~/.diary schedule

3. Oct 22 to Oct 29: 14:28

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From Oct 22 to Oct 29, I worked on a simple calculator. Naganuma gave us basic specifications and templates for detailed specifications and unit tests. I filled in the forms and wrote the program by myself.

Although it was my first time to program using Delphi, I did not have any problems writing the program. I read a Delphi 5 book and researched on the Internet. Because Delphi is based on Pascal, my Pascal experience was also helpful.

In the beginning, I had a hard time understanding what I needed to do. People spoke very quickly and used words and grammar I had not yet learned. I found written documents easier to understand. I enjoyed preparing my documents in Japanese because I had a chance to learn new grammar and new words. I'm still bad at Japanese, though. When my corrected documents are returned, they're full of red marks. I had to keep asking Yoshioka or Naganuma to correct my Japanese. I still have problems from time to time, but I'm slowly starting to understand.

The first time I submitted my test plans, Yoshioka asked me to provide an English translation so that he could understand it. My Japanese was that bad. Because he's good at English, he can correct my Japanese quickly. However, starting from next week, he'll be working in Shinjuku. I will have to find a way to get much better in Japanese so that I don't bother Naganuma all the time and so that I can avoid misunderstandings.

I searched the Internet for books on technical Japanese. I think they will be very useful. People say that "Basic Technical Japanese" is the best book, and even beginners can learn using it. It was published by University of Tokyo Press. If I pay for it myself, though, it's a bit expensive at 7875 yen. Because other trainees can also use the book to learn, may I ask the company to buy one copy of the book? I believe it will help us make the most of our short training period.

2. Learning technical Japanese: 01:19

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I've figured out what I really like about this situation. It's an amazing opportunity to rapidly pick up a foreign language, and in a technical context at that! That's the main thing they give feedback on, anyway. They didn't really comment on our design. I guess as long as we understand what's needed and our results seem to be okay, we're fine. I get my papers back with little red marks highlighting incorrect use of particles and suggesting better word usage, though. I've realized that in order to make the most of this opportunity, I shouldn't just stick to safe, simple sentences. I'm going to try new structures and new words, typing my documents over and over again until the words stick in my head! =)

So, no, I'm not depressed. If the other day's blog entry made you worry, sorry! Before I came to Japan, I thought that the AOTS thing would be a great excuse to learn Japanese. That was the main reason I said yes, actually. When I started training, I wondered if I should be focusing on industry experience instead. That's not really possible, but my original intention will do quite well. By February, I want to be able to do tech support and documentation in Japanese.

Work is fun. =)

1. CRAZED By Patricia Chanco Evangelista: 00:53

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The Philippine STAR 10/22/2004

Interesting article about good causes. (Or interesting exposition of how we're so used to being able to dig up information that stuff that looks somewhat fishy gets checked quickly.)

I love the Philippines, and would like to spend my life helping in whatever way I can.

You can get it from the Google cache. Philippine Star's site is slightly broken.


If you're looking for more information on "Faye", check out the following links. I've compiled them from the updates below to make your browsing life easier.

Static pages:

- We%20lied%20because%20no%20one%20loved%20us,%20says%20'whiz'%20kid%20ma%20-%20INQ7.net (2004.11.14)

End to the saga. Faye story hoax by emotionally disturbed mom.

- Church group apologizes, says whiz kid story not true (2004.11.13)

Retraction by Bread of Life Ministries

- Despite doubts, 12-yr-old girl keeps faith in RP (2004.11.09)

More detailed account.

- Elevate Faye without stepping on anybody (2004.11.07)

- Faye being used in political attack on gov't? (2004.11.04) The

Postscript article points out that this is not just about the existence or nonexistence of Faye or even the veracity of the story, but also the political criticism in the story.

- Is Faye's story true, or just another fairy tale? (2004.11.02) The

previous column raised questions that need to be answered.

- Misplaced priorities can mislead the nation (base article) The article

from Bread of Life Ministries.

Dynamic pages, discussion:

- J. Angelo Racoma's blog - (Hey, long time no see. I know him from

way back.) Has archived copy of Evangelista follow-up and link to Philstar article, which will be broken really soon because Philstar doesn't archive articles. Odd, that. Anyway, the blog is probably the best resource you'll find. Check the Nov 5, Nov%204 and Nov%203 entries.

- The Faye Story (ongoing), a blog entry with a lot of discussion. A

number of people in the discussion are convinced it's a hoax. Others claim it is true. The discussion becomes racist near the end, but is otherwise interesting. Another discussion from the same blog has degenerated into puns and kneejerk proofs of how it's impossible to verify identity on the Internet, but may eventually contain something interesting. <shrug>

- GovPH thread (2004.10.29 - present) Another discussion forum with a

handful of posts. Patricia Evangelista's first article is reposted here. cetacea commented that the constant references to Jasmine Trias seems to be a display of crab mentality.

- PinoyPC - Noteworthy because of the scan of the original ad,

if you're into that sort of thing.

Here are my past updates:

UPDATE: Anyone have any other information? A Web search (even news.google.com) doesn't turn up any other articles about this Intercontinental Science Quiz Net in Australia, which is odd for an international competition.

UPDATE: 2004.11.03

Apparently, the only source for the Faye story is a paid advertisement, so the info is iffy. That's a pity, because there are so many other stories out there that are less outrageous and yet more inspiring. We don't have to have against-all-odds stories to take pride in being Filipino. There is also courage in the little things we do.

I find the original speech also a little over the top. I should get around to writing down my opinion on the thing. I guess that's why I'm not a debater, eh?

I also find it rather strange that a number of people who arrived at this site looking for information on "Faye" and the Intercontinental Science Quiz Net were strongly convinced that it was a hoax, and rather vocal about saying so. I think those people are focusing on the wrong thing. It's not about the existence or nonexistence of one person, nor is it even about this preoccupation we might have with media. I think the most important thing to remember here is that there is a world outside our cozy little niche with stories we do not know and perhaps never hear of, the truth or falsehood of which we do not personally know and cannot because we have not yet stepped outside our comfort zone.

You may think it's easy for me to say that, surrounded by autumn leaves in a First World country, but there is more to this than I can find the words to explain.

I miss the Philippines. I miss the way the streetchildren's stares shock me into realizing that all I have done so far is lacking, that there is still more to be done. I miss the way the squalor of squatter communities reminds me that I need to find something I can do to ease the urban pressure. I miss the questions in my students' eyes, questions that I try to answer but fail to explain to my satisfaction. The Philippines is not perfect. Far from it, even. It is that very imperfection that brings me out of myself and makes me reach for greater things.

What is one more candle in a land lit by a thousand suns? It is in dark places that light is needed most.

UPDATE: 2004.11.05

Followup stories. Posting because people who read this blog might be curious.

- Faye being used in political attack on gov't? (2004.11.04) - Is Faye's story true, or just another fairy tale? (2004.11.02)

- The Faye Story, a blog

entry with many comments. Turns into a racist discussion near the end, but oh well.

There's apparently a followup by Patricia Chanco Evangelista in the 11/05/2004 Philippine STAR, but I can't find an online copy. I saw it on a mailing list, though, which means people will probably forward it again. <wry grin>