Opinion > The Ninja Girl
Balikbayan

Written by Ilocos Sentinel posted on Sunday, December 30th, 2012

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She is one of the people I admire most not only because of all my aunts from my father’s side she’s the one closest to me in age; I am only three years younger. I admire her for her resoluteness and perseverance. At a young age she decided to migrate to Hawaii and leave a comfortable government job not because she had to, but because she wanted to provide my grandparents a more comfortable life.

 Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago, Agnes went across an ocean to seek the proverbial ‘greener pasture’. In Hawaii, the former beauty queen took on jobs she wouldn’t have dreamed of even applying to back in the Philippines.

She told me in the vernacular, “I had to carry heavy things when I was working as a full-time cashier in 7-11.” There were days when she’d go off work, and she can barely move a muscle from all the lifting she had done at work. She would go home and cry wanting so much to go back to the Philippines and be with her family. But she stayed, and as a matter of fact even got a second job doing odd jobs such as cashiering at the airport and clerking for an insurance company.

Eventually, she got a job as a cashier for Wal-Mart. Though it is hardly a step up from her 7-11 job, she applied herself to her new work. Agnes said, “I told myself I don’t want to remain a cashier forever”, so she worked hard at being one hoping that one day her manager would recognize her industriousness and passion to excel with the job at hand.

Then that day came. She was promoted to the store’s customer service desk where the cultural differences between ours and the Americans are so profound her job was sometimes overwhelming. She shared with me an experience she had with a customer who wanted to return some items which were clearly damaged at no fault of Wal-Mart. The irate customer said with more than a touch of insult in her voice, “You don’t have this in the Philippines, do you?”

Fortunately, her manager supported her in her work and said, “Don’t worry when they get angry at you Agnes. They are not your friends.”

In spite of the challenges of directly interacting with customers, she did her job so well she was handpicked for training. One day, her manager talked to her and said, “Agnes, I want to train you. You have potential.”

Now, she is now working at Wal-Mart’s back office as an office associate.

 

First Christmas

This year is Aunt Nes’, as she is lovingly called by us, first Christmas in the Philippines for the past 10 years. Though this is an emotional holiday for her – the niece, Gwen, she left as a one-month old baby is now a young lady who is very active in gymnastics in our province, Ilocos Norte – it is also a very memorable one.

It was a time for her to relax and distance herself from the intrigue that seems to accompany any major Filipino community wherever it goes.

Yes we may be ranked as one of the happiest people on earth, but are we truly happy in the inside?

My aunt’s stories about the Filipino community in Hawaii were tinged with sadness. At her work where her job demands that she had to supervise several fellow Filipinos together with some Americans, it is mostly the Filipinos who give her a hard time.

When your job demands that you require your co-workers, Filipinos or Americans, to hand-in their outputs and finish their tasks at a pre-agreed time and manner, it is not a sign of ‘arrogance’ to follow up rather it is just doing what one is being paid for. She admits that it hurts to be whispered about as “Si Agnes ang yabang na!” when she is but doing her job.

Aren’t we tired of bickering? Aren’t we tired of saying one thing to someone, and then saying another the moment that someone’s back is turned? Is this the behavior we want our children to have?

As we start a new year with so much hope and happiness, fellow Filipinos, wherever we maybe, shall we resolve to be happy not only with the face we choose to show the world, but also in the inside? Shall we resolve to close our mouths and proactively not say anything if we don’t have anything good to say at all?

 

 

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INSERT PICTURE

Picture Caption: From left to right: Eva Joy, cousin; Charmaine, niece, Leonard, nephew; Liwa, grandniece; and Liza, niece and the author with Agnes during the 2012 Gaspar Annual Christmas. Liwa is holding her raffle prize. She’s one of the many winners during the event.

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Interesting Money Facts. In 2011, model Miranda Kerr wore a brassiere for the Victoria’s Secret annual fashion show. The bra is called Secret Fantasy Treasure and is rumored to be worth US $2.5 million. Can’t wrap your hands, err, head around this bra? Let me help you.

At this amount, one can buy about 200,000 Avon bras. That’s enough to outfit 7 Pinays bras each day for 75 years, from puberty to their deathbed, without having to wear the same bra again!

Oh well! Kerr’s bra featured 3,400 gems – 142 carats of them are diamonds. Avon’s doesn’t even have a single carat in any of its bras.

Liza Gaspar is a wealth coach and personal finance enthusiast. She spends her free time helping out with the projects of the Rotary Club of Makati McKinley (www.rcmmckinley.org) and the Gerry Roxas Leadership Awardees (www.grlawardees.org). Visit her Web site at www.thegirlninja.com or email her at liza@thegirlninja.com.

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