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Banaag is her name.


Banaag is her name.
September 25, 2013

Yup.  That is my mother’s name.  How it became Banaag, I don’t know. I wish I had the chance to ask my grandmother.  In the local Philippine language it translates to “seen”, “be seen”, or “to be seen”.  She is the matriarch of the family since she is the only living survivor of the clan.

I have written about the traditions in my country but with my mom, I could write a book about her.  She has led a colorful life; born in the island of Corregidor (the last bastion of American defense when General McArthur left the Philippines), raised by strict hard working parents (who never went to college), and went on to raise her own family.  That’s the short version.

But let me pick up at the present.  She is here with me now taking care of me especially during my chemo sessions.  Most of the time she prays when I go to my treatments and would only stop when I arrive home safe.  She was living in the Manila but when things turned bad for me in January, I knew she would like to be with me.  I held out for her.  I have shared many moment with her but this time around it is different.

For me, there is a sense of urgency of getting to know her more and share many good moments while I can.  At 81, she tells me the same stories I have heard many times over but I would still listen with new found appreciation.  I have even written it down for my recollection, and if given the chance I would like to go back to her birthplace, Corregidor Island.  Tour the place again with her.

An ordinary meal of fish and rice would trigger a moment when she was growing up and off she goes with her story.  I listen.  I laugh.  I listen again in earnest.  That was my moment with her.

Relationships and memories are a series snapshots in time that you can use to re-create your moments.  I have mine and will always cherish it no matter what.  My relationships with my mom, wife, family, and friends have new found intimacy that continue to shape me.  I believe it is for my own good; otherwise, I will not be given this opportunity to be here with you.

Cheers.

P.S.  Tomorrow is chemo day again, my fourth.  Got to earn my day for a chance of tomorrow.  Life is good.

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#def finance = value

April 29, 2013

Y

ou might be wondering the peculiar way I stated the title “def finance=value”.  I have been taking an introductory online course on Python coding.  I am taking it at Coursera.  Ok, let me explain.

Coursera is among the massive open online courses (MOOC) offered out in the web.  MOOCs are different from other online courses: they are interactive, course materials are delivered via the web, and are mostly delivered by professors in prestigious universities.  My course is taught by four professors from Rice University.  Oh, by the way, did I mentioned that courses are free. There are many MOOCs out there, I just prefer Coursera.

Python?  It is not a snake.  It is a programming language or computer language used to create computer programs.  There are many programming language out there, but Python is the most common or preferred way create a programs by software developers/engineers.  It is named after the 70’s British television comedy sketch, Mothy Python.  Bear with me for a moment.

I also enrolled in a course on Introductory Finance, taught by a nerdy professor from University of Michigan.  So what’s with the sudden renaissance for knowledge?  For one, it will more than satisfy the continued educational requirements at work, and the other it feeds my curiosity (it is also a way to shake off the cobweb in my chemo-soaked brain).  I am curious about big data, a current buzz word today.  I needed a stronger way to parse through massive amounts of data beyond what Excel can give me, thus Python.  I am an auditor, exposed to finance, and believe in strong basic foundation, thus the Finance course.

pointTo the point: I have come to realize that finance, data, and life are inter-related.  The world of finance is not limited to Wall Street; finance is about valuation.  Finance = value: The value we put on important things e.g. ladies purse,  money, time, car, education or life.  There is data behind the valuation on each of things we value and it differs among us.  Many would put value or put importance in having education (to succeed) or car (to go around), while others do not.  Aware or not, we have assigned certain metric to the value of things important to us and we live by them.  It constantly change as we mature or experience an awakening event, like cancer.

You have followed me as my life was touched by cancer.  It changed my outlook in life; its valuation.  I put a high premium on each borrowed day given to me because I was close to facing death and will never out run this disease.  I know how to read the data and its value.  I could quit my job, not study, or stop blogging my experience, but instead I chose to continue and make the best of my current situation.  They are also valuable activities for me because data shows that I am able to make a difference in you: I inspire you to change your valuation of life.

Additionally, I put more value in relationships rather than things.  Relationships are more lasting and can transcends life itself.  It is possible to remember somebody who have passed based on the relationship we had with them.  I like that.   So put more value in relationships; they keep.

Cheers.

P.S. Tomorrow, April 30, is my PET scan to re-stage my cancer.  I have been through this before.  It gives you hope that you have survived this round with cancer, but it does not mean you are cured.  Nonetheless, I am hoping for a clean scan.

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