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‘Change me completely, Oh Lord’

(Part 1)

Dammam, Saudi Arabia — My kilometric posts on FB – from August 1-31 this year – are of variegated, interesting topics that will, I am sure, tingle down your spine and flutter your chest.

You may be interested to delve deeper into the raison d’êtres.

Read on. Discover. Learn.

August 1 — Secretly I appreciate others for showing me their weaknesses that have made me learn more about what life is.

August 3 — I am alone in my room, and I am again thinking about my past. This is what I do every time I am emotionally perturbed about what is happening to me at present, and this makes me regain strength to face squarely life’s vicissitudes.

August 4 — I have been taken aback by my colleagues’ inflammatory remarks on the people to whom they are supposed to be primarily of service. In the Middle East, local HR practitioners have balled me over to a great extent that I deem their employment a mere conundrum which I do not wish to figure out. This is, I know, a useless emotional catharsis, owing to the fact that this will not change their work aptitude and attitude (in short: work values). If given a chance, I will give them a Seminar on Values Realignment.

August 6 — Another prayer meeting; another remarkable experience with God. Thank you, Lord, for giving me another chance to extol You as my Savior, Rebuilder, Redeemer, and Restorer. I strongly feel there has already been light in my life since I rejoined You in Your fold, and You are the Light. Lord, You gave me another test of my faith in You today. Change me completely, oh Lord.

August 8 — An experience that gave my friend a nostalgic vibe. After a friend talked with his colleague who exuded a highest form of conceit and the worst type of megalomania, he so remembered his staff Alfred (not his real name) before. Alfred has worked in the Company for five years. Believing that he was overqualified, overworked and underpaid, he incurred many absences and almost reported for work late. Believing that he was more competent than his boss, he disobeyed most of his superior’s work instructions. When he turned in substandard outputs, he would blame the work system, procedures and processes. Then, again he criticized the company for not granting him a raise. (Actually, Alfred is not a colleague of a friend. He is the employee with whom I conducted an exit interview.)

August 9 (morning) – Today I mistook a Lebanese hire for a Syrian applicant. Luckily, my boss, who just kissed us goodbye, kissed it off as a vicarious experience through me – probably because he believed I have sluggishly lost focus at work.

August 9 (afternoon) – Who is willing to send me for free the capsulized mixture of 200 mg dicalcium phosphate, 325 mg glutamic acid, 5 mg thiamine HCl, 10 mcg vit B12 to enhance my mental briskness? (This refers to a pain reliever.)

August 11 (morning) — The story by the PDI’s Condrado de Quiros of T.S. EliotT.S. Eliot’s inimitable flare for poetry vis-à-vis that of Robert Frost can be a wrapped-up description of his ferocity in the use of words intended for the less urbane. (PDI refers to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the biggest national newspaper in the Philippines.)

August 11 (evening) – “There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self” – Ernest MillerErnest Miller Hemingway

August 11 (morning) – “A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not return” – a Jewish proverb

August 12 — ”I do not know where family doctors acquired illegibly perplexing handwriting; nevertheless, extraordinary pharmaceutical intellectuality, counterbalancing indecipherability, transcendentalizes intercommunications’ incomprehensibleness” – Anonymous

August 13 – Gone were the days when I was a drinks-guzzling glutton. This I promise to myself and my mom after I dreamt of her last night, talking with me as though she were alive. (My mom died on May 21 this year. I promise to her that I will always be a nice person to everyone.)

August 14 – The other day, Al Ramania, the Dammam’s Metro Colon, was again jam-packed with Filipinos with all-consuming interest in meeting fellow Filipinos to feel like they were in their country they have long deserted to find better job opportunities. A sizeable number of them have no plan to go back to the Philippines, for P-Noy the President does not seem to be true to his commitment he had made during his first SONA, commonly called an inaugural address. (Metro Colon is a department store in the downtown area of Cebu City, Philippines; P-Noy is the name by which the newly installed Philippine president wants to be called; and SONA means State of the Nation Address.)

August 15 – Today I took umbrage at the rudeness of a colleague who felt as indispensable as the owner. I raved at him — a section head who’d better be called a dignified clerk — for his run-of-the-mill decision on so simple a matter on which even a grader can make an excellent decision. (I am referring to an Indian colleague named Javid, who is know-it-all and who is supposed to be put into a menagerie to learn.)

August 16 — Twelve years today the funniest, nauseating experience I have had at work was talking with a person up the line — a decision-maker, to say the least — whose staff did not know he manages their department in an acting capacity but who had the gall to ask me why I did not know about it. My curt answer: “I wasn’t informed.” I wish in our company there would be open communication lines between the managers and the managed.” (I am referring to a general manager who micromanages us.)

August 19 — Now I come to realize my Mom’s words: “Don’t trust the people whom you do not fully know. They can be the same people who will throw you down the drain after taking advantage of your friendship with them.” They should not be treated as friends. (My mom is one who does not make enemies out of her friends, but for sure she does not put her trust in them.)

August 27 – There is no need to apologize to Hong Kong . Philippines isn’t Rolando Mendoza; Rolando Mendoza isn’t Philippines. Hong Kong must have in the first place been aware of this and should have instead apologized to all Filipinos — save for Rolando Mendoza — for heavily implicating them in the shameful, horrendous act of one disgruntled, non-such Filipino. (I am angered by the fact that because of what has recently happened, I continue to be a victim of stereotypical outlook and racial discrimination in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, where I am at present working.)

August 31 – At last, I have made it to the top! (Amid the hardships I have encountered in the office just because of my being a Filipino, I have never given in to the idea of giving up. I have continued to stand up for what I believe is right and manage to shut their mouth up.)

Modesty aside, I proclaim myself as a born-Christian who can barely find verses in the Word but has picked some for learning purpose with the help of my fellows in the Church, and am by profession a long-time HR practitioner who has experienced a lot of highs and lows as I play the role of “making people do what they should”.

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About Danilo Tao-tuan Naraja

I am an expatriate based in Jubail, Saudi Arabia and work in the Admin and HR Division of an oil and gas company. I am an HR practitioner for more than a decade. I used to work for a Cebu-based local newspaper. I love to write human interest stories and started writing when I was still in high school.

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