Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Channeling US Elections for Cagayan de Oro Politics


 

 
I admit in my frustration with the results of the last US election I sadly lamented that the election process itself was becoming more like 3rd-world politics.  Or was it the other way around?

 

But I believe it had its grains of truth – massive negative ads, massive campaign fund generation to politicize any and all issues, voter fraud, every political device, whether fair, unfair, legal or illegal appeared to have been on the table, etc.

 

In a real way, elections are not anymore contests premised and debated on logic, good deeds, better political programs, etc.

 

And in our old homeland, elections, especially local ones, are decided more or less in the same ways.

 

Thus, while being optimistic is always the best path to pursue, it has to be tempered by realities on the ground.  And that is what I feel should be addressed in Cagayan de Oro politics, which in many ways mirrors the last US elections.

 

If we go by the many issues of governance, corruption, or everything else for that matter, the current mayor does not have a chance in hell of winning.  And he himself does not even appear inclined to address the many issues against him. He simply either skirts them completely or allows his many surrogates to do the talking for him.  He even laughs publicly when new charges against him are brought to his attention. He may even entertain the idea that in his milieu he is invincible, being so well-entrenched and powerful.

 

And in many respects he appears to be.  And recently gifted with massive funds, many sourced from abroad, to help alleviate the dire conditions, both human and otherwise, brought upon by the last flood, Sendong, he is again well positioned (in the local sense) to gain his electoral foothold .  Since this recent capital infusion will be added to his already formidable political arsenal – the immense power and influence of incumbency, he owns the council neatly wrapped around his daughter and son-in-law, his other relatives surround him in the provincial areas, etc.

 

So if Cagayanons are again lulled into thinking that they have the upper hand because with their wise use of words and arguments, through print or orally, they have satisfactorily and logically laid out the case against the incumbent, they better think again.

 

A better than likely scenario.

 

In the local area, one well-ensconced political warrior will engage in any and all political devices to ensure his victory.  He will definitely outspend his opponents – whether for campaign expenditures or outright vote buying.  And this will be very crucial for this election because this early on his principal opponent has declared that he does not have sufficient personal funds to run any campaign. But this challenger, the current highest official of the province, has done a very good job in his position and he has unvarnished records to prove it.  And countless impartial people will attest to his credibility.

 

Sounds eerily familiar? 

 

BTW, this provincial executive presided over the financial mess among other mismanagement issues left behind by the former occupant.  Who was? The same person he is running against for Hizzoner.

 

My parting words?  If the Republicans and conservatives in the last US elections truly did their darned best and presented their issues in the best possible logical way, the local opposition will have to do a lot more – and often.  If they want the results to be any different.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Ubiquity of Cell Phones


Indeed, especially in the Philippines the most democratic user appliance/tool is the cell phone because rich and poor, young and old, urban and rural folks almost all have cell phones.  Of course, some more classy and more expensive than others.  But most have them to use as communication tool, music player, and even some game-playing.

 

But is this the default tool to access the Internet for those unable to acquire a PC, tablet, laptop, netbook, etc.?  Save for a number of select groups of tech-savvy citizens the Internet is still unreachable for many families, unless they go to an Internet cafĂ© site and pay the reasonable fee of 15-20 pesos per hour.

 

Still this shortcoming does not preclude certain parties from being able to communicate with large numbers of those still in the dark with regard to the Web.

 

And this was displayed sterlingly during the aftermath of Sendong.

 

One family in Balulang literally lost everything including their house during Sendong and a son-in-law was and is an employee of mine.  Fortunately, he decided to keep his family in our building where he stayed rather than make a late-night visit to his in-laws in Balulang. 

 

In the aftermath we all pitched in to assist the victimized family members.  But our meager assistance paled in comparison with the assorted assistance received from government and other institutions – from City Hall, to Red Cross, to the government social welfare departments. This family now has recovered quite modestly, thanks to a private endowment and the Red Cross.

 

All these good things  in spite of practically an entire city in gaping need of assistance with basic necessities – from water to light, to food and blankets, etc.

 

But what brought wonder to me was how these huge masses of people could be gathered together with great ease and convenience.  So I had to ask the surviving mother of that stricken family how it was done.  And the reply was:

 

“It was easy, Sir.  All our phone numbers were collected by SWS, City Hall, etc.  And we were told that when our time and schedule came, we would each receive a text message with the time and the location where to receive our aid.  So we wasted no unnecessary time going to the designated place and everybody received their share promptly without extra hassle.”

 

Now project to the future, say during the next election cycle in 2013.  Would these same parties you think be receiving text messages on what to do during Election Day and where maybe they can get their “provisions”?  Who knows?

 

Indeed, the wonders of even simple technology like a cell phone in communicating with large masses of people are staggering and limitless.
 
You think maybe this access would be used as a potent political tool, come next election in 2013?

 

 

 

 

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Own Thoughts on the Last US Elections



When I clicked on the Opinion tab of the Goldstar Daily webpage, my heart started to skip a bit when I read the title of a column, Thoughts on the US Elections (2). Because all this time I noticed that whatever little interest on the subject the locals have shown, has always been quite perfunctory and relied mostly on talking points and opinion columns emanating from the US mainstream media.  I yet have to encounter a more in-depth analysis of US politics that went beyond the comfort zones defined by such mainstream media practitioners as the NYT, CNN, Washington Post, even the ascendant Huffington Post, etc.  And without a doubt, most of MSM in the US espouse the liberal/progressive orientation on issues, and this they do so ardently and with great passion to the point that their journalism has in most crucial issues been colored by their deeply-held ideologies.  This is an accepted fact in the US supported by all sorts of data.  Therefore, unaware readers tend to get only one side of most stories. And I had been chomping at the bits looking for opportunities where I could present the other side for a more balanced understanding of issues.

 

I was doubly excited to read that the item was written by Fr. Leo, who is not only a distant relative but a friend since childhood his having been gang mates with several elder brothers of mine.  I knew then that I could be open and frank with issues I may have regarding statements in his column.  Understanding that the (2) in the column headline meant there was an earlier article of the same title; I searched for the original article and decided to download both and collate them as one treatise.

 

So why should I address statements he made in his two articles?

 

Having lived in the US these past three decades and more, I do feel I have developed insights and understanding that may not be that readily visible to other interested parties relying only on printed reports and other second-hand sources.  And my having spent a good part of that time being avidly interested and also involved in US politics I believe would also accord  me some inherent advantages.

 

Being a registered Independent was an added boon since all other political parties vied for my patronage by providing and trying to sell me their candidates and platforms of government.  And in California where I reside, there is the added perspective of being able to participate in open primaries of both major parties, again giving one freer and more access to party issues and initiatives.

 

Since I encounter on all levels of local communications be they print, conversation, etc. a lot of misperceptions and maybe even “myths” of US politics, the job of exposition becomes even more imperative.

 

Allow me to proceed then.  But first I would like it known this early that Fr. Leo in his articles made many perceptive statements about US politics and society which I find very much as hitting the mark.  Thus I shall deal mostly with the exceptions that I perceive.

 

Fr. Leo rightfully extols the initial election of Barack Obama as history-setting, the first time that an American of mixed parentage, one parent being Caucasian and the other a Kenyan from Africa, was elected to the highest office of the land.  The US electorate then was at the cusp of making a change from a Republican administration that was being demolished by its critics, many coming from the mainstream media. And as an aside, many of the charges then leveled against the Bush administration would be the same actions Obama would take and pursue, but the then vocal MSM would suddenly lose their voices. Anyway, this and the stupendous Chicago-style political machinery that employed innovative and precedent-setting methods of campaigning carried Obama to victory.  But the alignment of the stars was just right anyway so that any Democratic candidate, say a Hillary Clinton, could have overhauled any Republican candidate.  The GOP side never had a chance from the get-go, though the VP nominee, Sarah Palin, did initially energize this distressed and demoralized side.  This was a given and Obama was the number called. So the US did make a historic selection – Obama the first US president of mixed parentage.  And whites were a very big part of the mixture in the electorate that gave him the vote,  many of them Independents, readily dismissing any lurking thoughts about racism or discrimination.

 

On the issue of racism in Obama’s re-election bid, I take exception with Fr. Leo’s observation that again prejudice against a black man reared its ugly head.  The race card was almost always dealt by the Democrats during that last election, hoping to incite and instill division in the electorate’s ethnic ranks.  The other party had always tip-toed around this issue knowing current sensibilities.  But the President and his surrogates, which most everybody believe have presided over very divisive politics, found and pursued with relish the politics of division to their advantage.  Again as before, whites crossed ethnic lines, the second time around 39% of whites voted for Obama. So this “straw man” argument was used to advantage by a now unscrupulous administration.  But is there still prejudice?  Of course, there still is – on all sides.

 

Fr. Leo assumes because the Republican Party is the party of rich people that it spent more.  Well, when Obama first won, he definitely spent a lot more than the other candidate.  He waived his right to receive government money so he could raise unlimited funds which he did, including from foreign sources.  For his re-election, early on he promised in public to raise one billion dollars, yes that is with a B.  Did he?  Including from all sources like super-PACs, I am confident he did raise that much.  Plus, he utilized with resolve and gusto all the resources and perks of his office for his protracted campaign which started from day one of his first election.  So let us disabuse ourselves from the mythical thinking that Republicans have all the rich people.  Obama surrounds himself with rich people from Hollywood bigwigs to business leaders like gigantic GE’s President J. Immelt, from top Wall Street honchos to Main Street players.  And of course, the MSM players who carried water for Obama are no small-time operators themselves.

 

With regard to the issue of Abortion, I can only say the following.  It is one of the sturdy and steadfast pillars of the Democratic Party, representing a large constituency of hard-core adherents. Unfortunately or not, many prominent Catholics count among the members in their ranks, most prominent are the sitting VP, Senator Kerry, Cong. Pelosi, etc.  Mind you, these are Catholics that will not only respect the Abortion law in the US, but will support and/or initiate legislation/initiatives/bills/ that promote legal abortion.  Sadder still to note, that Catholics making up 20% of the population, translating to about 60 million people, surely did not give the majority to the other party which had a Catholic (VP candidate Ryan) who abides with the Church doctrine on abortion.  Instead it gave the nod to Obama.

 

Fr. Leo theorizes that the issue abortion should trump all other issues in that election.  He probably got his wish because while many earnest people thought that the flailing economy was the greatest and most important issue, it appeared to have not been.  Thus, the abortion issue probably gained more importance, and the vote went to those who favored almost unlimited freedoms to practice it.  The Democratic Party.

 

Again, I take exception when Fr. Leo puts abortion, the killing of a human fetus, in the same category as torture, a charge thrust repeatedly against the Bush Administration.  This torture was done to 3 notorious terrorists in the form of waterboarding which is classified as enhanced interrogation and none of the 3 died.  Also very different from escalated drone attacks used by the current administration to “assassinate” terrorists, including US-citizen terrorists, and which typically include collateral damages.  So  where are the howls of protest?

 

Regarding Fr. Leo’s comparison of the two candidates, traditionally reelection-bids are referenda of the incumbent’s performance in office.  Thus, his campaign typically is tailored to highlight his successful programs. This was completely abandoned during this last election for one good plausible reason.  He couldn’t name one to highlight and exalt.  Even his historic Obamacare to this day has very high unfavorable ratings with the electorate.  So the incumbent’s campaigns focused on demolishing and demoralizing the opposition, churning out negative ads after negative ads touching on mostly petty issues not pivotal or consequential to the office being sought after.  And this he got concerted and almost unanimous support from MSM.  The only thorn among the TV roses, graced by CNN, MSNBC, and the 3 broadcast networks, was upstart Fox News, which may lean conservative but definitely not a lapdog for the Republican Party

 

Fr. Leo touched on Obama’s slogan, Moving Forward, which by the way has long ties with Marxism, Socialism, and yes, Communism.  It did resonate with many impressionable young in the US electorate.  Sad but true.

 

Lastly, Fr. Leo postulates on the moral decay of the US, as exhibited in its entertainment and recreation industries.  Now pause for a moment to ponder which party Hollywood has latched on as its champion? Definitely not the party where conservatives have staked their future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Final Tap: Election Blues



These sullen last days during unguarded moments many uninvited thoughts stream through my dulled consciousness without much resistance or effort.  They simply slide in and take over the place. 

Because for many American these are times of forced reflection and maybe apt times for making resolves on how to fare better given the most recent unimaginable loss of their favored candidates.

 I would like to continue entertaining one such thought and allow it enough rein to go where it wants to venture unfettered by societal conventions and sensitivities.  After all, in this particular exercise I find myself the least likely to be accused of entertaining and expressing such socially radioactive narrative since I am a first generation immigrant and belong to a very small and inconsequential minority group

I think about the many families around the US gathered at their kitchen tables or cozy living rooms, mulling over what happened during the last elections.  How it could possibly happen when in this particular instance the choice for them was almost a no-brainer and clear as daylight, using the time-honored yardsticks that most would measure their candidates?  It leaned heavily on one such candidate.  Thus the shocking result was totally unexpected and almost unimaginable.  In their minds the win was almost a given, with the only doubts entertained centering on why the polling margins between the two contenders had not mirrored the remarkable clarity of the choice.  In the earnest assessment of many honest citizens the unmistakable choice was between a bungling incumbent whose current tenure is littered with ugly failures and missteps which reeked of incompetence and inattention against a staid, successful, and articulate businessman and governor whose platform promised to put the country back on its track and to rectify the wrong paths taken by his incumbent opponent.  All this backed by a past record of successes, and more.  Not necessarily the best candidate for the occasion but decidedly a lot better than the current occupant. Yet the election results proved otherwise, almost devilishly taunting.

So these American families deep in their thoughts must be suffering through a lot of discomfiting feelings about the country that they most probably treasure a lot. 

For what is to follow, I cull and gather from various sources such as most recent reactions from pundits representing the losing side and countless comments from their followers, as well as jubilant and ecstatic voices coming from the winners and those who supported them.  Let me be the fly on the wall in the said kitchen tables or cozy living rooms not only to listen virtually to conversations. But to allow me the unencumbered latitude to push that further by trying to intrude into their minds and to divine and fathom whatever serious thoughts may be lurking there. Maybe mostly unexpressed and suppressed by choice or rote. Not able to see daylights because of their sensitive nature, which default reservation is deemed important for these same people taught over the ages to value their fellow human beings and practice generosity and compassion where wanting.

But like I said, I would not be hindered by such reticence or reservation.  Anyway these are just random musings that are not necessarily there, but are definitely within the realm of possibility.

But who are these American families?

I picture these countless families with history-rich genealogies maybe stretching to the civil war and beyond, and prone to quoting from the collected wisdom handed down from one generation to the next.  Thus, they proudly talk about valuable lessons on hard work, rugged individualism or self-reliance, and strict adherence to traditional values of behavior and self-worth such as fairness and courtesy.  Families unabashedly proud of their lineage and very committed to defending their past and its values and traditions.  Very solicitous of the no-nonsense logic they have earned imbibing and learning from their ancestors.

Fading memories of the Founding Fathers, genius in their insights and understanding of complex issues many still to  be experienced by a foundling nation, dedicated warriors from both sides battling each other over issues of slavery and deadly committed to their own causes giving birth to unheralded  fairness and equality being enjoyed by ensuing generations,  countless sons and daughters over the ages who offered ultimate sacrifices for inherited values, beliefs, and benefits they wanted shared by the rest of humanity, etc, all these crowding and clouding with mist the minds of many of these families.

These are the families now confused and unable to understand what had happened.  Where did they interpret events incorrectly so that their judgments missed their mark by a mile?  What happened to their logical approach to issues of government?  Why wasn’t this election a referendum of the incumbent administration as is typical in such a situation? Instead of a concerted demolition job against the person of the challenger? Why all gone to aught?

I say it is clear that radical changes have come abruptly not giving these steadfast families sufficient time to soak in and understand the changed climate.  Possibly disoriented, their reflexes become muddled and their understanding unsure.

Changing demographics, that’s why.  Demographics that now cross ethnic boundaries and have plowed into areas like age and location, new moralities, secularism, the historic clash between the makers and the takers, etc.

Consider a candid video in question. Jubilant supporters of the winner on the streets right after the proclamation of the winners, praising the era of big government and the promises of largess for their group.  “Government is not the enemy, it is the solution, and I embrace socialism totally.” Which group? – young college students from some well-known university, and all white and looking privileged

A quite clear indication that demographics in this instance has crossed ethnic boundaries and may now be reckoned  based on age and location, like the big coastal cities where these big fans of government are now domiciled.

Of course, we still have the traditional refinements of demographics, like of certain minorities growing faster in numbers and thus acquiring more political clout.  Congregating in large cities and flexing their partisan muscles to the max. Eager to define their own brand of what an American should be and trying to cash in on their novel ideas, bills of goods promoted snidely by shrewd and unscrupulous politicians eager to gather their votes.

And from the results, these purveyors of government entitlements have definitely won the day.  But can they deliver as promised?  Logical persons doubt the promised outcomes.

Back to these same American families.  One man, one vote.  Realizing their miscalculation after the initial shock, they have to start believing now that because of that revered maxim in a democracy, their well-crafted judgments informed by their honesty and adherence to time-honored principles cannot anymore triumph if their numbers are greatly overwhelmed by newer breeds of the voters who entertain diametrically opposed metrics of government.  And such is what happened during the last election.

And for some vexing reason, turnout on the side of those who took their government very seriously was quite dismal, made much worse because of many fundamentally urgent issues involved in the election.

And what about partisanship?  In no other election as the last, where the primacy of partisanship has been glaringly shown to be very acutely significant and may trump logic and/or self-preservation. One that can now never be discounted however political cards are stacked.  Nowadays, it is not unusual for party affiliation to trump any and all relevant issues, including issues of self-interest or self-preservation.  So that a constituency hurt most by a candidate’s administration and party will continue to support that failed presidency in almost unimaginable ratios like in the 90’s simply because the candidate is not only considered one in ethnicity and/or cause, but shares the same party affiliation.  California and New York and yes, Illinois,  are examples of huge states that will continue their miserable failed status quo simply because their electorate considered party is above all.

In the ensuing fateful convergence of the above-cited factors, the side with the least logical reasons to triumph marched off with glee and jubilation to rule for another term.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

IT NEVER SLEEPS


 
It never grows out of you, either.  Having spent precious 20 years of one’s productive life working for it, it is next to impossible not to be reminded of it, much less to forget about it completely.  It grows into one’s skin, demanding attention and remembrance.

 Thus serving as cathartic potion it is best to talk about it, to get it out of one’s system.  To record the remembered events that transpired in the many years spent, pursued with all seriousness and dedication in discharging the varying missions and responsibilities of the different positions held while in its employ.

I worked in one multi-starred hotel in San Francisco for 20 years, occupying various positions and working on different shifts.  Not only unarguably a historic landmark of this revered city, it epitomizes what a luxury hotel ought to be.  Prominently occupying an entire block and nestled in front of Union Square, the premier square of the city, it stands proudly brandishing its polished reputation and renown for all to see and admire.  Exhibiting all the grandeur and pomp of its structures, its tower stretching up to 32 floors, it casts a big looming shadow on the city skyline.

Because of the nature of its business, it is one that never sleeps.

Having worked all the possible work shifts, I am then quite conversant with the eventful things that occur on a 24-hour cycle, as this behemoth toils along its day with mostly seamless precision, with as many as 3,000 customers occupying its 1200+ rooms and suites, about half a dozen function rooms, and an equal number of outlets serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, alcohol, etc.

Let us commence at 11 pm, which is the beginning of the graveyard shift. At this time, most of the events in the different function rooms will have been winding down, unless the ballroom has been engaged to host a party or a dance, then it would close a little later. And the several restaurants are in the same process, though the bars would still be noisy and lively.

The shops in the arcade surrounding the sides of the hotel have closed earlier, maybe as early as 7pm.  Much like the rest of the shops in the city.

The various staff members in the administrative departments like Sales, Accounting, Purchasing, Personnel, etc. have long gone for the day.

But at the Front Office where a staff of maybe 30 or more  has been manning their posts throughout the day, now the night staff  has been deployed, to man a couple of front desk positions,  and one or two additional staff to collate and balance the day’s transactions.  A supervisor may already be in the computer room, printing out stuff needed to close the day’s transactions.

As we approach midnight, the hotel starts to get quiet, even the bright lights have been dimmed in the lobbies and other public areas.  For a moment, it gets deadly quiet and serene, save for the few souls, maybe about 50 of them scampering here and there – cleaning, attending to requests or orders, closing books, etc.  A far cry from the imprint of over 1100 total employees that a hotel this size employs. A few suited men crisscross the premises insuring peace and order and overall security.

 

Clearly like wraiths in the night, this spectacle of a few quiet souls gadding about is one that the hotel guests and customers typically do not see.

 

1 AM TO 7 AM

While not much may be happening in the kitchens, especially the main kitchen, past midnight, save for some room service short orders, the kitchen staff do start very early to prepare for the day, as early as 5am but definitely before 6am.  Bread and pastry will have to be baked for breakfast.  And dining rooms will have to be prepared.  In the meantime, the night cleaning crew has scoured and washed kitchen equipment, and polished the breakfast silverware and plates.

 

Room service personnel which include waiters are collecting and preparing overnight orders, including breakfast orders.  Or any food order a guest’s whim might desire.

 

A reduced size of the engineering team continues to monitor the life-support systems – like the air-conditioning, refrigeration, the light and power, the water system, and yes, the computer systems.  And the garbage disposal system, like the compactor, so the daily pile of garbage can be promptly disposed of early in the morning.

 

Another lean team this time in housekeeping mans its stations and stuffs baskets with linen and towels for the guest rooms.  And responds to requests from guests – like irons and ironing boards, towels, blankets, pillows, etc.

 

The Bell Service composed of porters, bellhops, and doormen, also operates a skeleton crew at night, but a full crew is expected before 6am, since check-out time is 6am.  And captains make careful note of arrivals and departures.  Early comers deliver fresh newspapers and other items to guest rooms.

 

By 7am, the night cleaning crew will have been finished and out of sight, with all public areas cleaned and ready to receive functions.

 

7 AM – 9 AM

The hotel wakens and things are in full swing.  Early guest checkouts have been done and those guests eager for an early start are now seated in the breakfast outlets ready to be served, while those who ordered room service are also getting theirs.  Kitchens are abuzz with frenetic activity.

 

At the front office, the night crew has slowly receded and replaced by the full complement of day staff to handle the bulk of checkouts and room clerks are busy assigning or setting aside rooms for those checking in later during the day, mails distributed, bookings taken, etc.

 

Day stewards make their rounds making sure the night crew did as expected, especially in the public areas like the lobbies and rest rooms.  Meanwhile, the room attendants are gathering together at Housekeeping waiting for their assignments, as guests are checking out and rooms are vacated.  The number of the room attendants will be dependent on the number of checkouts, and thus rooms to be cleaned and prepared for the next clients.

 

Meanwhile the night engineering shift turns over command to the day crew, which then goes about its business of preparing all life-support systems for the increased volumes and heightened activities   that will be needed during the much busier daytime hours.

 

And the Reservations Department staff members are already hunched at their desks with ear plugs on taking reservations from near and afar and as early as next week or as late as a year later.

 

9 AM – NOON

The suited administrative staff members in the different departments are already at their stations making sure their orders and instructions are carried out in an exemplary manner.  The Sales managers monitor the functions they have sold, or the groups that they sold that are in house.  Catering managers are busy supervising the waiters, chefs, etc, in the different functions around the hotel.  And other supervisors with varying responsibilities are scurrying down the halls and public rooms ensuring that their people deployed are on their toes.

 

In the Purchasing Department, its staff keeps a close watch of inventories to ensure all requirements from the different departments are filled in a prompt and expeditious manner.  It also has to receive all food items that are delivered daily to stock the hotel’s kitchens and outlets – like eggs, meat, fish, bottles of spirits and wine, and yes, even flower arrangements for the rooms and function rooms.  And remember they are also in charge of office supplies for all the departments needing them. Given the critical nature of its responsibilities, no doubt its staff makes sure ample supplies are maintained sufficiently to last for the next deliveries.

 

The Accounting Department staff is now poring over documents printed out for front office to detail the previous day’s transactions, not only with regard to FO transactions but including those of the outlets which have been charged by guests to their rooms.  The HR department staff is also busy but for different purposes, like keeping track of personnel time, records, hiring and firing, or interviewing potential employees. And overall, maintaining good employee morale and welfare.

 

Sales executives  engage in their usual brainstorming sessions plotting strategy and tactics to entice individuals, businesses,  corporations, tour groups, associations, etc. to patronize the whole panoply of hotel services, which runs the gamut from overnight accommodations to exhibitions, conferences, receptions, and banquets.  And in an environment where competition is very stiff, this is most crucial.  Assistance is sought from public-relations firms engaged for these purposes.

 

In the other departments like those of the engineers, the painters, stewards, etc., freshly-clad people take on their daily routines to ensure the smooth operations of the hotel.  Engineers do their inspection carrying out maintenance and routine repair works.  The chief steward and his crew are ever alert to the special functions happening on a daily basis – whether it is a small lunch or a big catered affair; assuring complete set-ups are done properly, from pieces of furniture or fixtures to tables and silverware.

 

And the Laundry Department has collected not only the dirty linens and towels from the rooms, but also the guests’ laundry and dry-cleaning.  So the hotel’s washers and dryers are now humming with sweaty attendants moving around.

 

In the meantime, in the shopping arcade which is composed of lessees of the hotel, the doors have been opened and are primed for business.  So guests desiring to patronize the beauty parlor or purchase highly-branded clothing or electronics do not have to leave the premises.

 

The Business Center of the hotel has also opened its doors, ready to provide secretarial assistance, cable and computer services, courier services, etc.

 

NOON3 PM

In the kitchens and outlets, the last remnants of breakfast have been cleared away to make room for the next meal, lunch.  The hotel restaurants and room service compete in the frenzy that ensues to feed the occupants and visitors of a very large hotel.  Those who prefer to dine in their rooms call room service who will then fill their orders complete with fresh supplies for fruit baskets in their rooms.  Trolleys and trays will have to be available to deliver orders to each room.

 

At the front office, since check-in time is at 1pm, new guests are starting to come in  droves, requiring more agents at he counters, and more bellboys to deliver luggage and usher guests to their respective rooms. And both introducing each guest on the usage of the new system of computerized security cards, rather than the traditional and cumbersome keys.

 

3 PM – 6 PM

As early afternoon approaches, the restaurants may be quite empty and quiet after the heavy lunch hours, but not for long since tea time also approaches; so the hotel bars prepare for the new slew of people patronizing its tea time offerings. And in the background, kitchen staff is beginning to prepare for dinner and the barmen for the evening’s happy hours.

 

In the meantime, the Housekeeping Department the biggest in size next to Food and Beverage in the hotel gather the reports of its attendants after the rooms’ cleanup.  It consults and confers with Front Office on whether all rooms are ready for occupancy or whether because of some irregularities some rooms will have to be listed as out of service.

 

6 PM – 8 PM

The working day for the administrative staff in the hotel usually ends after 5 pm, though more like at 6pm, when the cocktail hour begins and the bars begin to hum with activity.

 

The hotel’s security staff usually operates in the shadows, but they will always be available when trouble appears.  The bars would be a good place for them to direct their foot patrols.  Like the rest, they operate on a 24-hour basis, their number following how busy the hotel gets and when the times more trouble is expected.

 

8 PMMIDNIGHT

Most of the guests dining in the hotels are either in the hotel restaurants, or have ordered through room service, or are having their meals in the several functions being catered to in the different halls of the hotel.  Those wishing to have a good night of fun make reservations to the hotel’s nightclub which opens till the late hours, usually after 2am since California limits the service of alcohol to that time.

 

The front office staff has reviewed all the guests checked in and have attended to their needs, and will now prepare for the following day, printing out the arrivals for the following day.

 

MIDNIGHT

So we complete the cycle when the hotel starts to wind down, and gears down to its night shift, where things slow down and fewer people are seen working.  And the entire hotel shows this change in many ways.  The bars and restaurants are shuttered for the night, most of the function rooms are darkened and become quiet, the lights are dimmed, and the overall noise abates as most of the guests go to their sleep.  The people around even begin to speak in hushed tones, including communications over PA systems or radios.

 

It is this time of the night when breaks are characterized by a cluster of people smoking and speaking in whispered tones, interrupted by some subdued laughter at times.

 

But this big luxury inn truly never sleeps.

 

And its computer systems do the same, unnoticed by many but ever vigilant and up to the elaborate tasks assigned to them.