WHEN I was still in my teenage years, I recall having been reprimanded by a friend for occasionally spilling rice over my plate. You see, I was a happy-go-lucky sort of boy who just cared for the present. I didn’t see the meaning of my friend’s rebuke until she said to me: “Remember that for one piece of grain you throw out, you wasted the days which the farmer spent in growing and nurturing it with his sweat and blood so that we live.”

Ever since that day I have been always careful of not wasting even one grain of rice on my plate. Even my wife joked that she would have no difficulty in washing my plate since it*s like being licked clean. On the other hand, my thoughts go also to those who have nothing to eat or who lacked adequate food. It gives me heartache to see a young beggar scrounging for a garbage near a fast food chain just to find whatever he can consume, yet inside the establishment I see parts of chicken, spoons of rice and other dishes that were left by the consumers.

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This makes me ask myself: Who values their meals most, a consumer who had much leftover on the plate, or a beggar who manages to dig something to eat in the garbage just to fill his stomach?

Everybody knows that many Filipinos are going hungrier each year, as surveys after surveys say, many have not taken the initiative to alleviate the situation. It is a stalking reality that hunger is always in every corner of the globe, but we can make a difference when we address it even in our own little way. Think how many days you will wait for the vegetables to grow, the poultry, fishes and livestock to mature, the efforts of the cook to make them palatable. And then think if it is okay for us to waste them in just a second.

My point is that we should appreciate what you eat by consuming all that can be eaten. Be very thankful that you have experienced and relished what you eat because not all persons have experienced that.

If my memory serves me right, there is a restaurant in Davao City that serves unlimited rice to its patrons, but also imposes a fine if there is rice left on the plate. I could not recall the name of this restaurant, but I can say that the owner is advocating a disciplinary attitude when it comes to consuming this precious cereal. So far I have not known any restaurant doing so in this beloved City of Golden Friendship and it would be great to have one. So the next time you take your meal, imagine how much it would make a difference if the rice and dishes that you wasted could have fed a hungry child. Don’t waste them, or better still, give it to them. Nothing should go to waste.

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I received an email from somebody regarding the garbage problem in Cogon market. She agreed that the place really needs continuous clean-up and deodorization. Well, the garbage seems to be taken care of nowadays, but the odor is still there, never mind if it came from fish, yet the stink came from human urine.

(Please be one with me in hoping for a better change. Send your comments at jaliviado2001@yahoo.com)