Another in my frequent articles detailing the way real world people earn money without the so often sought after, anonymous, ubiquitous “J*O*B that used to be so important, last century, but to me seems indeed, so last century here in century 21.
Funny how I came across the subject of today’s article. A fellow contacted me on one of my other sites, Retired Pay, where I write about/teach a lot about why you should never have a job, and how to Empower Your Own Retirement, so you don’t have to worry about what pittance ‘the government” will get around to tossing to you, like table scraps for a stray cat, if President Obama should get re-elected, or if a man who destroys jobs and pension plans for a living like Governor Romney becomes president … or pick whomever else you think should be president, every one who even has their hat remotely in the ring, Republican or Democrat, is bound and determined to destroy budget breaking “entitlement programs”.
Which sounds good until you realize “entitlement programs” encompass such good old American standbys like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Aid to Dependent Children, Food Stamps, the 99 weeks of Unemployment Compensation you are living on while you surf the ‘Net, waiting to hear that the buggy whip manufacturing plant is hiring again, US Government funded retirements, Government Student loans, Fanny Mae, Freddy mac, VA Mortgages, the GI Bill, and the list goes on.
Want to bet your lives, and your children’s lives, that who ever wins the next election is going to pull the rabbit out of the hat? Friends, those of you who are sitting around waiting for ‘the government” to fix things, if only we can get the right carpet-bagger in the White House are like poker player in a high stakes game who just pushed All in with a 10 and a 2, off suite in his hand.
Doyle Brunson won big on that hand a couple times, back when the earth was still cooling but where is Texas Dolly today, when we really need him?
Myself, I’m already technically retired, but I am busy building my own alternative retirement income streams, because, frankly it matters not who gets sworn in next January, they are all anti-worker, anti-middle class, pro Wall Street, pro-mortgage scammers and so far divorced from the real world most of us live in that they wouldn’t know how to find a bus stop and pay their fare, or carry their own trash cans to the landfill when the town budget crunch causes the city waste collections to be cut. A sad but true commentary on our once great nation.
Anyway, rant switch off .. sorry about that.
This fellow who contacted me had a problem he wanted some advice on regarding the division of military pension benefits in a divorce, one of many things in life I became somewhat of an expert on without ever wanting to learn about it.
Along the way, he mentioned, in passing, that he was associated with a company called Vietnam Battlefield Tours. I never served on the ground in Vietnam, but I did several tours in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict, and I am a bit of a military historian as well, so I went and looked at their website.
What an interesting operation. Here are some fellow who have taken their interest and experience in what to some of you is merely a ghastly memory, and to others out there is nearly as distant as the US Civil War, and made themselves a business.
They are not only making themselves a business, based on what they know … rather than what someone “told” them they could, or what someone offered to trade them dollars for giving up their freedom and initiative for, but they are providing a very useful service as well.
When I first thought of writing this article, I started to talk myself out of it, because, after all, this blog is about the Philippines and not about Vietnam.
But then I remembered some examples of how much interest there is in Vietnam, right here … one example would be Why Choose the Philippines — Why Not Vietnam?
In short, there’s a lot of you reading this who, like me, are interested in other countries aside from the Philippines. And a non-trivial number are in my generations .. whether we served, dodged, loved the time or hated it, many of us are children of the Vietnam Era in America .. certainly a different time and place than today.
Anyway, just thought I’d give the folks at Vietnam Battlefield Tours a shout out. If you have any interest alt all, hop on over to their site. Ed “Tex” Stiteler, the president of the company has been in contact with me, and they are very flexible with, for example, making special pricing arrangements for those who would care to join a tour on this side of the Pacific rather than flying from LA, and he’ll be more than happy to answer other questions.
One of my “hidden agenda” reasons for writing this is a hope that perhaps some of my Philippine tourism industry colleagues might take a look as well, and learn a thing or two about how a tour package cold/should be packaged and presented.
And for those of you who are readers of my Philippine Pony series, tell me why someone couldn’t make a business out of putting together comprehensive, all-inclusive, no hidden gimmicks, “ups” and nickel-dime annoyance charges for areas of interest right here in the Philippines. Example, not long ago I started receiving emails from a Philippine tour company. They did not have permission to email me … harvested my email address somewhere or another … but they got me to open a couple of their mails because they seemed to offer some very nice, really low-priced tours.
Well, come to find out, the prices were really low because they were a damn lie. They failed to include the standard taxes, security fees and other non-optional charges that would have to be paid. In other words, they were trying to build a business based on a lie, hoping for a one-time, quick buck, money grab. Rude. Bastos. And so far away from the DoT’s concept of “it’s more fun in the Philippines.” Sad.
Contrast that all-to-common false advertising sort of come-on, with the type of comprehensive services Ed’s company offers:
Tour Price Includes:
International round-trip airfare from our west coast gateway.
Air-conditioned motor coach transportation.
Vietnam Visa Processing and fees.
Hotel Accommodations throughout tour.
Virtually all meals, as indicated in itinerary.
Historical Trip information packet, containing maps and other information pertaining to your tour.
Admission fees to all sites, museums and special attractions listed.
Services of our experienced Directors & English–speaking local guides.
Gratuities (NOTE: VBT American guides are prohibited from accepting tips.)
Emergency Medical, Evacuation, Repatriation and Hospitalization Insurance included in each tour.
Can you see the difference? There is plenty scope out there in the world, even in the online world for honest, forthright service providers, and I pledge to highlight them whenever I find them.
Do you know how much history there is in this country, the Philippines and how little the average person really knows about it? Anyone, know the five(or possibly more) active duty US Army Air Corp bases that once were part of Metro Manila?
Anyone know what “the Elephant Cage” was, and what it did to help end the cold war up at NAVCOMSTA San Miguel?
Anyone know the actual location MacArthur took off from when he was ordered to Australia? And what sort of steaks you can feast on nearby?
The list goes on.
Yet people who know a lot about things like this and other “real world” things continue to write me and ask for help in “any old job, I really don’t have any special experience”.
The problem is not a lack of knowledge, it’s a lack of the ability to give yourself credit for the knowledge and skills you already have.
Or so old Dave, living in the Philippines, and earning while doing so, opines.