title-art

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: 3 Things We Can Do Everyday

Jackie Robinson once said, “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”

When I was growing up, my parents gave me and my sisters a lot of leeway. They never said that we needed to be a doctor or a lawyer or an accountant (although both of my sisters eventually became accountants). Nor did they recommend who we should marry or what kind of friends we should have. But they were adamant about one thing: show respect to everyone.

Little JEC

I am not a fan of corporal punishment, but it worked on me.

My dad was never shy in giving me the belt if I showed any disrespect to anyone, no matter what the circumstances and no matter where we were at.

And my mom always said, “If someone disrespects you, that is their problem. You ALWAYS show respect to others.”

When I started my company, I wanted to be crystal clear that showing respect was of the utmost importance. Respect would be the cornerstone of the firm and be embodied by all the employees from the newbie all the way to the CEO.

What I did was write up a to-do / to-be list of respectful things we can do everyday at work, at play, at home; and with our colleagues, with our friends, and with our family. This became the basis of our company credo.

In our company credo, we have over 30 items. In this post, I’ll share with you the top 3 …

1. Be tolerant of others and like everybody.

I don’t have to tell you that 99% of the problems we have in our world is because of our intolerance to each others differences. Drives me crazy when I see, read or hear about people hurting others based purely on the differences of their skin color or religion or gender. CRAZY!

So don’t discriminate based on race, gender, religion sexual orientation or favorite basketball team.

“Now, red, white, black, tan, yellow, or brown / It really doesn’t matter, we can all get down.” – Digital Underground’s Doowutchyalike

Also try to listen to others with an open mind. I know we are human, so we will have pre-conceived notions and certain prejudices, but try. You might be surprised by what you hear. And if you don’t agree or don’t like it, that’s cool, at least you tried.

Nice Darth

2. Open doors for others and smile.

It’s not just an act of helping another through the door but the act exemplifies courteousness and a regard for others. It shows that you care for your fellow person – something we need more of these days.

Plus it’s really easy to do: extend your arm and pull or push (depending on which side of the door you are on).

Real success is not on the stage, but off the stage as a human being, and how you get along with your fellow man.” – Sammy Davis Jr.

Other things I advocate are …

Say “thank you” to show gratitude;

Say “excuse me” to be polite;

Be a gracious loser; and

A humble winner.

And speaking of winning …

Ballers

3. Get healthy, stay fit and win.

Showing respect for yourself is just as important as respect for others. Getting and staying healthy is one of the best things you can do for yourself – respect for your body and mind.

In 2008, I went for a checkup and received a scary medical report: my blood pressure was up, my bad cholesterol was also up, and my heart and stamina were down. Not good. This was the result of no exercise and an indulgence in fatty foods. The checkup woke me up; realized I was disrespecting myself by not taking care of my body.

Decided to turn it around and started to swim, bike and run. As I entered my 40s, I started to compete in triathlons and ran 10K and half marathon races. I’ve always loved sports and the races and competition motivated me to continue a healthy lifestyle. And I did get healthier. And I stopped falling sick. I slept better and my general mood became brighter.

And I believe that respecting myself by getting in shape enabled me to be more respectful to others.

Also do not neglect the mind. Read more; pay attention to world events; take a class; learn from others; appreciate art; write a blog.

And some other basic do’s and don’ts …

Be on time. Maintain your composure. Be patient. Be encouraging. Be positive. And keep your promises.

Don’t be rude. Don’t lose your temper (“grace used pressure”). Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t steal.

Like most things that are worthwhile, it will take effort. My mom (and Audrey Hepburn) used to always tell me, “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible’.

If you like this article, please share with your loved ones and friends. And if you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me at jonathan.chua@beamandgo.com. I’d love to hear from you.

Pope_Cover

If you haven’t heard, the Pope was in town.

Late last week, I was working in Manila, which coincided with the Pope’s visit. Now, I have been in cities when dignitaries visited: Nelson Mandela’s first UN visit in 1994; George Bush’s post 9/11 World Trade Center site visit; and Bill Clinton’s visit to Singapore in 2005. But I have never seen anything resembling what I saw when the Pope visited Manila.

En route

Millions of Filipinos lined the streets to see the Pope as he moved between appearances at Malacañang Palace, Mall of Asia, Manila Cathedral and Rizal Park. Major roads were shut down. Flights cancelled. Airport terminals were closed. Commemorative t-shirts, handbags, beer mugs and adult diapers were made and hawked. And for the length of his visit, the government declared a public holiday in Manila.

It was an enormous spectacle of biblical proportions.

But through all the hoopla and pageantry, the Pope kept it real and dispensed with insightful advice and outlined his view on what ails people in the Philippines and all over the world. To list everything he said would be too long for this blog entry. In my opinion, these are the top 3:

The Pope greets the people“Men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the ‘culture of waste.’ If a computer breaks it is a tragedy, but poverty, the needs and dramas of so many people end up being considered normal … In this way people are thrown aside as if they were trash.”

I am guilty of this.

We live in a world of “stuff” and the attainment of that “stuff” consumes our lives. As a result we lose track of humanity, our family, and our friends. And not only are we fostering a “culture of waste” but also a “disposable society“.

Keep things in perspective and caring for others should be the top priority.

Smiling Pope“The perfect family doesn’t exist, nor is there a perfect husband or a perfect wife, and let’s not talk about the perfect mother-in-law! It’s just us sinners. A healthy family life requires frequent use of three phrases: ‘May I? Thank you, and I’m sorry’ and never, never, never end the day without making peace.”

Not much else needs to be said about this.

Making a family strong and sustainable takes hard work, commitment and suppression of ego. Like most things: what you get out of your family is in proportion to what you put in.

Can't we all get along“Modern society should be respectful of authentic human values, protective of our God-given dignity and rights.”

Basically, this is a plea for all of us to get along.

People are hurting other people for no apparent reason other then the differences in skin color, religion, sexual orientation, etc. We are all human beings; respect that; and we will be able to create better communities and better societies.


The Pope’s messages and insights need to be repeated and repeated often. And it doesn’t matter if you are red, yellow, white, black or brown: these messages are universal.

For some, the Pope’s Manila visit was an inconvenience and distraction but I think the positives far outweighed the negatives. It is priceless when a world leader inspires all of us to be better people; to be better fathers, mothers, sons and daughters; and to create a better world.

If you like this article, please share it with your loved ones and friends. Also, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at jonathan.chua@beamandgo.com.

video_2_20150107

Setting the Record Straight

Recently, we posted an explainer video on the BeamAndGo.com site and on our YouTube Channel (http://youtu.be/jItsKJjMLPk). If you are unfamiliar with the term, an “explainer video” is  a short online video used to explain a company’s product or service in a simple and entertaining manner.

The premise of our video is a female overseas worker who forgets to remit money to her family back in Manila. Causing some alarm.

BeamAndGo to the rescue

But fear not, BeamAndGo to the rescue. Within minutes she’s able to make sure her family has the means to purchase groceries. As a result, no one goes hungry.

This scenario is fairly common.

However, some viewers didn’t think the video was all that innocent.

The flat mateMany asked “who is this guy?” and “what’s he doing in her house?”

If you have seen the video, you’ll recognize him as the guy who tells the woman to “chillax” and proceeds to explain how to use BeamAndGo.

Chillax y’all, he’s just the flat mate.

Nothing scandalous is going on here. He’s being a friend and helping her with her predicament. He provides her with the URL, how to start it up, and then goes through all the steps (there are only 3!) to ensure that she’s able to provide for her family.

I think it’s admirable. Don’t you?

The HusbandAnother frequently asked question is “why is the husband not working?” Followed by the words “lazy” and “sad”.

Sure, we could have depicted a husband working abroad and his wife staying back home to take care of the kid. But we chose the opposite and didn’t see a problem with that. Here’s why …

First, these days, both men and women work for a living; it is common to see women in the workforce doing the same jobs as men.

Second, in 2014, over 50% of Filipinos that work abroad are women.

And lastly, over 20% of households in the Philippines are supported by a family member working abroad. Those left behind are not lazy but are unable to find a steady job or they work in a low paying job and need the overseas remittance to make ends meet.

What we depicted is typical. Is it sad? Yes, it’s very sad, but it happens all the time. It is NOT scandalous; it is a reflection of our times.

Now, I have to say a little more about the actor who plays the husband.

The ActorYes, this guy!

The actor who played the husband – Dino Pelagio – is also the lead software architect for BeamAndGo.com. When he’s not acting in our explainer videos, Dino is THE MAN responsible for developing all the software that makes BeamAndGo GO GO.

I have known Dino for more than 4 years. He is a very good software developer and one of the nicest guys I know. Furthermore, his peers respect him and enjoy working with him.

And according to his wife, Dino is an excellent father. (note: his daughter is also in the video).

At BeamAndGo, we love the guy. How can you not love a guy with smile like that?

If you haven’t seen the video yet, you can watch it at http://www.beamandgo.com or http://youtu.be/jItsKJjMLPk. If you have any questions or comments, you can email me at jonathan.chua@beamandgo.com. Feel free to share it with your friends and family.

MakeADiff_20150105

7 Things About The Philippines’ Remittance Economy and How You Can Make a Difference

OFW_201501051. Over 20% of all families in the Philippines depend on cash from relatives working abroad in hospitals, ships, construction sites and households.

As of last count over 13 million Filipinos live abroad. This number is not going to get lower. Filipino workers are wanted all over the world because of their fluency in English, they are well-educated, and they are good natured.

And Filipinos want to work overseas. It may be more fun in the Philippines, but the pay and prospects are better overseas. In many cases, even if a similar job is available in the Philippines, a Filipino will choose the job that requires them to go aboard.

Because of this …

RemittanceOFW_2014_201501052. Total remittance from overseas in 2013 was US $22 billion.

And from January to September 2014, the amount was US $17.6 billion. Based on my rudimentary math, the projected overseas remittance in 2014 will be US $23.5 billion. And …

3.This remittance money makes up about 13% of the Philippines’ GDP.

And that’s just what’s happening overseas. This does not take into account the money from skilled and unskilled workers in Manila sent to their families in the provinces …

RemittanceCenter_201501054. Total remittance within the Philippines in 2013 was US $36 billion.

That is the official figure; however, there is an additional estimated US $35 billion in cash that passes between the providers and their families in provinces. This additional figure is unofficial because there are no records for these transactions: it’s all cash!

And it’s all cash, because …

PayDayLoan_201501055. Over 70 million people in the Philippines are unbanked.

Meaning these people do not have a bank account. Also means that these same people do not have any access to credit (i.e. credit cards).

Two knock-on effects are (1) the cost of remitting money costs more; and (2) no credit means it becomes difficult to buy a house, start a business, or send children to school.

I also think there is a 3rd knock-on effect …

PiggyBank_201501056. On average, Filipinos in the Philippines save only 0.63% of their money.

It’s like consumerism on steroids! Part of the reason is cultural; part of the reason is that the majority of Filipinos are unbanked and have no place to put their money; and part of the reason are socio-economic factors that I will write about in another post (I promise).

Here’s a true story: recently, someone I know asked me for a small loan. Thinking that the money would be used to feed her family, I was willing to provide the loan; however, when I asked what the money would be used for, she told me the money was to replace an out-of-date phone with the latest iPhone.

Whoa!

I know people who spend a lot of pesos on non-essentials (i.e. cosmetics, smartphones, etc.), when they barely have enough money to buy food for their family or books for their children. And there is zero money left if they are befallen by an emergency or calamity.

And as a result, the poverty cycle continues …

Poverty_201501057. Remittances are up, but the poverty rate improves very little.

In 2013, overseas remittance into the Philippines grew by 7.6 over 2012. The number of people living below the poverty dropped, but only by 1.3%.

Why?

I think it’s a combination of some of the things I mentioned above, namely (1) a high number of Filipinos are unbanked; (2) the high cost of a cash economy; and (3) consumerism on steroids.

But I believe there is hope …

If you are the provider for your family, you can make a difference.

Don’t just do what you have always been doing cause “that’s the way it is.” You can make the decision to try something different to improve your circumstances.

At BeamAndGo, we strive to be that something different. Our goal is to help people spend wisely in order to build a strong financial future. And we are working hard to provide you with a better way for you to take care of yourself and your family in the Philippines.

To learn more about what we are doing at BeamAndGo, just visit us at http://www.BeamAndGo.com. If you have any questions or comments, you can contact me directly at jonathan.chua@beamandgo.com. Feel free to share this article with your friends and family.