HAITI.

Forgotten Haiti -- a tropical country; a mainly Catholic country with a runaway population. A nation burdened with a huge foreign debt; a nation that spends more servicing that debt than it does on medical services for its own people.

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A country once self-sufficient in basic foodstuffs but now obliged to import rice. A country governed by a dysfunctional administration. Reminds me of someplace else but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Fluff is the lint which gets trapped in your belly-button –- at least it does in those frigid north European countries where hairy woolen underwear is worn. Fluff –- to answer a reader who complained that a recent column was composed of such -– is also what you get when nothing pops up to pique my fancy, when no single topic cries out for five hundred words of my unique, dare-devil, prose.

The Felcris Empire has been in the ‘paper a lot this past week. Adverts, promo-articles and even an item reporting on the Presidential Anti-smuggling Group rousting its stores hoping to apprehend an illegal onion or two.

We’ve got a Felcris offshoot here in Buhangin, a Central Convenience store at the Buhangin Road/Diversion Road crossing, a store me and quite a few other like-minded folks have re-christened the inconvenience store.

It’s the money. Selecting stuff from the shelves is no problem. Paying for same is a brute.

The store has two tills -– difficult to spot beneath all the candy and razors and condoms but there they are. One is always out of commission, the second frequently crashing which requires a lengthy re-boot (Right out the door if I had my way) while the queue fumes. If this were the Arctic there’s be the sound of frozen dangly extremities hitting the floor.

Then there’s the store’s cash policy –- anything more than a couple of thousand pesos in the till and up rolls an SUV to take away the excess. The cashier has to print out a tally. The queue queues. This removal of cash, naturally, means that the store never has any change. P500? Wow. There’s a whip-round along the line for change.

Finally there’s the store’s human resource policy of changing the cashiers every two days (At least that’s how it seems) and of employing only tweenies who can’t count to ten on their fingers let alone manage a complicated electronic till.

You don’t believe all the above? Visit the store. And take a book to read.

On Monday, the Rouge Moro Islamic Liberation Front turned up again. I’m fascinated by this crowd. Are they rouge i.e. red, affiliated with the communist lot, another ‘lost’ command or just a typo–rouge instead of rogue –- which has become firmly entrenched in our media lexicon?

Lastly lastly and pedants’ corner -– Election 101’s ‘itlogs’ are not oblongs. Oblongs have corners. Try ovals.