Choosing the doldrums

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By Stella A. Estremera

Spider’s web

Saturday, February 8, 2014

JUST a little less than two months after government officials were one in admitting that measures should be set in place to ensure that buses with fraudulent identification could never ply the country’s streets, after a Don Mariano Transit Bus flew off the Metro Manila Skyway and kill around 20 passengers and injuring 16 others last December 16, 14 more have died and 32 injured when a Florida Transport Bus fell into a deep ravine in Bontoc, Mountain Province early Friday. The bus, again, had fraudulent papers.

While we mourn for all those who are killed by people who have no regard for the law simply because they think they deserve better treatment because of being poor or hard-up, I rage at the fact that among those killed was a talented and good-hearted fellow. The death of Tado, who in our telenovela-fixated minds is nothing but a funny-looking comedian, but to those who know better is worth an outrage on social network, underscores the senseless sufferings we inflict on our people, simply because we refuse to follow the law and believe that we deserve to be above the law either for being poor or for being rich.

Riding a cab on my way to the office, I noticed the faster than normal speed the driver was going. With people doing their best to follow the 30, 40, and 60 kph maximum speed rule, it was infuriating to ride with this taxi driver who even weaves through traffic, overtaking with no second thought all those who were creeping at 40kph along Quimpo Boulevard and 30kph along Quezon Boulevard.


It was too much, I had to give him my piece of mind, and what did he say in response?

“Sa madakpan lang gud, ma’am,” he said.

His excuse was he was speeding to make up for lost time. Hinting that the slow speed is making him lose money.

Sorry to say this, but that is the attitude of the poor; those who choose helplessness, those who choose to live in the doldrums: To see only the bad and dwell on it thereby creating a reality that brings nothing good.

“Pait lagi, bai!” is an oft-repeated phrase among the poor.

This same phrase is repeated in different dialects all over the country, and in different context as well. Like that one man from somewhere in Tondo during the New Year’s Eve coverage of a national television network, who when asked why they are using prohibited firecrackers to meet the new year replied, “Yan na kasi ang nakasanayan.”

We make traditions of tragedies and celebrate yet another massacre with sheer impudence.

Pait lagi, bah.

No wonder then that despite all the resource we have we are poor. Simply because the rich and powerful believe they are entitled to get away with crime, while the poor and lowly believe they deserve to get away with crime. What does that make us? A nation of criminals from both ends. Nice.

No wonder then that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, even amid a lot of cheering form netizens, refuse to consider running for president in 2016, at least that’s what he’s saying now.

I would to, if I were in his place, and like him lay down my prerequisites. For him it’s martial law and the abolition of both Congress and Senate. For how can you expect to put order when the whole system is in disorder?

Choose your battles, he says. We should too. But in choosing our battles, the drive should be to better ourselves and rise up to each occasion and opportunity and not make our present state as an excuse to be less than the person that we deserve to be.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 09, 2014.


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