Tuesday, December 22, 2015

(1133) MUSIC AND ME (Nov. 12, 2015) A 'NEW' GEORGE KEBEKOL

George Kebekol, sitting, is flanked by Chinese investor Victor, left, and Nessy, middle, during their informal business meetings at Breeze Bar of Palau Royal Resort. George informed them that Roberto Hernandez, right, standing, worked for him at Rose Garden Resort for 11 months.
                                                   (Photo by Roberto Hernandez)


     From right to left, Mau (cook), now working at Elilai Restaurant just atop Rose Garden Resort, Flor Hernandez, Edgar (Chief Cook), Palauan cashier, maintenance crew and Ronneth Fernandez.        (Photo by Roberto Hernandez)

I WORKED at Rose Garden Resort for 11 months as musician and my wife Flor as waitress/bartender since the soft opening of the resort in June 2005.

I'm using my own Yamaha PSR400 keyboard with free transportation and dinner.

The first 7 months are okay but the last 4 months is terrible which forced me to write...


June 28, 2006

Dear Mr. George Kebekol,
     I would like to thank you for giving me a chance to be a part of Rose Garden Resort staff. It's been nice in the first 7 months and I've met new and old friends in high places.
     It's been tight in the last 4 months when I'm getting half of what I used to be getting then.
     Two days after the transfer law was signed by the President, I was offered $600.00 a month (that's 3 times of what I'm getting now from you) to play piano at Teppan Dragon. Free dinner is also provided and $100.00 housing allowance and one day off per week.
     I've got one day off from you in 7 months and then it becomes 3 days off a week from Feb. to June 2006.
     As you said a month ago, whatever best deal I can get will be good for me.
     When I started to have 3 days off a week, I thought that I will be getting the same salary ($400.00/month) as an incentive to transfer to you if the transfer law will be approved.
     I might have a second thought of accepting the $600.00 offer if you will provide me and my wife Flor a room to stay at Rose Garden Resort as you promised to Flor on Dec. 28, the day your 3 workers Teresa, Michelle and Chin left you for inhumane treatment. And that I will still be getting $400.00/month with 3 days off.
     But when I realized that I will be paid per day now, my interest to transfer to you vanished. Even in the computation, there's unfairness. $400.00 divided by 31 days equals $12.90/day. Why 31? The average day for one month is 30 and it should be $13.33/day.
     And you didn't include my extra day that I played because you thought that I was absent that day (Tuesday). You don't believe the time card that I worked that day.
     How will I be absent when I already have 3 days off? Even at Image Restaurant, I was never absent. I have a perfect attendance there for 13 years. Even in my elementary and high school days, perfect attendance also.
     I go to school even if I'm sick. My father had to bring me back to our house if I go to school sick.
     So I felt like you're putting me to the edge and then lately in the last 3 months, you fixed my salary at $200.00 a month. 16 days working and 14 days off is not half! I just bite the bullet so when you asked me, "Why don't you transfer to me?" you don't believe that I can get such an offer.
     Do you think I can survive with what you're giving me? I have to send $500.00 a month for my only child's college education. I'm paying $125.00/month for housing and other bills for utilities and food.
     One of the great deal that I've got from Yuriko is that she will pay the tax of whatever amount I can get from teaching piano so that my teaching will not be questioned by authorities.
     She is always on time in paying her employees unlike what happened to Flor. Her salary for December 2005 is only $85.00 because she works only once or twice a week.
      Up to now, you haven't paid her in full. How big is the amount $20.00 (the balance) that she has to wait for 6 months to get it? It's not $20,000.00 or $2,000.00.

     I asked you to buy Margarita Borja Dalton's piano last year for $1,500.00 and you're not interested because you're already satisfied with my keyboard that's been overused for 7 months. More than 10 keys are defective now.
     Yuriko bought that piano for $1,700.00 and I offered to tune it for free 4 times a year.
     I've finally found someone who appreciates my knowledge in music and piano mechanism. She accepts suggestions for the improvement of the establishment and she will support my chess activities by putting chessboards in her restaurants.
     And most of all, I will be using real piano. She's got 4 pianos, one electronic and 3 acoustic. 
     And up to this date, I haven't received my one month and 4 days salary and also Flor's $20.00 balance.
     She stopped working for you 2 months ago so the only income that we can have is that amount. If you keep on delaying it, it's like killing us slowly.
     But I still thank you for giving me a chance to be employed while waiting for transfer law to be approved.
     I wish you good luck and better staff management.

Roberto and Flor

Sources: Chess and Music (Perfect Combination)
                 The Beginning of Chess in Palau
                 By Roberto Hernandez

                 Music and Me
                 By Roberto Hernandez
                 Tia Belau Newspaper
                 March 2012-April 2013

                                                 (Photo taken by Roberto Hernandez)

FIDE Honorary Lifetime President Florencio Campomanes visited Palau in May 11-14, 2006. During his visit at Rose Garden Resort, he asked Roberto to make a proxy letter that Palau is voting for incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov at the FIDE election that coincides with the 2006 World Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy.


When the influx of Chines tourists and investors happened so fast in Palau in 2014 and 2015, George Kebekol is one of locals who negotiated for his Rose Garden Resort and other lands to be leased for 99 years.

One of his investors is the Chinese couple Victor and Nessy, who was informed by him during their first meetings at Breeze Bar of Palau Royal Resort, that I worked for him for 11 months in 2005.

During break in their meeting, George will come to me while I'm playing keyboard. He will request me to play Chinese songs. He will give me pineapple juice and $2.00 tip.

In the next days, Nessy gave me $10.00 and $5.00 tips on 2 separate occasions. 

After I left George to work at Dragon Tei, Teppan Dragon and Donburi Dragon (Japanese restaurants), he still ask me to play at his place once in a while. Without a grudge, I still play there and even though the payment is still late, I understand it and didn't mind as I'm making more at that time at Dragon Tei (in tips and higher salary).

Sources: Music and Me
                By Roberto Hernandez
                Tia Belau Newspaper
                March 15, 2012 -- April 2013
                April 2013 -- December 2015

               Chess and Music (Perfect Combination)
               The Beginning of Chess in Palau
               By Roberto Hernandez
               June 09, 2002 -- December 15, 2015
               To be published as a book in the future

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