Thursday, March 7, 2013

My unpleasant experience at MSU GenSan

Last March 5, 2013, I helped in the conduct of the first ever automated SSC election at MSU General Santos City. It was an enjoyable experience, except for my unpleasant experience with a professor right before the election started.

First things first. I rendered my services as a volunteer for free. I also lent some of my equipment, a wireless router and my laptop to be used as the server. I did not receive a single peso for rendering my services although the COMELEC, from time to time shoulders my fare and food whenever I need to go to MSU. They were also kind enough to give me a COMELEC shirt as a token. The most that I expected to receive was the fulfillment of a successful election (which we achieved in my opinion). In short, I went there as a volunteer and not a paid contractor.

A day before the election, I was already in MSU when I decided to stay overnight inside the campus with the COMELEC commissioners and deputies to work on the last-minute stuff. When doing these kinds of work, I usually prefer wearing comfortable clothes. That time, I was wearing a shirt (with sleeves), shorts and a decent pair of shoes - an attire more decent than my usual attire in UP Diliman. I stayed all night to make sure everything technical is in order for the election (from passwords, the database, script for the live turnout, verification of ballots, etc).

Immediately after the College of Social Science and Humanities opened, I washed up, changed clothes and proceeded there with the group to setup our stuff. While I was securing the wire of the extension cord to floor (to prevent people from tripping), a certain Professor Laroco embarrassed me in front of a handful of COMELEC commissioners, deputies and students with early classes.

He arrogantly commented about my attire. Some of the commissioners and deputies tried to defend me saying that I'm not a MSU student. He told me that my attire was not befitting to serve the students. I defended myself and told him that I'm only a technical staff and guaranteed him that I won't be a frontliner. I also told him that I was not informed about a rule that wearing shorts is not allowed inside their building and that I would take note of it next time.

I could have taken it lightly if he told me about that policy of him in a nice manner. But it turns out that he is really arrogant, he was even proud enough to boast that he has a lot of haters and I wouldn't wonder why.

Being tired and sleep-deprived, I would have wanted to walkout but it would be so selfish of me to do so since I'm handling most of the technical matters of the election. I know I had to keep my cool and continue working. I decided spend most of the day inside Sir Dorado's room.

I told some of my friends about the incident. I learned from them that he is the OSA Director and the school's publication needs his approval before publishing anything. I also learned from another professor/instructor there that there was no such building policy.

I believe I was respectful enough throughout my short stay in MSU. I am confident that Sir Dorado, his assistant, and the professor who met his students in the Speech Lab would agree with me. 

Sa pamamalagi ko sa UP Diliman, hindi pa ako nasita o pinahiya sa loob ng mga gusali dahil sa aking pananamit. Inaamin ko na maaring mali ako at hindi ko inalam ang lugar na pupuntahan ko. Nasa maling lugar siguro ako. Madali lang naman akong kausap kung kinakausap ng maayos. Ang puno't dulo lang ng lahat, hindi ko nagustuhan ang pakikitungo ng Professor Lorenzo Laroco na yan. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

First time in MSU GenSan after five years

As early as November last year, the idea of automating the Supreme Student Council election of Mindanao State University General Santos City (MSU-GSC) was brought up by a friend of mine. He sought my help since he knew that I volunteered for the automated student council elections in UP Diliman (together with my fellow UnPLUG members). A handful of meetings in various places followed, until it was time to do an ocular inspection.

I was actually hesitant to go to MSU GenSan yesterday since the call  it was far from the city proper, around 30-45-minute jeepney ride (that's a long ride in GenSan). One of their electoral board's commissioner traveled with me from the high school campus to the campus at Tambler. It was my second time to ride a jeepney in GenSan. :)

After a long ride, we finally reached the campus. It was my first time there in five years, but this time I get to walk around the campus. I must say that it was actually challenging. There were mini-sandstorms from time to time. I am also not used to walking under the heat of the Sun since I've been staying indoors for the past few months. Aggravating the situation was the bright volcanic soil that absorbs most light instead of reflecting it.

We inspected the laboratories that will be used as polling precincts, the Speech Lab and the Computer Lab at the College of Social Science and Humanities. There were around 40 computers per lab or around 70-80 computers in all. These labs were at most 20 meters from each other.

Our set-up was way different from the one we're holding in UP Diliman due to a number of factors. In UPD, we have around 22,000 voters spread in a big campus while in MSU we only have around 7,000 students and the buildings weren't too far from each other. Add the fact that not all colleges have computer labs and these labs aren't networked with each other. These factors prompted us to adapt a central voting precinct instead of spreading it out over the campus. This way, we won't have to deal with wiring different buildings together.

Later, we'll be conducting our mock elections to gauge our preparedness and at the same time benchmark the pace of things - from the queues to the voting time. Good luck for us!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Plane rides

I've always wanted to be a pilot, but it's damn too expensive though I'm not giving up in pursuing that dream yet.

Last 2012, I flew (as a passenger) at least once a month except for November and December. Since I went back to my hometown last October, I wasn't able to travel via air again.

Most of my travels were for leisure, while others were for my freelance work. Thanks to the sudden boom of LCCs (low-cost carriers) in the country, it made flying more affordable. Last year, AirAsia commenced their operations in the Philippines. SEAir, in partnership with Tiger Airways, also commenced their jet service to Davao, Kalibo and other local destinations.

Just a few trivia on how I travel:

  • I go to the airport either:
    • An hour before my flight (just ample time to checkin). I usually do this when I don't have a camera with me.
    • At least three hours before my flight, sometimes up to six. I love spotting airplanes in the airport. I waste my time identifying and appreciating the different aircraft in the airport. I love to stroll around the different stalls at the airport and when I get really bored, sleep on the seats of the departure area.
  • I usually love window seats in the rear area. For the Airbus A320 Family, I usually request 31A or F while for Airbus A330 or A340 family I choose 76A or K.
  • I survey the load factor of the aircraft. In a lightly loaded aircraft, I usually scout for a row with unoccupied seats. For wide-bodies (aircraft with two aisles), I usually look for unoccupied seats in the middle part (D, E, F, G). After takeoff, I usually go to these seats and convert them into a 'bed' by raising the armrests.
  • I love to try the in-flight meal and beverages served in-flight. The most disappointing so far is AirAsia's Chicken Adobo.
If all goes well, I already have two potential air travels this January and February. Yay!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Starting all over again

I can literally call New Year a New Year. I'm starting all over again.

First day of 2013, I got fired for not showing up last Christmas and New Year. It was time to find a new job. Fortunately, one of my past clients contacted me if I wanted to work with him again. I'm jobless, so why not?

I'm also trying to start all over again on my portfolio of websites. I used to have lots of websites (and domains), but as distractions came into my life I gradually left them behind.

I hope 2013 won't be harsh to me. I've been wanting to buy a lot of stuff, and I hope this is the right year.