Thursday, March 25, 2010
I was too lazy to update my blog after reading Alone, Alone! Then last weekend I finished reading Engelby in 17 hours minus the time I took to prepare and eat three meals, bathe, and did some house chores—did the bed, wash plates, etc. (I know, I know, I am a slow reader, can’t seem to do something about this sorry state). But hey, that’s 350+ pages, so not too bad really. Started reading Scoop the other evening and I finished reading it last night.
Not bad for a month’s accounting of time, huh?
Alone, Alone! was very interesting because it talked about women in literature, women's movement, painting and others, women who never really managed to become a star not for lack of talent and skill but for various reasons. Gwen John because her work was seen as less brilliant than her brother’s. Margaret Oliphant “who wrote and wrote not only because it came naturally to her but because she was the sole source of support of seven people” She muses comparing herself to George Eliot: “should I have done better if I had been kept, like her, in a…mental greenhouse and taken care of?"....And many others you don't often hear of or discussed.
Some books are just too easy to read while others, despite the interest, are just too difficult to get through.
Monday, March 8, 2010
There is a popular Catholic anecdote that once a person dies and he goes to heaven, he will be interviewed by St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. He will be made to account for his time on earth.
Parents would probably say, they've taken care of their children; teachers that they've given education to people; doctors that they’ve healed the sick. And others might say they've created something – painting, great story or poem, etc.
When it is my turn, provided I go to heaven considering, I cannot possibly claim I’ve read the great literature of the world. I have nothing to show for it but the books on my shelf which is not really an indication that I had read them. I had not done any good deeds. I had been living my life as solitary and as away from human contact as I possibly can.
Then it occurred to me, I have my drawings. They’re not great work of arts. But even in their simplicity, each one of them took up at least two hours of my time. Several insomniac nights in February had me taking my colored pencils. Two hours later each sleepless night, already sleepy and right hand bones slightly painful from the unusual exercise, I have a colored pencil drawing of a flower.
Pathetic claim to life lived I know but it’s so much better than “I had gone to college and had a career”. Because I might also be told "of course you did, but did you shine in college or in your chosen career? Have you changed someone or something while doing your job? Anyone can go to a job everyday and plod on. But other than that, what had you done with your time?"
Well everyone can go to work and plod on maybe but not everyone can draw certainly. So there you are St. Peter.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
One would think that somebody like me will not be involved with COA. There is money involved in my line of work but only as far as the imposition and the collection of fines is concerned. And I can say with complete pride that I had been very honest with this transaction.
About two years ago, the COA had asked us for a list of library collectibles. What is a library without unpaid fines? So we gave them a list. Every end of the semester since then, they have asked for an update of this collectible. And we had always provided them with one, like the good government employees that we are.
Last January, they had once again asked for an updated list and an explanation or certification why we have not been able to collect these unpaid fines.
My letter to COA:
January 18, 2010
Office Head, Commission on Audit
The library would like to inform you that the students on the attached list of students with library accountabilities of long overdue fines are not currently enrolled in the ____________. Some of them had not even enrolled as long.
We do not know of their whereabouts at present. We have no way of knowing how to collect these fines. We feel we cannot run after these students through legal means as these are not debts incurred from not paying a monetary capital owed to the library or to the government for that matter. These are merely fines imposed for not following a policy, in this instance that of returning a book on or before its due date. We could just as well waive them in favor of the students. Or allow these fines to be paid by other means such as donation of a book of the same value as their fines. Unless they come back for clearance to secure university documents as some of them had, these fines shall remain uncollected.
Please note also, that the students with unpaid fines, dated last first semester 2009-2010 are still officially enrolled in the University for the second semester school year 2009-2010. The library will see to it that these students will settle their accounts before final examination of this current semester.
We hope this satisfies you. Thank you.
Very truly yours,
Maybe my ignorance is showing again. Someone should enlighten me. But I had always thought COA is only involved and concerned with the money collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and other revenue collecting bodies which are in turn disbursed by the Department of Budget and Management and other disbursing bodies.
I had wanted to receive a response from COA citing such and such Executive Orders or Republic Acts or to say the least their own accounting and auditing rule, disproving my statements:
1. We feel we cannot run after these students through legal means as these are not debts incurred from not paying a monetary capital owed to the library or to the government for that matter.
– I wanted a statement perhaps that of course we have legal means to run after these people especially if we have the signature of these people on their unpaid fines then citing whatever statute and rule they had to.
2. We could just as well waive them in favor of the students.
– Librarians have the discretion for this, don’t we? Like for instance a student who borrowed books was involved in an accident and had to stop in the middle of the semester because she had to have her broken leg operated and mended. We are human enough to understand such cases aren’t we?
3. Or allow these fines to be paid by other means such as donation of a book of the same value as their fines.
– And librarians are reasonable enough to accept these kinds of payment as long as the book is relevant and new.
4. Unless they come back for clearance to secure university documents as some of them had, these fines shall remain uncollected.
– What if the one of the unpaid fines is merely PhP15.00 (there are fines that are only PhP5.00) and we decide to pursue this. How much do you think will it cost the library to send out collection letter to one of them? Ordinary postal mail alone costs PhP20.00? Perhaps we can pursue this matter through text message? The time involved seeking for their contact numbers must also be counted in terms of expense and I’m sure one text message will not do the job.
I realized of course that these people were simply doing their jobs to the utmost of their abilities. As I have honestly with mine. The amount involved in the collection of fines is but a small one but it matters in the larger scheme of things, whatever scheme we are looking at; ethics, redemption of souls or the Philippine coffers. I only wish they are as tenacious and persistent in accounting and auditing large amounts of money disbursed to, who else the politicians.