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No no...I'm not running out of steam.  In fact, I have tons of things to say.  The problem is that I've been swamped with things to do since I got back.  I just spent the last two hours catching up on e-mails.  As promised, I try to read and consider each reasonable mail and give some feedback.  Over Holy Week when I was away, I managed to accumulate about 100 e-mails.  Almost all were positive and I think my readers for that.  Right now, I'm somewhere around March 27th...except for a few quickie mails that I did from yesterday.  As I've said before, I have some "haters" who feel the need to take shots at me whenever they can.  From what I can tell, these readers are girls, more specifically Asian, and most likely Filipina...probably from here.  Their attitude describes what we Filipinos call a "crab mentality".  There are many ways to describe the Filipino crab mentality.  For me, I've always understood it as follows.  If you are trying to succeed, your fellow Filipinos will do everything to undermine or second guess your success.  Since misery loves company, their inability to self-motivate and achieve empowers them to attempt to destroy your life along with theirs.  To them, the only way you can get rich is by lying, cheating, and stealing.  To me, it reflects their attitude of "It takes one to know one."  They obviously don't understand that I'm nothing like them.  So in order to address the accusations I receive, I'll challenge them here for everyone to see.  Here goes:

All of my readers and those who have corresponded with me through e-mail know that I've never whined about my life, begged, implied need, or want.  I've never asked for money or favors.  Yes, people have offered, but I have turned them down...mostly by dodging the question or by not responding.  If people have come to me with a question about business, real estate, processing paperwork, or anything else that involves my experience or expertise, I offer to help.  If someone is looking for a condo, I'll find it for them.  If they want me to file permits or investigate Visa options, I'll do so.  If they want me to consult for call centers, of course I have some ability .  Basically if someone wants to offer me a legitimate odd job or whatever, I consider what they have to say.  In the end, any deal is closed by a legal and binding contract that both of us would secure a copy.  If I can't help, I'll refer them to a friend or contact that knows more than me.  I live in Makati after all, and it's easy to be resourceful here.  To those doubting girls, I say this: "Isn't it obvious that with thousands of weekly readers looking for un-biased information on the Philippines, at least a few handfuls are going to want quality assistance based on what they have learned from my character?"  I'm not some backwater province girl who works at the local fish pond.  I don't take well to the idea that I'm sitting in Pagasinan province with a Western Union down the street that knows me as a VIP.

So my lesson for the day to all foreigners goes as follows:  If you are talking to someone on the internet that you don't know or don't know well, take your time.  Never send money unless you've met this person first....especially all of you lonely hearts guys.  Girls can tell you any kind of story to make you feel sorry for them.  I can't tell you how many girls I've heard of who get all kinds of free stuff from suckers online.  This is a business for them, and they scam dozens of guys.  Furthermore, how do you know that you are not talking to some guy who stole a picture of his sister and posted it in an Asian or Russian chat room?  If you are doing business with a foreign company, try to do some form of background check.  This goes for people I've referred.  For all I know they are legitimate since they have offices in Makati, but you NEVER KNOW what can be going on behind the scenes.  Even I'm not 100% sure of anyone.  In the case of Country Waffles here, the franchisors scammed the franchisees out of millions and then fled to the States where it's nearly impossible for the Philippines to extradite.  If you hire someone online, make sure that they send you a legal and binding contract.  Make sure that you don't pay them until they have completed the task, and make sure that they can prove to you that they completed your task before you pay.  If you are buying a condo or land here, make sure there isn't a land dispute or a lien on the property.  I could go on and on, but all I can say is BE CAREFUL!  I've killed two birds with one stone in this writing, but I guess I should have said it long ago.  Not that it will stop the haters and otherwise stupid people who don't bother to read and fire off an angry e-mail about the spelling of my name or whatever else makes them wet.

April 3rd, 2005

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