lunes, 29 de diciembre de 2008

In Memoriam

I first met Elisa Loyo almost 20 years ago. She must have been around 7 years old at the time. I remember seeing her on TV when my friend Lucía told me that her sisters were going to be on a kiddie game show.

Then I didn't see her again for ages. I knew that she had moved to Canada with her mother. We talked once or twice on the net as she was getting into culinary school. Then a couple years ago she went to my hometown. She helped me with a small cocktail I was making and then went along to one of my classes. She told me she was going off to Paris for a stage at Taillevent.

Last time I heard of her, she was off to work at the Fontana Leisure Parks & Casino Hotel just north of Manila.

Elisa went missing a few days ago and on friday night I received an e-mail about her passing. Details are sketchy and there is an "official" bullshit version (supported by the Hotel itself) that states that she took her life. Her family believes that she may have been tortured and murdered for trying to straighten up some theft that was going on her working place.

Our thoughts and prayers go to Elisa's family. I hope that truth is found in this case where someones's life was cut short at just 25 for trying to do things right, but in the state that the Philippines are now. It seems a long shot.

jueves, 11 de diciembre de 2008

From the oven.

I had a chance to see the Horno 3 museum show yesterday, and it left my head filled with thoughts.

First up, I was amazed by the complexity of the steel oven operation. I guess that's something one should try to see at least once. It's a bit of a shame that the place closed down, but it's a blessing, for the local government has really outdone itself with the museum. It has given us a chance to experience a piece of Monterrey history.

The oven operated at about 1100ºC, and people there would stand just a couple feet away while going about their business. It left me thinking because we are in a business that has inherent risks such as fire, heat and sharp objects. But seeing yesterday's show left me thinking that we're a bunch of sissies if we complain about the rough conditions we work in. After all, these guys were probably risking their lives at something like minimum wage.

The show includes a lot of testimonials from former oven workers. The very first thing one hears is a poem written by a shift supervisor from the late sixties. Hearing the poem made me realize the awful state our current education system is in. Here you have a shift supervisor deftly weaving phrases into a poem that many modern-day graduate school people would have a hard time not only writing, but understanding. Secretary of Education, you've got a TON of work to do.

The testimonials also serve as evidence of something. These people LOVED their job. It's very frustrating as a teacher to see so many people try to get into our business because they've been blinded by the media or because they dream of fame. But there's very little passion. They're uninterested and apathetic. Most of them leave the kitchen and stop thinking about it. I've seen the same in many High Schools and Universities around town. Kids don't seem to care about much these days.