Gobsmacked-A A +A
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
THERE was a time when I disagreed with everything that fellow scribbler Melanie Lim wrote, but Melanie is at last coming round to my way of thinking having a cracker of a piece in the paper the other Thursday, "Divorce Next," a column so good I clipped it for my scrapbook and now - Monday - the lady's done it again with a piece railing against the Filipino custom of straight-out, right-in-your-face, asking for gifts.
My first Christmas in Davao was spent in lodgings and I got to know my fellow lodgers well enough to say good morning and that's about it, so imagine my surprise when each and every one of them collared me at some point and brazenly asked for a seasonal gift.
Gobsmacked. What do these people do for manners? And I'm an awkward sod - ask me anything in a demanding way and I'll kick in the opposite direction - none of my fellow lodgers, even if I liked them, received anything, not even a free calendar and in those days you couldn't walk down the street without having calendars for this or that store thrust in your hand. I was labelled a meanie but what sort of society demands presents and nor is it just at Christmas. Come my birthday, I was expected to pay for the party food and drink, which to my way of thinking was arse about face - shouldn't it be the celebrator on the receiving end of presents?
Melanie though, and alas, didn't comment on the Filipino custom of sons and daughters demanding their "share" of the family fortune once mom and dad have reached a cranky fifty years or so. Don't pretend you're astonished - it happens, and if an outsider notices it must be common. At best, the children will nag the parents into selling the family home - the only asset of any worth - divvying up the cash amongst the kids and hoping they'll be looked after. At worst the kids - I've seen this done - will filch the title deeds to their parent's property and arrange a loan using the title as collateral. You know what happens next - the kids can't pay off the loan, the property is forfeit and, given the right iffy lawyer, changes hands. The parents have lost everything; the kids temporarily flush but now without a family home to fall back on.
Moving on - "We might as well collect rainwater from our gutters for the next six months."
That's fellow scribbler Jun Ledesma griping about Davao City Water District's announcement that it'll take a week or so to provide an emergency pipeline replacing the collapsed water main over the Davao River and quite a bit longer to set up a permanent replacement.
Rainwater? Why not Jun? It's free and God's gift from the heavens. You'll need to filter (Flour sacks) and boil and that's the problem isn't it? Effort. We're so used to turning on the faucet and finding sparkling water on tap that if something goes wrong with the supply we all run about tearing out our hair and cursing DSWD. Hardly fair is it? I imagine Davao is growing faster than the DSWD can serve and that's not the fault of the DSWD. I remember 2005 when a raging Davao River destroyed the Diversion Road bridge and brought down the adjacent water main. Then it was the northern part of the city without water and here at Buhangin Mansions, we were served by tankers and damn glad of it. Bottled water wasn't around so much and we did use rainwater and we did go begging at the nearest neighbor with a well and handpump in his yard.
One day in the not too far distant future Davao's population and water consumption will outstrip the supply and then we'll all be leaving the faucet on all day to trickle-fill the bath. Get that rainwater collection system installed now Jun!
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 03, 2013.