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Friday, March 23, 2007


Over merienda (snack) this afternoon, Weng showed me the shots she took of her apartment from her sony cybershot DSC-T5. Although her camera reminded me that I haven’t made a post on my recent visit to Hong Kong and Macau, the shots from the digicam made me think of her good qualities. She’s really good with money! That is, she knows how to make money work for her.

Weng doesn’t earn much in our office. In fact if you deduct her daily expenses in going to work such as transportation and food, nothing much would be left from her pay slip. Yet, here she is showing us a picture of her 4 storey building in Pateros wherein she rents other floors to tenants and has set aside the fourth floor for her family. They stay there when they visit the place since she is residing in Cavite (in a two storey with roof deck which she converted from a row house). Of course she also got a lot of help from her husband who works as seafarer but there are also long periods when he just stay at home. There are also other women in our company whose husbands are seafarers with a much higher position and salary yet are in constantly in debt.

As I said, she is good with money.

She is good in handling the money sent to her by her husband. She’s not like many beneficiaries that are one day millionaire who immediately spends the amount when they get the remittance and ends up borrowing after its gone. She knows her priorities and even has money for family activities but she always sets aside part of it for business or investment.

She’s not afraid of getting tired even for a small income since over time it gets bigger anyway. Sometimes the girls in our office would laugh when they see her bringing a lot of merchandise she would buy during lunch break. She has made a contract with one of her neighbor that has a store that she would be buying things for her at a small mark up. It is a win-win thing for both of them since the neighbor doesn’t have to travel far to buy things and te goods gets delivered to her doorstep. Weng, on the otherhand is taking advantage of the fact that she works in the bargain capital of the Philippines, she could easily source out supplies needed over lunch break.

She compounds income. Her biggest source of income is lending at an interest. Lending is a big task and you have to be thick skinned to be able to collect from borrowers, some of whom would hide from you after they borrow money. She never gets tired following up collection from her borrowers and could be very creative in her collection. She was telling us one time how she brought home a second hand bicycle she bought from one of they guys in the office. Nope, she did not hire a cab to bring it home but took the regular public ride (didn't mind what other people would tell) and got off near their place and rode the bicycle going home. She uses the bicycle in weekends to collect from her borrowers. She rides even when it is hot! And remember the sony cybershot digicam she used to take shots of her home? It is actually pawned by one of her borrowers. She uses the things pawned to her but she is careful with them. She was telling me this afternoon that she hopes the borrower no longer takes it back since the camera is good. It has happened before that the borrower could no longer pay the loan and just asked her to give additional amount. So in a way she is able to buy things at a lower amount.

She always look for opportunities to earn… even in the office! She brought her rice cooker to work and she would cook rice for us and charge us the same amount as the food vendor. We prefer her rice since it is hot! It is nice to eat something hot for lunch. She says she is not charging her for the rice but for the depreciation of her rice cooker and the service of preparing the rice. :-)

She is good in keeping records! Weng records all her transactions so she don't forget them… even the rice we take, she would write in paper (her handwriting is sooooo small that it will take a very long time for her list to be full!)

Sometimes we would laugh at her ways, some would mock her even but she’s not really a greedy person for she knows how to give too. She just avoids making dole outs since she believes in fair deal and in working for something. She got the trait form her mother and from earlier experience since her mother got cancer and died early and she had to earn money early too.

Funny how such traits is passed on to children. She got her business sense from her mother and now her daughter is learning too! Sometimes Weng would talk about how her daughter aged 6 already knows how to collect from borrowers already. Hmmm, maybe I ought to stay with her for a while so I learn how to collect from people who borrows from me too! Hehehe…


Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Very interesting character, this Weng. Would make a good subject in my future project


Thanks for sharing, Beth!

8:00 AM  

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