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By Gary Covington

Looking In

Sunday, March 9, 2014

DOWN at the SP building, ambling along a first floor corridor (Possibly the second. After all these years I still haven't figured out how in some buildings the ground floor might also be the first), on my way to the library, the stairway was, as usual, occupied by squatters.

One sprang up, uniformed, big laminated ID, obviously an SP employee, and inquired if I needed assistance or directions. I replied in the negative -- no, I'm alright, know where I'm going, etc, etc, and -- came the response -- "Nosebleed!"

That took me aback. I don't regard the expression as a mortal insult but to have the word nosebleed hooted in my face comes under the heading of discourtesy. Ill manners. And in Araw ng Dabaw week.


Hardly the way to meet and greet outsiders I'd have thought. SP HR department -- sort out your employees. Courtesy training please.

Downstairs again, I couldn't help noticing rows and rows of folks sitting waiting in the lobby. Not for business permits, that's January. Taxes? Not till April. Applying for positions with Davao's Treasurer's Office -- take-home pay miserable, take-home perks millions? I considered asking at the information desk but dismissed the idea -- it's usually unmanned (Unwomanned?) or inhabited by experts in passing the buck.

Information -- and after Malacanang's latest gaffe, not realising a Filipino was representing his country at the Winter Olympics, a new governmental task force has been formed -- Oplan Filipino Fame (OFF) -- which daily combs the media and internet scanning for achievers we can brag about. Teething troubles of course,Mexican surnames can be taken for Filipino, but OFF triumphed the other day in bringing to our attention American composer and Oscar winner Robert Lopez, US born and bred who possibly thinks Tondo is the Lone Ranger's buddy but never mind -- congressmen, hoping that some of the glitter will shake loose and come their way, have been elbowing each other aside to file bills of congratulation as if the man was one of our own.

Davao Mayor Rody Duterte's remark the other day -- that local government can interpret and enforce national laws how it likes -- makes you wonder why we bother with a congress or senate at all.

Lastly lastly and I've been taken to task by my reader for declaring the other week that bicycling around Davao is just as safe as any other sort of wheeled transport. Note the contradictory statistics says he.

Look at this report, those figures. Defence - I've been bicycling about the city now for over ten years and never had an accident, not even fallen off. Granted, there's been a few close shaves and I've flattened a couple of idiots stupid enough to step from a jeepney straight into the middle of the road -- a painted matchstick man on the
crossbar for each – but pedestrians don't count. Keep your senses and wits about you, biking's safe.

(Note for my overseas reader: Nosebleed is an expression used by Filipinos to describe something that is difficult to understand, here my English rather than American pronunciation of the English language.)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 10, 2014.


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