When I was still a novice seafarer, meron isang incident na nakapagmulat sa akin sa katotohanan that “most of the people identify seafarers as milking cows.” Right after I recovered from an unfortunate work related accident, I was now fit for sea duty and more than eager to work. Kaso nga lang the “Assistant” Fleet Manager told me that during the transfer of my papers from another fleet management, eh there was an incomprehensible incident; my seaman’s book was somehow misplaced. Siyempre that time yung mindset ko ay sumakay agad dahil 5 buwan na akong bakasyon at sagad na rin yung budget ko.
So this astute old-dough-face had a clever idea, why not file an “Affidavit of Loss” so that it would all be straighten out and have a line-up for embarkation. Pumayag din ako agad na magbigay ng pera para sa pagkuha ng affidavit of loss, Php 1,500.00 (somethin’ para estimate lang) kasi nga apurado din ako at gusto ko na rin makasakay agad. After a few days, nag report ako ulit sa assistant fleet manager para maka sagap ng update. Sabi niya wala pa daw line up eh kasi yung seaman’s book ko ay wala pa; and so the fretful waiting began. Kaya pabalik-balik ako sa opisina para lang makibalita until finally everything was okay, at least I thought it was. One afternoon, when we we’re talking about my papers, he insinuated that “may na damage din daw sa kanya, at may kinausap din daw siya sa MARINA para maayos agad yung gusot..” Then there was the eerie silence between us. Well you’ll probably guess what happened next, something just went down his drawer; then we were smiles and cheers again, parang wala lang nangyari. Actually in the back of my head parang na anticipate ko na yung scenario; kasi narinig ko na ang tungkol sa kalakal ng gurang na ito mula sa mga kwento ng mga “senior” ko. Somehow I just thought that this was just part of the obscene culture in the manning industry, parang pakunsuwelo de bobo na rin sa mga douchebag na ito. However na-grabe din yung damage sa akin; siyempre by that time kunti pa lang naman yung kinikita ko.
So everything was doing well, na schedule na ako for final briefing; at parang okay na ang lahat. Nang makausap ko ngayun si “Fleet manager”, tsaka niya naalala na yung seaman’s book ko pala ay nasa kanya. Nagkatinginan ngayun sila; si Fleet manager na matandang ulyanin at yung Assistant niya na matandang mandurugas, bagay nga ang tandem nila. I was being had; it was a real sleazy deal. What else can I do, nakabayad na ako para lang magkaroon ng dalawang seaman’s book which is actually not tolerable, at sila? Well..at least si assistant manager ay meron ng dagdag na pambili ng gamot para sa rayuma; ewan ko lang kay Fleet manager kung may napala din siya.
Looking back, I just fell dumfounded by the schemes that people could think of just to rip-off somebody else; especially if yung mga taong ito ay “work-for-money” lang ang alam at walang ibang sophistication pagdating sa personal finance. And they think na madali lang gawin yun kasi bagito lang ako noon at alam nila na matindi rin yung pangangailangan ko. Anyway, it seems useless to deliberately indict the scoundrels in this incredulous incident, may kasalanan din ako pumaya ako na madale, at tsaka matagal na yung nangyari, nakinabang din ako. However, it’s just a sad truth that people wish to negate themselves: “We choose to become slaves of money, and money is a brutal master!!!”, and that is why financial planning is an option if we wish to be emancipated from the chains of slavery to money. Well just charge it to experience na lang, abuloy ko na lang sa gurang na yun just in case.