Am I in trouble or in process?

Published by rudy Date posted on December 12, 2008

Like me, you could be one of many Filipinos currently facing a major problem, a crisis, or dilemma. You might be an employer now facing the difficult decision of having to let people go because you are out of business or out of a job.

You might be someone at the end of the rope, after spending all your life’s savings, no income and just a lot of debt or obligations, not to mention a family to feed. I’m sure there are thousands of you out there whose major problem is how to survive Christmas.

It’s no joke to worry about the 13th month pay you need to give the helpers, a list of people you are “obligated” to send gifts to because of business or because they are instrumental in your career or finances. Then there is the Christmas list for family members and preparations for the holidays.

Personally, I am somewhere in the under-employed line, worrying about having to let domestic employees go, while trying to raise the funds for their 13th month pay. I chose not to write a “must give gift list” because what I could afford right now would simply be an injustice to those who have blessed us. I can’t pay it back so I will “Say it back” in one of my columns, God willing.

If I come up with one really nice gift for my daughter, my wife, and my Mom, I have decided that I can live with myself.

I went to the mall the other day to buy materials I needed and the sight of Christmas shoppers merely added a depressing reminder of commercially imposed sense of obligations. At a time when making it through to next year seems to be the only goal, I certainly felt bad about all the people I know, myself included, who feel so overwhelmed by the cost of living and not making enough or nothing at all.

Nothing prepares us for the unexpected. People save, people work, but when fuel prices ruin the order of business, when fear and financial crisis hit with the damaging effects of a tsunami, sooner or later you’re out in the deep end drowning or fighting for life.

Things can even be worse.

Five soldiers died in Basilan leaving five widows, 16 families will be at the cemetery on Christmas day because of the Paranaque shootout.

On the other hand there is the lady I know of who will be celebrating her “first” Christmas. It’s really going to be very special because her doctors recently operated on her brain and told her that she can only look forward to celebrating two Christmases.

 We dwell on our problems. I’ve been dwelling on a problem and all I see is the leftover doughnut and not the hole.

The problem with being the victim is that you’re too busy drowning and trying to save yourself. What are the ways we drown ourselves? We worry, we fight, we panic, we try to save ourselves by kicking and screaming or exerting and spending all our energy not to drown, ultimately we simply hope that someone will come and save us.

You never realize you’re drowning until it’s too late, because you never learned to “swim” in the sea of financial management or budgeting. Most Filipinos were never taught to be financial stewards but to be good employees.

You ignored the warnings and you never bothered to read the signs. You also went further than you could manage and got in deeper than you could stand. You got all the credit cards, bought the “coding” car, the I-phone, the Blackberry, the ultra slim MAC, or you simply had more kids than your economy could support.

Some accepted the responsibility for others, on a salary that was not even enough for ourselves. Now I know another meaning for “kindness kills”.

You support your children as well as their spouses and your apos. You care for Mom while you send a niece to school. You keep helpers or workers because to let them go would feel like betraying family and their loyalty.

At the moment, all “that”, doesn’t matter because all you want is to survive. Ironically the lifeguard always says that if you relax you would actually float instead of drown.

You need to breath, so you can think, so you can plan, so you can act. You also need to believe that sooner or later someone will notice or see you and someone will save you.

I realize I have a problem. But I will not be ashamed to admit it. Someone just told me that people have no problem talking about intimate matters in their life like their marital problem, sex life or sins. But most people are ashamed or afraid to talk about their financial condition. As the waves of financial “self-rehabilitation” pound upon me, I choose to believe that I can, I must and I will survive.

I’m not drowning! I’m going through a process!

I’m making choices just like the lady with only two Christmases to count on. She had her head operated on; I let God operate on my materialism and my checkbook. She let God take over her life and floated to the top, I let God take over my concerns and follow him convinced that he will take me to shore.

I am almost debt free, I have reduced unnecessary expenses, I have reengineered my lifestyle, I have converted unused, non-productive things and traded them or sold them in order to have actual savings or better value items for use in the near future.

I am now gazing at the horizon for opportunities or work in order to be productive because in the end cost-cutting can only go so far and no penny pinching strategy works unless you have the pennies or pesos to pinch.

The storm is not over. I feel just as cold and exhausted like anyone drenched in a typhoon, like someone in the eye of the storm. But there is comfort in being Filipino. We have an unwavering faith that GOD will take care of us and that after the storm everything just feels cleaner, fresher, and real because you are alive.

In the Bible, Jonah thought it better to drown than to let others die for his mistake. Yet God sent a whale to bring him to his destination. Yoohoo!!! Moby Dick, where are you??? – Cito Beltran, Philippine Star

July 15 – World Youth Skills Day

“Skills for everyone in times of AI!”


Invoke Article 33 of the ILO constitution
against the military junta in Myanmar
to carry out the 2021 ILO Commission of Inquiry recommendations
against serious violations of Forced Labour and Freedom of Association protocols.


Accept National Unity Government
(NUG) of Myanmar.
Reject Military!

#WearMask #WashHands

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