“Remember… Whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you.” –Ziad Abdelnour

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Fellow trainers and employee-evaluators, you know the feeling. You do your best to help under-performing employees get rid of their old self-defeating habits. And yet, this is what you get in return from the ones at the ‘bottom of the barrel’: a backlash of wicked comments.

THE BACK STORY

Allow me to share some inside information regarding the life of a trainer. At the end of the session, we hand out evaluation sheets. We ask for feedback from participants because we want to know:

1.       What to do more.

2.       What to do less.

3.       What to keep as is.

Top-performing participants deliver clear, precise and concise feedback with specific recommendations. Predictably, the unruly, negative and close-minded employees simply rant and bash the resource person hired by the company to help level-up the NPA’s: Non-Performing Assets.

 

MISERY LOVES COMPANY

Employees who are not happy with their lives want things to change – but they don’t want to make any effort to stop their ‘loser’ behavior. It just doesn’t sink into their thick skulls that THEY have to make an effort to change too!

 I have heard statements like this from ‘les miserables’ at the workplace.

 

1.       Why did the boss have to import a trainer?

2.       We don’t like outsiders meddling with the way things are.

3.       Such a waste of money. In-house training won’t cost anything extra.

They want a better life – but hate the people who can help them level-up. Worse, they absolutely abhor it when the trainer is tasked to give the boss feedback and evaluation regarding their performance during role-playing activities and class exercises.

These unsavory characters lack confidence and have low self-esteem. I wish they would give themselves a chance to learn new things instead of ‘shooting the messenger’.

 

AT THE WORKPLACE

Here are some characteristics of workers with crab-mentality:

1.       They can’t stand successful people.

2.       They backstab and even dare to start ugly rumors.

3.       They LIE and deny when caught in face-to-face situations.

 

TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

Bosses, before you believe nasty rumors when crab-mentality abounds in the workplace, make sure you do your homework before you jump to conclusions.

•         You will prove to be extraordinarily foolish and incompetent if you listen to only one side of the story before rendering judgment.  

Make sure your employees learn face-to-face communication skills and conversational fluency. That’s what I teach. Call me. Hay naku!

Vivien Mangalindan is available for Customer Service Training, Interpersonal Communication Skills Coaching, and Public Speaking Seminars. * She is also a Broadcaster. Be entertained as you get informed every Monday at 3:00 p.m. Tune in to SHOW AND TELL RADIO on DWBL 1242 AM radio - with video LIVE streaming on Facebook and YouTube: Show And Tell Radio. * Read her column online in Facebook: Hay Naku Pinoy. * Do you want your products and services to be featured on her show? Text 0918-521-5400

 

“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” -Albert Einstein

Online definition of STUPIDITY: behavior that shows a lack of good sense or judgment.

 

THE BACK STORY

Can you blame me for thinking that stupidity has gone viral with ‘UNLI’ proportions? Here are standard answers we get on an almost-daily basis.

 

At the mall:

Q: Why did you buy that?

A: Wala lang. (And they complain about having NO savings.)

 

At a restaurant:

Q: What do you want to order?

A: Kahit na ano. (Then they refuse to eat what you paid for – because they don’t like what you bought for them.)

 

PEACE AND ORDER LETDOWN

A few weeks ago, an unhappy episode led us to ask for solutions from a local authority. Instead of listening to our woes, he started reciting his accomplishments. No effort was made to even simply ask for relevant details necessary for a correct incident report: 5W’s + 1 H. Meaning: who, what, why, when, where, how.

Why was he trying so hard to impress us? When he was reminded that the urgent call was a plea for help – he raised his voice and barked like a bully: “If you do NOT listen to me, nothing is going to come out of this call!” And he banged the phone down.

What was he thinking? Whose money pays for his salary? How thick-faced! It might be a good idea to provide public servants a mental health check – to make sure they are not part of the ‘unli’ viral predicament.

 

TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

I searched online for a potential antidote to the virus. Here’s what I found. MINDFULNESS: the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. How scary to think that you are surrounded by mindless people. Worse, could you be one of them?

Don’t lose hope. You can do it. Start with simple things. FOCUS on the HERE and NOW before you do anything.

1.       When you buy something – do I really need this?

2.       When ordering food – what do I really want to eat?

 

Learn to practice good sense and judgment. Don’t be part of the ‘unli’ virus. Hay naku!

 

Vivien Mangalindan is available for Customer Service Training, Interpersonal Communication Skills Coaching, and Public Speaking Seminars. * She is also a Broadcaster. Be entertained as you get informed every Monday at 3:00 p.m. Tune in to SHOW AND TELL RADIO on DWBL 1242 AM radio - with video LIVE streaming on Facebook and YouTube: Show And Tell Radio. * Read her column online in Facebook: Hay Naku Pinoy. * Do you want your products and services to be featured on her show? Text 0918-521-5400

 

Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” –Benjamin Franklin

The word ‘sorry’ is of no value when you deliver a litany of alibis for your blunders. What’s the point of apologizing if you recite all sorts of reasons?

 

STOP MAKING EXCUSES

Do these lines sound familiar?

1.       Sorry, I’m only human.

2.       Sorry, nobody’s perfect.

3.       Sorry, I’m very busy doing so many things.

What are we supposed to do - put up with your arrogance, incompetence and poor job performance?

 

THE BACK STORY

Some people resort to ‘hand-washing’ when they apologize for unacceptable behavior. Be aware that the objective of apology is to accept responsibility for having made a mistake - or for having hurt someone.

When you give lengthy explanations while claiming you are sorry – you end up sounding insincere. Worse, you might offend your victim even more.

It takes COURAGE and HUMILITY to sincerely apologize. Just remember: SORRY IS NOT A PASSWORD. If you intend to enjoy long-term relationships – or to keep your job – get your act together.

 

THE BIG PICTURE

Your ABC - ‘ Attitude Behavior Character’ – can damage your organization.

•         Have you heard of mystery shoppers?

•         Do you want to end up in Youtube or Facebook?

Be careful about how you apologize.

 

BE SPECIFIC

Identify exactly WHAT you are sorry for.

•         WRONG: Sorry YOU got angry.

•         RIGHT: Sorry I failed to submit my report on the agreed date and time.

Can you see the difference? Accept accountability. Period.

 

CORRECTIVE ACTION

State what you will DO to make things better. STOP making vague promises.

•         WRONG: Sorry, I won’t do it again.

•         RIGHT: Sorry, I will make sure I listen carefully so I give you exactly what you ordered.

 

 

TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

WHAT you say and HOW you say it can make or break a relationship – whether business or personal.

•         PLUS: make sure your facial expression, body language and voice tone match your apology. Hay naku!

Vivien Mangalindan is available for Customer Service Training, Interpersonal Communication Skills Coaching, and Public Speaking Seminars. * She is also a Broadcaster. Be entertained as you get informed every Monday at 3:00 p.m. Tune in to SHOW AND TELL RADIO on DWBL 1242 AM radio - with video LIVE streaming on Facebook and YouTube: Show And Tell Radio. * Read her column online in Facebook: Hay Naku Pinoy. * Do you want your products and services to be featured on her show? Text 0918-521-5400

 

By Ma. Cristina Padilla-Sendin

Krungthepmakanakhon. The City of Angels. This is only the beginning of Bangkok’s full name. 

The complete Thai ceremonial name of The Land of Smiles is Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharat Ratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphiman Awatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit.

In English, Bangkok means the city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed by nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated God, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukam.

I thought that after two visits to Bangkok, I could not find anything fascinating anymore. But I was surprised to find myself enjoying my comeback to this exciting metropolis last February with my family.

As there are numerous names of Bangkok, there are as countless interesting places to visit in Thailand’s capital city. 

What is more appealing and enlightening is experiencing the sights and sounds of Bangkok through a river boat cruise along the legendary Chao Praya River (meaning River of Kings), and into the canals (called khlongs) of the place once dubbed as “Venice of the East”. 

These khlongs were utilized as a transport network for centuries ago. Nowadays, these waterways serve as a natural highway for locals to go about their everyday business.

Led by our knowledgeable, kind and entertaining tour guide, Rabbit (Somchai Soonthornwipart, Thai name) we headed to River City boat terminal to start a relaxing, traffic-free, smokeless, and historical boat ride amidst bustling Bangkok.

The first structure we noticed was the resorted Holy Rosary Church, a Gothic-style church constructed in 1787 by Portuguese Catholics.  

There was a mix of old and new architecture as displayed by the various buildings like the Siam Bank, First Presbyterian Church, the Royal Thai Navy Dockyard, the Thai Maritime Navigation Company, the Old Customs House and other schools, hotels, and government offices along the riverbank.

What really caught our “Ooohs” and “Aaahhs” were the magnificent temples, called Wat, which numbered around ten on both sides of the river. 

The notable temples are Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn, one of the most important temples in Bangkok, beautifully decorated with tiny pieces of colored glass and Chinese porcelain placed delicately into intricate patterns and with its central prang or pagoda measuring 68 meters tall.

The Wat Kalayanamit, with its massive vihaan (worship room) built to house the 49-foot high gold statue of a seated Buddha; Wat Chalem Phrakiat s large and impressive temple built by King Rama III to commemorate his mother, where the outer wall resembles a fortress.

The Wat Rakhang (temple bell), which earned its name during the reign of King Rama I, when a bell was found in the temple compound; and the Royal Grand palace, the home of the King and his court, including his entire administrative seat of government, where the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (image was carved from a single block of fine jade), called Wat Phra Kaew, is located and is said to be the most venerated temple in Bangkok. 

This we got to tour by land. I was awed by the grandeur of these temples, with the rich and highly crafted designs, thousands of pieces of glass and pottery, and glittering gold roofs.

Further upriver, near the mouth of the Bangkok Yai Canal, the white ramparts of Fort Wichai Prasit, an old Ayutthaya fort built in 1688, came into view. The Royal Thai Navy HQ is located in this complex.

Travelling by a motorized boat on the khlongs made me appreciate the simple life and serene family homes of the Thais. 

On the banks, old wooden houses on stilts can be seen. There are much bigger and more ornately decorated houses with elaborate woodwork on their walls and posts.

But in both types, I noticed a similar structure: a miniature temple (a replica of the huge temples composed typically of gold roofs with three or more superimposed tiers) adorned with orchids or colorful leis, like altars, placed on a stand, in most of the houses. This reveals the Thai people’s devotion to Buddhism.

I was amused to catch a glimpse of monks clad in orange gown with yellow belts throwing pieces of bread to the hungry fishes.

I was moved by a woman vendor selling cornucopia of Thai wares such as green, yellow and red fans, wooden bookmarks, fan cum hat, wooden ballpen set, who stopped paddling and gamely waved her hand as she passed by our boat. Thais, like Filipinos, are warm people.

I was tickled to notice a parking area for boats, complete with a roof for protection, where each week vessel is orderly parked.

I was scared to death upon spotting a 3-foot monitor lizard who was gazing at me. I just continued focusing my lens on him. He seemed not to mind and maybe used to photo ops. These reptiles are a common sight in Thailand’s river and parks.

All these enthralling highlights made us famished so we headed to a local Thai restaurant named Choy Nguyen Choy Thong along Rama VI Road. 

Even if the name does not sound so familiar, this country-looking eatery delighted our palates with reasonable servings of authentic Thai dishes like Tom Yum Goong (spicy shrimp soup blended with lemongrass, chili, galangal, lime leaves, shallots, lime juice and fish sauce) with its invigorating sour-spicy taste; Pad Thai (Thai noodles with crunchy bean sprouts, onion, and egg with fish sauce, sugar, chili powder and finely ground peanuts as accompanying condiments); Tom Kha Gai (chicken in coconut soup infusing chilies, thinly sliced galangal, crushed shallots, lemongrass), a creamy and and sweet-smelling concoction; and Khao Pad (fried rice with egg, onion, herbs, veggies, crab, prawns), a gastronomic relish, enough to feed six hungry mouths. A dessert of mango and sweet, sticky rice (like our suman), a favorite, capped this culinary sensation!

UNDENIABLY, BANGKOK CANNOT BORE AN INSATIABLE WANDERER. 

 

SEEING an artwork is like seeing through another dimension, but hearing the story behind the artwork is like being transported to a new and wonderful world.

Because it is only through undergoing that process that you can truly appreciate the meaning and inspiration behind a finished masterpiece.  

Meet Tatay Bert and be inspired by his life story of ups and downs.

 

An Exceptional Artist

Now 71-year old Albert Lacson Lopez started his journey with the arts when he, at a young age of 12, discovered the wonders of comics in Liwayway Magazine and related publications. He told himself, “Kaya ko ito, ah!”

He found himself finishing his architecture course in Mapua. He didn’t take the licensure exam, though, but flew to Japan instead to form a band named Combo where he was lead singer and guitarist.

When he returned to the Philippines after six months, Lopez also re-entered the world of “komiks,” doing freelance work for various publications like Liwayway, Tagalog Classics and Hiwaga. 

He also did illustrations for The Manila Times, after no less than National Artist for Literature Alejandro Roces asked him to join the newspaper.

Some of his notable works are “Amasonya,” a Pinay version of Tarzan; “Atomax,” a  comic strip he did for The Times; as well as “Gorgonya,” “Captain Barbell” and “Darna,” which he drew in collaboration with leading graphic novelist Mars Ravelo.

As if this was not enough, Lopez also entered bodybuilding and show business. He appeared in several action movies including the 1986 flick “Kamagong” starring Lito Lapid, in which he was specially mentioned.

 

The Curse

And just as he thought that life can get no better during those times – being a master of his craft and a proud father of a young girl – in 1994, the ‘scars’ started appearing – first on his forehead and chin then later on the body. Then came the loss of his sensation.

“I was into weightlifting during those days. I was ignorant. I thought I developed scars because I dove straight into the pool right after doing barbells,” he recalled.

Though his friends and some family members started to avoid him, it actually took him two years before seeing a physician at United Doctors Medical Center.

It was where he was told he had leprosy so later that same day, he left his Parañaque City residence and was admitted at Tala Leprosarium, one of the only eight leprosaria in the country.

Leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease (HD), is a long-term infection by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae or Mycobacterium lepromatosis that primarily affects the skin and peripheral nerves and defined by disfiguring pale-colored skin sores and lumps. 

During those times, leprosy is not yet fully understood so lepers were segregated from society and left alone to die in far-flung colonies. 

While the disease is curable and declared eliminated as a public health concern in 1998, patients and even those who have long recovered continue to be regarded as “unclean” and even “sinful”—a stigma that harked back to Biblical times.

 

Rising from depression

Lopez arrived in Tala Leprosarium in November 1996.

Formerly known as Tala Leprosarium, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital was established in 1930 to serve as a sanitarium and hospital for patients with leprosy. 

Living in a cramped ward and with the holidays approaching, surrounded by other persons afflicted with leprosy (PAWLs) whose lives were thrown off course by the disease, he went into depression and lost the will to live.

“I threw away everything: my visa, passport, my comics and sketches. They became useless to me. Nobody visited me; I felt so alone. I even blamed God: ‘Why me? Wasn’t I a good enough person?’”

“But sometimes I would draw and compose songs, and my fellow PAWLs would admire them. I started fighting back. I wanted to show them that not all PAWLs simply wait to die,” he said.

So with the support of the few people around him, by January 1997, he was completely cured.

He left Tala and found a job as a woodcarver in Paete, Laguna province. 

He later moved to Boracay Island and offered his sculptures and paintings to tourists. He would still do comics now and then, though getting rusty because of his age.

 

New life purpose

He again found his way back to his ‘home’ in 2014 when Dr. Rowena Oropesa, head of the hospital’s heritage restoration committee, asked him to come back and be the primary artist for the museum.

“If it were up to me, I would have left this place already,” Lopez said. “

But my heart is here with them (PAWLs). I want to give them hope, and show them that there is life outside this disease. It’s a sacrifice… I’m all alone now.”

“Life was normal again. But the people who knew me before … I couldn’t blame them for staying away. It’s the stigma, the lack of awareness [about leprosy],” he added.

Plans for “Museo Tala” are already on the drawing board, Oropesa said. Its mission is to remind the public about the patients and “how they suffered” before advances in medicine and therapy offered them hope.

With the help of architect Rajelyn Busmente, the hospital hopes to convert the leprosarium’s old Narra Room and have the museum completed by 2019.

With the project expected to cost P20 million, the hospital is counting on the Department of Health and private donors for funding.

Already, Tatay Bery had finished several works for the museum including the Gospel painting, the busts of Dr. Jose Rodriguez, and portraits of PAWLs and survivors. For now, these pieces are on display around the hospital.

“I hope that, through my example, people would realize that [PAWLs] are not useless. Just because you got sick does not mean you lose all interest in living. Others may fall into a rut—sleep, eat, sleep, eat—and stop dreaming. Me, I still want to do many things.”

Lopez expressed such hopes in a song he had composed at Tala, titled “Tanging Dalangin” (Special Prayer):

“Gumuho man ang aming mga pangarap / Mga pagsubok ay pinaglalabanan / Ang aming dalangin sa Diyos nating mahal/  Ay tanggapin kami ng lipunan!”

(Our dreams may crumble, / Test our will to fight. / What we ask our beloved God / Is for society to accept and treat us right!)/

Currently, the leprosarium in Caloocan is home to 65 PAWLs. The latest to be admitted, on Jan. 13, was Oropesa’s own 85-year-old mother.

(With reports from Inquirer.net)

 

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