I HAVE decided to do a staycation this holiday season. Meaning, stay home and relax while the world goes into a tizzy shopping, traveling, partying and whatever else the holiday season entails. I am happy for those who have the energy and the motivation to dash off out of comfort zones and see the movie star parade at Roxas Boulevard or look for the houses and buildings lighted up in dazzling lights. Or, shop till they drop, eat out on the spur of the moment, visit friends and relatives.
It is not quite that I do not have the energy, it is just that I don’t want to waste it waiting. I remember my 12 hour trip to Baguio the day after Christmas last year due to the ineptitude of the expressway personnel going North. SCTEX was the worst offender followed by TPLEX. NLEX was not up to it either. The result five kilometer queues at the tollgates due to lack of personnel and ingenuity and a singular absence of planning. They forgot there was a long holiday season and prepare for an avalanche of vehicles. And from my observation last weekend on my trip to and from Baguio, there may be more of the same. It took 20 minutes to get through the SCTEX tollgate plaza. This was six days before Christmas yet the management could not bother to add more personnel as more vehicles lined up.
Think of the stress that going through airports, ports and bus stations requires these days of population explosion, insistent mobility and challenged infrastructure.
There are more cars than the roads can take, more passengers than transportation can accommodate. I used to be amazed at how much trouble the Chinese population had to take to get home on Golden Week, their big holiday, I should have seen our future in that because the travel trouble is with us now.
It must only mean that people are in good spirits and have the means to indulge themselves in travel, shopping, eating and owning vehicles. So, let me not be a Scrooge and bah humbug the Christmas season.
Let us instead start thinking of each other in all goodwill despite having to compete for space, transport and time. Let road rage not rear its ugly head in these times of traffic torture that is now a common condition of urban areas. Even Tacloban, rising from Yolanda, has areas of heavy traffic and that must be seen as positive.
But for the future and let it be the near future, government needs to get to work and provide the infrastructure needs that our huge population absolutely requires to get a better standard of living, better productivity, closer communication, happier reunions.
As 2016 arrives we will have to get serious about the political picture and think long and hard who to vote for. That will take observation, analysis, discernment, selflessness and courage. It will actually have to be a case of common sense but that is always in short supply. The prayerful route may help to come to that.
Meanwhile, enjoy Christmas that brings family together in love and goodwill. And go beyond those you are comfortable with and include others. That will be the real spirit of Love and Goodwill. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!