Sunday, September 28, 2008

Death and Taxes

A lot of Chinese people (and Pinoy, too, I believe) do not believe in insurance. We all think that it is just a waste of money and that we're actually throwing hard earned money away. I used to be one of those people, since my parents were not believers in these.

However, when my father passed away at the relatively young age of fifty eight after struggling with cancer, I finally realized our mortality. People don't live forever. We're bound to die someday. That's an inescapable fact. The only thing unsure about our death is when we will die and how we will die. After experiencing several deaths in the family, I know how difficult it is for the family and friends that you leave behind. Not only do they have to deal with the emotional upheaval of losing a loved one, they also have to deal with financial problems. Think about this: It's expensive to die. Ironic, isn't it? Wake and interment are expensive, but more than that, the family has to think on what to do in order to earn -- if the one who died is the family breadwinner. If the deceased has a lot of properties, his heirs also have to shell out a huge amount in inheritance taxes. Good if the inheritance is in monetary form. The problem is if the inheritance is in the form of lands or real estate which have a high market value but the money simply does not have enough cash to pay off the inheritance tax.

I believe that we all should get an insurance quote so that we know what's the best plan for our families when we have to leave them behind in the world of the living. That's actually a proof that we love our family -- we've actually taken some steps in ensuring that they won't run into too much financial difficulty when we're gone.

Since I'm not rich and I still have a small boy, I got insurance that would help whoever takes care of him when I'm gone, hopefully giving him a good life and a good education.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

PPBC 9 Call For Articles: Birthdays!

Birthdays are special days, especially if you're a parent. It's the day when you finally see your kid for the first time, and parents usually celebrate it in a far grander fashion than their own birthdays!

What can you say about birthdays? Did you celebrate your kid's birthdays with a big bash? Or a trip? Or just a simple celebration at home?

Was there anything significant that happened during your kids' birthday?

Were you happy about how your kid's birthday celebration went?

Any special memories?

Any other thoughts?

Let's unleash our creativity. This edition's PPBC focuses on birthdays. You can talk about anything relating to birthdays, especially but not limited to your kid's birthdays. It could be your own, your spouse', your parents, whatever! You can make a poem, a story, a video...whatever hits your fancy. Be fun, be creative, be serious...the choice is up to you!

Submit your entries by commenting on this thread with the permalink of your entry.

Deadline is on October 5, 2008. I'll try to come out with the roundup by October 6, 2008.

More guidelines on the PPBC here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Video on Heart Failure

I'm sure many of us know of at least one person who have lost their lives due to heart failure. What is it? How can we avoid it? What are the symptoms? How is it detected? What are the treatment options? This very informative video by the Saint Jude Medical answers all the above questions and more.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Coffee Break ver 1.37

Another coffee break question from Jan:

I believe there are more "made" leaders than "born" leaders. Leaders are people who are thrust in the position of responsibility and power, and rise to the occasion with their knowledge, skills, PR and everything that they have at their disposal. That being said, most of those were cultivated through the years.

I believe even world leaders are "made" -- molded by their families and schools, given power by their political parties and voted by the people. That is, unless you're talking about kings, emperors or other leaders who inherited their titles -- we don't really have a lot of those now.

Friday, September 19, 2008

To Tide Things Over

With the recent barrage of economic problems, people are having difficulties keeping up with payments despite earning what was formerly deemed to be an adequate income. Some were even forced to ask relatives and friends for Personal Loans when there are big expenses, much to their embarrassment. For people who can't or won't do so, there are Pay Day Loans available which you can avail of if it is determined that you pass their qualifications. This would at least help in tiding things over.

I do wish this situation would be over soon and we would soon stop having to tighten our belts. Would the next American president hold the key to economic recovery for all of us? We'll have to wait and see.

coffee break ver. 1.36

Another interesting question from Jan:

Like Jan, I've always been a fan of MacGyver. I love the way he's always managed to extricate himself from difficult situations using his knowledge of chemistry and physics and improvising with whatever he finds. He adds new meaning to the word "resourceful"! Oh, of course, he's not the typical brawny hero. He's a geek's dream. :)

I don't know if anybody still remembers "Moonlighting"? This show introduced Bruce Willis to the world! This also resurrected the career of Cybill Shepherd. It's a mix of comedy, action and romance -- there's always a feeling of "are they, or aren't they?" between the two leads. When Maddie and David finally admitted their attraction to each other and slept together, the ratings started to decline. Oh well, I wasn't able to watch most of the episodes because of PBA. It was on the other channel and my brothers would always insist on watching it and since the 2 of them beat the one of me, they always win. :). Would probably buy the DVD if they have one.

"Remington Steele" -- I'm not sure if it's Pierce Brosnan's first big break, but it IS the first time I've seen him. It's about a female detective who finds out that clients would hesitate hiring a female, so she invents a fictitious male boss, Remington Steele. The character of Pierce Brosnan, whose real name was never revealed, assumed the identity. More on it here.

These are the American shows that were shown on Philippine TV. I actually miss the Hong Kong series on Betamax that my mom used to rent, but I don't know the English translation of the titles and I'm not sure anybody can relate :P

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Online Auto Loans

For a family, a car does not seem to be enough. I think a van is a better choice. My husband and I have been eyeing a Toyota Innova for quite a while, however, we do not have the resources to pay for it in cash, if we want a brand new one. Fortunately, there are a lot of other solutions that we can look into, i.e. Car Loans. Did you know that you can actually apply for one online? Even if you have bad credit? You can apply online and have an approval in as little as two minutes. We will definitely have to include that in our list of options.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Leah, the host of PPBC 8th edition, posted this interesting challenge: What values or lessons in life do you want to instill in your children, and why? Please name only 3.

I think that no matter what your culture is, in my case, whether Chinese or Filipino, there are some values which are universal. My parents instilled in me the following values that I wish to pass on to my children:

1. Respect
- Respect for a Higher Being
Catholics and Christians believe in God, Muslims have Allah as the center of their faith, Buddhists uphold the teachings of Buddha. I believe it's important that we realize that there's a Force greater than us -- and that we must respect that.

- Respect for other people
Simple acts of courtesy like waiting for your turn, letting people pass, paying the proper amount in a transaction, these all show that you believe that the other people are as important as you are, and that they deserve to be treated the same way that you want to be treated.

- Respect for nature
Throwing garbage in their proper receptacles. No cutting of trees and plants. Cleaning up waterways. These all show respect for nature. Because nature deserves no less. Because if we do not respect nature, our lives would eventually be miserable.

- Respect for life
Every living thing deserves its place under the sun. Unless it's important (food, medicinal use, for example), there is no reason to kill other creatures (or humans, for that matter).

- Respect for laws, rules and people in authority
Even if sometimes (ok, a lot of times!), those in authority do not seem to worthy of respect, we do need to follow the laws and abide by the set rules because these are there in order to ensure a smooth running of the whole community.

2. Humility
Not being arrogant or prideful, because we recognize that though we may be better than other people in some aspects of life, others may be better than us in others. We are not in a contest as to who is better in what. We are all different, and we are supposed to all complement each other as to our strengths and failings.

3. Honesty
While people would sometimes say lies for not-really-evil reasons like saving face, sparing others from hurt feelings, etc, I still believe in the adage that "Honesty is still the best policy".

Yes, these are the values that my husband and I would want for our little boy, whatever he becomes, and wherever he may be. These are values passed on by both our parents, although we don't really have the same cultures. These are values which should be instilled in everybody, but which are sadly lacking in today's society.

Friday, September 12, 2008

August 8, 2008

Unlike what most Filipinos think, the Chinese are not really too enthralled about 8-8-8. You see, even if the numbers are the coveted 8, the date is based on the Gregorian calendar, which is not what Chinese people follow for selecting dates. What's more, 8-8-8 happens to fall on the Chinese Ghost Month.

There are a supposedly a lot of weddings on this date, but we didn't receive any wedding invitation for a Chinese couple getting hitched on the supposed lucky date. Most of the weddings during this day was for Filipinos.

Nevertheless, the Olympics started on this day in Beijing, China, at 8PM. So the Chinese government may have thought that this day was lucky still.

Oh, and Michael Phelps did get 8 gold medals during this year's Olympics. The number 8 was HIS lucky number, I guess. :)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Raising a Decent Person

I have often heard from various anecdotes how my grandparents used to discipline their kids. From what I hear, my paternal grandfather was the strict disciplinarian who wouldn't hesitate to spank his kids for perceived wrongdoing and my grandmother was the one they run to for comfort. I've heard that my maternal grandmother was not very strict. My maternal grandfather was like an OFW in those days, he was in Iloilo working on his business while his family was in Hong Kong, so I really do not think he was around that much to do the disciplining. This was around the 1940's - 1960's.

My parents were quite strict, but my dad has always said that he was trying to be a little more understanding. They do spank us, my dad with a belt and my mom with a piece of rattan stick, but we usually know why we were spanked. They were not unreasonable and looking back, we already knew beforehand that punishment was forthcoming but we still chose to test their limits. Spanking was something that happens when you do not listen to your parents or to your teachers. Yes, spanking was the form of punishment done during those days, both in the school and out of it, but it was not the only one. We have experienced being locked in our rooms, standing in the corner, etc. This was around the Martial Law era, the 1970s and 1980s.

Now that I'm a mother myself, one of the things I know I would have to instill is discipline. We now live in a world that is much more permissive for kids. I do not really like corporal punishment, because I've been the recipient of such. Although I understand my parents and love them with all my heart (and I also know that they must have been heartbroken to have to dole out punishment), I really do not want my kids to grow up spoiled. I've seen a lot of kids who are really brats, and I've always wondered how they parents allow them to turn that way! None of my parents, uncles or aunts are spoiled brats. None of my siblings are spoiled brats. I think there are more spoiled brats this generation and I really wonder why.

While thinking about this topic, I came across the "Spoiled Brat Screening Quiz". You might want to try it out by clicking on the link.

I think that discipline should start from an early age. I don't think we really consciously think about what age...we just try to enforce our rules as early as possible. What are we doing or trying to do (we're not always successful) with our three year old?

  • My husband and I am trying to always be in sync. If daddy says "no", mommy should stand by his decision and vice versa.
  • "No" means "no", "no way", "there's absolutely no compromise". It does not mean "maybe", "later", or "when I'm not looking".
  • Discipline by example. By BEING a decent, law-abiding citizen. I mean, how can you teach your kid not to throw garbage everywhere when he sees you doing it?
  • He will have everything he needs (as we perceive it) but he won't get everything he wants. Such is life.
  • When he does something especially good, he gets praises, smiles, a hug and a kiss. Toys as rewards? Maybe, but not always.
  • We try to explain why he can't do some things, why he can't have some things. Even at his young age, he can already understand some concepts.
  • Corporal punishment is a last resort. I do not want him to have bad relationships with us that he would try to keep secrets from us. I'd rather that we have a good enough relationship that we'll be the first one he goes to when he has problems. BUT a smack for particularly bad behavior (but with prior warnings already, on the palm or on the buttocks, not too hard) MAY sometimes be needed for particularly bad behavior. But it's a last resort. And a talk afterwards on why he got spanked.
I guess every parent wants his/her child to grow up to be a decent person. I am certainly one in hoping that my child is one. I have to make sure that he understands that this world doesn't revolve around what he wants, but what is right.
This is my entry to the 7th Edition of the Pinoy Parenting Blog Carnival, which I'm hosting in my other blog, The Working Mom.