Everything else is dog dung

“The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ— God’s righteousness.” -Apostle Paul (Philippians 3:7-9 MSG)

Every new year is a year of hope, a new beginning. But in our pursuit of happiness, pleasure and dreams, there is a great possibility that we’ll loose focus on the more important thing. And as a follower of Jesus, he should be the most important thing. My dreams, my plans, my happiness all depends on him and him alone.

As we enter the new year, my prayer for you and me is that we make everything else insignificant compared to our pursuit of Christ. May 2015 be all about Jesus in your life. If you’re not yet a follower of Christ, my hope is you’ll consider him this year — or at least investigate the possibility that his claims might be true — that he can forgive, love and give meaning to life.

Happy New Year!

(Photo credit: Huffington Post)

Typhoon Ruby is what life is like

We’re almost there. Almost done with Typhoon “Ruby” (international name, “Hagupit”). As I contemplate on what happened in the past 3 days, I realized that typhoon Ruby, or any other storms are just like life:

In life, you will experience storms. It’s not a matter IF, it’s a matter of WHEN.

In life, sometimes, the hardships seem endless. But really, it’s not. Its just passing through and sunlight is soon to dawn.

In life, there really is no reason for us to not be prepared for an up coming problem and storm. Our parents and/or friends sometimes knew when a storm is about to hit. Sometimes because they’ve been there, or it’s just pure wisdom. Are you going listen? Or pride will sink you out? Our survival depends on how we respond to early warning from the people that love us.

In a typhoon, the “eye” is calm. In life, even if we’re in the very “eye of the storm”, we can still be calm if we know that there’s someone stronger than our problems control the storm. For most people, including myself, that person is Jesus. Even in the midst of a painful situation, Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is an assurance that there is so much bigger than my pains in life. And that gives me assurance and peace.

In life, storms can make you stronger to face bigger storms.

In life, picking up the pieces and starting all over again is probably the hardest but most fulfilling task. There is always hope for a new beginning.

Focus on your purpose

George Washington Carver wrote, “No individual has any right to come into the world and go out of it without leaving behind him distinct and legitimate reasons for having passed through it.”

How can focusing on your life’s purpose be something that will benefit you as you live your life? Consider the following:

A purpose will motivate you.
A purpose will keep your priorities straight.
A purpose will develop your potential.
A purpose will give you power to live in the present.
A purpose will help you evaluate your progress.

(With thoughts from John Maxwell)

MMDA Against the World?

Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) constables have been in the news lately. From MMDA constables selling “kakanin” (street food) — while in officer’s uniform — to last years altercation with an arrogant driver. And yesterday, a war freak Maserati sports car driving dude beat up another MMDA constable.

Maserati_driver_who_punched__dragged_traffic_enforcer_named___ABS-CBN_NewsLet me get this out of the way before I make my point: I hope the police find this guy. Nowhere in modern society should we allow this kind of arrogant power tripping to exist. Jail him, whoever he is, however influential and wealthy he might be. Eto yung isa sa pinaka-iinisan ko: mga mayayaman na nilalapastangan ang karapatan at pagkatao ng mga ordinaryong tao. I hope this will become a case study where every one is behind the MMDA constable and punish this rich, probably influencial offender.

Now, having said that, let me switch gear and say what every Metro Manila driver is probably thinking: Most MMDA constables are jerks. Yes, I’m not going to take it back. I’d say, 9 out of 10 of them — or at least those that are assigned to apprehend — are only after bribes. Not just the MMDA, this includes all the other LGU-based traffic enforcers. This is based on my 12 years of experience driving around the Metro almost every day of my life.

Accept it or not, we have this “lagay” culture. And these officers, making their meager salary as an excuse, are resorting to using their power to apprehend traffic violators to ask for bribes. And we, because we don’t want the hassle, whether the apprehension is correct or not, we give in to giving out bribes. It’s a cycle. Give and take. It’s ugly. But it’s the truth.

And 9 out of 10 of them MMDAs are like these. Take it to the bank.

“Sir, P1,500 po ang penalty nito.”
“May seminar pa po ito.”
“Tikitan ko na po?”
“Kayo po, ano po ang gusto nyo.”
“Kayo po ang bahala.”
“Sige, pa miryenda lang”
“Ipit mo nalang dito.”

Sounds all familiar?

I never have in my entire road driving life in Metro Manila did I see an officer apprehend me, tells me about my violation, and writes a ticket right away — no questions asked.

(Oh, I remember one time. In San Juan. I made a wrong left turn. The officer told me about my violation. Asked for my license. Wrote a ticket right away and told me “O eto sir. Mas mababang offense: seat belt. Para lang mag tanda ka.” That’s why I left 10% for these type of honest officers)

It’s not a hopeless case. I hope the MMDA and the LGUs will make some reforms to fix this sad culture of corruption. I don’t know how — maybe raise their salaries, or professionalize traffic management, or make creative ways to weed out the corrupt officers.

As to us driving citizens:

– DO NOT give bribes. Don’t be a contributor to the MMDA Bribe Fund.

– If they start sounding like they’re asking for a bribe, just smile and say “sorry sir”. This is how I get away with simple traffic violations. I know they’re asking for bribes, and when they know I’m not giving anything, they give my license back anyway. Simple but effective.

– In my opinion, if you know you were wrongly apprehended, you have the right to argue — in a most respectful way. You can also choose to fight it out for arbitration. One time, I got apprehended in Makati. I know the dude just wanted a bribe and I’m not giving anything. My fault is I said it to his face. Bad. Disrespectful. Sorry naman. So he charged me with the supposed violation AND for being disrespectful to officers. I said I’ll meet him in arbitration. And we did. I was found innocent. The violation was dropped, but paid the penalty for being disrespectful instead. So the lesson: always try to keep your cool and be respectful. Now a days, I would just say respectfully, “Sir, sa tingin ko mali talaga kayo. So, tikitan nyo nalang ako, mag arbitration nalang tayo.” Sometimes, that is also the key phrase for the officer to drop the wrong apprehension.

So, let’s run after the Maserati dude. But please, MMDA, police your ranks too.

* * *

UPDATE: I still think that 1) it is never right to punch anyone unless it is for self-defense, and 2) by not stopping and/or alighting his vehicle, the Maserati driver is still disrespecting the officer. I would have stopped and argued my case if I have to.

Now, after watching this ANC interview with the driver himself, John Russel Ingco, I have some questions in mind:

1. How near are you to be punched by the driver of a vehicle if the driver is obviously inside his vehicle?

2. If Ingco is right handed, I’m imagining you should be very near, almost near the window to be at a striking distance. If that is the case, why would the MMDA constable be that near?

– Ingco said MMDA is grabbing his shirt.
– MMDA might say (presumably, based on his interviews) that he was trying to retrieve his cellphone.

Who is more believable?

3. Why would someone punch anyone in the face?

– Ingco said he was trying to get rid of MMDA constable who’s grabbing his shirt.
– MMDA said because he was taking video.

Interesting.

4. Was the MMDA taunting by taking a video? I don’t think taking a video is wrong in itself. But how was it done might have caused the difference.

Just throwing out some thoughts out there. This might need further updates as the story develops.

UPDATE 2: Apparently, this MMDA constable has bad history with other motorists. At least 2 motorists claim they had a bad experience with him — both say Adriatico was arrogant, hot tempered and violated their rights as motorists. Broadcaster Ted Failon read a February 2013 complaint against Adriatico addressed to MMDA Chairman Tolentino. According to the complaint, this MMDA constable punched and dented her car. It looks like the complaint either didn’t reach his office or didn’t receive any action at all.

But the MMDA Chairman stands by his guy. He claims that the other incidents are separate cases and should not confuse the Maserati case. I agree. This should be treated as separate cases. But my question to Chairman Tolentino is this: If these complainants file the complaints — in fact there was already a previous complaint — will he act on it? Or, will he still side with his constable — kasubuan na, eh.

Just a quick reminder to Chairman Tolentino: kami po ang boss nyo. Kami ang nagpapasweldo sa mga MMDA constables. Kung pwede po sana na kami muna ang kampihan nyo pag may nagrereklamo? Hindi yung parang mga banal lahat ng mga tao nyo at hindi nagkakamali.

Update 3: Just as I suspected, MMDA constable Adriatico is also a “Kotong” Konstabol — or at least according to those who claimed to have been victimised. He fits the profile.

Want to see God burn in anger? Tell him your limitations.

Here’s an interesting conversation between God and Moses recorded in the Bible (Exodus 3,4). I’ve read these chapters before, but never saw it this way until last night while listening to Steven Furtick.

Moses: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” …
God: “I will be with you”.

Moses: “What if they do not believe me or listen to me…”
God: (shows him how to make miracles)… “This is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of your fathers… has appeared to you”

Moses: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow in speach and tongue”.
God: “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say”

Moses: “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else”.

I feel Moses’ hesitation because of his perceived limitations. But, at this point, I think God became irritated of the excuses because in 4:14, it says “Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses…

You want to see God burn in anger? You think he’s angry only when you sin?

Tell him you can’t do it. That you’re not capable. That you have limitations. You just cant. Then you’ll see fire go down from heaven and roast you alive.

You are made by God the way he wants you created. He gave you strengths and limitations. Nonetheless, he has great works, a purpose, a task specially fitted for you. When you sense God calling you to do something in the church, in your workplaces, in your family, in your career and feels that you can’t do it … remember Moses.