Category: networking


Connie                                                                                                                                                                                                        Connie of Manila BBQ

Like the TV series, ‘Cheers’, for those of you who remember, ‘where everyone knows your name’, this constantly helpful, bubbly proprietor who readily welcomes you by name, once she knows it; as opposed to you being, just another customer intrigued me. I had to know more about this atypical businesswoman named Connie, so I decided to ask.

Born into a middle class family with three other siblings (two brothers and one sister for which Connie was the 3 in line of accession) in *Quezon City, a suburb of Manila in the Philippines she (Connie) counted herself as having been, ‘greatly blessed’ compared to most when growing up. “The class system in the Philippines, unlike Canada”, she commented, “is very distinct and life can be extremely hard, even for the middle class.”

With an almost musical laugh and a twinkle in her eye, she reminisced of growing up in a rice store, which also served as home and where her parents still reside and maintain the store to date. It was a two-story building she explained, with the store on the main floor and living accommodations on the second level.  However, she pointed out, unlike here (in Canada) there was no furniture due to affordability factors. She recalls how beds, the family couch and even the table and chairs were sacks of rice, which, as she pointed out, were very comfortable based on the fact you were able to shape them to fit your body contours.

Living in such a manner, she explained, taught her at an early age to appreciate having your own business as it enabled you to sustain a livelihood to care for you and your family. More so when compared to North American standards, for in the Philippines there is no welfare or unemployment insurance or even a retirement pension option, you survive solely on what you can generate for an income.

Because of this and the inability of many individuals to find work in their home country, many individuals (called OFW’s = Overseas Filipino Workers) have no other option but to leave spouses and children behind to seek a livelihood elsewhere in the world. In doing so, it enables them to provide their families the basics: food, shelter, and clothing and where possible an education and medical needs.  Most times they work in extremely abusive circumstances depending on the employer and the country, they work in for which they are under contract for up to two or three years at a time and often with long hours and no days off. It is that or imminent starvation for both them and their family.  Those fortunate enough to open their own business or able to obtain an education and skills for a specialized trade stay, if they can.

Education in the Philippines is not free, meaning unless you or your family can pay for an education you do not obtain one because the Government does not provide any form of assistance for the public schools. Cash is king and schools will not allow you to register or even proceed into each new semester once you have enrolled unless the required fess have been paid. The same rules apply when writing your exams, which are an additional fee per exam, is the norm.

Here again she, as well as her two brothers and her sister were blessed not only with the fact they were a middle class family but that their parents had a family run business that provided not only an income, but also an education, which was not only a priority for future survival, but also an attainable option. (In Connie’s case, she graduated from University of the Philippines Los Baños with a marketing degree…)

After graduation, she applied and worked on a cruise ship as an activity staff member, a position she held for three-(3) years after which time she tired of the constant travel and returned home to the Philippines.

After returning home, she became a sales representative for a cosmetics ingredients supplier for which her position entailed her to meet and sell chemicals/products to cosmetic manufacturing companies. It was during this period that she learned to drive out of necessity for her job, for which as she gleefully put it, “I learned to drive Filipino style”. She goes on to state, “I was a little rowdy driver…”

“I really enjoyed the job”, she informed me based on not only the flexible hours but also the fact she had to talk to people. “I am a people person”, she commented.

“That”, she continued, “is what I feel was my strong point when I eventually opened my own business in Canada, the love of talking to people”.

Now married with two children, a son and daughter, she explained she and her husband met, courted and married in the Philippines. Her eldest child, Chloe, was born a year after her arrival in Canada.

“Courting in the Philippines”, she commented, “unlike in Canada, is not that long.” Soon after they were married, her then husband made the decision to re-locate to Canada for which he would sponsor her once he was established.

“When we separated”, she reminisced with a sad tone in her voice, “We really did not know each other as we had not been married that long”. “Unlike in a normal relationship where you court, get married and live together”, she continued, “You are with each other each day after day and get to know each others  likes and dislikes and learn the truth about each other.” “Long distance does not allow for that,” she stated.

Not being, as she put it, the jealous type and having faith that they would one day be together again for good helped make the year bearable. That and the telephone and Skype communications to each other. “Trust was the number one factor”, she stated.

During the temporary separation, she stayed with her parents and helped with the store to help time pass more quickly.

When asked about her initial thoughts when she knew she would be leaving home and moving to a new country (Canada) her reply was, “Scared!”

“Life in the Philippines for me was very different, “she explained. She had her own job, her own income, which for a girl made life easy, as she put it.

“Coming to Canada was hard with no family not to mention it was more expensive,” she explained, “especially for girly things such as a manicure and pedicure”.   However, when asked what she missed most about home she very pointedly stated, “Family!”

When asked if she ever contemplated returning to the Philippines when she retired, as an example, her reply was a resounding, “NO! Absolutely NO!” “I would go back to visit only” she continues, “my children were born in Canada and would, I am sure, appreciate a vacation there, but not to live”.

She then laughs with a twinkle in her eye as she commented, “I was raised there (the Philippines) but I think of myself as a Canadian now”.

Asked why she chose Manila BBQ as her choice of employment she said, “While I had no knowledge of the remittance end of the business, I did have a retail background living and working in my parents’ small grocery store in the Philippines”.  “Remittance” she stated, “is not easy to deal with as you inform customers what they have to expect, good or bad”. “Remittance is about trust”, she continued, “Not an easy sell”.

“It is easy to have this kind of business in the Philippines”, she commented, “Just fulfill government requirements”. “It is much easier dealing with government requirements here in Canada”, she stated.

It has been four-(4) years since she took over proprietorship of Manila BBQ and as she informed me, “Every day I am still learning”. “Each day is different people and different problems, it is a lot of work running a money remittance and grocery store.” She continues, “But I never contemplate giving up”.

As she explained, “The disadvantages are not being able to shut the business out of your mind at the end of the day”. “However, the advantages are being you own boss”.

When asked if knowing what she does now would she still take over ownership of the Manila BBQ, she replied, “I worked at ICBC for three-(3) years then stayed at home for one-(1) year with only the walls and the kids to talk too. Manila BBQ gives me the opportunity to be there for my children while allowing me adult interaction so my answer is, YES!”  “Each day”, she continued, “is interesting, with new challenges and the daily interaction of my clients who keep coming back, something I missed from when I was in sales prior and always wanted”.

Because of her love of interacting with people, she noted that she would love to once again work on the cruise ships but as she is now married with children that is no longer an option. “If it was not for Manila BBQ”, she commented, “I would love to work at Canada Place to greet the visitors from the cruise ships or the Airport at one of the Airline check in/departure terminals”.  Asked why, “I love talking to people”, was her instantaneous reply.

When asked about how she marketed Manila BBQ, without hesitation she exclaimed, “Word of mouth!” “Ninety-(90) percent of my customer base is Filipino,” she continued, “with the remainder from other nationalities who come mainly for the food”. “I do have a web site but still, word of mouth serves me the best”, she stated.  “More so since New Westminster has a large Filipino working class community who desire not only affordable living space but the shopping convenience as well as the local transportation system that makes it easy to get around”, she advised me.  “But,” she stated, “my customer base is not just regulated to New Westminster, I also have customers from South Burnaby, Coquitlam and even a few from Vancouver which keeps me very busy”.

During the interview I observed, which I was informed, one of her customers assisting in managing the store for which Connie never hesitated to patiently guide her when she had questions.  She (Connie) informed me the assistant was a longtime customer who was temporarily laid off so she (Connie) hired her just to help her out until she was able to return to her regular job.  I also noted that whenever a customer came into the store with their children Connie again would give not only the customer, but the children as well her undivided attention as she communicated with each by name.

Having known Connie for about two years now as a customer via my wife who is also Filipino I now call her Kapatid (meaning sister in Tagalog) because she makes me feel like family when I am there. Despite the latter, I did not really know that much about her personal life, until now.

In conclusion, I came away with not only an even greater respect for not only Connie the businesswoman, but Connie the person   For truly she has created a business where your shopping experience and money remittance needs are taken to new heights. Connie, once she knows your name and, or your face and even if she does not yet know you and your name,  greets you with a cheery hello and a smile and I like to think inwardly that, she is welcoming you home.

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*Quezon City, Philippines is the sister city to New Westminster, BC Canada.

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Life is often what we make it, for many there is no choice as circumstances dictate otherwise through no fault of their own. I was honoured to have met an awe-inspiring man who is using his own good fortune and talents to assist those who do not have the power to choose as so many of us in developed nations enjoy, his name, ‘Just Another Guy’; Jag for short and this is his story.

Jag, as you have already realized is a Pseudonym and he was willing to share some personal insight into his life as a member of the Canadian branch of an organization called Doctor’s Without Boarders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF for short), with some provisions.

To be honest, while I have known Jag for some time I was not aware of his affiliation with MSF and it was by pure accident I found out, via another source. Jag is one of those rare individuals that do good deeds because they care as opposed to doing it for public recognition and glory.

My inquisitive juices flowing I had approached him with my limited information and explained that I desired to interview him for an article and why. After listening to my proposition, and after some deep thought and bewilderment on his part he finally agreed. He did question me as to how I found out about his alternate lifestyle in the first place but as I had agreed with the individual who had told me, I had to decline to divulge my source to which he understood when I explained why. (True to my word to my original sources I did not divulge to Jag, or anyone else, how I found out about his work with MSF and have not to this day)

I would like to point out that as previously noted; Jag authorized me to use the details written in this article with the stipulation his (Jag’s) real name, and any physical description that might help to identify him, was not published for personal and security reasons.
I had limited time to interview and glean what I felt was the most beneficial information possible, as Jag, being the humanitarian I had come to know and respect was already preparing for a new mission, Jag was heading to Haiti. Following are the brief questions I had time to ask and obtain his answers in return.

Question: I recall you were taking a sabbatical if you will after your stint in the Sudan. What was it like there and what caused you to want to choose not to go back into Africa at this time if you will. I recall you mentioned I do believe the Sudan. My question is, “Was your sabbatical based on what you experienced in the Sudan?”

Jag: “I returned from Sudan a bit more than a year ago. It was an immensely challenging mission. I lost 40 lbs in 5 months, I had high blood pressure when I got back, I was stressed. It was an interesting project, with interesting people. I accepted a mission that I was quite ready for. I needed more experience. However, I did a good job, I kept things running despite serious obstacles. I’m not too comfortable talking about some of the things that happened out there on a forum as expansive as the internet, so I’m going to remain a bit vague here.”

There was an option for me to go to a different country instead of Haiti, back in Africa. I have no hesitation to return to Africa. I love Africa; it holds a pull that I can’t really describe. Once you go, you’ll know what I mean. There is so much hope there, so much intensity, so much love and in the face of adversities like conflict, serious diseases, political instability and ethnic tensions. Yet, it’s a place of inspiration. I can’t describe it with justice.

I chose Haiti over the project in Africa this time because it is more in line with the direction that I wish to follow. I’ve worked in conflict zones and with malnutrition projects, both heavy components of MSF’s work. One of the other sides of MSF is disaster response. Unfortunately, for Haiti, less than a year after a devastating hurricane another crippling blow came in the form of the January earthquake. I was not able to respond with the initial emergency due to commitments here in Vancouver, and was in constant communication to respond in March.”

Question: I understand you are heading to Haiti to help build a hospital, which I find to be very commendable. My question is what part will you play in the construction of the hospital and would you as part of your contract be available if needed to perform other duties to assist the Haitians in their recovery from the quake?

Jag: “The position I’m assuming in Haiti is the construction logistician for a new hospital in Port-au-Prince. I’m not really sure what to expect. I usually just hit the ground running, and do what is needed, when it’s needed. Technically speaking, a construction log tends to oversee the construction, assure that it’s built to specifications and to train the national staff that will be doing the physical construction. A lot of working with MSF is managing and delegating. It tends to be to the advantage of all parties to allow/enable the national staff to take as much responsibility as possible. I’m all for promoting the independence and self-sustainability of those that I aim to aid.”

Question: One puzzling question that keeps coming to mind and that is how did you become involved with, ‘Doctors Without Borders (MSF)’, and why?

Jag: “Three years ago while working at an engineering firm based out of North Vancouver I was on a field project on Vancouver Island. On weekends, I would head to either Tofino or another secret spot to surf. One particular weekend, heading back from a surf trip I picked up a hitchhiker that needed a ride to the ferries that would take her back to Vancouver.

She had previously worked with WarChild International, another humanitarian aid agency. We got to talking, and I expressed that I was feeling like I was capable than I was being pushed in my present capacity, that I was looking to do something that would put all of my technical and engineering skills to use. I wanted to contribute to this world that has been so kind to me. Reciprocation perhaps.

When she said that I’d have my metal tested working with Medecins Sans Frontieres, MSF (or Doctors Without Borders), I questioned her listening skills, I after all was/am not in any way medically trained. She suggested I take a look at MSF’s website and that the position of Logistician would suit me well.

Three months later, I was on a flight to Bonn in Germany for my pre-departure training. The rest is history.”

Question: You mentioned that you are a paid volunteer and the position allows you to save some money. That raises the following question: Does your contractual agreement provide, besides what sounds like a small monetary pay, food and lodging or do you have to cover those expenses yourself including travel expenses?

Jag: “MSF covers transport to and from projects, as well as a per diem in the field that tends to cover most personal needs. Lodging is also provided, while food costs are generally subtracted from the allotted per diem. A small financial stipend is provided to help cover costs/bills at home. But then doing this work isn’t about the money.”

Question: What is your position or qualifications in respect to your services that you provide? By that I mean, what services do they hire you to perform and what are your qualifications?

Jag: “My position varies based on the project. My next posting in Haiti I will be a construction logistician. But initially I was “hired” to be an all-round logistician. Essentially a “Jack of all trades” a logistician is likened to the spine of a vertebrate, you don’t see us, you don’t hear us, but we’re always working to make sure that the project maintains is operational capacity. That means being responsible for everything from vehicle mechanics, IT, communications, electricity, sanitation, water to security and supply.

We aren’t physically saving lives, we’re just there to make sure that the medical staff can.

As for my skills/qualifications, I grew up working on my parents farms and on a neighbours large dairy farm, this is where I learnt or developed skills in mechanics, electrical wiring, plumbing, welding, construction and the overall ingenuity to figure out how to fix or make things happen given what we had at our disposal.

In high school, I figured out that I wouldn’t play professional sports, and had to figure out a field that suited me. It turned out that Civil Engineering was the fit at that time, so I went to McGill and graduated with a Bachelor in Civil Engineering. A few years later, combining my technical skills with an education, and I suppose MSF saw a suitable candidate.”

Question: Any information about past contracts and what you see for the future greatly appreciated, as I know you are pressed for time.

Jag: “I’ve worked previously in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in the semi-autonomous state of South Sudan. I’ll see if I can come up with anything short and sweet for this question in the next couple of days… I’m not 100% sure I’ll have time to do so though.”

Jag was not able to contribute more as he had hoped but what he did share enabled me to see a real man who has found his own inner peace as he puts others ahead of both himself and monetary wealth. We have agreed to stay in touch and I for one will look forward to hearing from him as his time allows.

I was able to later access Jag’s personal blog, where he writes notations and updates for family and close friends. Even here, he is ever the humble self-sacrificing individual so many have come to love and respect.

Jag writes in his own words: “Haiti happened. MSF called, we talked, I wanted to be here for the Olympics, the Olympic people called, they wanted a volunteer driver for the Opening and Closing ceremonies, and parts in-between, called MSF, we talked, about me going to help rebuild post emergency, for probably a year, building a hospital or three, likely in March, pretty stoked, but I’m leaving again, settling down, placing roots once again back-burned, not dating anyone once more.”

In earlier times, he writes, “I wish I could paint this picture with words. Even if most of you might not know what plastic sheeting and shadow nets are, I think you can appreciate it based on what follows.

But imagine parched earth, giant two-inch eggshell pattern cracks in the dirt as far as an eye can see. Think of how a shattered windshield would look to an ant then magnify it to our abilities at perception and you’ll have an idea what I am talking, about well aside from the colour, that is.

Shadow net is exactly what it says, nets tied to poles or trees (if you can find one) that are about 3-5m off the ground, erected to give shadow, to protect us from the unrelenting and scorching sun. Plastic sheeting is essentially just a plastic, rip resistant tarpaulin on a 250m roll. Our compound walls and office roof are made from plastic sheeting and sticks, not the best for any kind of protection but it keeps folks from seeing inside…

Think of relying on satellite for all communication to the capital and Geneva HQ. Think of talking on a sat phone, knowing you can’t walk and talk, or be inside. Or imagine the frustration when you can’t get through and you need to, or worse when you do and the call drops and you have to repeat the process all over again. Try to dream of living and having your storage in tents, for months. Giant white canvas tents, and even with shadow nets the inside can and usually does reach 50 C.

For me, I love to be in the field, even with the heat, the plastic sheeting and shadow nets. The poor conditions and not exactly gourmet food, the struggle and challenges of it all are the fun parts. The challenges of management that are my day-to-day struggle in Juba are less fun. But to be fair, my attitude has changed. I am more positive, I have to be, I couldn’t last the three-four months here if I didn’t.

Think of all of this, and perhaps you might get to experience a bit of Africa and not have to leave the comfort of home. Ahhh, some days I wish I had done that.”

“ – Giving blood to help the Medics save an infants life, twice. I already put a post on this, so I won’t elaborate, other than to say that the second time is just as special.”

Another time Jag writes, “ – Watching a cesarean. Those who know me well know that I am fairly squeamish. So why would I subject myself to watching such an intense surgery? I feel as though I have to confront my fears so that they no longer remain a fear. Did it work? Hells no. This was real fear, I starting sweating that awful cold sticky sweat, my mouth dryed up, I couldn’t breath, all I wanted to do was rip off the face-mask as it was seriously suffocating me, I was too hot, I got dizzy, there was a period of at least two minutes where my eyes were open and yet I saw nothing. I sought solace in the cool of the concrete wall. Cut, cut, stretch, stretch, pull, pull, snip, snip, sew back up and sew back up. 25 minutes later, she was already in the process of recovery, the baby crying and me whimpering. In all fairness it was by far one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I know now though that if someday I find me a wife, and she needs a cesarean, I know which end of the operating gurney I will stay at. Thank you Dr. Claudine and Dr. Claude, I will never ever forget that experience.”

” – Seeing a baby in an incubator, I think that two of my fingers and my thumb would have had the same mass. Without MSF this baby would never make it.”

(There was more, so much more, but now you have some insight into why I feel honoured to have met Jag and why I look forward to hearing from him again when time permits him to do so. I may not have his vitality and youth but his inspiration is contagious just the same, which made it an honour to be able to tell his story abet as brief as it is)

I had both heard and read about Doctor’s Without Boarders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and some of the services they provided but had not really given it much further thought until I met Jag and then I started to recall all the good things I had heard and read. Unlike the Red Cross, which, based on the horror stories of Red Cross corruption from my family and Uncles who served in WW2, still leave a bad taste in my mouth. According to other, present day sources, the Red Crosses corporate attitude of for profit has not improved and is only preceded by the highly paid United Nations staff/contractors.

MSF is the only one, based on my research, that presently leaves me with a good feeling about their services, especially after meeting Jag who gave me such great insight into the workings of MSF, or at least as much as he was able to tell me without breaking any obligations he was sworn not to divulge for safety reasons. As Jag stated, unlike the other groups, MSF will do whatever it takes, often at great risk to get to where they are needed, be it by Plane, SUV, Donkey or even Walking… The people they are there to help come first against all odds.

From my personal observations and research of Jag the man, I found rare qualities that most of us in our daily personal quests are devoid of as we seek personal riches without any thought of the welfare of our less fortunate fellow beings. Jag it seems, is a man who resoundingly puts others ahead of himself and while one day desiring to find a mate and settle down to a home and family of his own, continues in the meanwhile on his present course of putting others first ahead of himself and any monetary gain.

MSF field news… (Dated March 12, 2010) “Currently, MSF has 348 international staff in Haiti working closely with over 3,000 Haitian staff. With the expansion of services, the 26 MSF hospitals and health centres can accommodate 1,346 inpatients. In the last two months, MSF teams have performed more than 3,700 surgeries, provided psychological counselling to more than 22,000 people, and treated 54,789 patients….“

MSF, the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Canadian connection
“The recent Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) comes as something of a shock…” “it is a shock not only because the media spotlight that is focused on Nobel Peace Prize recipients shines so brightly, but also because such “official” recognition is unfamiliar and, perhaps, a little uncomfortable to MSF volunteers.” …Michael Schull, MD. Schull served as president of MSF Canada for five-(5) years.

MSF was born in the early 1970s out of the exasperation of a group of French doctors who worked in desperate conditions in the Biafra War (1967-1970). “They were determined to create a movement to deliver independent humanitarian aid wherever it was needed, and one that would speak out about the plight of the victims it helped.”

DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS SPOTLIGHT SUDAN
“A violent attack in Jonglei State, Southern Sudan, at the end of August resulted in the reported deaths of 42 people. MSF is mobilizing resources to help victims of the attack, which injured more than 60 and displaced up to 24,000.”

In conclusion I would like to thank Jag, for allowing me to get to know the real him as a person and for taking the time to answer my questions and allowing me insight into MSF from an insider’s view. I also want to thank not only Jag, but also all the men and women of MSF for their unending dedication and hard work those for the less fortunate.

While awaiting Jags approval on the final draft of this article I received a message from Jag that the mission to Haiti was canceled due the kidnapping of two Swiss nurses who work for MSF. Sad news for the people of Haiti who really need the help but the good news is they, the nurses, were released unharmed and without having to pay a ransom.

Hello Al,

“I am not going to Haiti. Quite a few non-essential staff were sent home, and a few people like me are no longer going. The two Swiss nurses were returned safely and the ransom was not paid. MSF is in a process of determining their next steps in that country. They/we do not respond well to kidnapping. On the whole, it’s difficult not to feel disheartened when such seemingly selfish incidents occur.

The same day that I was informed that my project in Port au Prince was scrapped I was offered the same position as previously back in Africa, AND, the engineering company that I worked at before MSF just happened to let me know that they had a position for me in (blank as requested) if I was interested. So…I’m going to (blank as requested) tomorrow to have lunch with the guys and see if we’re still a good fit.

It looks like I might be putting up the traveling hat for a while, putting my foot back in the door of the engineering world, and perhaps most importantly creating a bit of congruency back into my life. I’ll keep you posted…”

Jag…

Haiti appeal… “We are not currently accepting donations specifically for Haiti on our website. You can still donate to our emergency medical work around the world through our general fund using the links…” Click here for details.

CancelAd's_LogoAre you willing to pay to Cancel Ad’s while surfing the internet? Profy.com thinks you may and have come up with that they perceive as the solution for both web users and marketers alike.

Presenting CancelAds, the brainchild of Svetlana Gladkova and developed by her business partner, Marcus Reimold, a German internet entrepreneur and owner of socialoyster.com and jigtweets.com.

CancelAd’s was designed to allow you, the end-user, to enjoy ad-free surfing on web sites and blogs that are part of the CancelAd’s program. For a small subscription fee per web site or blog, you can not only enjoy viewing the member site free of ads, but also have access to information non-members will not.
Personally, when Svetlana first informed me about the service I was standoffish. Being a member of the older generation I immediately perceived CancelAd’s as a frivolous attempt at generating revenue for a service that was, well, pointless. I mean, I use, Customize Google, Adblock Plus add-ons for Firefox, which serves my needs quite well along with my RSS feed reader and TinyRead.

However, as Svetlana pointed out during our correspondence in respect to CancelAd’s, “There is a difference between simple ad blocking by a plug-in for Firefox and CancelAds”, she notes, “We offer web surfers the option to avoid ads, where online publishers (bloggers like yourself or myself) still make money.” She continues by saying, “At the same time when a usual ad blocking tool is used, the publisher loses money on lost ad impressions – so it is an approach to fair ad blocking, not competition to the existing tools.”

After reading her correspondence and the complete article and doing some deep soul searching I realized I was not giving the program or the idea a fair evaluation and decided to do some personal research before making my final judgement. I wanted to ensure I was giving CancelAd’s an honest chance. With details in hand I decided to ask some members of the younger generation from age 15 to 36 of varied levels of internet usage and I admit I was surprised in the unanimous vote of both interest and appeal such a service actually has. It seems, after discussing the program with others of my age group that the older generation has a developed a higher level of patience when dealing with online spam/advertising.

Advertising is a way of life, like it or not. As a business, it is a necessity in an attempt to generate potential clients and keeping exiting ones thereby ensuring the survival of one’s company. As an individual, advertisements can be either a doorway to enlightenment or hell depending on the message and the frequency they are presented. In some cases, it is seen as a visual assault on ones senses, which can then lead to potential loss of new and or existing clientele. It then raises the question can CancelAds bring peace and harmony to both publishers/advertisers and viewers alike which comes down to wait and see and on the other hand, if Profy.com and their CancelAd program do not at least try they will never know.

As Svetlana has pointed out CancelAd’s already has a number of users signed up in an attempt to monetize their sites, many of which she notes are bloggers as well as a web service called Mloovi Twitter Translator. Svetlana goes on to point out that, the sites are not restricted to just English origin as many are also in Chinese, Spanish and even Arabic.

It should be noted that web publishers DO NOT pay any fees for being part of the CancelAd program. However, a portion of the end-user subscription fees are deducted to cover CancelAds service fees and expenses, which as Svetlana points out, is similar to what any paid service does.

As she further notes, “…I don’t think the service will help publishers attract new customers, instead it is able to help them convert their exiting readers into paying customers…”

It seems CancelAd’s, while still in its infancy is generating some buzz on the internet from the likes of, Allen Stern of CenterNetworks, Jolie O’Dell of ReadWriteWeb and Steven Finch of Crenk each well worth checking out to better allow you to define your own feelings about CancelAd’s.

For myself, while I can see both the pros and cons of CancelAd’s, even after researching it further and actually signing up to better understand it I personally do not see myself paying for the service. It is not based on the fact I would have to pay a micro amount of dollars for the service, in fact, my decision is not based on money, but rather on the fact, I am personally content with the options I have and still use for the past few years that just work for me. (Plus I am somewhat set in my ways and change takes time) That is not to say I will cancel my membership with CancelAd’s, which is free to join ( it is the end-user subscriptions that you pay for) as I may in the future find a need for its services so I am keeping the door open especially after reading one point on particular that Svetlana made to me.

“Allan, I’m afraid I can hardly agree it is fair to use any ad blocking tool because web publishers expect to make money off advertising…”

A valid point, which as a business owner myself I have to agree, it then comes down to what you the end user feel is fair for you. We all know that some, not all, advertisers go overboard in an attempt to get their message across. Some are just downright unethical such as the porn pop-ups for example. Not all advertisers are unethical and do provide a good service but sadly, the bad ones ruin it for everyone.

Remember the world needs open-minded visionaries who are willing to take chances despite all odds. In conclusion, while it is not a service I have a present need for I wish Svetlana and her business partner Marcus much success.

At a time when BC is limited, as I see it, to a two party choice, three if you like the green Party it is refreshing to see a third option (or what can be classified as one of the alternative parties) on the horizon. Enter Your Political Party of BC (YPP).

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James Filippelli, (founder)
Port Moody-Coquitlam.

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Brent Williams
Port Coquitlam

I found Mr. Filippelli to be refreshing in his approach to the BC Political clime. I found him to be very much in tune with all aspects of life on the coast with a very mature outlook in life given his young age (26).

During our hour-long one on one interview, which based on the depth of knowledge I perceived in this young man, I was in awe. In hindsight, one-(1) hour was anything but enough time to phantom the depth of his intellect not to mention his over whelming love for BC and its people.

I did not sense the well-seasoned pre-polished party rhetoric I was accustomed to when dealing with most politicians. Rather, he (Filippelli) came across as refreshing, filled with youthful exuberance and yet seemingly retaining a deep-seated wisdom of someone twice his 26 years of age.

As I read though the YPP Party Platform, while finding the wording lacking in comparison to the more seasoned party word usage, I was intrigued never the less with the ideals the YPP was trying to present and even more intrigued as Filippelli explained it portions to the YPP party policy to me in his own well-developed verbal interpretation.

According to Filippelli, when questioned about the statement, “The Government is taking advantage of you!” under the heading Government Reform, prospective political parties are only interested in getting in power. Once they have achieved that, he states, they go on to reward the companies and/or organizations that supported them with golden contracts. In the case of the Liberals, it is the Corporations and for the NDP it is the Unions.

As I read further into the YPP Party Platform as outlined, I swear I could hear howls of anguish from Victoria as I envisioned the YPP in power. For the first time in history, BC had a government that was truly accountable to the citizens of BC… All Government actions and contracts completely public, campaign promises legally binding and completely public budgets…back to reality!

When it comes to the economy and spending power, Filippelli believes that every dollar we as taxpayers spend out of our own pockets stimulates economical growth far more then the same tax collected dollar spent by the Government.

As he noted, part of the problem is that our tax dollars, continually pushed along an endless paper trail, devalues ever tax dollar collected.

In respect to what, he terms, “Green Technology Business”, or as noted in the party platform, “Encouraging green technology business now will give BC and economic advantage…”James had this to say. “..it has to impact our personal lives to become a reality”.

As I interpreted, what he was alluding to is, people and governments can talk about going green, governments and corporations can make options available such as the electric car for example, but until we as individuals are forced to face reality, nothing will change for the better.

As outlined in the party platform notes, transportation accounts for 40% of BC’s greenhouse gasses. It goes on to outline that by encouraging electric vehicles and rapid transit, we (as British Columbians) would improve BC’s greenhouse gas far more effectively than the present carbon tax ever will.

As Filippelli pointed out, BC transit is s simpler mode of transportation which is both cheaper and convenient…”everyone benefits if we use transit.”

As he further pointed out, and as Translink espouses, we need investment to make the present system sustainable. However, as Filippelli points out, we can increase rapid transit availability from money retrieved from Government wasted funds. With the money, saved rapid transit could then be expanded to include Mission, Abbotsford and even Chilliwack. “We have to think beyond present needs and plan for the future”, he noted. “With money spent properly”, he continued, “there would be no lack of funding available for expansion”.

Another aspect of going green, garbage and garbage collection would be divided into four-(4) categories: garbage (to be defined), compost, plastic and paper recycling. There was not mention of metals or glass but I assume that would also be a given.

In respect to the present mainstream political parties and the healthcare system, James had this to say, “The NDP feels the Government can do better and the Liberals feel the people can do better”. Either scenario is just a fancy way of passing responsibility as opposed to finding a solution.

When it comes to the present health care situation in the Province, Filippelli and the YPP believe in a parallel health care system.

“No one has to be without healthcare”, he stated. Everyone, he continued, “should have public access to health care without paying from your own pocket, it should be free”. “However”, he notes,” with a parallel system consisting of public and private, if an individual has the needed funds, they have the right to go to a private facility as opposed to waiting in line for the general public system. “That in turn”, he commented, “would free up waiting list for those who cannot afford private care to seek medical attention far quicker than the present system allows”.

As for the hot topic of the day, legalization of marijuana, James and the YPP are strongly in favour of legalization. As he stated, “Marijuana is a gateway drug!” By legalizing pot and only selling it under controlled situations the same as liquor only to individuals 19 years of age and older you stop the drug connection to hard core substance opportunities.

I can hear all the hippies of old and present day marijuana advocates testing their Bic lighters and checking their finances before they head down to the corner store to purchase extra rolling papers. Don’t forget your Cheech and Chong bobble heads….

As I noted in the beginning Mr. Filippelli and I chatted for about an hour and even that was not enough to appreciate what this young man had to say. Like it or not, the Your Political Party of BC may just be the alternative party British Columbia needs and like what Filippelli has to say or not, he knows his stuff.

May 12, 2009 make your voice heard; VOTE even if you hate all of the Candidates!