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wilfrido david
wilfrido david THE LAST two typhoons wreaked enough havoc to last us until the next monsoon season—and it's not over yet. About ten more are predicted within the year, and we are as helpless as a cat up a tree.

All the people can do is to wait and see if the next one will be worse than those which are yet to come! In the meantime, once the floods subside, they will have to return to their homes, rebuild, try to recover from the devastation and start over again. Imagine the constant fear that prevails over their lives, and yet there is absolutely nothing they can do about it. To say that these "victims" were left homeless by this last devastation is not quite accurate; they are "houseless" because they never had homes in the real sense—they live in shanties made of rusted tin and cardboard, makeshift wooden and hollow-block houses, devoid of running water, and for the most part, have just a hole-in-the-ground toilets, or else just the balot (prounounced bahlot) system.

We like to believe that God has a hand in everything that happens on earth (whereas the Muslims always say, "It is the will of Allah"). Do our gods let things happen to test our faith, or do they look away when nature takes its course and decide to leave us alone to fend for ourselves? Let us leave God, the saints, and other spirits we believe in out of the equation and start to believe in Mother Nature's capability to destroy civilizations. Part of these calamities is caused by man's own indifference to his own immediate surroundings and the environment in general. Deforestation, illegal fishponds, clogged drains and esteros, garbage dumps, inadequate sewerage systems, and the mandatory pre-tyhpoon release of water from the dams contribute to the almost yearly deluge. For now, we can only sit on our butts and wait for the coming series of floods. As the saying goes, we can pray, hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.

Regardless of our individual beliefs, or collectively as Christians, it is still our instinct for survival that eventually saves us. All the pope can do is pray for us, and the sitting president's critics will always blame the government agencies for being slow in providing help or the lack of it. One senator even appeared on TV to express her disgust over the president's seeming lack of concern by not appearing at any of the disaster areas. Well, the next day President Noynoy did show up in some affected areas in Pampanga, did his part, like an actor in a telenobela being given instructions by his director, coming up with a compassionate expression while shaking hands with the flood victims—smirking at the thought of why politicians have to resort to "palabas" to show good leadership. Just the same, he was criticized for being allegedly "selective" in not showing up at the other areas! Well, there you are!

The president is right in getting back at his "professional critics," by saying that he cannot be expected to show up in two places at the same time. He is no "manananggal," and now they are calling him an "aswang" for speaking his mind. Why can't they get it through their minds that the current president is not the showy kind of leader. Unlike his predecessors, who make it a point to be photographed every chance they get—distributing relief goods, attending holy mass, receiving communion, guesting at inaugurals, short of showing themselves go to the bathroom, etc., just as long it lands in the next day's paper. (First of all he is not as photogenic as his celebrity sister, Kris; second, he is not apt to elaborate on things he feels there is no need to explain to the public; and third, he is just a plain, no wang-wang president, not a media-conscious personality.) He would rather see real results than pore on accomplishment reports. And he has no control over natural calamities!

If it's any consolation, we have no monopoly on typhoons, hurricanes, and the resulting floods. In the United States, this year alone, thousands of homes were lost to floods and hurricanes, whole towns were erased from the face of the earth, buildings toppled like a house of cards—just like our own communities, only on a bigger scale. We can only pray that what happened in Japan won't ever happen in our part of the world. Or else they will be after Noynoy's neck!

Out here in my home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the cold weather is starting to set in. I have just put the canvas cover on my swamp cooler on the roof, lit the pilot light on my gas heater, put all the electric fans in storage, set aside my summer clothes, and mothed the sweaters and heavy jackets; I take out my boots, wear my jogging suit in bed, and sometimes put on socks, too. The weather could get so cold that when you spit, it turns to ice before it hits the ground.

One reason why we stay here is because it doesn't flood—because it's 5,000 feet above sea level. For the most part of the year, the weather is pleasantly mild. That is why the International Balloon Fiesta is held in Albuquerque—where thousands of tourists from all over the United States converge to experience it first hand. If you are familiar or have been to the Clark Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, multiply that by at least 100 times.

I guess I am stuck where I am. For that matter, aren't we all? All we can do is find the good side of our existence, and complain all we like—but that doesn't really change anything.

Good luck for the rest of the season.

[About the author. Wilfrido David is a resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico since 1985. He is an avid news consumer, habitually tuned to global TV via satellite. In turn, he occasionally comes up with spiced up essays and anecdotes liberally sprinkled with his wry humor, at times irreverent, oftentimes as corny as corn-on-the-cob, but nontheless thought provoking. He thinks of himself as a "junior senior," a mature gentleman with very active brain cells but a waning testosterone count. He is an American citizen by necessity, not by choice, as he so aptly put it. He is as Kapampangan as sisig, no more, no less.]

-Posted: 8:08 AM 10/21/11 | More of this author on eK!