Wednesday, May 30, 2018

My IELTS Experience

My sisters who are both base in Australia for a couple of years makes a regular call for a usual exchange of hi’s and hellos and other interesting matters, but sometime in November last year [2008] they called for a different purpose, they wanted me to come to Australia to study, thou I never thought of coming for any reason, I will give it a try, nothing is happening here any way, but it is not going to be easy as crossing an inter-state hi-way, you will have to go through a series of test, and one of them is the “ielts” or the INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH LANGUAGE TESTING SYSTEM,,,, I had no idea what the hell it is, except that it is some kind of a System,,, Testing your English Language,,, International, that is,,, so I dropped by the IDP/Australia office and book myself for the test,,,  I took the earliest available schedule of 13Dec. I will be taking the General Training Exam. The usual traffic of downtown Manila gave me enough time on my way home to scan the review material i bought, an actual test they gave in the past, then gauge myself of how do I think I would fare in this test base on my own capacity before any review, workshop and inputs, from a band scale of 1 to 9, Iam required to get a 5.5,  but I think I can do 7 or 8,,,

According to IDP/Australia band 7 - 8 means you are a “good to a very good user” of the English language. The test is a 4 part multi-section examination, the Listening, Reading, Writing and the nerve wracking Speaking test. But of course there are factors that would affect your actual performance,,,
1st, the sample test on the review material might be easier compare to the actual one,,, therefore my 7 - 8 could be just 6 - 7,,, or even less, 2nd, nervousness – it’s been 17 long years since the last time that I sat for an examination, not to mention my bad habit of always being nervous every time I’ am in an unfamiliar territory, away from my comfort zone. Get nervous, and you could loose 2 band so easily,,, so my 6 - 7 would end up 4 - 5, way low than my target of 5.5,,, I don’t think I can do anything anymore with my English in two weeks so my battle plan would be around the “nervousness” department,,, search and destroy mister nervous, at all cost! If I could work on it I have a very good chance of getting 5.5

After a week I receive a letter from IDP/Australia informing me of my schedule test dates, the speaking test would be 2 days earlier from all the other ones, the venue would be the same where the workshop will be held, just around the IDP office in Makati’s central business district, so here is the coming week would be like for me,

10Dec. - Workshop, 9am – 5pm, Salustiana Bldg.
11Dec. - Speaking test, 11:20 – 11.35am Salustiana Bldg.
13Dec. - Listening, Reading and Writing test, venue: Hotel Nikko, still in Makati,

We were told unofficially that the result might be out before Christmas,,,
until something came up.

2 days before the workshop, on 8Dec. before dusk I had a terrible fever,,, that progress into a full blown “hassle” I feel very cold and yet very hot all night long, didn’t get enough sleep that went on until the morning of Tuesday, 10Dec. Workshop day.

10December2008, Workshop day - I woke-up 6am just in time to prepare my self, but,,, I’ am not feeling well yet, in fact I feel weak and my fever got himself a buddy to bother me, the nasty cough, I am thinking of not taking the workshop anymore, I’d rather rest for the more important speaking test the next day,,, all my week long of preparation, my 'search and destroy' thing went down the drain, I’ am back to square one, now I’ am not only nervous, I’ am also sick, pressured and disoriented with only a day to go before the speaking test. I collected my self and still went down for the one day workshop, because the workshop is also where the speaking test will be held the day after, it would really help me in my mental preparation if I could see, feel the venue before the actual test. As expected we were given a tip on things to do and not to do and informed us that the speaking test is done on the rooms next to us, they were like well arrange torture chambers, one after the other a row of 2 meter by 2 meter room, a table and chairs on each side, I would visualize myself sitting on one chair while torturing my examiner on the other side, but,,, the day ended with my condition gone from bad to worst.

The next day,
11December2008, Speaking test day - I don’t want to be pressured and tense trying to get to the venue in time, so I went off a few hours earlier, too early actually that I’am already in the vicinity 2 hours before, I strolled down the nearby shopping malls for awhile, taking my time, walking very slowly as if I was meditating. I’am too weak anyway to walk a little faster, diverting my mind on other things, not on my fever or the test. When the time came few minutes after 11:00 I reported in to the test reception table, and waited a few minutes more in a holding room together with all the other examinee. The atmosphere was tense, not a word from anybody, all you can hear are heartbeats pounding like crazy we were like waiting for the executioner to call out our names, it was the longest 15 minutes of our lives, one by one we are being called, until the time came and I heard my name being called out. I was compose, a bit tense but relax, cold and chilly but hot to take the test. But when I was all done but the test, the reception guy asked for a piece of paper to confirm my identity and my schedule, something that should have been given to me when I booked for the exam, lo and behold i do not have it with me, not again… I rushed back to the IDP office a few meters down the road, ran as fast as I can upstairs and asked for the “piece of shit”,,, I mean that piece of paper, unlucky, the girl in-charged who assisted me is not around they insisted the confirmation paper was surely given to me, according to them it was their S.O.P. [standard operating procedure?] they will allow me to take the exam later in the afternoon but I would have to fill up a new form only to find out 2 days after that indeed they forgot to give me the confirmation paper, IDP’s S.O.P. is actually sometimes S.S.O.P. [sub-standard operating procedure] it was almost lunchtime have to go to the nearest photo studio and have my picture taken,,, again… have to ask somebody, must be a total stranger to fill up the bottom part of the form to confirm my specimen penmanship,,, again… have to wait an hour more,,, again,,, before I can take the test, get nervous and tense all over again,,, my second visit to “square one” and “down the drain”, to top it up a sudden rainfall, the last thing that I wish for because of the 3 day old fever I have. At exactly 1:00pm I took the test, a British guy wearing a short pants walked inside the room, i talked him out even before he starts asking and recording our conversation,  it went well and over in minutes, a sigh of relief at last. My fever went in and out and I was up and down for the next two days.

2 days after,
13December2008, Listening, Reading and Writing test - as usual I was trying to compose myself again for the second part of the Exam I had a taste of it 2 days ago with the speaking test and I don’t expect this one to be anything easier especially the 'listening'. You would be asked to listen via pipe-in speakers to people you don’t know talking about things you don’t care,  then you have to answer a few questions base from this conversations. Miss a part of it and you miss it forever because they would give you only one chance  hear the dialogue. it reminds me of how life is, you only have one shot of opportunity. That’s the easy part. You are actually going to read the questions while listening to the conversations while thinking and writing the answers and on my part I have a little extra, while coughing in a twenty-second interval,,, you have to do all of that at the same time. Walking along the polluted streets of Makati is enough to stop you on wherever you would want to go, I had to walk a distance and climb the steep stairs of the pedestrian walkways before I could get to the venue, the prestigious Hotel Nikko, at the intersection of Ayala Avenue and Paseo DeRoxas in Makati, this multi-level five star hotel will serve as my Golgotha, as if climbing my way up to my crucifixion. The test is scheduled from 9am to 12noon but we had to report in an hour before, not feeling well and skipping breakfast made me dizzy on my way, I had to stop almost in the middle of the stairway, the whole experience is like the steps, when I look down I went far enough to return but when you look up I had to go farther more to continue, its like something or someone is keeping me from finishing this task. Slowly I carried on and reach the test venue on time that alone made me feel victorious and accomplished. And the exam itself is equally worth telling, just when you need to concentrate and be very quiet during the listening test that’s when I cough violently, continuously and more, I was shaking maybe because I took too much pills or maybe because I was too hungry or maybe both but I was still able to finish it in one piece. The fever went on for another three days or so.

The result of the exam came out 2 days before Christmas, it was tense again but this time no more preparation is needed only anticipation hoping that everything will be fine and okay, that the results will be favorable and according to what is expected and required. Having done the “ielts” test validates your ability to speak and/or write the English language, its how much you can and how much you cannot. (fr. Random Thoughts 031809)

Monday, May 28, 2018

In the last Manny Paquiao – Ricky Hatton fight the fans went in head to head with each other from Pacman vs. Hitman to Pinoys vs. Britons. Filipinos are out numbered and out cheered with the 25,000 strong Brits who flew in to watch and support Ricky “the hitman” Hatton, MGM Grand was full to the rafters and according to reports 80% of them were Hatton supporters, they gave the Filipinos a taste of what cheering should be during the weight-in, Hatton was no different from his fans he talk to much, making himself a fool, believing in all that he says he even considered Paquiao an amateur. But during fight night things went a little different.

Early on in the fight Hatton is obviously no match to Paquiao’s combination of power and speed after weeks of training all he had was to launch a few jabs clinch with his left while hitting Manny with his right. Big mouth Hatton was hit and knock down twice in the first round, he was shaking his head on his second visit to the canvass unfortunately what matters inside the ring is the punches not the speeches, the Britons were shouting, cheering and rooting Hatton but to no avail eventually they were “shocked and awed” [ thanks, George Bush] as if the glaciers of Greenland froze over England when in the 2nd round, 10 ticks before the bell Hitman was hit, the powerful left hook of Pacman found its target, it was a punch coming from the prayers of all the Filipino people, the square jaw of Hatton was shaken out of its place he was already sleeping on his way down, he was devastated, annihilated, crushed and wasted. The referee could count up to 20 and he would sill be out he was gasping for breath, his eyes were rolling and half close like in a dream state, he was dreaming for quite sometime anyway when he predicted that he could beat Manny Paquiao on the 6th round,, the proud union jack of Britain, the back print of Hatton’s fighting shorts went down with him, it literally kiss the canvass.

The trainer of loud-mouth Hatton, louder-mouth Floyd Mayweather Sr. is nowhere to be found, on the other hand Oscar DelaHoya, Hatton’s promoter says a day before that he would have gone down in December if it was Ricky Hatton he was going against with, short of saying that “hitman” is better than “pacman”. Paquiao did not knock him out because he did not finish the fight and Manny admire him so much, after all the history making fights of many Paquiao there are still people who under estimates he’s power, They easily picked out Hatton over Paquiao because of the color of their skin somehow discrimination still come to play. But at the end of the day it’s the power and skill that matters. (fr.Random Thoughts 051209)

Sunday, May 27, 2018

My Fair Lady

In the afternoon of February 13, 1989 I saw the 1968 version of the movie “Romeo & Juliet” and immediately admire the beauty of the girl who played Juliet. It took maybe another year or so before I knew the name of the actress,,, [Olivia Hussey] for a while she was just “Juliet” ,,, she was a fair lady I once gaze,,, she was child’s dream of distant star so near yet so far,,, (fr. Random Thoughts 062906)



My fair lady. . .
touched by hand of sweetness
a flower that grows from heaven's breast
the melodies that touched my heart at rest

My fair lady. . .
somewhere sometime you are
a child’s dream of distant star
like you so near yet so far

My fair lady. . .
fate is just up ahead
our soul’s have finally met
for sometime I dream . . .
. . . my death, my love
and my fair Juliet.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

just a thought,,, 
we are distantly together by staring at the moon at the same time,,,
it makes me
miss you less and love you more.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Pinay DH's And The Spratlys

 In response to the article written by Mr. Chip Tsao in one Hong Kong Magazine entitled “The War At Home” a few weeks ago a satire as they say but I think it went a little too far. It’s more of an arrogance and a whole lot of ignorance. I wonder what he wrote about when the Russians killed the Chinese seamen and the Japanese planted a flag in Diàoyú Island, but when Manila claimed sovereignty over the Spratlys he tried getting back with his helpless Filipina domestic assistant Louisa by threatening her that he would not give increase on her wages next year until she [Louisa] tells her countrymen that the Spratly belongs to China, isn’t that the height of ignorance, did Mr. “Cheap” knows that an ordinary person like his assistant has nothing to do with any law, policy, treaty or decree his/her government ratifies, you don’t give benefits like salaries to anybody base on her country’s policies, instead, if he claims to be “a patriotic Chinese man” he should abide China or Hong Kong’s law on salary increases, if he needs to give it yearly as stated on their constitution, then he should do so, regardless of the employee’s nationality. He also called the Philippines as a nation of servants, because there are, according to him, 130,000 Filipino servants in Hong Kong he concluded therefore that the country is a nation of servants. In the Philippines there are also countless of Chinese tax evaders, intellectual property pirates, drug lords, prostitutes, gunrunners, illegal aliens and who knows what else, is it fair to label China then that it is a nation of “all of these”. I would like to see these 130,000 or so servants heed to Mr. “Cheap’s” advise of not flexing their muscle and let their Hong Kong local master do all the dirty works, is it possible for somebody be stupid and be stupid all over again, according to him he and his friends also declared a state of emergency in their homes and made their servants shout “China” like in the days of the cultural revolution, Instead of a state of emergency I think their in a state of ignorance, they should start shouting to their servants “teach us” because chances are these servants are more educated than their idiot masters, like his own, Louisa who holds a degree in international politics, she can give her own harsh lecture to “Cheap” that the cultural revolution is nothing more than just a time in Chinese history when their youth stopped going to school and started burning them and killing their parents at the same time, The baseline law that Manila passed is not a declaration of war or an insult against China like the way Mr. Cheap put it, it is simply practicing its sovereignty that it earn in 1898 long before Hong Kong earned its own from its master in 1987. In fact a debate is ongoing within it’s own political analyst. He must have nothing to write about and the deadline coming soon so he resorted to something that he would be sorry, A few days later he indeed made a public apology for what he wrote, he was pressured, 130,000 is a force that can make things happen. How can a patriotic Chinese man forget the colorful history of China and its servants, that trough the militancy of these servants the Peoples Republic of China was born.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Coogee Beach

Coogee Beach/Dunningham Park           
"You will always be a part of a happy memories"

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Letter For Boyet

I wondered why you were in my dreams last night?
Its not September yet to be your birthday so i dont recall any reason why i should be dreaming of you. The scenes was a bit hazy but i suppose you stayed for a while and i can only remember one act, you tapped my shoulder and told me with a smile that everything will be alright, i asked how did you know?
How did you know that everything will be alright?  How did you know that i'am not alright?
we were suddenly singing a song together, but you know how dreams are, they are always out of the usual if not totally impossible because you were playing the guitar pretty good and we were singing a different song, i find it funny because we both know that you are a terrible guitar player. you cannot even play Fmajor7 properly, your fingers are like chicken feet when playing. I still got the smile on my lips when i opened my eyes, i turned on my computer and thought of reading the letter i wrote for you some years ago, my smile turned into a bigger smile then i wasn't smiling anymore, i was actually laughing when i realize that i wrote it 15may2009, exactly 6 years ago to date, i remember it was a weekend when i receive a call from Eman telling me that you are already gone, so soon brother, i thought we still have one song to sing together, that very moment i wrote a farewell letter for you (A Letter For Boyet), Now i wonder no more why you are in my dreams, thank you for making me feel "alright" and for the smile, i haven't had one in a while, i will be coming home soon, who knows maybe sooner than we though, tell big brother we will be singing "Blowing In The Wind" once again, it will be the loudest day in heaven and all the angels will be rocking with us, in the meantime just hang in there and enjoy the view I still have more people to meet, lesson to learn and monkey business to finish. i will see you soon and thank you for dropping by. -de du1sbn/15may2015

May 15, 2009
Dear Boyet,

It is always shocking to receive news of someone’s death, always untimely, unexpected and sometimes unbelievable; I was still around, hoping that one day we could see each other again and have a lengthy talk over a cup of coffee or a bottle of beer, just like the way we always do, until I receive the untimely, unexpected, unbelievable news,

We first met when we were kids, we fondly call you Boyet among other names we are not exactly the best of friends maybe because we are a part of a bigger group and we enjoy the company of everybody else, our circle of friends is a bit different we’d stay out late sitting on benches discussing matters, we are like old souls that incarnated in this lifetime all in the same place. But as the years went on we somehow found that we have the same interest on a lot of things or at least we see each other as an interesting person to be with, we were both attracted to the song “Blowing In The Wind” and the likes, thou your version is more like Bob Dylan and mine were Peter, Paul & Mary, we compliment each other, I play the guitar while you sing, I will do the listening while you do the talking, you conceptualize while I create, I have the questions and you have the answers.

I remember in one of our late night discussions, you shared to us what you read in the book “Beyond The Unknown” I went on looking for a copy but never had the chance to see or even found out if the book ever existed, but our series of story telling on the matter helped me overcome my fear of the unknown, you explained to me the reason behind my inferiority, where it is coming from and how to deal with it, even before I got to know what the hell inferiority is, you made me go places, do and say things that I would never had done on my own, but later I realize it jump started my battle against myself, you even introduce me to the Zodiacs when we were kids we found out that we have the same zodiac sign and our birthdates were just 10 days apart, I had a chance to see your place in the seminary when you were still studying to become a priest , I was also there when you graduated, again I am your regular visitor in your school when you were a teacher. We saw a concert together. We did a lot of other things.

After years of not seeing each other we met again eight years ago in your place in Cubao, as usual we discuss almost every topic possible from mustard seed to the heavens above, we were catching up on lost years you never failed to introduce me on what you have been up to lately like the books of Z.Sitchin and Astrology, you showed me your upper room filled with pictures of Sri Satya Sai Baba. Even while we were walking along the dim lighted street of your place we were still having a short topic discussion, time seems to be running out, like tomorrow will never come, that was the last time we saw each other and tomorrow never did come.

When we visited you in your wake the night before your mortal body were cremated I was subconsciously asking you, the one single question that we seem to ask after all those years “do we really continue to exist after we die” I saw your picture, the only one in the room, you were smiling back, and I think I got the answer,,, you never fail to have an answer to all my question as if we were having a conversation again just like the old times,,,

You became my mentor, my guide, a source of information, a friend, a compatriot, my astrological reader, my playmate when we were kids, my helpmate and companion in our journey towards my eventful meeting with the divine, I wish to meet you again in our next lifetime and continue the beautiful things that we have started.

Roberto Jr., Mario Ruel, Boyet, “kambing”
Thank you for a wonderful encounter I will miss everything about you, maybe it was meant for us see each other for the last time eight years ago, it was the most meaningful moment I had with you little did I know that you were actually saying goodbye when you shook my hand before I went, I still have the questions but you were not around with your answers,,, I will always remember you every time I hear this lines of the song “the answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind” goodbye, till’ we meet again,

"Blowing In The Wind" Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul & Mary