First Half of My Life Review (我的前半生)

The First Half of My Life is a 2017 C-Drama starring Ma Yili (Zijun),
Jin Dong (He Han), Lei Jiayin (Chen Junsheng), Yuan Quan (Tan Jing),
and Wu Yue (Ling Ling). If you are an avid fan of kabit-serye,
you might find that the story and concept are nothing new. Somehow,
the story of First Half of My Life reminds me of an old movie entitled
“Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan.” This Filipino movie is about two best friends
who fall in love with the same man. Despite the slight similarity in the
storyline, what made me hooked in the First Half of My Life was my curiosity about how this C-Drama would fare.

The story starts with Zijun who is “happily” married to Chen Junsheng.
They have a young son who is well-loved by his grandparents from both
sides of the family. Junsheng holds an executive position in the company
that he is working for that is why Zijun can afford to go shopping
anytime she wants. She is protective of her marriage and tends to be
suspicious about some women that are within her husband’s work circle.

On the other side of the story is the power couple Tan Jing and He Han.
Both have strong personalities and are very much dedicated to their career.
Han is Junsheng’s boss while Jing is Zijun’s best friend since college.

Zijun’s world collapses when Junsheng tells her that he wants a divorce.
To add insult to injury, the mistress is the woman that she befriends in the office. Without Junsheng’s money and a ready source of income,
she risks losing Pi’nger (son) to the former’s custody.

Jing helps her get on her feet but being a busy career woman, there are
times when she asks a favor from Han to be her proxy. Initially, Han and
Zijun clashes but when she realizes his sincerity, she begins to warm up
to him. Just like Jing before, Zijun becomes Han’s mentee and from being a saleslady, she now has the confidence to work in a corporate set-up.
Ironically, she targets a position wherein she will be one of Ling
Ling’s subordinates. Now, all five of them have a working interface.

While spending more time with Zijun and Pi’nger, Han feels that he is
falling in love with her. He tries to forget about his feelings by
proposing to Jing but Jing feels that there is more to the friendship
between her best friend and fiance. When Han confirms that he loves
Zijun, Jing returns the engagement ring.

Jing feels betrayed by Han, Junsheng, and Zijun. She feels that Han never
really loved her and his past relationship with Vivian is just an excuse
not to marry her. She feels that Junsheng covered up Han and Zijun’s
relationship to protect his position in the office. She hates Zijun for
allowing Han to fall in love with her.

Because the real score is now revealed, Han professes his love for Zijun.
Zijun tells him that the feeling is mutual but she cannot be with him because
she does not want to hurt Jing. In an attempt to save their friendship,
Zijun helps in tracking down the person who tried to set up Jing. But the
sad thing is, even when Jing’s name has been cleared, she still has to find forgiveness in her heart to redeem their friendship.

In the end, Junsheng stays with Ling Ling despite the trouble that she
made concerning Jing. Han resigns from his job to protect Jing and
goes to Guandong to start a seafood business. Jing remains in Shanghai
and continues her career. Zijun leaves with Pi’nger for Shenzhen to
start a new life.

They say that the First Half of My Life has an open ending so I’m going to
write my interpretation of the seaport scene. A year later, Zijun inspects the new project site and sees a man who she mistakes for Han.
In another seaport area, Han sees a woman who he mistakes for Zijun.
Both of them tell about their past life in Shanghai and why they end
up in Guandong. There are six seaports in Guandong and if Zijun regularly
visits the Port of Shenzhen, there’s still a small probability that they will see each other. Why? It’s because of the timing factor. Han’s seafood
business requires him to be away on the sea for most of the time.
And during his port transactions, he is too busy to even check on
every woman who comes to the port. Likewise, Zijun is busy with her project
and it’s impractical to wait on the port for every incoming ship. In the
first place, she does not know Han’s ship. She can easily find it out knowing how smart she has become but choosing not to do it means that she does not want to reconnect with Han. Mistaking the man for Han was just her initial reaction because she loves Han. But it doesn’t mean that she would reconnect with him as her lover. Zijun is more loyal to Jing than
her feelings for Han. In the same way, Han is more loyal to what
Zijun wants than his feelings for her. He respects her that is why even
if he can trace Zijun’s new workplace, he did not do it.

Some fans say that the story is about women power and independence. I agree.

If I may just add, this story is all about TIMING.

  1. It took a while for Junsheng to realize that the wife that he divorced is exactly the strong woman that he wanted to. Had he given Zijun more
    time to be a better person, then he would not divorce her in the first
  2. Jing and Han’s readiness for marriage came late when the latter is no longer in love with her. Had they settled early on, Han would
    probably choose to be loyal to Jing because he takes “contracts”
  3. Ling Ling’s timing is perfect when it comes to destroying Junsheng
    and Zijun’s marriage because they were at their most vulnerable
    stage when she came into the picture. A workaholic husband finds a
    reliable ally in Ling Ling and thinks of his carefree shopaholic wife
    as a liability.
  4. Jing and Zijun’s friendship can still be saved, it’s all a matter of timing. When Jing finds another man and is truly happy with her life,
    she will surely soften to Zijun and maybe try to reconnect with her.
  5. Item 4 leads to the possible scenario that since everything and
    everyone is forgiven, then Zijun can now reconnect to Han and start
    a new life with him.

Therefore, the Zijun and Han love story is only possible at a later time
because of the timings that I mentioned. I so love this C-Drama and if
we’re going to have a local adaptation, I think that these actors/actresses
fit into the role.

The Pandemic

It’s been a year and a half
Of a topsy turvy life.
Wishing for a miracle
And blessings that others would sprinkle
Some take it as a gamble
Praying that they would not stumble
Hoping for a smooth journey
To provide well for their family
Some gained weight and others lose
Some are in misery while others rejoice
A few wonder about what life really is
Children are clueless about the world that they miss
Most of us dream of an end to all of these
And return to the days of fun and bliss
While we are not there yet
Let’s hold on to our faith
Be good to everyone
Play fair in the best way you can
Life is uncertain
No one knows our final curtain
Always be a good person
With love and smile memories to leave on

Tagalog Version

Ang Pandemya

Isa’t kalahating taon
Ng paurong-sulong
Umaasa sa himala
Ang iba’y sa pagpapala
May mga sumusugal
Tanging baon ay dasal
Sa pakikipagsapalaran
Upang pamilya’y matustusan
May nanaba, may namayat
May namighati, may nagalak
May nagkabati, may naghiwalay
May napapaisip sa buhay kung ano ang saysay
Mga sanggol kailan lang
Natigil ang mundo sa tahanan
Kinalakhan ang bagong normal
Napakaraming ibinabawal
May nangangarap ng katapusan
Ng pandemya’t karamdaman
Umaasang makakabalik
Sa mga panahong sa pasyal ay hitik
Habang tayo’y wala pa doon
Kumapit lang sa Panginoon
Maging mabuti sa kapwa
Wag magsamantala’t mangawawa
Dahil buhay nati’y walang katiyakan
Sabi nga’y una-una lang
Maging mabuting tao lagi
Mag-iwan ng pagmamahal at ngiti

Calculator Memories

The most important gadget of an engineering student is his scientific calculator. If I remember it right, my first calculator in college was a simple programmable one. It survived Algebra, Trigonometry, Chemistry, Physics, Differential Calculus, and Integral Calculus. It broke down when I was in my 3rd year and I replaced it with a basic scientific calculator that survived Differential Equations, Statistics, Accounting, Production-Planning-Scheduling and Control, Methods Engineering, Thermodynamics, Engineering Mechanics, Strength of Materials, Operations Research 1, and Operations Research 2. I hope I did not miss anything!

Back in the day, I could lend anything from notebooks to books except my calculator. My calculator was the most precious thing inside my bag aside from my wallet. The problem with me was unlike most students, I needed to get familiar with something before I become good at using it. There was one instance when a classmate borrowed my calculator and forgot to return it after his class. Therefore, I was forced to borrow a calculator and nearly failed my quiz because it took me time to know the functions.

My most difficult Math subject was Differential Equations. (Hello, L’Hopital’s Rule!). Given how basic my scientific calculator was, it was a challenge solving these long and difficult equations. I had two classmates who had a high-end Casio programmable scientific calculator that could solve equations and show graphs. The first one was my seatmate named Winona and she was generous in lending me her calculator to confirm if my solution was correct. One time, Sir Nacino (our instructor) noticed her super-advanced calculator and called her attention that he does not allow that in class. The other one was a classmate and a neighbor named Jackie. Jackie and I used to do our Differential Equations homework at her house. The struggle for us was finding the correct solution because we already knew the answer since her calculator could compute for that. There was a time when we had to finish a 50-item assignment because he was on leave. Jackie and I started doing it on Saturday afternoon and finished it the following day.
Some instructors allowed us to write down the formulas on the index card while others obliged us to memorize them. Thus, for some cunning students, they took advantage of their calculator’s back portion where they could insert their “kodigo” or cheat sheet on its slot.

I am not sure if schools give suggestions now about the model and capability of a scientific calculator. If you have the means to buy one, do so. Investing in a good calculator would make your college life easier because, in the university, one is on his own. But my stand on this is to make sure that you know how to compute it manually. The calculator or computer would just serve as your guide to keep you on the right track.

Maximino delos Reyes of Bataan

“Sa silong ng langit
doon sa Puerto Rivas.
Ay may isang talang
Maximino delos Reyes
ang kanyang pangalan.
Nagbigay ng ningning
sa buong Bataan.”

I am not sure if I got the lyrics right.
My late father used to sing it during his frisky moments.
I think he found the lyrics catchy.
On a serious note, I believe he was just too proud of his “kababaryo.”

(And by the way, is there really such a jingle?)

The Maximino Delos Reyes that I was aware of was the
“Maximino Delos Reyes Memorial School” in Puerto Rivas,
Balanga, Bataan
. Before 1957, it was known as Puerto Rivas
Elementary School. The school was renamed to honor the man who
donated the land. Actually, the land where the public cemetery
lies was also his donation.

Maximino Delos Reyes’ name has a recall because of the school.
Unfortunately, much information is not known about this gentleman.
Born and raised in Puerto Rivas, Balanga, Bataan in 1887, his
short yet successful career started when he wrote moro-moro
and zarzuela.

If Francisco Baltazar was the pride of
Bulacan, Maximino Delos Reyes was his counterpart in Bataan.
He also worked in La Independencia as a press censor.
His popularity earned him a post as Bataan governor for 4 years
and he dedicated another 6 years of his life for public service.
After retiring from politics, he focused on his lumber business.

Maximino died in 1928 at only 40 years old. He left behind Rosita
and their four children Aurora, Eliseo, Mario and Gloria.
The most well-known among them was the late Gloria Delos Reyes-Talastas,
an educator.

The IE Formula

I used to say that being an IE (as in BSIE) was my choice but being an IE (the job) was not my plan.

When I was in 4th-year high school, I wanted to either be an accountant or a Chemical Engineer. It all changed when my aunt’s BFF’s brother explained to me what being an Industrial Engineer was all about. It did not end there because a month later, it was my friend’s father who convinced me to try Industrial Engineering. So during the freshman enrollment, there I was falling in line under “BSIE 1.”

Two months before graduation, I joined the campus job fair in the hope of landing a job as a Quality Control Engineer. A week after the graduation, I went to the final interview, and to my surprise, the offer was an IE job instead of a QA! The disappointment was short-lived because I learned to love my job afterwards.

I learned that being an IE is not all about Motion and Time study. An IE must know the principles of Productivity, Efficiency, Quality and Human Factors by heart. When the system is working good given these principles, there will be profit because of lesser costs.

I learned that being an IE means spending at least 60% of your time in the shop floor. You need to see the problems. Do not rely on the data given to you. Always challenge the data, even the ones that you, yourself have prepared.

I learned that it was hard to convince that the work and time standards that you set were good. Some would even question how you conducted the motion and time study. Do not get intimidated by angry subjects and process owners because it is our job to set the correct work and time standard. Do not get influenced by fake productivity or even fake unproductivity. When you are confident about your data and as well as the number of samples you took, the margin of error would be small and insignificant to affect the time standard. This is also the reason why I encourage you to spend more time in the shop floor because you can see any obvious production variations that happened within the shift. Do not be too bookish, either. The purpose of shop floor immersion is for you to get familiar with the individual capabilities of the machines or manpower. Listen to the workers’ feedback and make an objective and thorough analysis to avoid suggesting a wrong solution. Make a realistic timeline of your study and avoid falling into the trap of focusing on the “favorite problem” of the process, work station or manpower.

There are available tools that can help you analyze better and faster like the software for statistical process control, lay-outing, simulation, and even motion and time study. But of course, you need to be familiar with the different formulas so that you can validate if the software is giving you the correct answer or you can check if you set the correct parameters.

Attached is the most common IE formulas for our common reference.