Saturday, November 13, 2004

Mobile Phone Usage

There are two things which I keep on my person whenever I leave the house: one is my wallet, which can get pretty thick at times (and not because it has money but because of the miscellaneous items that's in there), and the other is my cell phone. Personally, the cell phone was something I initially resisted, but eventually acquired. Now, it's actually part of my life. But there are times like today, when I left my phone at home and went out. There was a feeling of liberation, that I didn't need to bother myself with phone calls or text messages. Let's face it, carrying a phone is a double-edged sword: while we're theoretically able to call anyone from anywhere, the same is true for us. And there are times when we just want to escape from the world.

But of course, I don't want to take a vacation from the rest of the world, which is why I carry my phone most of the time. A few years ago, I was quite lonely. Even though I had a number of friends, it was difficult to get in touch with them. Or sometimes, when you call up a person you haven't talked to in a long time, the first thing they think is what do I want from them. Well, I want to talk to them, or at the very least say hi. The cell phone allowed me to do just that, thanks to the ingenuity of text messaging. For me, text messaging is something you use either to remind somebody of an event (such as when and where to meet up), or to say a one-liner which doesn't merit an actual phone call (such as saying good morning or good night). The latter was something I frequently used before but now stopped because of the number of people in my phone list and the ever-increasing cost of phone bills. The former wasn't something I like to depend on, but is frequently used by everyone else I know. For example, when I want to meet up with someone, I usually ask for a specific time and place to meet up. Nowadays, they give me a vague time and place, and rely on text messaging for the rest of the details. Which is well and good assuming both of your phones have a clear signal and still has a good battery life span. But I'm sure there are times when you meet up with a person and their phone either goes dead or they don't have a signal (or worse, the phone is somewhere where they can't easily access it or hear it beeping, such as a purse).

I also have a peculiar case when it comes to using cell phones: I actually use it to make calls. Now for many Filipinos, this is a foreign concept. I mean text messaging is expensive enough for some Filipinos. Whenever I make a phone call via my cell phone, people I know treat it as if it were a long distance call. They either drop the call, thinking it would save me money if I just sent them a text message (but hey, I'm the one making the call and paying for the call... if I wanted to send you a text message, I'll send you a text message... there's a lot you can convey in a one-minute conversation that a 250-character text message can't), or don't answer at all (thinking that they'd save me money by not answering the phone). Of course the latter is also likely to happen for several reasons, such as the phone not currently in their possession, them not hearing the phone ring, their their battery running out of energy, or simply a refusal to answer any calls you make because they want to avoid you (the blessing/bane of caller ID). In the case of not having the phone in your possession, it defeats the purpose of having a cell phone doesn't it? (Of course I understand if this happens only occassionally.) If you can't hear the phone ring, it's also meaningless isn't it? (But there are exceptions, such as when the phone needs to be on silent mode, such as when you're in a movie, a meeting, or in class.) If your phone is running out of energy, I'd appreciate a reply stating why the phone can't be answered. And of course, if you're refusing the call, it would similar be appreciated if you were notified as to the reason why (even if it means sending a text message that says "I hate you and never want to see you ever again!").

Perhaps the most disturbing phenomenon in the Philippines is not when the other person doesn't answer your phone, but when they don't reply to your text message. Personally, an "OK" as a reply would be nice, so that at least I know you got the message. Because honestly, there are several possibilities for not replying: a) you got the text message, b) you got the text message but don't have enough credits to reply, c) your phone got the text message but the phone isn't with you, d) you didn't get the text message because of either a busy signal or your phone is turned off, e) your phone got stolen and is currently in the possession of someone else or f) you got the message, but you don't want to reply. Now as the sender of the message, all these possibilities are running through my mind. And as much as I try to think the best of other people, the longer I wait for a reply, the more time I usually dwell on the less-positive traits of people. Of course I usually try to call the other person to see what kind of situation they're in (if the phone isn't ringing, then there's a good chance you didn't get the message because of the busy signal). And of course, perhaps the scariest experience would be when no one picks up the phone, because that doesn't give me comforting options.

On the better side of things, the power of cell phones is the ability to inform people of last-minute changes. For example, my friend yesterday told me a few minutes before the rendezvous that he'll be late for an hour. At least armed with that knowledge, passing the time for 1-hour would be more comforting than not knowing whether the other person will show up or not. I also get to talk to people who are extremely busy or seldom at home, whether it's a simple text message or a lengthy phone call. And some people use their phones as a glorified video game console to pass the time, or as a digital camera, or as a video recorder, etc.

The popularity of the cell phone, while it has some benefits, does introduce some problems of its own. It's far from the most pefect of tools, but it also has a great potential to link people.

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The past two days has been a break for me in the sense that I got to relax and unwind myself. Unfortunately, that has a side-effect of leaving lots of work undone, and I have to re-attune myself if I plan to actually get some writing done.

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Friday, November 12, 2004


I over-extended myself, leaving the house at 8:30 am and not coming back until fifteen hours later. Sad to say, didn't get any writing done (and I won't be getting any done today since I'll be leaving in thirty minutes or so).

I probably strained my muscles because of all the walking I did. I did get to visit my alma matter yesterday, and while the places are still the same, the atmosphere felt different, probably because most of the people I used to know weren't there anymore.

And of course, the muscle strain and overtextension refers to me walking all the way from Ateneo to UP.

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Thursday, November 11, 2004


Perhaps one of my biggest advantage is that I'm willing to learn. I'm not the smartest person you know, nor am I the most efficient person that exists in this world. But I am always curious, which is probably a good trait for a writer. There are usually two ways of learning: formal (i.e. school) and informal (i.e. experience) learning. And of course, as is typical of me, the best kind of education would be both types rather than just one of them.

I've heard a number of people bitch about school, about how they never learned (or put any of the stuff they were taught to "practical" use) anything from it. Well, get over it. If you think that you never learned anything, it's probably either 1) you refused to learn, or 2) you actually learned something but you're just not aware of it. Now I highly doubt most people would fall under #1, but if you do have that attitude, then I really can't help you. You can't force someone to willingly do something that they don't want. The same goes for learning. You can be taught by the best teachers in the world, but if you don't have an open mind, what's being taught to you comes out of your ears. For me, I've always recognized the fact that my fellow students and teachers had lots of things to teach me. Which is why I learned. Perhaps one of the things I did fail to learn was that there was something my parents could teach me. And it's only now that I'm actually learning from them what I was previously ignoring or taking for granted.

Reason #2 is perhaps the reason for this entire essay. Most people expect that learning comes from formal education, or what your teachers can teach you. Most people are wrong. The only one who can teach you is yourself. Which is why #1 is important. Second, school was a great learning experience for me. Because I recognized that a lot of things were being taught, and not just from the lesson your teachers were teaching you. The institution called school actually teaches formal and informal education. The former comes in the form of your teacher's lesson plan, and their method of teaching. Make no mistake, what they teach is important, especially the basics. I don't expect you to put to practical use your calculus, but I do expect you to know the basics such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The same goes for English, and in my case, Chinese and Filipino. And when it comes to Science, well, let's just say that when you're replacing the tire of your car, you better know which side of the lever you should be pushing.

So formal education is important. How about informal education? Well, informal education is usually associated with trial and error. And in certain ways, we do practice that. I mean how do we choose our friends? We simply pick them from who's there. But as we grow older, we're more meticulous when it comes to choosing our friends. We don't just choose whoever's around; we usually have some sort of criteria, such as the person's moral character, and for some people, usually their credit rating as well. Why do we do this? Because we've had bad friends before (well, not necessarily bad, but we do have friends who sometimes cause us more trouble than they're actually worth). I'd like to think school has played an important role in that. I mean I was bullied in school, taunted by the other kids. Thus I knew that not everyone in this world was kind and loving, that life is unfair. From that experience alone, there's already a wealth of information I could learn from. Being bullied taught me to stand up for myself, or perhaps not to give up, or perhaps how to fight "smart" and not with brute force, or simply to play by another set of rules. I'm personally grateful for school not just because of the education I was given, but from the friends I've made. That's something home-schooling will probably never be able to give its student: the social atmosphere, of having a seatmate, and belonging to an actual class. The basics of team spirit could also be found in school. I mean you're assigned as a class, and for some activities, you're broken down into groups. That's already group dynamics for you, especially the part when someone chooses his or her group members. I mean that wasn't always a pleasant experience for me (simply because I don't get chosen and I end up having to "market" myself) but hey, it taught me a lot of things in life.

Your teachers aren't the only teachers in school. There's your friends, who can teach you a lot about friendship and loyalty, for example. There's also the school staff, without which the whole school wouldn't function. I mean didn't you ever need to call a janitor, if only to mop up the mess you made in the classroom? Or perhaps had to use the school restroom, and appreciate the order of the place? The teachers themselves also reveal what it is to be human. Hey, your teachers aren't perfect; they're human too. The can get hurt by your actions but they can be happy as well and appreciate it whenever you greet them or thank them.

School was a good time for me. It was there that I learned that the most important thing in life was not how much you knew, or how much you earned, or even how powerful (whether physically or politically) you were. It was about relationships, and the core of any relationship is people. I learned how to make friends, and by that alone, I came out a better person. If there's anything you should learn from school, it's that.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I Can't Read!

Just came from my ophthalmologist (yes, it's really spelled that way, according to the American Heritage Dictionary) because I had to have a retina exam. Unfortunately, part of the procedure involves dillating my pupils, so right now, I really can't focus on any words or pictures, at least when I'm near it.

I guess that means I won't be getting any writing done for the next few hours. Times like these, I wonder what'll happen if I go blind. I'll probably learn braille. Must continue writing...

And in case you're wondering how I managed to type all of this and get most of it (at least I hope so since I can't read) right, well, I'm blessed with a touch-typist's fingers.

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The Price Is Right

I'm not a big fan of my parents. I'm extremely grateful that they raised me up the way I am and that they give me my allowance, but aside from that, I really want to get away from them. Let's face it. We children, at the very least, are a financial burden to our parents. And actually to other people as well. I don't want to be a burden to anyone. And I try to help out other people as well. So it really surprised me when my dad told one of his friends this statement: "Money can be replaced and expenses can be recuperated. People, however, can't." And I agree. I've been practicing that for most of my life. But it's different when you find out that you and your dad agree on something good.

For my part, friendship never came easy. I've had a long history of losing friends, whether it's because they leave the country, leave me because of a certain conflict (like during grade school, a lot of my popular friends became bullies), or simply because we both drift apart (and we're all partially responsible for this). I may have lived a comfortable life (I got regular allowance and got three square meals a day) but I also lived a lonely one. If it comes down to a choice between earning a million dollars or saving a friend's life, I won't hesitate choosing the latter. Of course having said that, I won't lend you money just because "you feel like it". But hey, if you haven't eaten yet for the day, I'll treat you out to lunch or dinner.

And in truth, it's also easier to come by with money more than with people. I mean the former isn't exactly the most critical of judges. Money doesn't have a brain or a heart; it's just there. It doesn't care whether you're a criminal or a saint, whether you're kind or mean, whether it was obtained through lawful or unlawful means. Obtaining money can be as simple as robbing a bank, or as complex as investing in the stock market. People, on the other hand, have higher standards. Even the poorest of the poor, for example, won't befriend just anyone. They have their own criteria. The criteria we choose doesn't even have to be a logical one. I mean there are people who choose friends based on their first impressions, or what they "feel" about the person. Others base their decision on physical appearance, social standing, or common interest. And while making new friends might sound easy to some, keeping them is the real challenge. I mean I can dump money in the bank and I'll know it'll be there when I get back to it one month later. When it comes to people, you can't leave them "unattended" for one month. They change, they grow. I know relationships that have been broken just because one of the parties didn't call up the other person every single day. Or boyfriends and girlfriends that break up just because the other person didn't reply immediately to their text message or phone call. People have emotions and they can react in the most unpredictable of ways. Some of our friendships are even accidents. You can make a formula for earning money, but you can't make a precise formula for making new friends: there will always be an unpredictable factor when you're dealing with people.

From a business standpoint, human beings are the product of experience. We don't just manufacture babies en-masse and then send them out as slaves or workers. For one thing, they have to be trained. For another, they have to actually agree to do the work. And third, you have to treat them right so that they actually like the job and keep on working for you. We're all human beings, after all, and we shouldn't treat others in a way we would want ourselves to be treated.

Why is kidnapping prevalent in the Philippines? Because it works! Nearly everyone values people more than they do money. Money doesn't love you back; it's just there to be used. It's people that are the ones that can be hurt and disappointed, pleasant and happy. Even the kidnappers themselves have loved ones that they value. I mean the perfect punishment for kidnappers wouldn't be to execute them but to execute their families (or even just kidnap them). Many kidnappers would then lose their motivation for kidnapping.

Unfortunately, our society also has what we call scapegoats. These are people whose main purpose is to be blamed for anything and everything. I mean when something goes wrong in government, there's always someone else they'll blame. Is it the right person? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But that's not the point. It shows how we're willing to sacrifice one person merely for the greed of others. Of course on the other end of the spectrum, we love to make other people our scapegoats. I mean whenever there's a problem with the economy or if there's a crisis, we immediately blame our president. Sure, our president might be doing something wrong, but not everything is her fault. Do we ask ourselves what we contributed to our country's downfall? And make no mistake about that, we're also partly to blame for the current state of the nation. And when we turn people into scapegoats, they stop becoming people: they're now machines, creatures that only exist for one purpose. It's not even a purpose they determine themselves; we merely assign it to them.

My friend Dean gave us this exercise once. Make a list of your "best friends" or people you can't live without. It can be as long or as short as you want. Now for every person you remove from that list, I'll give you $1,000,000.00.

Have you trimmed your list yet? Don't worry, we're not yet done. Now with your trimmed down list, eliminate as many people as you want. For each additional person you remove, I'll give you $10,000,000.00.

Evil? Perhaps. But hey, I wasn't the one telling you to choose which person (if any) to eliminate. The lure of money is actually quite tempting. And make no mistake, I'm not saying we don't need money. But do imagine a world where you have all the money in the world, but no one to spend it with. Money is a means, not an end. People, on the other hand, are ends in themselves.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2004


The one thing that surprised me the most was the fact that I actually joined this year's NaNoWriMo, due to the encouragement of Dean. And perhaps what's even more surprising is that I'm actually planning to finish the 50,000 words by Nov. 25, 2004.

On a side note, here's what I manage to churn out today. It's far from my best writing, but hey, that's what editing is for (once the month is over).

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A Conflict of Interests

I think that in general, people do possess the right values. For example, we all know it's wrong to steal, for example. The real problem arises when there's a conflict of values. For example, when it comes to stealing, some people might resort to committing such crimes if either their lives or their family's lives are at stake. Of course such decisions don't have to be world-shattering. It can be something as mundane as voting for your "favorite" American Idol, for example.

Here in the Philippines, Jasmine Trias did cause quite a stir (and some people think unjustly so). I'm not here to debate that point, but rather to point out how a conflict of interest can arise. Many pro-Filipino supporters told people to vote Jasmine Trias solely for the fact that she was Filipino (and we do get that kind of logic often here in this country... why just a week ago, there was an email circulating in the Ateneo mailing lists that we should vote for a certain VJ on Channel ETC solely for the fact that he was Atenean). Now normally, there wouldn't be a conflict of interests. I mean if it was the Miss Universe pageant, for example, we'd certainly be rooting for Ms. Philippines. But we should also remember that American Idol is not just a competition of national roots; it's one about talent and passion, more specifically, music.

Now I'm not saying that Jasmine Trias has no talent. I think she does (but don't take my word for it since I don't really listen to music). However, if I were a musician or a big fan of music, for example, it would be blasphemy for me to choose a singer based solely on their ethnicity. I mean where's the justice in that? If I want to attach credibility to my person, I'd choose the one I think has talent (and that may or may not be Jasmine Trias). Someone who's known for his good musical ear certainly wouldn't select an amateur's singing, for example; he'd choose the professional's. Now if you're someone who thinks that Jasmine Trias has good singing talent, for example, and you're also supporting her for the fact that she's a Filipino, then well and good. But what if that's not the case (either you don't like her singing and you're a Filipino, or you like her singing but you're supposed to be supporting someone else)? Then there's a conflict of interests.

I'm not here to tell you which side you should value more. You're smart people. Each of you have different loyalties and you should weigh which one is more important to you. I mean if Jasmine Trias was an abstract person, someone I didn't personally know, I probably wouldn't vote for her. But what if she was someone I knew, someone I went to school with and actually befriended? Certainly that fact would affect my decision. Would it be any less valid than the rest of the world's? I don't think so, but I'm certainly entitled to it.

One of the things I like to point out is that while we already get heated up by something as trivial as this, other conflicts of interests are present in our Filipino lives. I mean a good example why nepotism is prevalent in the country is because of this reason as well: when many Filipinos vote, they think of who they're related to or who they personally know or who they can benefit from most, rather than who they think is actually qualified to help the country as a whole. Now some people might say that the former are idiots and are only serving their own selfish needs, but we should take it from their perspective as well. The Phillipines as a nation is an abstract concept. Sure, this and that political leader may help a particular part of the nation, but that part of the nation is someone I don't know. At least with this particular leader, I see results; results that affect me in the here and now. Is it fair that my vote goes to him? Perhaps not, but life has been unfair to me as well. Aren't we all tempted to think like that?

I think that one of our dominant traits is that we think in terms of individuals and families. Everything is personal, while concepts remain intangible and foreign. If we want to touch the hearts of Filipinos, we must do it in a way that affects them personally, one that addresses their humanity rather than their logic. The greedy exploit this fact. And perhaps for some of us, we're only too willing to give in to them. It's easier, after all, to leave our fate in the hands of others and be swayed by our emotions.

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Busy Busy Busy

It looks like I'm going to be quite busy this week, although those moments aren't necessarily fulfilling.

On a side note, of the said events involves having a retina scan for my eyes, to make sure they don't fall off. Hopefully, that gets resolved quickly.

One Hundred Dozen Posts

Well, officially, I'm past the mark of 1,200 posts over the past three years of blogging. Here's to more blogging, more writing, and hopefully, more talent on my part.

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Monday, November 08, 2004

Sense of Worth

Perhaps now more than ever, I find myself evaluating my life (i.e. midlife crisis) and trying to find my sense worth. It's probably due to the fact that when I was a kid, I had low self-esteem. But it's also probably due to the fact that I'm not in school anymore, and the goals I have aren't something other people set for me.

I mean the moment you hit school, whether it's nursery, grade school, or even high school, it's ingrained into you by teachers and parents to get good grades. If I scored high and got awards, I'm doing good. And when this happened, I did swell with pride. But over time, getting good grades stopped being my goal, and my sense of worth was derived from something else.

I have an inferiority complex and that was reflected during my grade school and high school years. I was constantly yearning for friends, trying to earn their trust by doing them favors, bribing them, and attempting to be the cool kid in general. I failed. But not all the time. And so, I did manage to acquire friends, although not necessarily close ones. My world revolved around them. If I was with friends or if I got accepted into their social circle, I was happy. I felt content. But that didn't last too long either, especially when I came to realize the shallowness of my relationship with them.

There was also a time when I fell in love. I became devoted to one girl. Too bad the reverse can't be said. Perhaps the one thing I could be thankful for is that whenever I have a crush on a particular girl, I'm focused. My happiness was centered around her happiness. Nothing else could chafe me. To make a long story short, that didn't work out too well either. I'm too dependent on other people for my happiness, and in this case, it's in the hands of an individual who's not me. That didn't work out too well either.

I'm easily mistaken as being a rich kid. If I was rich, I wouldn't need to be looking for a job. But I admit, I do enjoy a moderate amount of opulence. Does that give me a sense of worth? Well, for one thing, I didn't earn it; it's given to me by my parents. There's no satisfaction in that. Second, while money can buy you a lot of things, it's all useless if you don't share it with other people, or if you're alone. That's perhaps why I'm bored to death and having this entire dilemma in the first place. Yes, money makes you live comfortable, but not too comfortable. It really doesn't give me a sense of worth.

What else is there? My writing? Well, there'll always be someone better than me. And while some people do like my writing, I'm sure there's a fair number who dislike it as well. My writing gives me pride, yes, but as for a sense of worth, I'm not there yet. How about my intellect? Well, aside from me, few people recognize it, or actually utilize it. Hey, I know I'm a genius in a lot of things, but that's useless if I don't get to practice it (or put it to good use). No sense of worth there. How about my attitude? Attitudes and behaviors can be changed. Mine changes as well. Sure, I take pride in my integrity. But I could be doing more. I really have a lot of things to be thankful for. But it doesn't ease my longing of self worth.

Nowadays, I feel useful when I help other people, even if it's something as simple as helping you carry your bag. I also feel some sense of worth when I'm being productive (i.e. doing work), or at least it distracts me from thinking about it. And sometimes, it boils down to my friends. If I'm with them, that's great opportunities for me to flourish. Nowadays, especially on the Internet, I feel so helpless since the most that I can do to help out other people is to cheer them on and greet them. I often want to do more than that. But I can't (because hey, I'm only human, and I really wish I could give a reasonable solution to every problem).

My sense of worth comes from me. It's my life, after all. While what I mentioned above is good (helping other people is always good!), it's perhaps even better when your basis is something rooted within yourself. Yes, we're social beings, which is why it's important to interact with other people, but we're also individuals. I can't live all of my life with my happiness dependent on just other people. Which is why I treasure time alone. Because I get to do the things I want to do and have to do. Because I get to ponder about this crisis of mine, and find a solution for myself. Because I discover more of who I am, and what I'm capable of.

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Sunday, November 07, 2004

Wanted: A Job

Anybody have a job a Creative Writing major can apply for (but not a call-center... my psyche can't handle it), whether it's a writing job, editorial assistant, etc.? I don't like being idle, especially when one has financial dilemmas.

On a Side Note

Can anyone download eps of Legend of Galactic Heroes. I think there's a few eps at BitTorrent. A friend of mine is asking for a copy.

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Escaping Your Past

I really wish that I could say that throughout my whole life, I have no regrets. I can't. I've made mistakes in the past, and sometimes, my reputation precedes me. Some people treat me like I'm the devil himself (and sometimes, they are justified), while others treat me the same way even if I don't know them personally. That's why integrity is important. Integrity gives other people a guage of how much (or how little) to trust you. And what kind of relationships will we have if other people can't trust us? Or perhaps more importantly, what kind of lives can we live if don't trust yourselves?

Perhaps the most important thing I learned about developing a bad reputation is to get over it. I can't change my past so there's really no use moping about it. Move on. Change the present (and the future). Who I am today is something I have control over. That I can modify. If there's anything I could learn from the past, I'll incorporate it into my life. That's the beauty of living, after all. We're all capable of change. Might as well use that for the good. Sure, there'll be some pepole who'll think badly about me. I can't change that. The only thing I can do is to disprove them by living a better life, and be an example for the other people who haven't known me yet (or those willing to give me another chance). It might sound unfair or brutal, but hey, that's life.

And of course, I don't want to be a hypocrite. I don't judge others by their pasts. I want other people to treat me by my actions in the present. I'll extend it to them first. I'll also recognize that people can and do change, sometimes for the better. I'm an example of that. I shouldn't give in to my fears. I should think better of other people. And similarly, I'll judge you by who you are now. Sure, you may have done this and that in the past, but if your present is lousy, well, that's something you're responsible for. I'll give you another chance perhaps in the future, but if in the here and now, you're acting like an ass, well, there's really no point for me to give you the respect you think you deserve. When it comes to writing, we have a saying: "You're only as good as your last work." Which means we have to continually prove ourselves. It doesn't matter if I wrote a masterpiece several years ago if what I write now is crap. The same philosophy extends to people. You might have been a great person before but hey, people change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Good for you if it's the former. If it's the latter, well, it's time to change.

I'm talking about change change change but there must be a basis for our change. Mine was my code of ethics and beliefs. I discovered that my previous philosophy involved only me. There was no one else but me, me, me. Everybody else was secondary to my needs. People were merely tools. I'm glad I had a paradigm shift. People aren't tools, they're just like me, with needs and desires. People can be hurt. People need warmth and compassion. They can't be a random statistic. I don't want to be treated like a random statistic. So my current code of ethics involves what's not just good for me but what's good for others. And that involves being consistent with it. Sure, I might make a mistake. Or because of my judgement, I'll cause injury to other people (or even lives). Which is why it's important for me to live according to what I believe in, and to make sure that what I believe in is right. Other people can't make that decision for me. Only I can. I must decide what is "right", and I'm sure other people will disagree with my opinions. But you know what, I have to live with my conscience just as they have to live with theirs. We're accountable for our actions. Which is why I can only do what I believe is right, according to my set of beliefs.

And since I'm a victim of having a bad reputation, when I make decisions regarding other people, I'll make sure it's my decision. Sure, other people can warn us about certain people. And sometimes, they are right. Our friends only have our best interests, after all. But we must also remember that our friends are human too, and sometimes, they are capable of making mistakes (or they don't view the world in the way that other people do or in the way that we do). If I'm going to be angry or hateful towards someone, I'll be acting that way because I have experience to back it up. I mean when other people usually ask me why the other person dislikes me, I'll give them my side of the story (and everyone has their own side of the story), and then tell them to ask the other person (or their friends) their side of the story. I don't want other people to make decisions or jump to conclusions based on my facts alone. You're smarter than that. You're capable of making your own decisions. And if the other person really deserves their reputation, you'll figure that our for yourself. You don't need me to watch over you all the way and constantly warn you about the other person. And for all I know, that person might have changed for the better. I'll give other people, especially strangers, a chance. If they're as bad as other people say they are, then they'll reveal it.

Perhaps what I think other people should practice more is also asking what you did wrong. Ask that from yourself and from the other people you injure (whether intentionally or not). Sometimes, it's just a misunderstanding. I've encountered lots of misunderstandings in my life. If it's that, I usually try to repair it. Sometimes, the misunderstanding is cleared up. Sometimes, it's not. I've had personal experience when the person refused to accept my apology (even if I wasn't necessarily the one who started it). Or other times, they refuse to give comment on what I did wrong (and I usually try to imagine what I could have possibly done to offend that person). Perhaps it's the latter that hurts me the most. Because I'll never know what my mistake was, or how my actions were perceived. I mean I know some people who are still mad at me for God-knows what reason (and I certainly wasn't trying to take advantage of them). And these people spread their anger to their other friends. At that point, all I can say is that I've tried my best to make amends and change myself for the better.

There's really no way for us to escape our past. It's part of us. We're only human, after all. But we can learn from it and change for the better. All we can hope is that other people see that change in us and give us a chance. But of course, we must also give other people a chance as well. That in itself reflects our maturity.

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