Sunday, October 04, 2009

Conflicted/Word Vomit 1/? [To be transliterated in Tagalog]

Wow, it's been a while since I was last here, hasn't it?

After the catastrophe that was Typhoon Ondoy (international name Ketsana), I've been thinking again. A lot.

And as we all know, the products of my thoughts will most likely be tiring to read as they are to write. Please bear with me; otherwise, you've been warned.

First, I regret sincerely that I was not more committed to the environmental effort. This was Mother Nature's epic bitching and ownage of the Filipino people, who I must admit have an attitude of being nice only when it works to our advantage. It used to be in our nature to live in total synchronicity with the environment's habits, but endless colonialisation and hurried industrialisation (the latter having been introduced to us by the Americans) have made myself and my countrymen inconsiderate of our surroundings and the other creatures that live in it.

Please note I am in no way generalizing the United States of America and its people, as well as the Philippines and her people. I am well aware that both countries have their own strengths, and that indolence and irresponsibility know no race, no religion and even no gender. It's just that... somehow, I wish we Filipinos were able to figure out what the Americans were so good at doing, and then do one better by surpassing them instead of just following their lead, or worse, bickering among ourselves. Those are two Filipino traits that peeve me - bickering and blaming, especially because we Filipinos are happy to always rely on other people to take on the tasks that we ourselves should be doing and are natural debaters when we find an opposing perspective. More on this later.

Anyway, it used to be that we in the Philippines had natural treasures, "likas na yaman", that we were very proud of as a people - tall, swaying coconut trees that reached to the sky, crystal-clear bodies of water, wide-eyed tarsiers on Chocolate Hills. After all, we have always been the Pearl of the Orient Seas. But the concern that many of us have these days is to be rich through any means possible - even if that entails making colleagues look bad in front of our bosses, cutting more trees to build more living (as opposed to livable) spaces, and throwing our trash just about anywhere because we're in a hurry to get to work. In fact, immediately after the onslaught of Ondoy in our metropolis, my friends retold in Facebook how the drivers who made public transportation possible were mindlessly throwing their trash outside their windows. It's a shame, considering I actually did join an environmentally-driven organisation. Of course, since I wasn't passionate about the cause (I've always been more civic-minded), I hardly got anything done. I did practise proper disposal and segregation of waste, but I've always been queasy around animals. Even now I'm not exactly a pet-friendly person. To be fair, my fast-paced working gal lifestyle doesn't allow for pets at all; I hardly even have time for myself these days. But I admit that privately, I always held much disapproval and disappointment for people who spend so much to groom and even dress their animals in human-like clothing when so many people outside were dying of hunger and lack of shelter and medicines. What's worse are those people who like keeping animals and yet do not take care of them responsibly - and make no mistake, we have a lot of them here.

I honestly think that many of my own people, myself included, really do not have a sense of responsibility. I do not bother to reduce the clutter of my own room because I am lazy, because I know that I can always rely on my mother, who prefers to see everything tidy, to clean everything up for me. (I'm very sorry Mum, I will get to that long-awaited clean-up once I'm done with this entry.) I do not lobby for more tree-lined parks and pedestrian lanes in Makati because I leave the planning for these to our city government, which has many staffers who admittedly do not have the foresight to see the benefits of these things. I do not complain about the massive logging in my mother's mountainous hometown of Rizal, Laguna, because again that's the provincial government's work; besides, we're based in Manila now, and there are some greedy relatives there who we'd rather not see.

It won't be easy, but I will have to change my mindset and make myself accountable for causing the floods brought by Ondoy to a certain extent.

PS this show of mercy and accountability to the environment will not be extended to mosquitos, flies and cockroaches though. They're disgusting and carry diseases on them no matter what they do. Ugh. XP

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