Monday, 26 April 2010

Lucky Lukas

My friend Noel suggested that I drizzle this post with some salt just so I could drive readership along. Here goes. While in Budapest last month for an assignment with the 'Time Out' publications, I got an out of the blue message from my editor who asked me to interview Lukas Ridgeston allegedly residing in that City. Off I went to do desk research on the subject and well . . . wasn't this interesting. Will I be lucky to do it?

It was easy finding the BelAmi (beautiful friend) studio-offices which was just one brief tram ride from my hotel right along the river Danube. On the way to Boraros ter (target interview location), I feasted as well on lovely sights of the City. It was like going back in time when one takes public transport (tram, metro,bus) in Budapest. The vehicles seemed to be remnants of the Communist era and that adds to the quaint odd experience.

On arrival at a Greek cafe to meet the interviewee, I not only feasted on great food but on the wonderful Lukas too. Don't get me wrong; by that I meant 'feasted' on the conversation and interview material.

While I wouldn't divulge here the full text of the interview due to be published sometime, I had been informed by Lukas that he'd finished a university degree in architecture which has made him contribute to the construction of the BelAmi facilities. Today, he doesn't appear in any of the BelAmi productions anymore but shoot, direct, or edit the videos for internet purchases. He as a matter of personal policy has reserved acting roles to the younger talents and decided to take on a production role in the company.

Yes, he does have those icy blue eyes that pierce you with every stare. Yes, he has a special someone in his life right now. Yes, he wishes to visit Asia and unfortunately hasn't heard much about Southeast Asia beyond Thailand and Indonesia. Yes, I made him interested in Boracay as he is a wakeboarding enthusiast (shouldn't he go to Caramoan instead?). Yes, he is now 35 years old but retains those looks that made him globally famous. His name and BelAmi are well-built brands in the industry. Lucky indeed.

Later he and his colleague took me to drinks at the Acqua Bar in my hotel (shouldn't I have done that?) to show their appreciation of my efforts of coming from very far to do the interview. Was I lucky?

On reflection, I thought that celebrities like him either define their careers or allow fate to take them somewhere. Lukas according to him took a while to acceed to the BelAmi invitation but once there simply went from fame to fame. Even today, his current and future lives it appears are defined by himself. Lucky Lukas.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Match Point

Young as he is, our son announced that he'd like to learn tennis this Summer. It was a surprise to me as I had been pricking his interest in the game for a couple of years now but for some reason he's had this easily reluctant response to suggestions. We'll see how he does. Having played games before, I am an avid fan and have been following the sport from one grandslam or even ATP championship match to the next.

Rafael Nadal whose photo graces this post slid from the premiere position to the world's number three due to a series of injuries last year until early this year.  Despite that and considered by many as Federer's nemesis and heir apparent, his appeal to fans worldwide didn't wane including marriage proposals from women in the stands and courageous streaks across the court by gay men for a quick hug. He's just won the Monte Carlo title (see photo) this year.

Previous icons like Sampras and Agassi have been intermittently coming out of retirement to play a game or two. Justine Henin came back to the game after some hiatus. I guess it's just too difficult leaving the limelight or is it just the sound of the racket hitting the ball. What does one feel as match point nears and then goes. It's just like life, isn't it?

The thrill is long before match point, no matter what all may argue about finishing the exhausting five or six-set game -- that's when you judge how great a game was fought and went. As much as we'd like our idols to clinch victory at match point, we relish the brilliance of the game with every forehand/backhand/serve/topspin/volley. This is what generates applause and ahhhhs. When we live life like a tennis match, we savor every minute of it believing that match point will eventually arrive. Let's play.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


While browsing through a bookstore over last weekend, I was struck by the title of this book. It dawned on me that I had received a complimentary copy of "Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard" from the Stanford University's Graduate School of Business where I went to years ago. One of the book's author in fact was among our teachers. Obviously, it got lost among the pile of "to-dos".

Being psychologists, the authors look at reasons why change is so difficult to achieve in individuals and in organizations. The book proceeds to recommend certain ways of creating lasting change and provides specific examples of success. These are the interesting elements of the book -- the stories that lead us to practical actions in daily life.

I had read the book, some parts with greater emphasis than others, and overall found it a good one. Apparently, it is the second one that I have of these authors who have proven reliable and very pragmatic. In case you might be wondering how best to deal with change without having to scan the litereature of theories, I recommend the purchase of "Switch".  

Sunday, 11 April 2010


The seduction of fraud is just too much. We have been confronted with brazen fraud at work involving (of course) money poached from services to clients and total disregard of systems designed to forestall these indecent intentions.  Last week, we heard about famous speeches being plagiarized with specific ideas being passed on as original thoughts by an esteemed personality. Another perfect form of fraud.

When money is at the center of fraud, we think that the crime shall naturally resolve itself as long as control measures are operational to eventually reveal deviations from norms.Intellectual fraud is akin but has severe moral dimensions. If fraud finds its resolution in legal systems, why is it that we are too horrified to discover it and even wish that it may as well not occur. Even if the system provides for the resolution of fraud, I do not think that anybody wishes to deal with it least of which the legal prosecutors. The act leaves a scar and to a great extent ruins the personality of the criminal. Even the offended party finds it uncomfortable if not difficult to recover from the experience and furthermore runs deep when the experience takes place at a personal level.

To say however that fraud is here to stay is dismissive and defeatist. I'd say that to be keenly aware that it may happen anytime anywhere puts us in a prepared state and gears us to prevent it from happening. That way, we feel less disappointed, not destroyed, and immediately able to recover.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Finally it is Easter

Before soon, everyone would have resumed business as usual after enjoying a short stint with tranquility and reflection. I hope. Today is Easter, the link between Lenten rest and at least another nine months of exhaustive work. We should all enjoy Easter and be happy for it.

If it were really traquility that the soul longed for during Holy Week, I wondered why we had to escape what was the quiet City for popular and frenetic vacation spots like Boracay which was once more populated with (you guessed it) acquaintances and familiar faces. What was it about showing up in social places like that as similar as wanting to be seen in popular parties? What was it about strutting half-naked not just on the beach but even in eateries and stores proudly showing off a body that's the product of three months' hard labor.

Flying to Bora was not as simple either this time. We had to suffer through an almost two-hour trip from Kalibo to Caticlan. Blame that on the January/February flight cancellations of most airlines to Caticlan when bookings were placed. Why should one endure the wasted time and the boredom of the land trip?

Why as well enjoy way below five-star hotel facilities? Can we really sustain ourselves with that? 

It might not be the tranquility but the change of scene and of daily routine (and certainly the incomparable silky white sand of Bora), I have come to conclude upon arriving in Manila last night because despite the heat and tired bodies, we still felt energized to face another day and week of fruitful consequences.

Happy Easter everyone.