Monday, September 13, 2010

Joaqui's Favourite Pastime

Forgive me if I crow a bit. Believe me, only grandparents are entitled to this privilege.

Got some great Joaqui news.

Of course to a grandparent like me, “great” may mean that special moment Joaqui started turning to his side, the first time he chuckled, the moment he pointed to the Jollibee mascot and said “Jabee,” or his first ever no sablay dash to the toilet.

When Joaqui adeptly held my son’s drumsticks for the first time and wowed us with his baby drumsing (that was what he said when caught with the sticks, “Oh, I’m just drumsing!”), we naturally chorused, “Hallelujia!”

So here we are again, proud grandparents, grinning from ear to ear as if Joaqui won an Oscar. So, as usual, I’m just too happy to share his opus with you.

“My Favorite Pastime,” speech he delivered at Mt. Annan Christian School’s (Campbelltown, NSW) Speech Night (second place among Year 2—Grade 2 in our system—contenders):

“My favourite past time is playing with my sister. I like my sister because she’s very funny and silly.* My favourite game to play with her is hide and seek and tag. We like playing together because she is part of my family.

“My sister’s name is Charlize. She looks cute. She has long black hair and big beautiful eyes. I love my sister. And I’ll still love and forgive her every time she does something wrong.

“My sister is 3 years old. And when she turns 4, she’ll go to prep next year and I’m excited to be the one to pick her up from her classroom.

“My sister is very joyful and happy and is always there to cheer me up. That’s why playing with my sister is my favourite past time.”

Paolo Joaquin Atas, bow.


*To Australians, “silly” stands for being playful and humorous

Monday, September 6, 2010

Super-Size Me

What makes your blood pressure rise whenever you see one of these hallowed brands in a store window?

Louis Vuitton? Hermes? Gucci? Prada? Chanel? Rolex? Lacoste?

I bet you would say, “All of the above!”

We love good brands. That’s understandable—since trusted brands assure us of quality and performance. A trustworthy company surely takes the pain to gain its customers’ confidence, making sure its brands satisfy for the long term, giving them that extra edge above other consumers.

No wonder they command the highest prices. And their customers don’t flinch!

Offer Paris Hilton a stylish $10,000 Hermes Birkin bag—a brand which easily caters to her vanity and which she may love too for its utilitarian appeal—and she’d just be too happy to oblige.

You may get the same unblinking reaction from our own very own Ruffa Gutierrez, or Jinky Pacquiao. With the latter’s billions, who’s to say she couldn’t have a Louis Vuitton, even if it costs Manny, the world’s most prized boxer, say P200,000?

Inggit lang tayo!

But we ordinary mortals would flinch at these price tags! In the first place, LVs or Rolexes are out of our league.

Enter jafakes. They look and sometimes feel like the real McCoy.

And they definitely envelop you with a weighty super-size me aura—a sparkle which gets to your friends whom you truly magnetize with your feel-rich blings .

Because otherwise, why settle for a jafake when you can trust another brand which will work as efficiently anyway.

Case in point: I bought an imitation designer bag for a few bucks. In a few months’ time, its handles gave way, so bye-bye runaway Coach!

Naunahan kasi ng porma, instead of common sense.

So I made sure my next choice was a no-nonsense yet still stylish leather bag. It was definitely costlier than a jafake, but it didn’t cost me a fortune, and proved a good match to its weightier contents. (You know what things teachers lug around in our bags?)

I’m sure I’m not alone. Most of us Filipinos have a collective propensity to embrace branded products, no matter how fake.

I used to go with my sister Daisy (She’s now in heaven by the way and so immune from the worldly desires we still struggle with.) to Greenhills shopping center. Oh boy, those goods really looked delicious. Of course they were all fakes! But observe shoppers going gaga over them.

So who are we to blame for our collective love affair with branded goods, even if they’re not the real thing? (Don’t we always look for a whipping boy?)

“Mental colony,” someone wittily punned "colonial mentality" a long time ago to satirize our tendency to glorify anything American even if they're undesirable. But we’ve moved from being a US stooge. Today, we are as competitive as any Tommy Hilfiger, Dickies and Harry Potter brand.

My goodness, we devour foreign authors’ works yet snub our own which can stand up against them. (Please excuse this diversion so I can plug my book—“GOING UP? Making Right Choices at Work”—due for release at the International Book Fair, SMX, Mall of Asia, Sept. 15-19. Please look for the OMF booth.)

Honestly, we can never be defined by our possessions, more so by the brands we acquire.

And I’ve discovered that only one brand—or one name or one manufacturer or one identity —matters.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:10). The bible says that in the Lord’s hand, I am a brand new creation!

Why must I be agog about other brands when what matters IS MINE already?