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Saturday, October 5, 2013
IN our country, nature seems to be in a constant flux. People have had no choice but to live with these uncertainties. There’s no preventing the floods that arrive during the rainy season. There’s no tiptoeing around tremors that appear out of nowhere. And there’s no going around a molten rock flow during the occasional volcanic eruption. Or maybe there are, but that’s not my point.
Filipinos who can’t adapt to these conditions go abroad. This might explain the high concentration of Filipinos in the Middle East.
Hardly any rain there hence no flooding. They don’t have to worry about being crushed by falling debris during an earthquake or escape a lava flow either.
Okay, I’m only referring to the Arab Middle East and not Iran, where, yes, it rains there so flooding can occur. And yes, it has
been struck with major earthquakes and it has several volcanoes but that’s just nit-picking. Tsk. Tsk.
Oh no. Filipinos don’t go to the Middle East to earn more money. They’re there to get a good night’s rest. Ahem.
The Philippines happens to sit on the “Ring of Fire,” an area in the Pacific Ocean basin where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common.
I can’t speak for the other people who live in this volatile region, but Filipinos are generally adept at dealing with natural phenomena.
I myself have lived through several earthquakes. Watched helplessly as rising waters slowly swallowed my car. Or laughed when my dad videotaped the same car being swept away by flood. For my sister in the States, he’d said.
Local attitude toward natural calamities may have transcended enurement. Some might describe it as blasé or outright defiance. To quote the immortal words of Edmund Blackadder in Black Adder III, Episode 5: “I laugh in the face of danger. I drop ice cubes down the vest of fear.”
You see this attitude often on TV. A camera pans to a group of youngsters, chest-deep in water. What do they do? They wave and give the “peace” sign. Do they care about getting leptospirosis? Actually, I wouldn’t know. You’d have to ask them.
So what’s the point of this rigmarole?
Miss Philippines Megan Young won the Miss World title last Sept. 28. This means the Philippines is the only country to have won every major and minor beauty pageant award. And? It’s a feat the nation should be proud of. And? We are a nation of beautiful people. Ha?
Actually, we needed that “Miss World” victory. Only a few were privy to the fact that our nation’s sanity depended on Miss Young taking home the crown. Really.
Calamity after calamity has struck our country in the last two months. And I’m not even talking about the natural kind.
In August, there was the pissing contest between two ship captains that resulted to the deaths of over 100 people right here off our shores. Not to mention the damage to the marine environment or the loss of livelihood of some residents of coastal communities. And yet no final word on who really was at fault. Tell that to the victims’ families.
Then there was the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) incursion in Zamboanga City last month that killed more than 200 civilians, military members, rebels and destroyed millions and millions worth of property.
Was it a community held hostage by the caprices of a political has-been who was left out in the peace agreement talks? Who knows?
The MNLF’s big boss denies any involvement. Right.
Lastly, there’s the ongoing pork barrel controversy. Mudslinging amid grandstanding. Misdirections. All at the expense of the common folk who, despite these man-made stupidities, manage to survive what nature throws at them.
Now you see why Miss Young had to win. We just needed a break.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 06, 2013.