10 years, 10 months, 10 days ago


December 21, 2009 – April 8, 2011

This is the second installment of the historical throwback in this blogspot, focusing on world affairs and how it shaped the events in my life and the environment surrounding me. In the end, a reflection on how the past influenced the present is provided.

What was happening in the world?

The worldwide recession is coming to an end. Pope Benedict XVI was knocked down by a woman during a procession at St. Peter’s Basilica. Pedophilia and sex scandals, however, plagued the Catholic church in Europe and South America. Later, the pope made controversial visits in Israel, Cyprus, and Ireland. On the other hand, Portugal, Argentina, and Mexico City legalized same-sex marriages. Meanwhile, the Swedish Supreme sentenced the owners of The Pirate bay, an online index of digital content. Norwegian Magnus Carlsen became the youngest world chess grandmaster. Meanwhile, Norway and Russia end a maritime border conflict in the Barents Sea. North and South Korea restarts its family reunion program.

In Europe, United Kingdom held its general election, and Conservative Party’s David Cameroon replaces Labour Party’s Gordon Brown. Germany completes its payment for First World War damages. Serbia has formally submitted its application to the European Union, while Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence was considered legal by the International Court of Justice. Curacao and Sint Maarten became constituent countries of The Netherlands, paving way to their first prime ministers. Referendum on South Sudan independence was held, paving way to the creation of youngest country in the world. Midterm US elections led to Republican control over the House of Representatives during the Obama administration. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, announced retirement from public office after serving as the Secretary of State for one term. On the other hand, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and Iceland needed to avert worsening financial crisis, which further led to massive protests across Europe. Likewise, protests broke out also in Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, and Egypt, demanding for government changes, resulting to the so-called Arab Spring and deadly Libyan civil war.

H1N1 flu pandemic continuously affects several countries, especially in Asia. Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar was freed from house detention for years and boycotted the 2010 elections in the country. Venezuelan President began stringent measures, resulting electricity ration, and currency devaluation. China, as the world largest exporting country and energy consumer, and the Southeast Asian Nations launched a free trade agreement, tensions between India and Japan heightens. Google, on the other hand, announced its intention to close its operation in China. US President Obama, however, approved a arms package for Taiwan and visited the Dalai lama, resulting in China’s opposition. China also warned foreign diplomats attending the ceremony for Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to a Chinese activist. Likewise, Israeli-Palestinian, and Lebanese conflicts and war in Afghanistan and Iraq escalate, while piracy in Somalia affects seafarers from around the world. Bomb threats increased from US, Eiffel Tower in France to other European countries. Meanwhile, Polish president and his wife dies in aircraft crash in Russia.

Devastating earthquakes devastated in New Zealand, and especially in Haiti, resulting in a humanitarian crisis and eventually a deadly cholera outbreak. An earthquake in Japan resulted in radiation leaks significantly affecting the Japanese economy.  Another crisis ensued as the Somali Civil War worsens. Heat wave plagues Australia, while extreme weather winter conditions, wildfires in Russia, and floods in Pakistan, Australia, China, and Europe occurred . A volcanic eruption in Iceland interrupted air travel in Europe. Meanwhile, oil spill in Gulf of Mexico resulted in promptness of the US government response.

In entertainment, Avatar became the highest-grossing film of all time, surpassing Titanic. Meanwhile, The King’s Speech became one of the most awarded film of the year. In research, The Lancet retracted a paper linking MMR vaccine and autism. In science, Jupiter makes its closest approach to Earth for more than half a century. In social media, Saudi Arabia bans blackberry due to security concerns, while Twitter began selling advertising through its Promoted tweets. Queen Elizabeth II started a Facebook page, but followers could not poke or befriend her. Facebook grew further, while Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg became Time’s People of the Year. Wikileaks revealed state secrets, which was led by Julian Assange, an Australian activist, whose rape case in Sweden was reopened. Meanwhile, Finland became the first country to make internet access as a legal right.

What was happening in the Philippines?

This phase started with the extravagant Christmas celebration in the Philippines. This is despite of the declaration of martial law in Maguindanao, a Southern Philippine province following the massacre involving journalists and politically affiliated individuals. This happened just few months before the first automated election in the Philippines, where Benigno Aquino, the son of the former Cory Aquino became the 15th president of the Philippines. However, the start of Aquino administration was challenged by the hostage-taking incident in Manila, involving tourists and resulting in strain in ties between Hongkong and the Philippines. The hunt for truth on corruption allegations against the former president Arroyo, and political dissidents of the former administration were freed. The former chief of the Armed Forces committed suicide after being accused of corruption. Calls for reimposition of the death penalty rouse after the resurgence of heinous crimes in the country.

Interestingly, during this time, the new peso bills were presented with new design, and the tourism slogan was changed from the popular, “Wow Philippines” to “Pilipinas Kay Ganda,” which translates “The Philippines So Beautiful”. Manny Pacquiao won twice, defending his WBO belts, while Donaire, another popular boxer won against the Mexican Manuel Vargas, cementing the rivalry between Mexico and Philippines in boxing.

Typhoons ravaged and killed hundred, while Bulusan volcano spewed plumed ash, displacing thousands of residents in the nearby areas.

What was happening to me?

Personally, I was undergoing a rapid career boost. I was attending classes and finishing my thesis for master’s degree in nursing, focusing on nursing administration. I was doing this simultaneously with work as university lecturer in Anatomy and Physiology, and as a clinical instructor for nursing students in the hospital. All this, I was combining with my work in a private educational institution for review classes in the preparation for the Philippine Nursing Licensure Exam. I was traveling to another city to conduct lecture discussions as well. Shortly after one year of working in the university, I worked as the Technical assistant for the dean, presumably a position one step lower than a university dean. This brought about unnecessary stress personally and at work. I was going against a traditional hierarchy, which has enshrined a particular type of organizational culture, which I may not agree as very idealist person by that time. I was literally working over 70 hours a week and sleeping an average of three to four hours a night.

I was getting known for my work, learning a lot, getting more efficient, and earning more. However, at the same time, I gain more critics and detractors in all the places I work at. I was literally having almost no time for friends and family, and my personal life was either empty or non-exciting. At this time, I took my first exam necessary to go abroad, IELTS. The original plan was to apply for scholarship in Leuven, Belgium to study ethics. Interestingly, only at this time, I took the airplane for the first time, a work trip in Manila. At this time, my sister went home from the United Kingdom, and tried her luck in Singapore for some months. That led me to automatically become the primary breadwinner of the family.

Three words to describe that period

Endurance. Recognition. Responsibility.

I literally must endure a lot of stress both physically and psychologically. I had deadlines to meet both at work and in school. The pressure to deliver good results are there, while the tasks just piled up every day. I was not complaining, because I liked what I was doing, but I really did not have the time for everything. I remember my sister had to allow me to sleep in the jeepney, after just sleeping for two hours at night, and I was on my way to an eight-hour lecture discussion. I was eating not to indulge, but to be full for the next work at hand. Luckily, I am getting recognized. As a matter of fact, I was invited for several speaking engagements in some nursing schools. I was getting more work also in the review center, and by June 2010, I was teaching the major nursing subjects in the university across year educational levels. I was teaching Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Surgical Nursing, Pharmacology, Ethics, Research, Maternal and Child Nursing, Physical Assessment and Theoretical Foundations in Nursing. I prepared all materials for all these subjects, and even revised the curriculum affecting the entire nursing school. Lastly, I was responsible of helping nursing students learn concepts, and nursing graduates pass the licensure exams. I honestly think I did a good job.

What have I learned?

Firstly, I learned to accelerate my progress from a novice to a competent one. I have to. I have no choice. The pressure at work is always there. The criticisms and expectations of people surrounding me is always there. I learn not just to cope with those pressures, but I learn to ignore people and situations not serving me any good. I learned to earn money, but I was having a hard time saving money, but I saved some. During that time, I was doing things, not primarily for myself, but for others. I want to earn money to cover family expenses. I have to teach well, because I need to make students learn easily and pass exams. I have to deliver results, because people are looking everything at my actions. I should not commit mistakes, because people expect nothing but the best from me. I forgot myself here, but that did not necessarily make me sad. I was contented, and people saw that. That is perhaps the best way to entertain detractors – show them how satisfied you are regardless of what they do and say.

10 years, 10 months and 10 days have passed. The Catholic church and society is becoming less conservative. The Catholic church has to adapt to the clamors for liberal change. Pirate bay no longer exists, but streaming videos have become more profitable nowadays. The two Koreas have more strained relationships, and the relationships between Norway and Russia has become more tense-filled. Serbia still does not recognize the independence of Kosovo. Labour Party across Europe has been significantly weakened.  Magnus Carlsen has regained his number one status. Joe Biden, Obama’s vice president is now running as the president of the United States against the incumbent Donald Trump. The effects of the financial crisis ten years ago are still felt, and even worsened by the Corona virus pandemic. Arab spring brought influx of migrants to Europe, initiating a cascade of events influencing politics and social reforms. China is now technically becoming the most influential country in the world, despite of the Corona virus originating there.

Environmental crises plague the world still in the forms of strong storms, drought, forest fires and floods, displacing a lot of people. Meanwhile, Google and Facebook have become authorities in social media, which controls almost every aspect of the daily lives of every individual. On the other hand, many people are still sceptic on how vaccines work and would benefit the society in general. In the Philippines, Benigno Aquino and his party have dwindling political influence, while Arroyo has made a political comeback. Pacquiao is now an elected senator in the Philippines, while the slogan, “Wow Philippines” made a comeback as well. Typhoons still ravage the Philippines, but people I guess are more prepared so death tolls are not as high as before. Personally, I no longer work as a lecturer. Honestly, I forgot a lot things already, but my experience led me to practice nursing profession better in Norway. Now, I also pursue master’s degree, but now through University in Oslo. I work a lot still, but I sleep longer. I hope things would get better for me personally, and the world in the midst of the pandemic in general.



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