There is a monkey, or maybe a huge gorilla, on Mayor Erap’s and Vice Mayor Isko’s back and they don’t seem to know or mind it. It is on the back of every Manileño and nobody acknowledges it and does something about it.
The other week, I went to my barangay chairman and told him about the construction of an extension to an existing commercial structure that already stands partly on the sidewalk. So this extension and another earlier extension already stand not only on the sidewalk but also on the street itself. My chairman said he will look into the matter and gave instructions to his minions. Today there is a pizza store occupying that squatter, plus the previous one which is now a sari-sari store and the original sari-sari store. I went back to my chairman and told him about it. He smiled his most beautiful smile and said that he will look into the matter. Hmmmmmm. One concerned neighbor asked, “How much is involved here?”
In a conversation about our barangay and the management of our barangay, I talked about the chaotic state of our street and the vanishing sidewalk. My neighbor simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “Matagal na ang mga yan, wala namang nababahala o nagrereklamo. Paminsan-minsan, may sumisita pero wala naming nangyayari at lumalala pa. Depende yan kung sino ang chairman. Pero baka may kumikita.” (Those have been there since a long time ago, nobody is bothered or complaining anyway. Every now and then somebody raises a howl, but nothing happens and things are even getting worse. It depends on who is village chairman. Maybe somebody is profiting from it.) Hmmmmm.
The people in our barangay go about their life as if all the chaos and clutter are simply part of living.
They talk about it. “Uy si ‘Neneng’ umaasenso na. Lumalaki na ang karinderia at madami na siyang mesa at upuan sa sidewalk, pati barbecue sa tapat na kalye.’ (Hey, Neneng is getting prosperous. Her canteen is getting bigger and she even has tables and chairs on the sidewalk and a barbecue on the street fronting the canteen.) And more talk. And talk. And talk.
Then they blame President P-Noy for the sorry state of life in the city. There are not enough sidewalks, The streets are narrow. And they go home carrying things in double plastic bags—and blaming the floods on the lack of flood control programs by the government.
The wimp that he is, our chairman tried to collect fees from vehicles parked in the streets of our barangay. Nobody paid. Our chairman simply shrugged his shoulders and muttered something under his nose. Loser.
We have been carrying these monkeys on our back. We don’t seem to mind. My mayor, Erap Estrada, and his vice, Isko Moreno, grandstand and blame the trucks for the deplorable state of Manila. They don’t notice the monkey on their back. They are quick to find someone to blame, except the voters—the people of Manila.
Apathy. Indifference. Lack of concern. Lack of interest. Lethargy. Laziness. Boredom.
Ennui. Droopiness. These are the monkeys on our back. And we wear them like a badge of honor. My neighbor says, “Don’t say anything anymore or they will not go to your funeral.” Huh?
Apathy. Indifference, Lack of concern. Lack of interest. Lethargy. Laziness. Boredom.
Ennui. Droopiness. They lead us to the blame game. Who could we blame just to make noise and to attract media attention? They lead us to do nothing and wallow in our own grime and mess. What will our children learn from this confusion?
Urban decay or urban okay? The jeepney driver got irritated because nobody helped pass the fare money to him. I said, “Because nobody says ‘please pass’ anymore.” And the jeepney driver snapped, “We are in a jeepney. No need to say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ here.
No time for courtesies.” Apathy. Indifference. Lack of concern. Lack of interest. Lethargy. Laziness. Boredom. Ennui. Droopiness.
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