Saturday, October 3, 2009

It wasn't Ondoy; It wasn't an act of God. I did it. I sank Metro Manila

For the longest time, I stayed silent about the recent flood tragedy in my beloved Metropolis. In the City which I loved in spite of all its imperfections. In the place, unlike so many of my countrymen (and I understand why they had made such a decision), I refused to abandon.

So many people have been overtly expressing concern. Many had and are still helping, all the while making sure that the rest of the world knew that they did. But this point may be taken the wrong way so I am not even pursuing it. Nor am I enumerating the charitable things i did. Thing is, I don't care if no one ever knows about it because all I really wanted to do was help. Precisely why I didn't post this piece in Facebook.

Anyway, now that things are getting a tad more manageable and there are getting less and less things to preoccupy the City's virtuous, the blamestorming has began. Of course it's the government's fault; it's useless. Of course it's our ancestors' fault; they lacked foresight.

And then we all choose to ignore the garbage stuck to the structures that resurfaced when the waters subsided. (I recognize a candy wrapper. I was the one who threw it out my window as I was speeding down the street.) And in spite of this, we choose to distribute food rations to the refugees in the same plastic bags that clogged the sewerage system. I heard some people dump the mud and soil they had swept out of the ravaged houses straight into the drainage.

But let's take the discussion further. We had this flood now but who knows what tragedy we will eventually bring upon ourselves next time? Because now that the rest of the population who were lucky enough to still have working cars have all started cruising down the fastlane again, how many follow traffic rules? How many private vehicles drive within the bus lanes and how many goddam buses swerve from one side of the road to the other?

How many pedestrians cross right under the pedestrian overpass?

It is pointless to give more examples. But I hope you get my point. If not, let me spell it out. If we don't all change how we live, we will all eventually kill each other, if not ourselves. It's not going to be the next big typhoon, it's not going to be a tsunami or an earthquake. We will all get swallowed up by the earth while we we are busy going about our daily lives. At this point, having a good set of laws makes no sense. Any rule, big or small, reasonable or inane, will only be relevant if every-freakin-one, big or small, reasonable or inane, starts following it.