The author was born in Manila, the historical capital of the Philippines, of a dashing Chinese immigrant father and a passionate Filipino mother. At the age of two, his family moved to the northern summer capital city of Baguio where he eventually learned his second native language of Ilocano through childhood playmates. He also started his preschool days in a Chinese school and was beginning to learn the Chinese language but was unfortunately cut short when they moved to a different locality. At the age of nine, his family moved to the town of Tarlac where he would later learn his third native tongue of Pampango.
Due to insurmountable financial difficulties, he did not pursue higher education and instead opted to slog through dead-end jobs. Eventually, by sheer determination and heaven-sent luck, he broke into overseas work when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia opened up job opportunities to international workers. Thereat, he completed his deeper learning and understanding about life through careful observation at the workplace and also learned some Arabic through daily interaction with the locals. During the course of his Middle East stint, he found time to court and later marry his hometown next door neighbor, Lucila Espinosa Muan. They were blessed with a daughter they named Hannah. The family immigrated to the United States in 1998 and settled in the beautiful city of Anchorage, Alaska. He initially found a job as a housekeeping supervisor in Barratt Inn and worked there for three years.
After joining the Local 71 Union, he applied for and was hired as an airport custodian at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. After twelve years, he was ripe for a supervisory position but chose instead to retire in March 2013. He and his wife resettled back in Tarlac City in the Philippines and stayed there for six years before moving back to the States to be with their daughter and her family who has since moved to Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Kingdom I Came To Love
This book was written to share and preserve the memories of ecstasy and tragedy experienced by the author as an expatriate worker in Saudi Arabia. The reader will gain insight into the world of multinational brains and brawn who were drawn to the Middle East in search of work, adventure and the lure of petrodollars. Greatly sacrificing being away from home and loved ones for great lengths of time, each and everyone of these brave and hard workers has a story to tell, this book is one of them.
Although not everyone will have the experience of working away from home let alone find a job in the Middle East particularly Saudi Arabia, a trip to the library will open doors to the whole, wide world. A voracious reader can experience in a matter of hours within the comfort of a safe and nice environment what this author took years to accumulate in the hot and dusty desert kingdom. Again, this book is just a microcosm of the so much bigger story of Saudi Arabia and its heroic workers.
While not intended for children, young adults and grown ups will find this book worth reading for the actual, real life events described therein and will stir up further interest in related, broader subjects. Those in the construction and industrial maintenance industries may deduce some of the stories herein anecdotal and therefore amusing rather than technical in nature.
Fernando G. Ting
Author of the book