Malilong: Traffic: has been, is and forever will be?

STRANGE things are happening all over the world.

One. In Minnesota, the two children of a woman wrote the following obituary for their mother when she died recently at age 80: “She will not be missed by Gina and Jay, and they understand that this world is a better place without her.”

Two. At the Dongguan railway station in Guangdong, China, a woman crawled through the x-ray scanner because she didn’t want to part with her bag, even if temporarily, for fear that the money and the jewelry inside it might be stolen. And I thought they only manufacture shabu in China.

Three. In Holland Township, Michigan, a man refused to hand over his Louis Vuitton bag to a holdupper even after the thug fired his gun thrice, the last one aimed at, but luckily missed, the would-be victim. “I paid $1,700 for it,” the man explained his foolhardiness. “I saw the bag long before I could buy it and I saved up my money to buy it. It means a lot to me. It represents me. I wasn’t about to relinquish my personal property.” No, not even at the cost of his own life, that is obvious.

Four. In Washington, U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been on a pardoning binge lately, announced that he was very seriously considering extending executive clemency to the late Muhammad Ali, who was convicted for draft dodging in 1967 for refusing to fight in the Vietnam war. Thanks but no thanks, said the boxing legend’s lawyer, because “a pardon is unnecessary.” Apparently, Trump did not know that Ali’s conviction was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971. Or was he just joking like somebody we know?

Five. In Cebu City, the assistant branch manager of a bank that holds office in the basement of a mall in the reclamation area called a depositor last Monday (I will not name the bank to accommodate my wife’s niece, Jilian Estella Taray, who also works there as an assistant manager, although in another branch).

“I notice that there is an unusual movement in your account,” she told the unsuspecting depositor. “Where did you get the money? How did you earn it? How do you plan to spend it?” He was so stunned by the stupidity of it all that all that he could do was mumble that she asked a relative instead.

The depositor thought that his experience was bad until a friend told him an even more terrible story. The friend wanted to open a checking account in a bank in Banilad but changed his mind after a bank employee asked him, “Why are you opening a checking account? Are you planning to issue checks?” Come on, guys. I know that you have to be prudent because of the anti-money laundering law, but if you order chicken in Jollibee, do they ask you where you got the money, your reason for buying their chicken and if you planned on eating it?

Six. I am not supposed to be surprised anymore by comments like the one that Jojo Arcenas posted on Facebook: “SM to Ayala, 1.5 bloody hours!!!!” I mean, that’s the way it has been, is now and always will be.

But the traffic that distressed Jojo Friday afternoon was the same one that caused John Carl Abines’s bride, Sweet, to arrive an hour late for their wedding at the St. Therese Parish Church. When we arrived (we were also late because of the traffic but “only” by 35 minutes), the groom was already waiting for Sweet at the foot of the altar with his siblings Marybeth and Arnold. If it had happened before the age of the cellphone, John would have probably started wondering if he had not been stood up.

The ride from Radisson Blu to the church must have taken the would-be Mrs. Abines more than the time Jojo needed to get to Ayala from SM. Happily for the couple, Msgr. Boy Alesna was patient enough to wait although he had to hurriedly leave the church because he was already late for his next mass in another setting.

As they say, all’s well that ends well. But I have an advice to those who plan to get married: Avoid Cebu City until we have gotten the “basket of solutions” to the traffic problem that Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has promised.


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