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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Money

Back in the seventies, people who exchanged their pesos to dollars got a good deal, since the value of the dollar has multiplied several times already, when compared to the peso. However, this depends a lot on timing. In the late nineties, there was a sudden increase in the dollar rate as compared to the peso. I think the peak was at around 56 or 57 pesos to the dollar. It was even predicted that this could go higher.

My husband and I bought some at around the 53 peso mark, but since then the value has depreciated. Oh well. I guess "buying dollars" is a bit like gambling too. Come to think of it, any form of investment, whether stocks, bonds, mutual funds, "morgan dollars", foreign exchange, or even investing in a business or saving in a bank, involves risk.

There's also the option of not investing in anything and just keep your money at home.  But this also has risk -- inflation which would make the value of your money decrease over time and disasters like fires and floods.  I remember that after Typhoon Ondoy, I had to go through our drawer, find the money we kept there and carefully dry them one by one so as not to destroy them.

There is no perfect investment and no perfect place to park your money or make it grow. I guess we should just adopt a zen attitude towards the money that we choose to invest in certain instruments, hope for the best but expecting that the worst could happen anytime.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Yao Ming

Yao Ming is the first Chinese to be picked by the NBA (Wang Zhizhi has that distinction) but he is certainly very popular. While he has made Asians proud and probably made a lot more money than his compatriots due to both his salary as a player and his endorsement deals, he has actually made the NBA more popular to the Chinese. More Chinese followed the NBA seasons precisely because of his presence.

This is not the only sign of the Westernization of the Chinese. The donning of the so-called urban clothes is now acceptable within the younger set, unlike in the past decades when these may be frowned upon. Of course, there are many factors that brought this about. Yao Ming's entry into the NBA is part of China's globalization, I would say.

Now Yao Ming has retired a hero to the Chinese and considered a great NBA player.  All good things must come to an end.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Going abroad and starting all over

I just added another friend on facebook.  She's a former batchmate in Medical School who's now based in the United States and practicing OB/GYN. As far as I know, the surgical specialties are the more difficult to get into so I am very happy that she's now doing what many of us only dream of -- practice her medical career in the specialty of her choice in what is still considered as the Land Of Milk and Honey by most Asians, notwithstanding the country's current economic woes.

My brother said that sometimes it's all a matter of being willing to start from the lowest rung, which most people would not dream of doing. Maybe he's right. I feel though, that at the moment I not very willing to go through another round of examinations, but sometimes I envy those who actually had the guts to go and risk everything they have towards a future of uncertainty, but which ultimately turns out to be a good decision.

Maybe, one day, I'll decide to leave the Philippines and my depression over what seems to be permanent state of non-improvements here in order to improve our station in life. But I'm not really sure I can and want to start from the bottom of the Medicine Totem pole. I feel that I can no longer go through all those countless hours of "duty" in the hospitals. Well, we'll see, I might just change my mind. Or I might just look up another job. Who knows, maybe a real estate job with bentleyforbes is what we need to improve our lives.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Yaya clothes

It's been a habit here in the Philippines that yayas (nannies) are dressed up in nurse uniforms. I'm not quite sure when the trend started but when I was little, the nannies, especially the ones who have babies and toddlers as wards, usually wear white uniforms like that of members of the medical profession. Now, the trend is towards scrub suits. Which makes it rather difficult to distinguish the real medical professionals from the children's caregivers.

It's usually a sore point between my mom and me, since I'd prefer not to have those uniforms with my children's nannies. Some people have their nannies wear uniforms to "mark" them as help, but there are others who just prefer the dress code because some nannies and/or househelp dress a bit inappropriately. For example, wearing short shorts to a wedding. Since they usually do not have much money for their wardrobes, I do see the point of providing clothes that would at least look decent.

For my part, though, I'd rather buy them a few pieces of decent clothing that don't look like uniforms at all.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Road sense

One big difference between me and my husband is our sense of direction. He is very good with roads (he often jokes that he was born with a compass in his tummy), and if he has problems, he can easily read a map. Unlike most males, he's ok with asking for directions if ever he gets lost. I'm not very good with roads that I am not familiar with and although I can eventually figure out a map, it's not really easy for me. I'm ok with asking for directions, but sometimes I'm a bit shy.   I'd rather ask my husband to drive if the place that I'm going to is unfamiliar to me.

Maybe it would be a good idea to set up a GPS for my car, but I wonder which truck gps would be best for the roads here in the Philippines.While the technology is there, it hasn't quite become popular here in the Philippines yet, so I have not heard of any feedback yet. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Early gift shopping

I'm currently on the lookout for stuff that I can sell as wholesale gift items because Christmas is closer than you think. For retailers, both online and offline, the Christmas season is truly one big business opportunity, as people scramble to buy gifts for their loved ones. So if you're in the business, you should already be looking for suppliers by now and have your stuff in place about 2-3 months before the Christmas buying spree starts.

Another reason why I like to look around this early is that I will get more ideas for my own gift giving. Every year, I stress about gifts to several people, especially those who already have everything imaginable. I'm thinking that maybe I'll give gift baskets and confections to ninongs/ninangs this year? I really do not like giving useless doodads that I myself don't find myself using.

Well, I guess what I'm doing is both business and pleasure.  After all, I find it fun to do online "window-shopping" and if I earn something from it, it becomes twice the fun! :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Prenatal herbs

Pregnant women have to be especially careful about their health because they are, well, pregnant. The fetus is still very vulnerable to anything that the mom has. I'm sure you've heard of the bad effects of rubella virus. That's why I made sure that I had myself immunized with MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) virus before I got married, because I wasn't sure if I had suffered from the virus when I was young.

Not only is it difficult to get sick, it's also difficult to decide on what medications are safe. Even if paracetamol was considered safe, I would try to just sleep off a headache rather than take a pill. Of course, I'd rather suffer through the headache rather than take a pill that's dangerous to the fetus and later have to get the services of a Topamax Birth Defects Lawyer when I could have prevented it by just not taking any medications.

That's why the Chinese prenatal herbs advised to me something I was pretty wary about, because I am not an expert on herbs.  Many Chinese women take those herbs in order to ensure their health and the health of their baby.  None of my relatives had problems with their babies after taking those herbs.  But I would rather be sure, so I didn't.  I don't like to take a risk on my child.  Sometimes, ignorance is bliss, and more knowledge cause more worry. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

On handwashing, step stools and kids

I am pretty proud that we have inculcated in my kids handwashing during the crucial times (before eating, after going to the toilet, after the hands get dirty, etc.). A lot of disease causing microbes are actually carried by the hands, so if we are not careful, we can easily get sick.

It was during handwashing that I realized how tall my son has grown. We bought a plastic stool for him to step on when he was smaller. He already knows that he should get it, position it in front of the sink and step on it while washing his hands. The plastic stool has since broken, but he no longer requires it, because he's now tall enough to be able to wash his hands without stepping on anything.  It's amazing how tall he already is.  (Mommy senti moment here.)

Now much as I like the chrome step stools with handlebars for my daughter, I don't see it here and it may be overkill if it's just to train a youngster to wash her hands.  (Still looks very nice and very safe though).  My husband was able to buy an aluminum foldable step stool for her, which is probably safer than our old plastic one.  Now my little two year old knows that she has to get this, position this in front of the sink and step on it to wash her hands.  Her hands don't quite reach the faucet though.  But she enjoys having her hands washed.  Pretty soon, she'll grow tall enough not to require the stool. Sigh...They grow up so fast.