Monday, December 08, 2003


Yesterday was one of those Catholic school holidays, and from Mega Mall to Glorietta, I did see quite a number of Ateneans (of course whether they in turn saw me is another matter altogether...).

On a side note, I did get stood up by my date yesterday, which is something I'm used to by now...

Write It!

One of the advice of my teachers is that when you have an idea or story to tell, don't tell it to anyone. Aside from the fact that they might steal it, these kind of things build up in you that once you get it out, the pressure is gone. At least when you write it down, it's immortalized (on paper or on the computer screen). Spoken words, however, are gone the moment they are uttered.

I'm Shy

Would you beleive it?

Anyway, the next anime convention is a few days away (ticket prices have gone down from P150 to P100) and this is usually the only time I actually socialize in my asocial life.

I mean here I get to meet and see fellow anime fans (and some of them are awfully pretty, hehehe) but I guess the biggest challenge is the fact that a chunk of my friends are into cosplaying and I don't cosplay (it's expensive and I'm not driven to go as a certain character... and I'm lazy).

I usually feel I need to prove myself or I feel left out of some of the conversations. I end up helping the cosplayers with their costumes since something always goes wrong (either it's a prop that needs fixing or just handing tissue to wipe off that excess makeup). I guess I'll always be the "extra", the lackey to everyone else. I mean looking at my past it's always been like that: the editorial assistant at Pulp/MTV Ink, the "assistant" (not secratary) at Elbe-, errr, Comic Collective, the proxy at a certain someone's book launch...

Now I don't mind being second to someone. I don't need to be the president of the company or the leader of a certain group. service is something I'm capable of. As long as it pays well. Or at least I get recognition for it.

Chinese Careers

To me, it seems the life of a Chinese is all about order and structure, as can be seen in Chinese history (but of course, there always will be exceptions). In contrast to the US where everything is informal, and while they do have "freedom", things are also a bit way too chaotic (in my opinion).

Many Filipino-Chinese parents carry on this philosophy about order and structure in the vocation of their children. It begins with sending their children to exclusive Filipino-Chinese schools, not only to teach them Chinese language and culture but to nurture camaraderie among fellow Chinese (and I have known a number of people who think they're better than the rest simply for the fact that they're Chinese).

This carries on to a person's social life. Having Chinese friends is good. Having non-Chinese friends raises your parents's eyebrows. After all, it is their belief (in Chinese pride, claiming that the Chinese are better and China is a better place) that everyone else (or maybe just Filipinos) are inferior. Perhaps the only time non-Chinese friends are really accepted is if they're rich. But all this happens behind the scenes, for the Chinese are too polite to say it in front of you. At least not in a language others can understand.

As an example of this Chinese pride, one merely has to find any Chinese merchant. Ask for a discount and he'll probably give you 5% off. Ask it in Chinese and he'll probably give you a better price. But the latter only works if you have Chinese blood in you. And the preference goes to Chinese when hiring employees (sometimes not even of the same level).

Of course by now, you might notice that a lot of Chinese are into business. Sure, there are some who are into the arts, but these are the exceptions (or either they simply can afford to do so or they've breaken away from "Chinese culture" too much). Which isn't surprising because the default career of the son (yes, it's a patriarchy) of a Chinese family is to go into business.

Why business? Well, because it's stable (as in you have a monthly income) and it pays. Painting, for example, doesn't pay (not unless you become such a huge success, which your parents aren't really counting on). Writing isn't stable (at least for those who go freelance). To find further proof of this, one just needs to go to the (*cough* *cough*) "top universities" of the country and look who are enrolled in the Management and Management Engineering courses. A bulk of them are Chinese, and if you notice too, they tend to group together.

That's not to say that career is equated with business. As long as you have a stable income and it pays well, it's a career. For example, what has never changed among Chinese for the past century is the approval in being a doctor (for either gender too). I mean Chinese acknowledge that being a doctor is good, more so for the fact that you could have a high income rather than the fact that you're helping people. And because of "Chinese camaraderie", Chinese would choose a Chinese doctor over a Filipino one, which means you automatically have a high-paying, niche market in the event that you do practice here.

Of course contrary to the stability many Chinese are espousing, the Chinese are into fads as well. I mean back when brick games (Tetris) were at an all time high in the Philippines, many vendors were Chinese. The same could be said for the more recent Zagu craze. And selling mobile phones are something many Chinese continue to pursue. But when you take a closer look, there is something stable about this. As long as it's a fad, it'll surely sell. The only question is until when, and perhaps that's classified as a business risk.

Other jobs not frowned upon by Chinese parents are engineering and IT, the former belonging to the previous generation since during their time, engineers were the latest thing and in demand, the latter the parents of the present generation, since out of their ignorance they think that IT pays well and will be the latest thing until the 22nd century (well, IT does pay well, but IT also tends to be contractual, and there's a lot of comeptition too).

If I were to make a heirarchy of careers, being a businessman is on top of the list (and other business-related careers, business-related in the sense that you're running the show), followed by being a doctor, and engineering/IT-related (which parents think is their foresight in their child's future). Well, it's either that or marrying a rich girl.


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