Daily Archives: May 15, 2019

We shouldn’t embarrass a friend

“I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel that they have not said enough.” 

–Mark Twain

By Alex P. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

NEW YORK CITY — WE have probably met some people with a skill for keeping a discussion going on at our expense.
If we have a friend who finds it entertaining to bring up personal stories about us, making us feel uncomfortable, he may not be aware of our unease.
We may say, “Can we save this story for another time?”
If we want to make our message stronger, let’s say, “Wait! That’s embarrassing to me, you’ll have to keep it to yourself.”
If our companion makes loud comments about the people seated at the next table, we may say, “Can you please keep your voice down? I’m sure those people can probably hear you. I don’t think we should be talking about them.”
For the incident where a friend tells an anecdote of questionable taste, possibly while riding in an elevator or on line at a movie, we may say, “Can we save this story for another time?” When we’re not in public.”


Charlotee Ford and Jacqueline deMontravel, in the 21st Century Etiquette, said asking someone about her income, relationships, or how old is she is naturally impolite–yet people still seem to ask questions of a personal nature.
As rules in manners become more lenient, they said this one has not slackened.
“For those bold enough to impose an improper question, a little wit can gently put offenders in their place,” they suggested.
Ford narrates that when her six-year-old granddaughter asked a family friend why he had gotten so fat, she was instructed on why such presumptuous behavior is impolite.
When an acquaintance asked her who her therapist was, she told her: “I don’t have one, but who is yours?”


Ford suggests a partial answer to potentially embarrassing questions asked out of ignorance.
For instance, a friend who had just seen her lawyer about a separation agreement was confronted at a cocktail party by a well-meaning acquaintance who asked about how her husband was.
She replied, “He’s been extremely busy at work.”
Her answer satisfied the questioner without giving away any personal particulars, Ford points out.
If a question offends us, such as “How much did your CD player cost?,” there’s no need to be indignant, Fords explains.
She says an evasive but polite answer is the best reply, such as “I don’t remember” or “It was a gift.”
When people ask tactless or antagonistic questions meant to put us on the defensive, we can do what certain politicians do so well–evade the question entirely, says Ford.
For example. “How come you aren’t married yet?”–a question often put to single people by a smug newlywed–may be countered with, “Are you about to propose?” Or, less coyly, “I’m flattered by your interest in my personal affairs but I’m baffled as to why you’re so curious.”
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

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Posted by on May 15, 2019 in Uncategorized


Purging is a sad political reality

“If a superior give any order to one who is under him which is against that man’s conscience, although he do not obey it yet he shall not be dismissed.” 

–Francis of Assisi

By Alex P. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

NEW YORK CITY — WHEN a new administration takes over, the “purging” of the roster of employees and department heads usually takes effect along with the edict to refurbish the executive office and its environs.
Those who have been identified with the losing bets (who are the incumbents) in the just-concluded elections–or those who had openly helped campaign for the losers–would be in danger of being awarded the chopping block’s priority seats.
Partisan career employees and department chiefs, however, would have the civil service law on their side to protect and “rescue” them; their “punishment” would most likely be only a reassignment and demotion, to some extent, once the major reshuffling’s sharp blade rolled down.
Casual and co-terminus employees, on the other hand, would have nothing to lean on; they would have no legal shields from the incoming administration’s “washing machine” which would soon flush them down and out of employment.
The house-cleaning is normally done to pave the way for fresh appointments of staff and co-terminus consultants who will serve at the pleasure of the newly-elected governor or mayor.
Vindictive politicians will always justify the carnage or the “changing of the guards” as a normal episode in a transition of power in any administration–local and national. 

Since Iloilo Governor Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. will only turn over the key of power to his son, outgoing Iloilo third district Rep. Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr., capitol workers–casual and permanent–can heave a sigh of relief when Governor Toto assumes office in June.
There may have been a very few who committed a “treachery”, in one way or the other, during the recent election campaign period, but in the spirit of magnanimity and compassion, Governor Toto will just probably shrug off any immediate suggestion or move for a “disciplinary action”, at least for the time being.
Many of those who had risked their civil service career and future during the arduous campaign period would probably be rehired, promoted, and given permanent positions.
To the victor belongs the spoils.-o0o-

We’re worried most for those who have been identified with outgoing Iloilo City mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III.
Many of them are still very much active, productive, and effective in their city hall jobs.
In his statement on radio immediately after being confirmed as the winner over Mayor Joe III, incoming mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Trenas emotionally lashed at “some (city hall) department heads and employees” who had been allegedly “used” or “allowed themselves to be used” openly to campaign for the incumbent mayor and to purportedly villify Trenas.
Many of those city hall subalterns and partisan department chiefs referred to by Trenas can always claim they were “only forced by the circumstance” or “caught in the crossfire” and their actions and activities during the elections weren’t necessarily meant to willfully and intentionally hurt Trenas.
But politics is cruel.
It’s either you belong on the white side or on the black side, not whether you intend to inflict injury to the opposing candidates.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

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Posted by on May 15, 2019 in Uncategorized