The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Why Lazy Workers Are Often the Ones Complaining about the Job

"Usually, lazy workers are those who complain a lot about their jobs."


In Psychology, that behavioral mechanism is a combination of denial (deliberate or not) and projection.

The lazy person denies (or pretends to deny) that she is lazy and then complains about other coworkers (who may be lazy themselves or not)--projection--as in projecting their own shortcomings to others.

It is also a tactic--projecting the laziness on others so that the attention would be projected on the coworkers she is complaining about--in the process, covering for her own laziness.

In a workplace, observant managers and workers could easily spot who are the real lazy ones and to recognize such complaints as a defense mechanism of these lazy ones. Unfortunately, people who are lazy themselves couldn't recognize this; worse, managers who are oblivious of or unfamiliar with the daily routine undertaken by the frontline staff members easily fall for the complaints of these lazy workers.

This is also the reason lazy workers love a disorganized and unsystematic workplace or work routine, because without a proper working system in which task distribution and work performance could not be measured and clearly identified, lazy ones always get away with their laziness.

Projecting on Others the Failures of Our Own Homes

(On Artist Blaming as a Form of Scapegoating)
by aLfie vera mella
This article is my reaction to the currently trending criticism on Miley Cyrus's performance at the MTV VMA 2013.

The ultimate question is--as parents, what do you tell your own children about these popular people, especially artists and other showbiz personalities--do you tell them that they could regard these people as role models for their own lives or do you emphatically remind them that, while they could appreciate their art, they should not regard them as role models?

I think the moment you assign a role-model badge to these artists or you put on their shoulders a sense of moral responsibility to the world at large, then it is synonymous to your admitting that--yes--these people should be revered as role models by your children. And I think there's a folly in that teaching...because you are clearly telling your children that--yes, go ahead, take these people as your role models.

To me, it's clear and simple. As parents, we need to tell our children that not all people--popular or not--should be taken as role models. That is just wrong and irresponsible. It is similar to the defense mechanism known as victim blaming.

"'Victim blaming' occurs when the victim(s) of a crime or any wrongful act are held entirely or partially responsible for the violations committed against them."

Artists should not have a moral responsibility to anyone but themselves and their own families--simply because they are not moral crusaders or lawmakers; they are just producers of art (literature, music, etc)--regardless if these works of art are distasteful or not.

Same with any of us--we don't have a moral responsibility to anyone--even to our neighbors or friends--our moral responsibility is only to our own selves and own families--because they are directly dependent on us.

In Simple Words

We should teach our children whom they could regard as and whom they shouldn't consider role models. This will prevent us from blaming people unfairly and inadvertently.

In Psychology, victim blaming and artist blaming may be considered examples of psychological projection or scapegoating.

The Limitations of the Concept of Self-Healing

I think one factor that affects the ability of the human body to heal is health itself.

If a person is healthy--eating good/nutritious food; having sufficient rest and sleep; not engaging in drugs, in too much alcohol, and in smoking cigarettes; and avoiding stressful situations and not stressing oneself too much when confronted with problems and staying as cool and relaxed as possible--then his body's susceptibility to diseases is lessened and his ability to heal (when sick) becomes better.

But of course there are other factors to consider also. My point is that this self-healing concept is still based on medical science and on a person's overall health condition and habits--not on some kind of "divine" or "prayerful" intervention or the strongwill to get well. Because, no matter how strong the sense of hope or mental willingness of a person to get well, if his body and mind is physically weak or unhealthy to begin with, then no amount of hope or courage could heal his disease, illness, or disorder.

And this self-healing concept usually applies only to common ailments. Talk about serious and critical ones such as cancer, severe infections, and genetic diseases--self-healing becomes insufficient; we would now be needing the use of medications and other medical therapy and interventions.

To many religious people or God-believers, having a strong sense of faith get them through serious problems. And that could be proven to be true--that faith could help a person have a strong body or immune system--after all, the strong sense of courage and hope provided by faith may scientifically translate to an actual boost or activation of the body's natural dopamine level.

However, what I would disagree with is to claim that people without faith or belief in a god have weaker immune system because they don't have a strong sense of faith. Why? Because, it's just a matter of semantics actually.

If the religious call this sense of faith or a belief in God, we who do not believe in the existence of a god simply call this strength a sense of hope and belief in human abilities and the mind's ability to think of ways and solutions that we can use to solve issues and problems. Then, coupled with medical science, we could also fare as well in having a healthy and strong body and mind.

My point is, faith and belief in a god--while it is important and irremovable for religious people--is unnecessary for people like me just to be able to have a healthy body and mind. I am simply refuting the claim that EVERY single individual needs faith and a belief to be strong. 

In simple words, having faith and belief is a choice--it is not a necessity for all. However, a healthy lifestyle--that one is a requirement for having a good health.

Are You One-Track Minded?

Many people could both express concern and even give good suggestions and commentaries about serious world issues like the current Syria situation or the Philippine pork barrel problem and at the same time enjoy a bit of entertainment features like the Miley Cyrus performance on MTV VMA 2013.

I think only people who are one-track minded couldn't handle both. I mean, I've been reading comments like "there are far more serious world issues like what is currently happening in Syria, and all Miley Cyrus could do is this" [pertaining to her performance at Music Television Video Music Awards 2013]. Well, a well-rounded person does not need to focus his attention on serious world issues all the time; there are other less serious and trivial stuff to enjoy and spend time on once in a while. Besides, celebrities and artists are out there primarily as entertainers and purveyors of performance art or music and not as role models. Parents should be the ones teaching and explaining to their children the ability to separate different issues and that they may appreciate artists' performance or music without the need to copy what they do or imitate their personal lifestyles.

To me, the Cyrus performance is just another form of entertainment. Nothing really wrong and serious about it, as far as I'm concerned. If you don't like her, then don't watch her shows or listen to her music (out of curiosity, you still can, anyway--that's your choice); but you really could not ask other people not to appreciate her shows and her music if those people like the kind of Pop Miley Cyrus perform and make.

This is an issue of freedom of expression.

Popularity Is Not an Obligation for a Person to Serve as a Role Model

Popularity alone does not oblige a person to be a public role model. It depends on the popular person's profession. For instance, I don't regard, expect, or oblige celebrities or artists to serve as role models for the masses because their actual profession or purpose is to entertain or give art, performance, or music.

Popular people whom I expect to serve as role models include politicians (because they are the lawmakers and the vanguard of a country and its people's public interest), religious leaders (because they are supposedly the moral vanguards of their respective flocks), and teachers (because they are the ones teaching students and providing them the basic education).

And, foremost of course, lest I forget--the parents themselves should be the ones who should be obliged to serve as role models for their own children and they should be the ones explaining all these things to them.

Familiar Sound with a New Shape

(On the New Band of One of Strawberry Switchblade's former Vocalists)
by aLfie vera mella

The Shapists is a contemporary New Wave / Indie Pop band led by the former vocalist Jill Bryson of the classic Scottish New Wave band Strawberry Switchblade.

The Shapists is slated to released its debut album before the year ends. And with the sound of this single off it, their music is certainly rooted in the Classical New Wave / New Romantic style of Bryson's former band.

"In My Head" is gorgeous. I like the instrumentation, the subtle '60s sunny pop-inspired intro and the slow buildup. But what I liked best is the call-and-response horn instrumentation in the coda (last part). Classical New Wave once again! Strawberry Switchblade's music is always lush with Classical-inspired instrumentation. "Since Yesterday" used Sibelius's "Symphony no. 5" as a backdrop to the song's intro.

Strawberry Switchblade was a Scottish New Wave band formed in 1981 by Rose McDowall and Jill Bryson, peaked in mid-'80s, and disbanded in 1986, releasing only one studio album (1985's self-titled). My three recommended songs that best defines the Romantic Pop / Classical New Wave style of the band are "Let Her Go," "Since Yesterday," and Who Knows What Love Is?"

In the Philippines, the music of Strawberry Switchblade has remained a constant on the playlist and collection of New Wave music enthusiasts and a few radio stations that feature New Wave music on certain time slots.

"Let Her Go"

"Since Yesterday"

"Who Knows What Love Is?"

The opening background of the song "Since Yesterday" was based on a portion of the finale of Sibelius's Symphony no. 5. (Check out 1:25.)

Come Christmastime--the projected release date of the début album of Byron's new band, The Shapists--add the album on your list of must-buy records.

You Don't Need to Fall First before You Could Learn

Some people believe that they need to fall first and make follies and mistakes before they could stand up, learn, and be strong. Sometimes, valid.

However, it's not the only way to learn or to be strong.


Because, there are individuals who remain strong and focused and responsible without the need to make serious follies or mistakes in their lives to begin with. You can actually learn from the mistakes of others without you yourself having to experience them first, especially if such mistakes are utterly stupid in the first place--like taking drugs, trying to drunk-drive, or engaging in peer-pressured bullish pranks on others.

A good leader or a good teacher does not always have to be someone who was a former bad person who decided to turn his life around. If given the choice between a bad-person-turned-good and a good person since the start, I'll choose the latter anytime.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

My Father Is a Firefighter;

He Is a Fireman—Both Valid and Correct
(On Linguistic Choice's being a Personal Preference that Should Still Be Rooted in Logic)
by aLfie vera mella

The etymology of some words could be really absurd and sometimes illogical, but using such words doesn't make us incorrect. In the same manner that if a user wants to look for some word alternatives, then that should be also okay.

To me, my basic guideline in my use of words in any of my writings is...I just check first via reliable dictionaries if the word I'm going to use is already official. In case of political correctness, I sometimes use a better alternative and that should be also fine.

For example, if someone uses the word 'mailman,' that should remain valid. But, personally, I don't use 'mailman'; I rather prefer 'mail courier' or 'mail messenger' just to promote gender neutrality. But I will still use 'mailman' if I am really specifically referring to a male mail courier. For example, "My uncle is a mailman." Or, "My mother is a mailwoman." Or, it is also correct to say "My uncle is a mail courier" or "My mother is a mail courier." But of course, it would be wrong to say "My mother is a mailman" or "My auntie is a fireman." One should be more sensitive than that--just use "mail courier" or "firefighter" instead.

Or, if I'm speaking in general: "The mail courier delivers mails in our area only on Tuesdays and Fridays." (Because here where I live, sometimes the mail courier is a man, sometimes a woman.)

The idea is, we have a freedom of choice concerning which form or style of words we want to use, as long as the use remains logically correct.

Like I would say "My uncle is a fireman" or "My uncle is a firefighter"; but I will never say "My uncle is a firewoman" nor "My mother is a fireman."

In cases of gays and lesbians, I am yet to encounter someone's using 'firegay' or 'firelesbian.' If someone starts using those alternative words, that's their choice; and by virtue of word formation, they are still correct and valid. But they should not start imposing others that they use 'firegay' or 'firelesbian.'

The Last Leaf
It boils down also to personal preference but such preference should remain logically correct and valid. To me, I am a strong supporter of gender neutrality; but when it comes to controversial words like that, I think I just have to settle with using the gender-neutral terms 'firefighter' or 'mail courier' instead of using something that is still controversial as 'firegay,' 'firelesbian,' or 'firehomosexual.' Not for anything else, but as I said, I should have a linguistic choice.

Therefore, no teacher should impose on their students that they start using gender-neutral words then telling them that failing to do so would render their word use incorrect. In the end, it should still be a case-to-case basis. If a student writes "My father is a mailman"; another writes "My father is a mail courier"; then another writes "My father is a mail messenger"; and yet another writes "My mother is a mailwoman"; and another writes "My mother is a mail carrier"; then all students should be correct by virtue of linguistic freedom that is still rooted on logic. However, if a student writes "My mother is a mailman" or "My father is a mailwoman", then that's the time that they should be corrected by virtue of gender incongruence or wrong gender agreement.

Salungso, Salungki, Salumpuwit, Salungtak, Salompas at iba pa

(On the Neutrality of Word Usage)
by aLfie vera mella

Napanood ko sa Filipino Channel a few days ago yung isyung tungkol sa paggamit ng ilang “kontrobersyal” na bagong likhang mga salitang hango sa wikang Tagalog. Isa sa pumuknat sa isip ko e yung sinabi ni Virgilio Almario--na bastos raw ang gagamit ng mga salitang salungso at salungki dahil alam daw naman nila ang pinanggalingan ng mga salitang iyan (etymology). Dagdag pa niya, ang mga disenteng tao raw ay ang gagamiting salita e kasuotang panloob.

Sa totoo lang, isa si Rio Alma sa paborito kong manunula. Yung poetry book niyang Peregrinasyon... ay isa sa mga itinuturing kong obra maestra sa larangan ng Filipino poetry--at malaki rin ang implwensiya niya sa akin bilang manunula.

Pero, bumagsak ang pagtingin ko sa kanya bilang isang alagad ng literatura dahil sa pananaw niya sa etimolohiya ng mga salitang pinag-uusapan natin.


Para sa akin mas gusto ko nga na gamitin ang salungso at salungki na katumbas ng bra at panty. Mas may karakter at mas akma sa karamihan ng mga salitang Filipino.

E ano naman kung ang etimolohiya ng mga salitang iyan ay "salung suso" at "salung kiki'? Oo, may touch of humor, pero ganyan naman ang etymology ng maraming salita kahit sa English o iba pang lenggwahe.

Ang pagkakaiba e kung lalagyan ng malisya ng gumagamit sa mga salitang ito.

Yung salumpwit e obviously na galing sa "pangsalo ng puwet" at may humor sa pagkakaimbento ng salitang iyan. O baka nga, walang humor na intention after all sa part ng kung sinomang nag-imbento rito.

Kasi, kung titingnan naman kasi natin nang objectively at na walang halong malisya--e may linguistic logic naman sa word na ito e--pansalo naman talaga ng puwet ang silya e. Para sa akin e magandang may choice--kung gusto mo gamitin e silya o upuan e okay; kung gusto mo e salumpuwet o salumpuwit e dapat okey rin lang.

Kung ako ay isang titser at ipinagawa ko sa aking mga estudyante na magpasa ng written report na ang gamit ay wikang Filipino at yung isang estudyante e gumamit ng salitang bra at panti at silya o upuan at pagkatapos yung isang estudyante e ang ginamit e salumpuwit, salungso, at salungki; at may isa namang gumamit ng kasuotang panloob--e ituturing kong pare-parehong tama ang kani-kanilang gamit na mga salita. Hindi ko sasabihin na, uy, mali yung ginamit mong salita. Bakit? Kasi sa linguistics e merong tinatawag na synonyms at ang mga salitang aking hinalimbawa e synonyms of each other (salumpuwit, upuan, silya; salungso, bra, pang-ibaba na kasuotang panloob; at salungki, panti, pang-itaas na kasuotang panloob).

We have to admit that words evolve and that sometimes, there are more than one word that could be used to call a thing. I think that, even in the matter of linguistics, the language user should have the freedom of choice which words she wants to use--as long as such words make linguistic sense.  

The Last Leaf
I don't see anything wrong in the use of the Filipino words salungso and salungki as alternative words for silya (Spanish-derived Filipino word for the English word chair) and upuan (a nominalization of the Filipino verb upo, meaning "sit" to connote "to sit on a chair").

Yes, salungso and salungki were obviously derived from the phrases "pangsalo ng suso" ("breasts catcher) and pangsalo ng kiki ("vagina catcher"), respectively; but the resulting words should not be tainted with malice. After all, there is nothing malicious with the words suso ("breasts") and kiki ("vagina"), to begin with, when used in a biological perspective or matter-of-fact manner. Most often, the user's intention or his connotative use of certain words are the ones that make the word usage distasteful--not the actual use of the words itself.

* Nominalization - may refer specifically to the process of producing a noun from another part of speech through the addition of derivational affixes (for example, the noun legalization is a nominalziaiton of the verb legalize)

* Salonpas is a Japanese brand of topical pain or inflammation reliever. In Filipino, inflammatory pain may be translated as pasma. This makes the word salonpas or salompas sensible, even if it was only coincidental. Following the logic in the formation of the words salungso (brassiere, "breasts catcher"), salungki (panties, vagina catcher), and salumpuwit (chair, "ass catcher"), salompas may be regarded as "salong pasma" (inflammatory-pain catcher). 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Are You Fucking Brilliant?

(On Fuck's being Just Another Option)
by aLfie vera mella

Using fuck or fucking in a sentence to amplify the seriousness or intensity of what one is expressing is, in the end, a matter of choice for reasons that include 1) fondness for the word, 2) laziness to think of another word, 3) belief that only the word fuck could attract more attention, and 4) failure or willingness to acknowledge that there are other words that serve the same intensifying purpose.

For example, because I don't have a fondness for using fuck to stress a point, I rather choose words that I like better—instead of "Wow, that was fucking horrible!", I am more inclined to say

"Wow, that was really horrible!"
"Wow, that was unbelievably horrible!"
"Wow, that was inexcusably horrible!"

To me, fucking has just developed into having a few more meanings—no longer only meaning "having sex." It has long been used to put emphasis in or draw extra attention to a sentence. In fact, its dictionary meaning has simply been officially expanded:

Fuck! – "an expression of utter anger, disappointment, disbelief, disgust, or frustration" (Fuck! Why did you do that?)

fucking – "putting emphasis, weight, or intensity on the idea or feeling being expressed" (Are you fucking serious?)

However, just like with any other word, the speaker or the writer has the choice which words to use in his speech or writing for whatever purpose. If it is working for himself, then use it. If it's not, then look for new alternative words. The point is, fuck or fucking is just another option to use in expressing a strong emotion or stressing or intensifying a point. Every writer may or may not use it.

So, as many writers would say, writing and the choice of words is a matter of style—apart from grammar, of course.

The Last Leaf

Using fuck or fucking as an interjection, intensifier, or modifier (adjective or adverb) remains just another option for anyone—speakers and writers included. It's not the be-all, end-all of all superlative expressions. There are other equal or better alternatives. Its use is not also automatically a display of one's poor vocabulary. Ultimately, it is simply a matter of linguistic choice, vocabulary taste, or literary style.