turning miserably. Our negativity doesn't allow us to keep our eyes, ears - and, most important! -  our minds, hearts and souls opened. Were reaching our breaking point. For many people around us, the "new normality" because of lock-down and so many more new restrictions results in physical and mental illnesses. 2020 - a year we never expected to be like this. And, it's not yet over ... . As I said several years ago here: this breaking point can be the prelude to our strongest moment. It is when we reach our breaking point, that we discover our real strength. Allow me to ask you, my dear readers, "What happens to you or with you when you reach your breaking point?" Do you face it or do you run away? I'll be giving you a very simple answer: If you face it - you break it. If you run away (and/or close your ears, eyes and mouth) - it surely breaks you! Every day in quarantine - a dull reality! Many of us will answer this question with a big YES!  When boredom strikes ... . Actually we do like to cover a newborn day already with grey veil? Each day has a new face, but nowadays, we don't have the strength to watch its countenance. Of course, not every day has adventures and highlights. But we enjoy quarreling and arguing. With other people and even with ourselves. Yes, we're all experiencing new normality. Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that, at the same time, seemed especially desolating and painful with a particular satisfaction. Indeed, everything I have learned, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness. If it ever were to be possible to eliminate affliction from your earthly existence, the result would not be make life delectable, but to make it too banal and trivial to be endurable. By observation, we can feel that many of us need help to manage the everyday life. We need something that would keep us going as we journey through life. Many times we can also learn from other people and their experiences. And here is one more thing: Affection is the humblest love - it gives itself no airs. It lives with humble and private things: soft slippers, old clothes, old jokes, and the thump of a sleepy dog's tail on the kitchen floor. The glory of affection, the disposition of mind, the good will and tender attachment, is that it can unite those who are not "made for one and another", people. Who, if not out down by fate in the same household or community, would have nothing to do with one and another. For me life has been a thing of ups and downs in approximately equal measure. I don't have something sensational to report every day about my progress. Often, I wonder if fulfillment in life is necessarily tied to change for the better. Even now while experiencing "new normality" ... . +++ You can email me: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or visit one of my websites www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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A MOST DOWN-TO-EARTH BOOK

May 19, 2020

WHEN tragedy strikes, it's easy to harden our hearts and cry out, "God, why did you let this happen?" Maybe then, we started praying. Before, when everything goes smooth, we would not even think a minute about praying... . In times like now, while dealing with the corona virus and all the related circumstances, many of us might starting praying again. Each of us has concerns to fight with. Financial and  natural health problems - worries about our future - our businesses, education etc. etc. pp. "To be a Christian without prayer, "said protestant Martin Luther, "is no more possible than to be alive without breathing." Prayer is the only way of becoming what God wants us to be. This is the reason, why Jesus spent many hours in praying. Unquestionable, our daily needs bring us to a place of prayer. Confronted with danger, natural disasters or other  tragedies, as I mentioned earlier, we look for God's help. Difficult times always cause the hearts of men to turn to God into prayer. Let me ask you: How long has it been since your're brought your burdens to God? Since when  did you ask His forgiveness for your shortcomings? During my home office time, I spent a lot for hours in my library. I found a very interesting book:  "People in Prayer". The author Dr. John White reminds us that prayer is a divine-human interaction and it is always God who takes the initiative. White write: "God speaks and we respond. God is always speaking. To hear his voice is not usually a mystical experience. It consists merely of a willingness to pay heed to God who lays a claim to our lives." Yes, God always speaks. It is up to us whether we will listen and respond to Him. Many think we are the ones who initiate prayer. But prayers begin and end with God. There was a time, I wasn't in the mood to pray any more. It seemed that God didn't listen my prayer any more. I didn't get what I prayed for. Of course, not... ! That's not the meaning of praying to God. All my wishes will be granted? Heaven forbid! Sometimes, after we have prayed, God's answers may puzzle us. But as time times goes by and as events unfold we see God's purpose in his answers. We might get a larger vision, what HE likes. Not what WE like... . Think about it for a moment: How does the idea that prayer begins and ends with God affect me now? Do I have the habit of listening to god? How do I respond to Him? How do I usually pray? I confess that long time ago I have been trying to persuade God to change other people in my surroundings or circumstances. Nothing changed. Of course not, what a fatal attraction? I got confused because God never granted my requests. Meanwhile I got God's answers to my prayers. Maybe very simple: I was willing to let God change me... .This is how each one of us should start. Happy endings. Because I prayed according to His will... . Talking about prayer, we also have to mention the probably most down-earth book in the bible which is  Proverbs. Its education prepares you for the street and the marketplace, not the schoolroom The book offers the warm advice you get by growing up in a good family. It covers small questions as well as large: talking too much, visiting neighbors to often, being unbearable cheerful to early in the morning. Proverbs simply tells how life works most of the time. I always love to quote proverbs, which express truth about life in an elegant, witty kernel. You should not hunt through it for proverbs you might like. You should study the whole book to get its overall point of view. This takes time, for Proverbs covers dozens of subjects in the subtle detail. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com .

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Letter to the Editor:

May 13, 2020

Objectively looking at our present circumstance, it is obvious that the President has taken initiatives within the realm of the powers of the state, and his presidential duties and responsibilities, to do what is possible to mitigate and control, if not stop entirely the coronavirus-19. The president’s affirmative actions may not be perfect but it is a work in progress. As is appearing, he tried and continues to explore conceivable options to save Filipino lives while trying to rescue the economy, sustain and preserve our homeland, so that the present and future generations may continue to enjoy a healthy and comfortable life. In fact, he has the audacity to spend billions of public funds and, if need be, to even sell some of our sovereign assets, at the high risk of weakening our cash flow and financial position if only to protect Filipino lives and alleviate the family and household economy during this period of crisis. Ironically, if not paradoxically, it is unfathomable why many of us Filipinos remain ambivalent and even defiant of government lawful orders. Viewed from television images of how our compatriots behave, it is weird that many have even become incorrigible recidivists-violators of the government’s legitimate human security and healthcare government policies. Such display of human behavior triggers the questions: Have they lost trust of our duly constituted authorities and institutions? What happened to our inherent law-abiding nature and value system? Have they lost their patriotism? Metaphorically, our nation may be compared to the human body - a compound complex biological organization comprising of numerous organs separate and distinct from each other with and different functions. Yet it remains mutually inclusive. Similarly, each of us is a part of our respective family, culture, community country, and of humanity – co-dependent or inter-dependent of each other.   Yet, it is intriguing to observe why many of our fellow citizens seems to have forgotten that this government is not solely the responsibility of President Duterte and the 16 million Filipinos who voted for him; nor that of his appointees, or of those we voted to positions of power and authority. Rather, this government is the collective and mutually inclusive responsibility of all Filipinos - leaders and followers alike. Thus, while we don’t have the slightest intent to father anybody’s destiny, we join all Filipinos in believing that the phrase “We the People” signifies our shared goals - the common denominator for our common future.   Virgilio L. Leyretana Sr. Former Undersecretary & Chairman, Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) Father of RA 1996 creating Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA),

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(Updated) Iya Nice is a Tagoloanon beauty inside and out

May 10, 2020

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina-- For our Mother’s Day special, please meet the Miss Tagoloan winner of 1938, who celebrated her 100th birthday last April 25th. Born in 1920, Nice Casino was 18 years old when she sat on her throne, and she looked in every way a beauty queen as Miss Tagoloan. Beauty title holders in modern times are nowhere close to how she projected her image, even with the aid of social media and YouTube. Ever since I came to know this nice lady, I kept asking myself, why is her name Nice? Her eldest daughter Dorothy Antillon said it was the family doctor who suggested the name “Nice.” At 100 years old, she still looks really nice at her age. She lives up to her name, Myrna C. Cosin said. “She is really a nice person. I know her to be generous.” A cousin,Gina Laluna Burias expressed the same sentiments about Iya Nice, saying she is “manghitagun.” Myrna remembered something about Iya Nice that I recall myself. She said she would always ask visitors if they ate already (nakakaon na ka?) when they drop by her home. This simple question brings back a thousand memories of the past, as you can see. As I’ve told so many times in my blogs and articles, I joined the local mainstream media right after I worked as a stenographer at the 6th Municipal Circuit Court of Tagoloan-Villanueva in Misamis Oriental. One time, I recalled that there was a request from Sir Oloy, the late husband of Iya Nice, to deliver transcripts to the house. It was a Saturday morning, and to be honest I had no money, so I went to their house to deliver the transcript and collect payment. Sir Oloy was not there, but the helper ushered me in and Iya Nice came out and asked me, “Nakakaon na ka?” I was hungry, so I ate the sandwich and suman (sticky rice) and drank the coffee she offered. Iya Nice was born in the town of Balacanas in Misamis Oriental before Tagoloan was divided into towns. Now, Balacanas is part of the Villanueva town. She was born to Tirso Casino Sr. and Dorotea Valdehueza, both native Tagoloanons. This mother of three witnessed two world wars,  married businessman Teodulfo “Oloy” Cosin Yap, and is grandmother to three beautiful granddaughters. As mentioned by writer Robert Fulghum in his  book  16 Things Everyone Learned in Kindergarten, afternoon or siesta naps are one of the secrets to longevity. Iya Nice is a product of this practice, along with spending time listening to favorite songs like “No Other Love.” Her memory is still sharp, as she can clearly recall scenes from the 1939 American epic historical romance Gone with the Wind. In a Facebook post of another Tagoloanon ,Jong Casino (Jong chronicles the people and events of Tagoloan through his photography) recalled that Iya Nice was a member of the town’s Tourism Council and the Puriculture Center. Dorothy remembers Nanay having a close relationship with Iya Epoy Mabulay of the Puriculture Center. Iya Nice goes to church at the 6 AM mass, which I also attend. “She has always been there for us. She inspires us in so many ways. Growing up, she was a firm disciplinarian, but she was always fair with the three of us [siblings],” Dorothy said. With three granddaughters named Aaftine Antillon, Anneliese Antillon Galeano, and Natasha Perez, Iya Nice is living the good life. I wish to visit her one day, after this COVID-19 pandemic, for information on events and people in my hometown, which I plan to publish because she still has a good memory. I am sure Consuello Sueng S. Caballero also has her fair share of memories to add to this tribute, but I went ahead to pay my own due to deadline constraints. For questions and comments, email me at susanap@yahoo.com. Also tune into my podcast/online broadcast dubbed “Barangay S” at the Facebook page of 105.5 Bay Radio Way Kurat Balingasag on Mondays and Wednesdays through Fridays every week from 7AM to 8AM Philippine time.

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HOME OFFICE

May 8, 2020

IN times of Covid-19 and ECQ or even GCQ, many of us are lucky working at home. For me it's a double-edged sword. I love to stay at my home office - on the other side, I miss my teaching and meeting people. Working at home - does this productivity come naturally, or can you learn it? For some, working from home is a gift – a remarkable opportunity to focus and be hyper-productive, all the while finding time to play with the dogs and even exercise in short pants. For others – well, the transition isn’t quite as seamless. Some find all they’ve done with their eight hours is answer two or three emails, dream about a having a drink or discover their ‘cheese hour’. It’s true, what British writer Meredith Turits said:  some people simply have dispositions and personality traits that enable them to better adjust to the new world of remote work than others. However, it’s not so black and white. You’re not necessarily destined to be good or bad at working remotely – some may just have to put in more effort than others. Procrastination is never easier than when your superior isn’t looking over your shoulder. As long as the status light on your communication app is green, it’s easy to rush to the fridge and try to get something to eat or drink, or get into a YouTube hole, with no one any the wiser. If it feels easier to procrastinate at home than in the office, it is for most: tele work is a “weak situation” with murkier expectations about behavior, says Timothy Pychyl, associate psychology professor at Carleton University in Ontario. In contrast, he points to a common situation: “In an elevator, we all typically ‘act elevator’, for example avoid eye contact with others, and keep our distance as [much as] possible …. The office is more of a strong situation with expectations for many things such as dress codes, arrival and departure times [and] time spent on or off task.” Weaker cues and lower accountability may make procrastination more likely at home. And without the strong situation of an office, it’s quite a bit easier to dismiss unpleasant tasks and meetings with not very much welcome people. . When there’s a task on your plate you don’t want to dive into, or you’re banging your head against a wall with a tech problem, you’re testing your ‘frustration tolerance’, says Pychyl. Those who have a lower frustration tolerance are much more likely to procrastinate – they’re the people who get up from their desk and find a distraction. I don't know how you my dear readers "survive" these times. Anyway, my very best wishes at the end: stay safe and healthy. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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Public relations agencies in a crisis – or why it could pay to have paid for ads

May 7, 2020

EDITORIAL departments of most publications are often in contact with public relations agencies or public relations departments. They are a crucial part of the media landscape as they provide a service that links brands and media outlets. The role of public relations (PR) is often defined as “The professional maintenance of a favourable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.” In many cases this is done through the dissemination of releases to the media for publication in their outlets. Depending on where you stand, some publishers don’t publish anything unless there is an ad coming with it. Others may heavily depend on the access to ready-made content in the shape of press releases. Now that I write column regularly at the Mindanao Daily, based in Cagayan de Oro in a Mindanao-wide newspaper I would write what I think can contribute to the reader’s knowledge . If there is an advertising contract in place it might mean that the item may get a bit more exposure. Surely the publisher Dante Sudaria, would have some advertisers who seem to be happy with just the ad placement without ever having editorial support. I think it is fair to say that editors would be biased in favour of those who support the media. During my 4-year stint as the General Manager of the Limketkai Luxe I would ensure that those publication who gives press coverage are included in the hotel's advertising budget since they have continuously supported the hotel in getting full press coverage. Amazingly, now people are starting to read my column and even with this time of the Enhanced Community Quarantine ( ECQ ) press releases continue to come thru my Facebook account . And almost I never even met the public relations people except they are brands have NEVER spent a single cent on advertising with the newspaper. Many of those brands behind the releases have also never had time to allow us to introduce myself . And none of the PR agencies that send out these releases have the budget or authority to place an ad to push things along. Without exception, when asked for a tiny contribution, with amazing payment terms mind you, to keep publications going during this time, there is no answer. Not one of these releases has made it out of my inbox. Now everyone is singing the same song “We need to work together to make it through this.” While this is a very agreeable notion, so far, it seems that those brands coming out with press releases don’t seem to realise that it takes two to tango. A friend of mine was musing that he would have to have a very specific message for PR professionals after the lockdown as he may not have any media outlets left to place the releases as many publications are shutting down. And then we have the releases or information coming from brands that have been supportive of media for a long time. These are the ones that may now be benefiting from their longstanding relationship with media through advertising campaigns. I don’t think anyone would turn down the request to publish something now from a business partner that has for years paid for ads. It simply pays, in times like these, to have supported the media with hard dollars and cents. It is important to have good content, but it does not pay the bills. Editors, writers and publishers I have spoken to have the same question: How come brands can spend on the PR agencies, but ‘don’t have a budget’ to place ads in the mediums that they want to use to get their message out. They want the medium to use their resources to help them make money while they are unwilling to return the favour. While the PR agencies surely won’t work for free, even in times like this, the publisher will be left with bills to pay while there is no income. It makes it clear to publishers where their loyalties have to be. Once the dust settles, the publishing community will take stock of whom they could count on for support. Publishers, editors and other media professionals will remember those who stood by them when they were most needed.

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