Friday, February 25, 2005

Trying Hard to Slang

**I don't know if this is supposed to be funny or just plainly cruel.

One of the many things that kept me busy this month was this week-long training course in American Accent. I took it with the idea that a certificate in my resume would increase the size of my balls to near-implosion, and though I don't really need to enroll to validate my speaking skills, it would be fun to show off. Basically, I was there to get certified and to look nice, but I really had no idea what I would realize in the long run.

There were about eight of us in our training batch, and like they always do, we started the session with a brief introduction of ourselves. I spoke last, but before I was able to deliver my verbal handshake, I was bombarded with enough inconsistencies to leave me speechless for a while.

We haven't started training yet, so the obvious absence of the American accent was forgivable, but the tragedy doesn't begin there. We have a situation regarding their understanding of English, and believe me when I'm trying hard to make a sufficiently condescending understatement.

Underscore "sufficiently condescending..."

It was a five day training course, and I learned everything I needed to understand on Day One. Sure, I was able to pick up useful tips on how I can further improve, but everything else that I've come to understand was just simply disappointing. Don't get me wrong, the training program in itself deserves a tap on the back for it was just marvelous. But my co-trainees were, well, for lack of a better word, they were horribly _______.

I'm not usually this blunt when talking about people (har), but their understanding of the English language was sufficiently far from admirable. To say that they have a loose grip on the English language would be a morbid work of charity. I mean, the following lines from those _____ are simply dumbfounding, and hopefully will help you fill in the blanks. And understand that I was using a spell checker before posting this, so typographical errors are just plainly impossible.

"I'm not happy anymore with the depression things and the mind boggling stuff."

"I like to play basketball because of my camaraderie of my friends... my friends... that's it."

"I just sleep to relax my body, so instead of committing a sin, so I sleep."

"graft & corruptions"

"I understanding"

"As far as I know that you'd like me to tell you..."

Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet's big unsinkable boat sank when it collided with this huge chunk of ice floating in the sea. Apparently, the ironic tragedy of the sinking unsinkable boat was engineered by but an insignificant part of this even bigger chunk of ice. Deliciously enough, this makes for a curious movie reference on account of my ______ co-trainees' initial defect pales in comparison when they actually tried speaking in an American tongue. Recall that this was an American Accent Training to begin with, and the main purpose of the program was to neutralize the Filipino in our English to give way to an American accent. And yes, they were wonderfully consistent with the wrong grammar all throughout. Surprisingly, more of those abovementioned quips were encountered along the way. Just when you thought they couldn't be any worse than that, they never failed to exceed themselves.

Turns out that their erroneous grammar was but soil on top of the mudpie. See, knowing how to speak in English is independent of speaking it with an Accent. And this was an entirely different can of worms as shown by the following scenarios:

"Now, pronounce the word apple with a schwa [ae]"
(a schwa sound [ae] basically is the trick to making it sound american)
[ae]pel (no, it's not [ae]pEl, it should be [ae]pple)
affel (what happened to your P's?)
[ae]ffel (were talking about a fruit here, not a tower in France)
[ae]pples (oh dear)

"So what's your favorite kind of food?"
(we heard answers like Japanese, American, and one German, but this one took time)
I like Filifino... (one f please)
I like Pilipino... (this is an American accent course, say it like an American!)
Filipino... (there you go), I like Filipino pood

"How do you describe the color red to a blind person?"
I will pocus on...
(No, it's pronounced as fow-kis)
I will focus on... (again, it's fow-kis)
I will focused on... (something's wrong with your grammar, "I will fow-kis on...")
I will fow-kis on on my fersonal peelings

Stagnant is a word I haven't been using for a while now. And I kid you not when I'm telling you that I'm writing everything as they were spoken.

I asked these people why they attended this training course. Of course, the answer was obvious enough. They wanted to make it in the call center industry on the understanding that "learning" how to speak like an American would be a welcome benefit when they need to apply in any particular center. As a matter of fact, cross out "benefit" and change it to "asset" since they believed that they would have an edge after graduating from this week's worth of training. They were thinking that the certificate from this program would do them a lot of good. Not only would it look good on their resume, but it in a way makes them easy shoe-ins for any vacancy in this particular industry.

Well, that's stupid. See, learning how to speak English in a manner similar to those of Americans is different from being able to speak correct English. There's just no point in trying to speak with an accent when you're backing that up with absurd sentence constructions and infestations of grammatical flaws. Sure, Americans themselves are no different with the grammar, but then, you'll know what they are up front.

The thing is, why do you have to bother learning how to speak like an American when you can't even construct a sentence in fucking English? What damned good would that be? Why would you even bother buying yourself a goodlooking cue stick when you don't even know how to play pool? You can bop yourself silly on the head with that cue stick, but you'll gonna have to find some other ways to use it. Otherwise, it's just a pointless expense to begin with.

The idea that people just want to apply in call centers just proves to show that it indeed is a very established industry. Believe me, I'm talking out of personal experience. I've been there, and I was a happy witness to more than enough money than I deserve, a radical working environment for the chronically nocturnal, spiffs and incentives that'll make you forget about payday, and free coffee. I was even sent to a resort in Fontana to train, yes, to "train," and I got paid overtime to do that.

See, this particular industry does have a lot to offer. When you're in it, you basically have everything in your favor. It delivers a well-compensated position, unlimited avenues of learning, and a very charged working environment just to name a few.

However, as one unforgettable person used to say, this isn't a charitable institution. This is work, and they are simply justifying those benefits with a strict and arduous recruitment process. They need to make sure that they're hiring potential assets, manpower that has the talent and the skills to make the company perform good and look good at the same time. And like any organization bent on profit, they need to make sure that they're paying for their money's worth. Sadly enough, people who say things like "I understanding," "graft and corruptions," and "Filifino pood" just ain't their money's worth.

It's the sad truth. It's unfortunate, but this makes perfect sense. We all know that nobody would like to maintain liabilities in their organization. We buy pimple treatments because zits don't look good on us, and we'd prefer to eradicate them as soon as possible. At the same time, we make sure that our skin's clean enough to leave no space for such corruption.

But the thing is, it isn't for everybody. I really don't mean to break anybody's heart, but it isn't for everybody. Call me a cruel heartless bitch, but these _____ are basically "everybody."

I'm sorry if I had to be blunt.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

In Defense of Call Center Agents

** This was an article I wrote before as a response to this one halfwit I encountered in my Friendster network.Anyway, here's what he said:
"una sa lahat,, ayoko ng mahilig mageenglish!!! badtrip un!! lalo na pag paslang pa!! okay lang kung pabiro,, pero kung serioso?? naku!!!"
And here's what I said...

I've been in the call center industry for a year and six months now. Because of our target market is an english-speaking environment, and since we're speaking mostly with Americans during the 7.5 dialing hours of the shift, it's just natural if I, we, were to acquire a certain slang with the way we're speaking our American.

See, it's my profession, it's the job that I do, and I take it seriously. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to excel in this industry, starting off with the slanged tongue.

When people start disliking me for this acquired asset, it's either one of two things: maybe they failed Accent Training, or they just don't understand the near-necessity of speaking with a twang in this industry. I'm thinking it's more of the latter.

It takes a halfwit to start attacking the things they don't comprehend, and it takes a greater pail of phlegm to utterly despise this particular necessity. The one thing I really don't get with people of "white matter," (white matter is when the gray matter of the brain's gone so obsolete it faded) is that they have this amazing inclination to start hating, fearing, or maybe even groaning at things they don't understand.

Case in point: "una sa lahat,, ayoko ng mahilig mageenglish!!! badtrip un!! lalo na pag paslang pa!! okay lang kung pabiro,, pero kung serioso?? naku!!!"

This is from an actual description by one of the people here in my personal network in Friendster. I don't really know why this was posted, but I'm thinking that must be the SAME reason why I'm posting this short defense. I'm challenging whoever that was to read between the lines. I think that IF EVER the above statements (IN TAGALOG, previous paragraph) was directed to anybody in the same industry as I am, then here's your explanation:

"I am a call center agent, and I speak with Americans every single day in the work week. Americans are really not comfortable being pitched at by some 'Puerto Rican/Indian/whathaveyou,' and they tend to disagree with the sales pitch because 'they're not understanding' what we're saying. So, we try neutralizing our accents to sound less like 'Puerto Ricans/Indians/whathaveyous,' and we try to develop a certain accent for our personal well-beings as well as CSR's. If this rubs off in our daily 'kuwentuhans' with the people around us, don't even dare accusing us of being frustrated conversationalists or wannabe Caucasians. And if you're not comfortable hearing what we have to say with our acquired accents, it's not our fault, and I could never stress that enough."

If you're so beyond stupid you can't construct a sentence in English, let alone speak it okay, then put your finger out of my ass. It's not comfortable for either one of us. I'll start hating you not because you don't like the way we speak, but because you're starting to insist this particular dislike with an unnerving intensity. Yes, we are in the Philippines. And in this Tagalog-speaking community, there probably is no real reason in trying to speak in English with an accent to match. However, when your job depends on it, and your performance even more so, then you'll have no other choice but to learn. I really don't imagine that sick fuck to be able to reach this part of my article on account of all these straining sentences constructed in English, but I really would like to direct my point.

I would like to add something else to this, but I would prefer to adhere to the standards of diplomacy and refute the enchanting invitation to offend. Or to rephrase that in a manner which he would perfectly understand, "hindi bale na lang."

And in case you were wondering, I was writing this with a slang.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Dear Moron

**The dude in question's a real person. Ain't he a pretty daisy, and he was also under attack in a previous post, so I guess that's two strikes for the dumbass.

Dear Moron,

Allow me to express my deepest sympathy over your acute inability to appreciate English. Your misguided attempts to take me down really inspires much hope, as nobody's ever done that before. To tell you the truth, it's just futile, just crack futile. However, don't stop yet since I'm not asking you to cease with the name-callings. In fact, I'm personally endorsing it. Maybe you'll get creative along the way, and I'll give you a tap on the back.

You know I'm all for mental growth and all that good jazz. Most especially in your case, only it's intesive care.

Yes, you were the same halfwit who denounced Filipinos speaking with a twang, with a slang, with an Americanized tongue. Goes without saying that I remember you well, on account of I know that I am the only one Filipino you heard speaking with a slang. Well, tough luck, I ain't leaving, and it just gets better now that you're attacking my writings with the same stoo-peed fervor.

No, I didn't spell that incorrectly. I did that on purpose. And if you happened to not notice that, my dear imbecile friend, then you really are surprising me beyond measure.

You hate me probably because you'll never get even half as smart as me. You might now know a lot of things, your being a moron basically, but consider yourself fortunate. You are enjoying such blissful stupidity. Though I ain't wishing the same luxuries you probably are enjoying right now, try not to poke us with your dumbstick.

I really have no idea what caused your ass to lose its alignment. But it would bless my poor soul if you'd manage, out of the kindness of your heart, to have someone kick the stupid off of you.

And by the way, if in any case you were selling me something, trust me on this one: I'll buy anything from you except the story that you're not gay.


P.S. Yes, our village is glad to have you as our idiot.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

My Hate List

**This was something I started in 2000, when I have all the reason to hate. Back then, I used to think that this was going to be a growing list, but I stopped on number 35, and have been feeling better in one way or another. Maybe this was therapeutic, maybe I got tired of enumerating what I hate, or maybe I found out that the body count on the things I like just outweighed the number of things I hated. And since I've been using the word "maybe" too much in this introduction already, maybe you should try doing one of this too! See if it helps.

1. Groundless conceit.

2. Lack of purpose.

3. The sound of grinding teeth.

4. The sounds people make when they eat. Chewing, the singing soup, that of the tongue slapping furiously against the roof of the mouth, that of noodles getting sucked in between the lips, slurping. You can't help it? I understand. I mean, farm animals can't stop themselves either.

5. Disillusioned teenage philosophers. Angst isn't enough to make a philosopher out of you, and the hormone count hitting the roof doesn't give you an excuse. If I needed to hear something about love, it wouldn't be coming from you fools.

6. The assumed "depression syndrome" generally prevalent among minors.

7. Being out of place. I used to call it "involuntary displacement." Not to be confused with being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

8. Poverty. Always a bitch.

9. Pride, most especially when it's too large to swallow.

10. Having to wear wet socks.

11. Overacting... too much. Yes, overacting too much, and that's intentional.

12. Those DAMN fortune tellers. Just shut up, it's a fucking coincidental stroke of luck, and you can't predict my zipperback boots causing your ass to lose its alignment

13. People who smile too much too often. Personally, I find them weird, so weird that getting away from them as much as possible is not just an option, it's a necessity.

14. RQI going out of business. It's this arcade I used to frequent during the heydays of Streetfighter Third Strike, Tekken 3, and DnD Shadows Over Mystara. I was such a geek so popular there, and it was something of a home away from home. I really hated it when I went there one day, only to find out that they're closing shop for good. I was inconsolable, until the local billiard hall started doing business.

15. Discrimination of any friggin' sort.

16. Insecurities, be they mine or whosoever's.

17. Lack of self-acknowledgment.

18. Having no choice but to become subservient and necessarily polite to superiors who are not even half as smart as I am. Basically, it's working for halfwits and calling them "Boss."

19. People who insist that "they don't care" what other people think of them. Incidentally, they're the same hypocrites who horde beauty products in kilos, trying to impress the hell out of everybody else. And it's not just beauty products. See, they're also the same hopeless losers who try so friggin' hard to fit in. And yet, they really don't care what other people think of them.

20. Those who think they're cool when they really are not. I see them as these narcissistic fools destined to a lifetime of self-deception. Sad, but they don't seem to notice, being idiots so completely beyond a bitter reality check. But then, ignorance is bliss, it might even be cool at times, but these stupid kin are too busy social climbing to notice.

21. Lack of self-confidence. I mean, if you know you're not using the wrong deodorant, then there's just no reason for you to feel like you're inferior to someone or something.

22. Double dead grammar. Like "wrong mistake, false pretenses, IRregardless," and those who never even bothered to explain, much less correct, their flaws. Then again, rectification is wasted on idiots inasmuch as life is wasted on the living. Doug Adams is so right on the butt.

23. Those who think (re:THINK) they know too much. Yes, they might know a lot, but it's just buttloads of obsolete crap you wouldn't use in any practical scenario. So what if Jupiter has this much moons?

24. Chronic farting, smelly feet, halitosis, and dandruff ALL in one person. Imagine my disgust when I once sat next to this most repulsive bastard on my way to UST. Bad hygiene is a turn off, noh.

25. Whoever hates traffic leads the life of a fool. I mean, there's no use hating it, it's always there, and it's sometimes necessary. But then, that doesn't mean you have to like it or something.

26. Wannabe-famous celebrities competely indifferent to their acute lack of talent, goodlooks, or both.

27. Abortion. Or the "near-life experience." Funny, they also call it "pro-choice" as opposed to "pro-life." Might as well equate the word "choice" in this equation with "murder," since they're not "choosing" life anyway. Pro-murder, that's what it is, and regardless of the circumstances behind the homicide, it's still a dead child in the long run.

28. Politics. I just hate it for no particular reason.

29. Nepotism makes equal employment opportunity sooo twentieth century, doesn't it?

30. Excessive optimism. Those who have this should be hanging by the balls, upside down, stuck to a beehive. Which reminds me of something I read about an optimist who committed suicide. He lived through the experience, but his survival made him a pessimist since he was so damn sure he'd make it the first time.

31. Being at the wrong side of a door slamming. If it doesn't physically hurt, then expect a really offensive assault on your humanity or something. In your face.

32. Severely undertalented athletes, their boundless conceit, and their endless goatlike chewing on gum. Much like #26 up there.

33. The wrong claims to fame.

34. Chain letters

35. Gate crashing. I mean, they will send you an invitation if they wanted you there.

A Sad Disclaimer

**Let me explain the madness...

I began writing in the year 2000, and that was the time when I really started worrying for myself. I mean, things were going okay for a while. I'm a year away from graduating with a degree in mathematics, my single parent's doing well in her job, and her offspring are all in UST. In a year, I'd be a degree holder already, and I'll probably be looking for a nice job out there, what with the diploma and all.

Then I failed a major subject along the way. I thought all the while that this was something that I could just take in summer, or the year after that, but then I found out that I will be so fucked if I can't do anything about it. And much to my chagrin, I wasn't able to do anything about it. I mean, this wasn't something that they offerred in summer school, and the least I could do was to wait for it second sem next year. Or paint myself red and then run for the hills.

Which means that I wouldn't be graduating next year. The domino effect started taking place, and I was seriously fucked up. Big time. In this case, I only have two dominoes, graduating on time and then the bragging rights of a math graduate, but they both fell down with a deafening crash followed by a waving dirty finger.

I wanted to look at the bright side of things, like there was any. I mean, I'm going to have a full year to myself, do things I haven't done before, find a job or something. Hey, the joys of multitasking as a service crew sounds exciting, maybe I'll try that. I mean, what can be more fun than taking orders, serving noodles, and then going around the store armed with a bustrag, ready to wipe tables clean. But then, this excercise in optimism is damn futile. I knew that I was being stupid all along.

It was in the same year that I started growing my horns as a smoking fiend. I got acquainted with my current bestfriend, Marlboro Lights, and I got to know him better the more I spiraled downwards in deep shit.My mother hated that, and she reviled my smoking more than she did my stopping from school. But she did not cry over my smoking.

It's all going so great, until I found out that I won't be going to school next year.

Basically, this was what started it all.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

In Between Bookmarks and Dog-Ears

**Hope this explains something.

I have a confession to make.

The aroma of paper binded together would have to be one of my greatest highs. Next to mindless, unwarranted sex, two to three hours of uninhibited reading would have been my intellectual equivalent of an ejaculation. The sight of all those hardbounds and paperbacks stacked in a beautiful tower of books is therapeutic, and being able to actually devour the wisdom in each volume is a peaceful ceremony in itself.

There was a time in my six-week vacation when I was voraciously consuming five books at a time. It was actually four lengthy novels ("Four Past Midnight," "The Order of the Phoenix," "Great Horror Stories," "Servants of Twilight"), and a non-fiction title ("The World's Most Infamous Killers").

'Men Reading,' Goya
Sometimes, I really don't understand how I was able to manage poring through all those volumes at the same time. Maybe I was enchanted by all that knowledge. But all I remembered was that the Dean Koontz novel was chapters upon freaking chapters of chase scenes all over California, Harry Potter was showing all signs of adolescence minus the outbreak of zits, and the Langoliers were these little black balls consumed to eating reality in their wake. Blood apparently does wonders to the skin when used externally, and in very generous quantities, like in a blood bath, and that however fictitious, the idea of dying from fear itself makes for an interesting topic of conversation.

Goes well without saying that I just admitted to being a bibliophile, huh?

I really don't need to give an explanation as to how this addiction came to be. But I'm pretty sure it was my father to thank for this consuming appetite for the written word. When I was a kid, I'd remember him taking us to the BOOKSALE in Shaw Boulevard. You probably have heard of the establishment before. It's this second hand store for just about every assortment of used books. He started taking us there in the late eighties, myself and my two siblings, and he'd allow us to wander aimlessly among those volumes, while he waited in front of the cashier, checking out architectural magazines. After a few minutes of foraging, we'd go back to him, with a book or two in hand, and then we'd give it to him for inspection. He'd pay for those books later on, and he always did even if it was something that he didn't approve of.

I used to hunt for old Ikabod comicbooks and Cracked magazines, and I grew a steady collection overtime. My father absolutely despised my Cracked magazines. See, they bore a striking resemblance to MAD Magazines, the one with Alfred Neuman's ugly bucktoothed face on the cover, and he hated looking at that face. But like I said, he'd eventually take out his wallet and then had our picks wrapped in this white plastic bag.

When I grew into adolescence, the trips to the BOOKSALE was always something that I looked forward to. Funny, I was already a teenager, and yet I still repaired to childhood practices for comfort. I really don't know why I keep on coming back, but for some reason, it started becoming my very own weekend picnic.

Sometimes, it was my mother who took us, but it really didn't matter to me since I was always expecting to leave the store with something in a white plastic bag.

And I read everywhere!

I read my Cracked magazines on top of the stairs at one in the morning because it's the only place in our apartment where the light was on at that time of the night. I read something while walking home from elementary school. I read in the theaters while they're waiting to fill the seats before the movie starts. I read while waiting for a ride. And then I'd read in the cab, car, fx, jeep while going to UST and from UST. I read something while waiting for my turn in a job interview. And of course, I'd read myself to sleep.

My father died in 2004, and I brought a book along for the wake. For some reason, I find that as paying a tribute to the one guy who made all this delightful madness possible. Of course, I wasn't reading to him, or for him. I was doing it for myself. See, not only did I seek solace from this inanimate object of my choice, but I wanted to ignore everybody else and bury my nose in between the pages.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

No Woman No Cry

**I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it in 95, and now I still am, after discovering that I still had the Fugees CASETTE TAPE from back then. Of course, tapes were the more popular medium during those times, so get off of my case.

Anyway, after blowing off the dust from the hard plastic, I fast-forwarded to track number 12, took myself a clean stick of Marlboro Lights, and repaired to getting enchanted by reggae with a light touch of ebonic foulmouthing.

Now let's make this clear, my being gay doesn't necessarily mean that the song is right up my alley. Sure, there really is no way for me worry about crying about no woman, like that'll happen. But the general idea behind the song isn't just about love, it's about the simple things in life, the clean crap that we like to remember every now and then.

Aw fuck. Now my blog is moonshining as a friggin' songbook, but I like the songs that I'm choosing anyway.

Feel free to sing.
Hope this makes you feel better.

No Woman, No Cry

[CLEF:] A dedication to all the refugees worldwide
One time say, say, say

I remember when we used to sit in the government yard in Brooklyn.
Observing the crookedness as it mingled with the good people we meet.
Good friends we had,
Good friends we've lost along the way.
In this great future you can't forget your past,
So dry your tears I say
And to my peeps who passed
No woman, no cry, no woman no cry, say say say.
Hey little sister don't shed no tears
No woman no cry say say say.
I remember when we used to rock in a project yard in Jersey,
And little Georgie would make the firelight,
As stolen cars passed through the night
And then we'd hit the corner store for Roots, paper, and brew.
My drink's my only remedy
For pain of losing family, but while I'm gone Shorty,
Everything's gonna be alright, everything's gonna be alright,
Fugees come to the dance tonight, everything's gonna be alright,
O everything's gonna be alright,
The gun man's in the house tonight,
But everything's gonna be alright.

No woman no cry, no woman no cry.
Hey, little sister, don't shed no tears
no woman no cry say say say.
I remember when we used to sit in a government yard in Trenchtown.
The hypocrites as they mingled with the good people we meet.
Good friends we had Oh good friends we've lost
Along the way hey.
In this great future,
You can't forget your past so dry your tears I say
And no woman no cry. No woman no cry say say say.
Hey, little sister, don't shed no tears
No woman no cry and to my peeps who passed away


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