Post for May 24-30 2015

TaN: In the APEC event conducted in the Philippines last week, BMW appeared in the news when it offered to provide for the transport needs of the delegates (purportedly) at no cost to the Philippine government.  Little did the Philippine government know, but I doubt if they really did not know nor expect it, when BMW came out with the ad in a prestigious local broadsheet that it is the car the APEC delegates are using, implying that APEC chose the car.

At first glance, there is nothing wrong.  However, if we examine it more closely and honestly, BMW had it all planned out.  It volunteers to provide for the livery services because it had envisioned the bragging rights that APEC has chosen it to be the car service of the whole event.  This is not only deceptive but downright shameless.

I am not one to scoff at the quality of the car nor the performance, but it would be unfair and deceitful to the public to be led to believe that APEC officials had willfully and intentionally chosen BMW out of an array of other car brands that were competing to provide livery service.  It is as if they are trying to project that they are preferred and superior to the other brands when in fact there was never any bidding or competition to “win the privilege”.

TaN: In last week’s New York Times editorial, titled “The high cost of dirty fuels“, which I sourced from the Opinion section of May 22, 2015 issue of The Philippine STAR, the contents are indeed, to quote from the article itself, “a compelling case”.  However, there is something it failed to touch on and I am not surprised since no self-respecting prestigious news media would even dream of it — that there is a reason why certain things in this world, no matter how “useful”, are “intentionally” kept hidden and beyond the normal sight of man (and especially business).

It is ever so arrogant of man to think and claim that he is entitled to everything (above and below ground) and is for his exclusive use.

It must be realized and understood that things that are “beyond” — i.e., within the vicinity but are not within your immediate reach (at least not without the use of some tool or technology) — your reach is intended for some other purpose and not for the use of man.  A prime example of this would be fossil fuels (like coal and oil).  Though I am still in the dark as to why there are fossil fuels deep under the ground, what I know is that what are doing now has led to all the climate and environmental problems plaguing us: all the digging and drilling and fracking, all the burning of fossil fuels, all the air, water, and land pollution, and all the other consequences directly and indirectly resulting thereof.

Had we left well enough alone, the world would never have been in this mess.  If we need or want, there are lots of other environmentally-friendly and sustainable alternatives.  The problem is man is too impatient and easily goaded by business to over-consume (to support and bring in bigger profits for business but at the expense of the planet and everybody else).  There are ways to produce the energy we need but not necessarily at the quantity or level that business wants us to consume.

It is best that we only produce enough energy that we need (to consume) and not at the level of what want.  When this happens, we will never need to resort to burning fossil fuel to power our needs.  The problem arises when we consume more for want than for need, because our needs are few and low as compared to our wants (which is high and ever increasing, just the way business wants).

Finally, it is bad enough that we burn fossil fuels but we do not even burn it efficiently.  We are wasteful in our consumption of energy which causes increasing the burning of more and more fossil fuels to satisfy energy demands.  Even with fossil fuels, there are ways to burn them without causing the negative impacts brought on the environment and climate.

By the way, there is such a thing as an environmentally-friendly and pollution-free car…it is a car that is not in operation, either it is already junk or just parked.

TaN: To be honest, culinary arts is for “the birds”.  No matter what other people say, I maintain that to devote so much attention and effort to something as minor as food — whose only function is to provide us with nutrients in order to enable us to do work for our flourishing.  I know it is vital for living but not to the extent as to lavish so much attention and effort almost to the point of making or declaring it an art form.

Like what I said in a defunct radio program some years ago when a caller recommended a restaurant where the food is described as “to die for”.  I remarked that “God and country is to die for; food is to eat“.  To die for food is to be a fool.

I understand that presentation is an integral part of food preparation and contributes significantly to the enjoyment of eating — yes, I agree that one should enjoy the food one eats — but elevating the preparation of food to the level of a culinary art form is too much.  For me, prepare the food, eat it, get it over with so that one can get down to the business of working (with a little respite before returning to work) and flourishing.

What is important in food preparation is that it should preserve the nutrition and make them available for the body for its performance of its functions — keeping the body healthy and in good working condition.

It is sad that few people can appreciate the natural (delicious) taste of food.  They have to make concoctions to “improve” the taste (and texture) frequently by masking them in sauces and dips — dressings are another story; it depends on what is being dressed and the purpose of dressing.  (Dressing that mask the original or true taste of food is lame and shows either the incompetence of the food preparer, the inferiority of the food, or both.)

Food should be savored in its natural taste.  Dressings are intended mostly for food eaten raw.  Because raw foods contain a very high amount of water, the water content “dilutes” the taste — which cooking (i.e., heating) dehydrates and therefore concentrates the inherent taste.  A secondary function of dressings is to increase the bio-assimilability of nutrients — much like peperine in peppers, which have little nutritive value but its function is to increase better absorption and assimilation of the food nutrients.

All in all, it is good to enjoy food but there is a limit to how much enjoyment it should provide or we should derive from it.  Culinary arts is taking it to extremes and defeats the purpose of food.  In culinary arts, instead of being the vehicle or means to an end, it has become the end in itself.

For me, a simple presentation with all the colors and texture is enough.  I do not require the arrangement and other trappings that are so trivial and time-wasting.  I have better things to do.  Let me just eat my food and have done with it.

TaN: It is true that salaries should be based on performance — i.e., faithfulness to the job description’s duties and responsibilities — and not according to the job description itself.  This is based on the argument that a business will not create a job description or position that is unneeded and when it is needed, even when it is a lowly janitorial task as compared to the chairman of the board, the pay should the same — or nearly the same.

This argument is based on the essentiality of the job.  Since it is just as important that the business is kept clean as to come up with the correct policy to run a successful enterprise therefore the pay should be the same.  Just because one’s job is menial and a no-brainer does not make it any less important as coming up with a great business strategy to rev up company sales and revenue.  You just try to run a business with litter all over the office and the workplace.  With no one to keep the place neat and clean, the business would be piled in trash and debris.

It is precisely for this reason that pay for everyone should be the same regardless of what the job description or responsibilities are.  Diminution or decrease in pay would be based on how well the job is done not the nature of the job.  This is another interpretation of the Parable of the Vineyard (Laborers) in the Holy Scriptures — please refer to: Matthew 20:1-6 — is trying to convey, that it is not the length of time but the fact that one has rendered service or done one’s duties and responsibilities competently and whole-heartedly or cheerfully.  It is what can be likened to “flourishing” in Buddhist Economics (by E F Schumacher)..

It is just like in the anecdote of the argument between and among the different body parts as to who (or which) is the most important: brain, eyes, stomach, heart, and anus.  The first four organs scoffed at the self-proclaimed important of the anus because they all considered the latter the lowest and most insignificant of all, yet when the anus became adamant and refused to work, all the others felt and realized only then just how vital each part is to the harmonious and efficient functioning of the whole.

I, for one, would not only not object or even feel the slightest bit embarrassed but, on the contrary, encourage and promote equal pay for any work done well — to have my pay be equal to that of a fast-food chain (front-line) employee, a trash collector, a lowly office janitor, a garment factory worker, an agricultural worker or fruit picker…any menial insignificant job laborer.

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