Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Black Hole of Manila

I'm in danger of becoming repetitive on the subject of our recent visitor.

However this will be another follow up post...., the only amusing reading on the subject of the typhoon today has been MLQ3's post today which made me smile, particularly this paragraph....

Here’s a sociological question. They say affordable TV’s for the masses results in lowering the birthrate. Does it just apply to the masses? Will there be a spike in the number of babies born nine months from now? And what about apartments that have generators, so lights for all, though not necessarily TV for all, since cable systems may be down (but you can watch DVD, I guess) - but not enough generator power for hot water? Do the cold showers have an effect on people or does the TV trump that?

I still have no power - for me that means none of the luxuries - TV, ac etc but also no its candles all round...quite romantic really...and cold showers are becoming less of a novelty! And no power means no hair dryer...and no hair dryer means going outside with wet Jordan one does not go outside with wet apparently signifies that one has just had sex! So given my growing reputation as a bit of a local harlot I briefly mulled throwing on my abaya but thought I would brave it without!

Last night I headed down to Malate (yes, I am getting boring, yes I did go to Cafe Ad and yes I was with two men, but no, I didn't have Chocolate eh). Fortunately I managed to get shot of one of the men at about 1ish - I believe its about 1am when the rationing laws kick in!...With only two of us at my usual witching hour of 3am there was nothing too unusual for passing cab drivers to notice...

Anyway, I digress...the traffic from Ortigas to Malate was completely clear...made it to Malate in about 20 minutes. From Makati to Roxas Boulevard the entire area was pitch black...quite an eerie experience driving through completely dark streets, especially when there are trees, poles and other garbage strewn across the streets. It is incredible that a city of this size is reduced to huge pockets of blackness.

Unfortunately the combination of too many beers and about three hours of sleep resulted in a bit of a panic at work today...sitting talking to a colleague about something fairly inconsequential I suddenly realised I hadn't blown out the candles I had lit in the bathroom and the bedroom in the morning...I bolted out the office, rushed home and found that not only had I not blown out the candles, I had not locked my front door and I had left the bedroom window open...mentally I tried to draw a Venn, theft and cat suicide....all three seemed to result in no cats! What the hell I was thinking I have no idea. However, my drinking partner was in a much worse state...I can't be sure but I think he may have missed his flight to Cebu!

On a more serious note, whilst reading the PDI today I saw this:

Worst hit was the scenic town of Los Baños, where nine people from an upland village were buried alive under a pile of boulders and mud from Mt. Makiling.

I was in Los Baños a few weeks back and reading that sentence hit home how badly Mother Nature affects this country.

One of my colleagues said to me on Thursday that he had been living through typhoons for 40 years in the Philippines and the situation has not improved in any shape or form...flooding due to bad drainage, power outages, multiple deaths and injuries, chaotic clean up procedures, lack of any real his own words "the same shit every time"...

Power outages yes, but some areas seemed to be what could possibly become a fairly iconic picture from this typhoon, you can see that some areas house God's chosen people!

As always in the Philippines, finding the good news angle is important, apparently the typhoon helped reduce crime for the day and wipe out dengue, "for now" - I love those last two words!!! And if in the aftermath of this typhoon we can get shot of the billboards, even better...the more I think about, the more wound up I get, my colleagues have known for a while not to mention the billboards to me...the last two days they have been sliding the newspaper pictures out of my line of vision!!

Village Idiot describes the destruction of the billboards on Edsa very poetically...

As it turns out, the storm was equally merciless to the rich. Travelling down the length of EDSA today, I found no Kris Aquino or Heart Evangelista or Claudine Barretto or Cindy Kurleto to assault my senses. There were no cellphones and notebooks to tease me, there were no lean and svelte models to seduce me. Where once their symbols demanded attention, only skeletons remained.

The Storm is a jealous god. It brooks no lesser idols. It tore through their symbols and broke their altars. I could only approve. Stripped of billboards, EDSA never looked so clean and appealing.

On Thursday evening we were discussing the subject of the use of the military in the clean up operation. The general concensus was (and it was a lighthearted discussion!) that as GMA was stuck outside of the capital, she didn't want the troops out on the streets in case someone thought there was a military take over! In Hong Kong we have (or at least we used to have!) typhoon parties, here we could have typhoon coups...

And so the clean up continues...


Blogger Sidney said...

First time in my life that I experienced such a huge storm. I think people did a good job in clearing the streets and many people worked around the clock to repair the power lines. I got electricity back at around 4am Sunday morning. Not too bad if you consider the damage caused by Milenyo. I thought it would take them weeks...

11:04 am  
Anonymous Simon said...

It won't succeed as a matter of fact, that's what I believe.

12:19 am  

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