Posted by: Jae | September 25, 2007

Small Stuff, but Real Stuff

Some things are worth ending blog-moratoriums for.

A few months ago, while in Davao for a conference, my companions and I went to SM to replenish our supplies and buy pasalubong. While paying at the counter, we noticed that the woman attending to the cash register was standing up and there was no seat in sight. We looked at the other counters and saw that there were no seats as well. Sufficiently bothered, we told the saleslady that the establishment was required by law to provide seats for female mall workers. She shrugged wistfully, as if to say she had gotten used to it and a job standing up was better than none.

Immediately, I texted my friend Gary from Davao and told him that SM doesn’t allow their kaheras to sit down and that I think something should be done about it. He replied that he would look into it and make sure the right people find out.

I left it at that and went on with my life — attending meetings, analyzing RP-China Agreements, giving powerpoint presentations on the Human Security Act and making one pleading after another.

Early this morning, I got a text message from Gary, which was a forwarded message he received from a local government official in Davao, that says essentially this: “that issue you raised 2 us before abt sales ladies of dept stores needing 2 sit down, d ordinance has bin proposed by Hon Ibuyan and the 1st hearing will be dis thurs.” So Gary did raise it, after all. He said he would look into it, and he REALLY AND TRULY did.

Of course, people can say that Gary Granada probably wields more clout than the ordinary citizen and can probably get things done faster (hehe, in the short time that we were together, ive lost count of the number of times I’ve been made to feel invisible by security guards, waiters, etc.. πŸ™‚ ) , but still, it’s amazing what can be done if we make the smallest bit of effort to make the world a gentler place.

It’s not always the big, grandiose acts that get things done. We can’t topple despotic regimes everyday (wait! on that note, hurray hurray hurray to the brave monks of Myanmar!!!) nor do we often get opportunities to do Erin-Brockovich battles against multinational corporations that destroy the Earth. But we can keep our eyes open for even tiniest acts of injustice, and learn to speak out against them.

Even among activists who profess to change the world, there are so many fractures, so many wounds. It would seem that everyone, every organization, has a different “analysis”, and therefore a different way of doing things. So many nuances, so many gray areas.

Lessons like this from Gary are a good way to step back and realize that sometimes, the smallest things can have the most profound effects. Activism can come in tiniest of gestures. We just need to go out there and put our money where our mouth is.

Hello, everyone. I’m back. πŸ˜€

p.s. at syempre, dahil saksakan ako ng “creative”, may naisip akong call para sa mga taga davao na gusto magkampanya. “STAND UP FOR THE RIGHT TO SIT DOWN!!!” o sa tagalog, “TUMINDIG PARA SA KARAPATANG UMUPO!” o-ha. gamitin nyo ha. please? sige na naman, please? maganda naman di ba? di ba? hehehe.



  1. Writing-moratoriums don’t fit you and the world is better with your brilliant, moving and non-pa tweetums writing out there. Haha.

    And on that note, hurray tito gary! And hurray rosey! πŸ™‚

  2. great, jae… but can we also do something about the make-up requirements of salesladies (SM, etc.)?

    Which drunken make-up artist recommended that these malls implement a “mala-geishang anemic” style from the neck up only? Anobah?! para tuloy silang mga morenang inilublob ng patiwarik (up to the neck) sa balde ng espasol powder! 😦

  3. hi jordan! hehe, minsan pa-tweetums din naman ako ah. “tito” gary talaga. porke kumanta ka sa concert nya nung 9 years old ka. hahaha.

    arnoldie, oo nga. hehe. dont forget the frosted pink lipstick. on a more serious note, di ba yung akbayan labor natin, nuwhrain, naipanalo na iinclude sa collective bargaining agreement na hindi na ipagsusuot ng super-iksing palda yung mga hotel workers sa hotel na yun? πŸ™‚ ang galing nun.

  4. @Jae – true yon pero nadale naman sila sa fine print (nakalagay sa bagong CBA — “male” hotel workers ang babawalang magsuot ng super iksing palda) πŸ™‚

  5. jae, haha ayos na tagline.go go go.pero inspiring ang entry na to.salamat.wag ka magwriting moratorium.kelangan ko lagi ng non-jpepa break.


  7. Count on Jae to come up with brilliant slogans — naalala ko tuloy bigla ang “He said, she refuted” — ang galing diba? Mwah, I’m back!!!!! To slavery hahahahaha.

  8. aherm. galing galing ni superjae! πŸ™‚

  9. taroogs – hehe. πŸ˜€

    golda – grabe, obsessed ka na talaga sa jpepa. tama bang maging URL mo pag nagcocomment ka sa blog?!?!?! kung may inspiring, ikaw yon. dahil hindi ko imagine na lumibot sa mga tambayan ng orgs sa UP sa ilalim ng init ng araw para ipagkalat ang junk-jpepa doctrine. sobra kang inspiring. mabuhay ka. πŸ™‚

    chrisgel – dapat pag may mob, sit-in rally ang tawag.

    joan – hey, hey, welcome back. not only to slavery but to the circus. hehe. tell ur cousin i said hi. πŸ™‚

    kareen – ngek, hindi ako magaling. wala ako ginawa. nagtext lang ako. si gary ang may follow-through. πŸ™‚

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