I’m officially courting!

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After 6 years of being single, I am officially courting.
And it was not just any simple courtship..it was announced in a BIG way!
Like it was announced to around 50 people…

Yes..it was announced just last week (during our training) to all the leaders in the church we are both actively serving.
You may ask why it has to be announced by our Pastor to the leaders?

First, it’s because we need prayers and guidance as we decide to enter into the next level of our relationship.

Second, we are both serving as leaders in the church. As a family, they have the right to know and be a witness of what God will do in our lives in the coming days, weeks, months, etc.

It feels kinda strange and awkard at this time really…
We treated each other as a brother and a sister for 4 years, serving the Lord together…
and then now…

We gotta know each other deeper (without those physical intimacy thingy) and this time of courtship is crucial because after this, we will decide if we want to go to the next level which is already an engagement.

And that’s the right way to go…The Christian way..
It’s totally different than having a relationship in the world.

In the world, it’s so easy to be in a relationship..because you can quit anytime you feel it’s not working anymore.
You need to try if you will be comfortable emotionally, mentally, even sexually.

But that’s not how love works..

It’s not merely about physical intimacy or emotional compatibility.
Love is definitely much much bigger than that.
Love is a decision, it’s not an emotion.

You decide to love a person despite their flaws, their limitations..knowing that all of us are flawed…we are all limited but because of God’s grace and by choosing to remain in Christ, we will continue to grow and be transformed and we can extend love and grace to the person we decide to be with.

The feeling I have is just amazing as God continues to unravel the next chapter of this beautiful story He authored.
4 years of waiting were not lost years after all.

In that 4 years, God has grown me as a person..from the day I decided to recommit my life to Him up to this day, He is maturing me to be that Man of God He called me to be.
He is preparing me physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually into a higher calling and at the same time preparing a suitable partner for me.

So…yeah…i’m officially courting…
don’t know yet what to do or where to go on our so-called “first date”.
Still having that jitters you know… (c’mon at this age!)
That’ why I decided to blog. LOL.

Starting Over Again..

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Last night, I watched online the Filipino movie Starting Over Again with my roomies. My curiosity got in because of what I’ve been reading in FB from some friends who happened to watched the movie couple of months back. Most of them gave positive reviews of the movie and since we have time to watch last night over dinner, so we did. An added factor why we decided to watch it is because the lead actors, Piolo Pascual and Toni Gonzaga are both Christians (not discounting the fact that they are good actors too).

The storyline is simple and common to many Rom-com movies in the past. Girl meets Boy (or should I say “Man” because He was a former professor prior to being a couple), girl is deeply in love with him and did everything to win over the man of her dreams. Dream came true and they became a couple. On the night the man proposed marriage to her, she said NO for still unclear reason and she decided to leave the country leaving the poor guy puzzled and very heart broken. He wrote a letter to the girl for sending 4 years later expressing His strong feelings still and hoped that they would be together again.

However, as time passed by, guy met another lady who loved him despite his limitations and imperfections and made him whole again. But apparently, the original couple crossed paths once again when the guy planned to convert their old family house into a restaurant (which by the way was part of the plans of the then original couple). Girl tries to win him back despite the fact that he is already committed all because she realized that she still has feelings for him and that she was very sorry for her abrupt decision to leave him and has been regretting it since then.

One day, there was a confrontation between the two ladies and the ex-GF was begging the current GF to let the man go back to Him because she believes that He still loves her. Then a freak accident happened and both of them was rushed to the hospital. At that very moment, the guy had a realization that whilst he still love his ex-GF, He loves His current GF more and that the purpose of him crossing paths with his ex is to have a formal closure of their open-ended relationship so they could both be set free. They asked and released forgiveness to one another and the story ended with the guy proposing to his current love and the ex-GF finding a potential love of her life.

Many people including one of my room mate got a bit disappointed with the ending of the movie and complained that why they were not allowed to have a happy ending by being together again. It was not a typical ending to most love stories but I can personally relate to the movie’s the story line…

YES, not all Love stories have a happy ending (or so we thought). Sometimes, people can really not end up together even though they loved each other in the past..maybe because of certain unexpected circumstances or maybe because of their own decisions (but not necessarily mutual decision all the time, like what happened to the characters in the movie). But even though love stories ended unexpectedly, the most important thing when both parties realized that indeed they cannot be together again is to release forgiveness and receive forgiveness as well. Only then can they both move on.

It happened to me…It was really a struggle for few years not being sure of the future and still hoping that we could end up together again despite the fact that she is already committed by the time we were in speaking terms once again. But in our story, I was the Toni (meaning, I was the one who gave up) and had regretted it. I had fears and expectations..or maybe simply we are not in the same page anymore at that time so I decided to end the long-term relationship.

I also attempted to win her back but you know, God really has a way of telling what His plan is for us and His plan is always perfect and on time. When I realized that it was not God’s plan, only then that I tried to move on and asked for forgiveness and I also forgave myself. It was confirmed when she dreamt I had died. I believe it’s God’s way of telling us, that part of our life is a thing of the past and we must move on to what God has in-stored for us in the future.

I realized I had really moved on when last night while watching the movie and all the memories of the past flashed back, I no longer feel the pain but instead, I had that confident assurance that God is doing something great. Yes, I am still single for few years now but I know the future is so bright and wonderful.

Life is not like a timer in our phone wherein the moment we stopped time, automatically we can create a 2nd, 3rd lap and so on..We can never stop time nor turn it back but what we can be sure of is that God knows His plan for us. He already had the blue print of our lives even before we were born. All we need to do is completely trust and obey Him.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

4 Years in The Land of Smiles and Counting…

Sawadee Krap!

On this day exactly 4 years ago, I went out of my beloved country to take the opportunity of working in the Land of Smiles- Thailand. It was a gamble for myself and my would-be employer.
It was my first time working abroad in an almost 100% Thai environment and I had many questions in my mind back then as to what my future holds in Thailand.

For my employer, as in every employee that is newly hired, they are unable to judge 100%– my capabilities, my personality or even my commitment to working overseas as they’ve never met me personally before I landed in their country, but only knew me through some character references and background checking. However, since my designation is a Management post, it is definitely a gamble for them to accept me.

I would be working in the same company that I used to work for in Manila (Bangkok being another Branch office) so basically the systems and procedures are almost the same except it will be in a Thai setting and I just had to adjust my working style to adapt to Thai culture.

I had actually resigned from the company in Manila for almost a year prior to me accepting the job offer in Bangkok. I worked in a hotel group and was doing quite well if I may say so. One Sunday, I was on duty when my former boss of 7 years (which I also consider as my Mentor) Sir Nikki called me and asked where I am at that time and if he could meet me. There is a sense of urgency in his voice.

I told him I was in the hotel and just about to finish my duty. He drove all the way to the hotel on a weekend and meet up with me. He told me about the opportunity to work in Bangkok.

Naturally I was surprised by what he just told me because I really had no clue as to what his purpose is for meeting me so urgently on a weekend and I did not dare ask him earlier out of courtesy.

Besides, I am doing ok with my current employer at that time and has no plans of resigning too soon as there are a handful of projects I am heading and on the process of seeking approval from my current boss.

I would say the timing is right because at that time, I felt like the projects entrusted to me is progressing slower than I expected. I was used to having the liberty to make decisions quickly in my previous employer though I understand that the current one has to go through a long and tedious process and discussions even the very small details. I sort of felt I was not empowered.

Anyway, I still asked my Mentor what was the offer and how soon I need to fly in case I accepted the job. He told me about the position, the compensation offer and said I had to fly in about a month’s time. Once I make the decision, they have to process all the papers and stuff. It has to be decided quickly as my would-be boss will be on maternity leave for 3 months and I have to help her oversee the company during her absence.

Can u just imagine the shock on my face when I learned about it. Of course I felt flattered that my former boss still remembered me and vouched for my capabilities the reason why he recommended me for that job. I told him I cannot make the decision at that instant and I have to consult my family as it is definitely a big decision to make.

It was almost Holy Week at that time so I had time to contemplate. When I told my parents about it of course they wanted me to stay in the country. There was no member in our family who ever worked overseas so I was the first one to sort of “Explore the world”. After thinking of the big task I had to fill, I told my parents I want to take the challenge and perhaps try working abroad for a few years.

At the end, they supported me even though they still have some hesitations.

Fast forward, I accepted the job offer and  left for Bangkok.

When I saw the city, the people and surrounding it felt like I was still in Manila except that I can’t understand their language or the words written on the signs and billboards.

My mentor accompanied me in Bangkok and formally introduced me to my new boss, Khun Angie who I can say is a pleasant lady even meeting just for the first time. She only had over a week to train me and turnover some of the existing responsibilities. I must admit I was scared and worried if I can do the job well once she takes her maternity leave.

Fortunately, with the grace of God and the help of my supportive colleagues, I was able to do good (I think) until she returned. In the past 4 years I’ve been in Thailand I felt I was not an “alien” because my boss and colleagues are all kind and supportive and treated me as their own and not see me as a foreign Pinoy working in their country. They’ve also helped me grow as a person in terms of having more maturity now, gaining more confidence and having better business sense.

Over the years, I’ve also met  Filipino friends who are working and living in Bangkok like me. It is very hard to be in a foreign land by yourself but I believe my Pinoy friends helped me a lot to overcome home-sickness and in times I need some personal (or psychological?) help. LOL.

There are some who had come and go. Some are now based somewhere or back to the Philippines. Nothing is permanent in this world anyway. However the experiences we shared (whether good or bad) made our bond stronger.

Surely, tomorrow or in the longer future I would meet more new friends and I would welcome that opportunity as well.

I’ve also been to a lot of nice places in Thailand. I still have more places to go and definitely I will seize the opportunity to travel more whenever I can.

4 Years is too long for many, too short for some. As for my case, I now consider Thailand as my second home having stayed here quite long enough. I still don’t know how long I will still be working and living in Bangkok as I don’t know what will happen in the future.

But as the saying goes, Enjoy it while it lasts.

Over the years, I’ve gained some and also lost some but overall I can say I am blessed being here.

Kob Khun Krap Thailand! Looking forward to more great experiences here.

P.S. In the 4 years I’ve been here I think I only can speak the common phrases like “Sawadee Krap” and “Kob Khun Krap” which is a pity. Ha ha ha.

Family Fun in Thailand

It’s been 4 years in the making!

Last 2 weeks I was so busy. Busy with work and arranging itinerary for my so-called VIP’s.
You see, I’ve been working in Bangkok for nearly 4 years now and it will be the first time my family (not entire though) will visit the Land of Smiles- Thailand.

I would’ve wanted them to come earlier but as some of my regular blog readers would know, the past 2 years had been quite a roller coaster ride for me and my family. My Dad was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer and they have to stay home as much as possible due to frequent visits to the Doctor. He died early last year.

It was really my earnest wish for my parents to visit the place I now consider my 2nd home. I know my Dad really wanted me to just work in the country so the family could be together but I would always tell him I had to grab this opportunity. It also helped us financially speaking during his sickness.

Some years ago, I had the chance to take both of them to Ilocos Region during a business trip. The room and transfer was free anyway so I just had to pay for their meals and other miscellaneous costs. They would always tell their friends and relatives about how memorable that trip was and how beautiful are the places we’ve visited. Apart from that we would go to some nearby places like Baguio, Tagaytay, etc. if our busy schedule permits.

Going back to the Thailand trip, it was postponed further as my Mom had some problems in securing her passport due to her birth records cannot be found in Manila so they have to go to the province to secure the documents. Anyway, it finally happened mid of April in time for Thailand’s longest and happiest event- Songkran Festival or their Thai New Year.

My Mom, my youngest Sister and her Boyfriend arrived in Bangkok on 13 April which is the first day of Songkran. Traditionally, Songkran is a water-splashing festival wherein everyone just literally splash water to each other either by water gun, hose or any thing they can use to throw water to expecting or non-suspecting passersby.

I had to meet them at the airport so I really carefully walked along the street from my pad to the main road and gingerly took taxi. I was successful not to get wet.

After they arrived in my place and had few hours of rest, they began their 1-week journey with a visit to one of the biggest shopping mall in Bangkok, MBK or locally known as Mah Boon Krong. It is the counterpart of Greenhills Shopping Center in Manila but maybe 5x bigger. You can buy clothes, souvenirs, cellphone and all those gadgets in this mall.

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After MBK I took them to Siam area which many consider is the very heart of Bangkok. We visited few other shopping malls like Siam Center and Siam Paragon.

Next day I took them to the traditional places tourists visit such as Royal Grand Palace, Wat Po, Chatuchak Weekend Market. It was such a scorching hot day so it made our activities on that day more tiring. They enjoyed the cheap price of clothes and souvenirs though.

Before heading home, I let them try Thai Massage. It was indeed a great relief after walking almost the whole day!

Next day I took them to Holy Redeemer Church which is one of the few Catholic Churches in Bangkok. After that we went to Platinum Fashion Mall for more shopping. At night, I took them to a Dinner Cruise along Chao Phraya River.

Monday is still a holiday because of Songkran. My Thai boss and her family took us to the ancient capital of Siam (former name of Thailand), Ayutthaya to visit the ruins of the old city as well as the Bangpa-In Summer Palace. We also rode an Elephant which is a first time experience for me and my family.

We had our lunch in a popular restaurant by the River. We feast ourselves with a variety of Thai and Seafood dishes including the highlight of the restaurant, the grilled King Prawn. It’s very large and costs THB 300 a piece. Good enough to indulge once in a while.

We visited Bang Pa-In Royal Palace which is also known as Summer Palace. Entrance to the Palace is THB 100 per person for foreigner and it is convenient to rent a Golf Cart as the complex is big and if the weather is very warm, walking is discouraged.

The Palace has a mix of Thai, Roman and Chinese style structures. The lawn and gardens are well maintained and such a refreshing view.

Within the next few days we did more activities. We went watching Siam Niramit, dubbed as Thailand’s Must See Show. I’ve watched several other shows like Alangkarn Show, Tiffany Show and others but I must say that Siam Niramit is the best of them all in terms of grandeur and production value. Too bad they don’t allow photography or video inside the Theater but there are many interesting things in the Theater grounds that is worth taking few snapshots.

We stayed in one of Bangkok’s finest 5-Star Hotel, lebua at State Tower near the Chao Phraya Riverside Area. The hotel offers picturesque view from the balcony. We were assigned in the 57th floor of the hotel so you can just imagine the unobstructed magnificent view of the city.

Not only is the view the selling point of this hotel but all the spacious and luxurious guest rooms. We were assigned in the Club Floor Room with access to the Executive Lounge and the bath amenities are Bvlgari. You will literally bathe in perfume when using the toiletries.

We capped their  one week holiday with a drink in the hotel’s rooftop bar located at the 64th floor called “Sirocco- Sky Bar”on their last night in Bangkok.

It was such a memorable trip for my family. I would surely be glad to welcome them again and other family members too.

Happy 3rd Birthday Kikomatching!

It’s actually a belated Birthday Greeting. Nevertheless, I am greeting my pseudonym Kikomatching a Happy 3rd Birthday! It has been 3 years since I started blogging last March 14, 2009. I love writing but never get the chance to share my thoughts to the world through blog so I started creating my own. I remember I can’t even decide if I will use blogspot or wordpress. Finally I decided to use wordpress cos I feel it is much simpler and I never turned back since then.

On my 3rd year as a blogger, I created 150 blog posts, was featured in the Freshly Pressed page of WordPress for my story about the trip in Koh Samed, Thailand. I was wondering why on that day I was getting a lot of comments in my post as well as hundreds of page views. Only when I logged out and logged-in again did I realized my story was in the front page of WordPress. Isn’t it cool? 🙂

I’ve written topics about my various travels, talk of the town issues or even tips on how to lose belly fat! Sometimes I would bug my friends begging them to suggest a good topic for my next post. Few of them are kind enough to give me interesting topics.

I’ve also followed and became close to a few fellow bloggers but unfortunately have not met any of them in person yet. Hope to meet some of you in person someday.

Every time I receive a comment from someone complimenting about my post or the pictures I shared, I am thrilled.
Some people have been following my blog and I thank you for considering my blog worth following.

Three years is really short a period. I will continue to blog as long as I can. I am thankful to my Dad as he inspired me to write. He was a good writer when he was still alive. Many of his colleagues would ask for his help in various correspondences be it a memorandum, letter of apology, recommendation letter, even speech!

Papa, this blog is for you!

Thank you once again and God bless us all!

My Luggage and all it’s happy stuff

It has been 2 months that I’ve not blogged. I was busy with work and all it’s challenges but also had a great time last New Year when I had the opportunity to spend it at home (1st time in 3 years)! I was there before New Year and went back to Bangkok 5th of January after my Mom’s birthday. It was a short but really memorable trip.

Now, going back to my new blog post. Maybe you wonder what is the picture above all about? Or you may also be thinking if what it was, actually. From afar, it may look like a mini Sari-Sari Store (Philippine version of the convenience store but it’s more of a family-run business) what with all those toiletries, noodles, chocolates, mixes and sauces. Well it’s not a delivery for 7-11. The picture you are seeing above is my typical luggage…

I am coming back home (again!). And what you had seen above are the items I had been compiling in my room for several weeks/months. It’s all the goodies I want to bring home. Actually, If I have no scheduled trip I would usually put it in a Balikbayan box and send back home.

Maybe some of you think I am a fool bringing back all these stuff as if there are nothing like those in the Philippines and at times the cost of shipping them is even more than the actual cost of the item.

Overseas workers like me would definitely understand (I bet 90% or even more of these OFW’s are doing the same thing everytime they go back home) what I had been doing since I started working abroad (coming 4 years on May).

For me, it’s not all about the price or the quantity of goods that matter. Looking at my family (even friends) waiting for what’s inside my luggage and dividing it amongst them (as if I’m the younger and slimmer version of Santa Claus) and seeing how excited they are for any “pasalubong” I bought is good enough for me. And the feeling is just great. It is also a product of my hard work as each item in the luggage (or box) are from my hard-earned money.  There was even a time that I bought bottles of perfumes for each member of my family. Even though it cost a small fortune for me, they were really happy to receive something from my heart (and of course seeing me makes them happy and excited too!).

Honestly, I don’t mind packing stuff like these even if I really have to spend time going to the supermarket or malls regularly, putting packaging tapes on liquid items so it won’t spill, making sure everyone has something to receive and even replacing my clothes with all these items.

My forthcoming trip in the next couple of days is kinda exciting in the sense that I am traveling in time for my birthday. I treated myself  and my mom to a trip to Cebu and Bohol for several nights. It is even more special because it’s the first time for my mom to visit these places (for me will be 1st time in Bohol). I was inviting my siblings and their families to join the trip so it will be a big family affair but since school is still on, they cannot join. It could have been more memorable if my Dad was still alive.

Another reason for me coming home again this February is in time for my Dad’s 1st year death anniversary. It seems like only yesterday when he was still with us but now almost one year has passed since he joined our Creator. I know that even though he is not physically with us  anymore, he is happy that my Mom could go to places she’s never been before. They’ve always treasured memories of trips together as a couple or with the whole family.

Going back to Bangkok from my holidays, my luggage is again always full. The contents are different though. I would fill it with all those Sinigang, Menudo, Kare-kare and all the whatnot, local vitamins and medicines, some local-brand toiletries and also pasalubong for my friends and colleagues in Bangkok.

My luggage is always full. Full of foods and other perishable stuff. But I also make sure that my luggage is also full of happy memories from all my travels. All my excess baggage (read as: bitter memories) I usually leave behind.

Have a good one my friends and readers!

Eksena sa Airport

A guy was using free internet in the airport from a computer in a designated area. He checked his Facebook account and replied to 3 messages from friends and relatives while waiting for his flight. There were 3 computers working in that area for use of passengers. Almost 5 minutes of using the computer a lady shouted at the top of her lungs.

“When are gonna finish? Stupid!”

The guy though the lady was fighting with someone on the phone so he didn’t look around instantly. But he realized some people are looking at him so he turned back and learned that the lady was screaming at him. When he faced the lady who was a 40 something Chinese, the lady shouted again.

“You stupid deaf. Be considerate to others”
“Why are you shouting?  I was here for barely 5 minutes. The guy shouted back.
“You are only checking Facebook, stupid!”
“So what if I’m checking my Facebook!”
“You are stupid deaf!”
 At that point the guy was totally pissed off and pointed his finger at the face of the lady.
“Hey you stupid, you don’t have the right to shout at me. You’re not even a Filipina and yet you’re acting like you own this airport!”
“Because you’re stupid deaf!”
“You could have politely told me that you have an emergency and need to check internet urgently”
“Because you’re deaf! Stupid”

A lot of people are witnessing the commotion and the guy was so mad at the behavior of the lady so he told everyone looking “This lady is crazy!”
“I’m not crazy, you are stupid. Be considerate to others and at least be a gentleman”
“Ok fuck off! You may use this computer and Go to hell!”
“Ok, fuck yourself off in the toilet!”

It happened very quickly, less than 1 minute. And the guy in the scene was ME!

I had checked in at NAIA Terminal 2 Airport for my flight back to Bangkok. I had a brief 1 week stay in Manila for training cum holiday. While killing time, I drank coffee and decided to check my Facebook for I had not checked it for almost 1 week and I believe some of my friends in Bangkok communicated with me via FB for some important messages or “bilin”, so I had to know if there are some more messages. I had a laptop and smartphone but I cannot access the wi fi so I decided to walk to the nearby computer kiosk which offers free internet. There were about 8 terminals but only 3 were working at that time. The leftmost computer was free so I decided to use it and the 2 others were used by a foreigner and another Filipino.

I opened my FB (actually had a hard time opening it because the connection was slow) and saw a handful of messages and comments from my friends and relatives. I was only able to reply to 3 messages when suddenly the lady was screaming at me only because I was checking my FB account!

And since when did checking FB in the airport become prohibited? And is checking FB make you an inconsiderate person and not a gentleman and only doing nonsense? I personally don’t think so.

As I mentioned, many of my friends or even relatives message me in FB just to communicate especially when overseas. Firstly, because it’s free. Second because it is direct and fast and you can do it on the computer or even on phone, literally almost anywhere. Doing so I believe doesn’t make a person less worthy.

I didn’t expect that I would be humiliated in the airport. Worse, she was a foreigner. I assumed she was a Hong Kong Chinese because there was a flight bound to Hong Kong almost the same as my flight time and her English is not bad.

Normally, I don’t fight in public and a woman (more so, an old lady!) at that. But her behavior and the way she is treating and saying cuss words to someone she barely know is unacceptable. And as a Filipino, I had to stand up and not let someone act like she is the boss and I’m her servant.

An educated person would just tell the person in front, excuse me can you let me use the computer. I have an urgency. You don’t tell someone he is stupid just because he is using Facebook. Besides, most of the computer terminals in the airports can only be used by 1 person at a short period of time because usually there are queue and to avoid it, they have to limit usage per person. Plus, I didn’t intend to use the computer for a long period because it is not convenient to do it while carrying some heavy hand carried luggage and the whole world seeing what you are doing because the computer was so exposed.

I was so mad my face down to my neck was hot and red. I went straight to the toilet after the incident and washed my face to cool off.  Then I took a seat and prayed to calm down. I prayed to God and said sorry to Him for my behaviour few minutes ago shouting back at someone  and telling her to go to hell. ” After praying, I felt better.

After the incident I had a reflection. I didn’t say sorry to that lady cos I believe I didn’t do anything wrong to deserve being shouted at. I also believe you should not tell someone he or she is stupid if he is just a random person. You don’t know his family background, education or his capacity in life.

I realized money can’t really buy breeding. The lady proved it once and for all. She looked dignified but her action reflected arrogance.  I just really hope she doesn’t have a Filipina helper (or any nationality at that) cos it will be such a pity for someone to have a boss like her. She treated someone like he/she is the lowest animal and don’t deserve respect.

It was the first time I pointed finger in someone’s face and honestly it felt good. I know it is not right to do it to someone but I believe she deserved it. Maybe it was also the first time that someone pointed finger in her face and after I did it, she was silent for a few seconds. Maybe she realized I am not someone who will just be shocked and moved away not trying to fight my rights.

I may not be able to see her again and I hope I really won’t. I also pray if she has a son or daughter, they will not experience the same thing that she just did to me from a total stranger while they are traveling.

I can’t help but think if her behaviour is one of the results of being too obsessed with money. I suddenly remembered Yue Yue, the 2 year old who died in a horrible accident and many people who witnessed seemed not to care.

Is society really decaying?