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Thursday, June 28, 2012
POINTING out the inefficiencies in our part of the world is a study in contrast.
You walk the streets of that lovely city of Putrajaya in Malaysia, and you’ll see that each stretch of road showcases its own streetlamp designs. In one, you can see ornate, fan-shaped lamps, and in another, spires and arms hoisting balls of light bulbs.
Years ago, a tour guide told me that the government saw to it that it hired the services of an all-female team of architects and designers. I didn’t get to check if that was true, but looking at the details of every infrastructure in the city, I thought he was right. If you look at the designs of Putrajaya’s nine bridges, you see waves and curves sticking out of every span. It’s the Seri Wawasan that stands out, a futuristic sail-shaped bridge at 240 meters.
But let’s go back to street lamps. In Cebu, once in our colorful history, we had rows of streetlamps that warped us into thinking we were trapped in some kindergarten playpen or some pediatric unit. It was the most idiotic-looking street lamp design, although it wasn’t a product of idiocy, but absent-mindedly conceived by a bunch of thieving bureaucrats who couldn’t care a hoot how schizophrenic your city looks like.
Yet again, another study in contrast. I remember Japan’s Tohuko earthquake in 2011. It was one disaster that really mangled the face of the eastern province. However, about two weeks after, you can see the road network spreading out, spic-and-span, like the greased do of a Leo Corleone.
Meanwhile, I pass through the SRP every day of my waking and recent life, and before we’re finally seeing any movement there, you endure months and years of driving through a lunar terrain. You often wonder if the number of potholes is equally proportional to the number of perforations in the brains of your beloved officials.
To make the joke even more hilarious, there are a good number of vehicular accidents involving officials themselves. Although you’ll see that there is ongoing road works now, but I guess a Pacman-Marquez rematch will see the light of dawn way earlier.
So I don’t understand why the councilors even bicker about procedures on who approves or disapproves projects at the SRP or the mayor getting all galled by the JICA for saying its piece about the sluggish ways this boa constrictor called the SRP is moving along. I suggest we legalize and encourage corporal punishment for the city officials.
Let them arch on our lap while we spank their butts.
No, seriously, the JICA suggestion remains soundest. Create a separate office that’ll give the SRP the full care and attention. Time and again, government and politics prove to spoil the broth. You see all these officials trying to dip their hands into it, desperate for mileage and leverage, and you see a lot of potential developments being stalled by litigation and red tape, all boiling down to incompetence at the very outset of transactions.
In the end, really, on a personal level, I just want a smoother road every morning at the SRP. So smooth that you can actually forget you’re in Cebu City and think you’re in some European countryside or in Putrajaya and savoring the morning breeze. You
drive through sunshine or drizzle as though life is all getting back to its senses.
All the daydreaming comes free of charge, until suddenly some gigantic pothole will grab you back to reality and you’ll wake up to a profound realization that you’re in a city so haphazardly designed to look like the faces of your public officials. Good luck.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 29, 2012.