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Be thankful when nothing happens

Elson Elizaga /

FOR MY FOREIGN FRIENDS: The Philippines is a tropical country, as you know, so if you come here and build magnificent houses, expect some amount of termite infestation.

Just call the termite police. They will eliminate the pest. If in the process of killing, your Chihuahua and Siamese cat go boink boink and lose consciousness and remain solid stiff even if you pour a bucket of ice on them, that’s okay. We have a term for this effect here in paradise.

Collateral damage.

  • ••

All these killings are making me a bit paranoid. It’s like climate change. Although I’m not doing anything wrong to the environment – except buy gasoline, eat meat, and give plastic toys to my kids – I still feel the heat. While I’m writing this article, the temperature in my room is 32 degrees C.

And if the killing continues, and Europe stops buying Philippine products, or impose high tariff on them, the value of the peso could slide further and affect everything – the cost of chewing gum, pan de sal, and internet connection.

Adrienne Arsenault, senior correspondent of CBCNews, wrote that while “Filipinos spend more time on social media than anyone else in the world”, most of them get fake news because “Mobile internet coverage in the Philippines is among the slowest and most expensive in Asia. So it’s a big commitment to click on a link or watch a video in the name of fact-checking. It can drain precious data fast.” (If you have unlimited data access, see http://tinyurl.com/mg877r8.)

This means that if we hold a national election today, we would still be in trouble. That’s why when someone who supports the drug war asks me “Why are you afraid when you are not doing anything wrong?” I don’t feel relieved at all. The Korean businessman did nothing wrong but he was killed and flushed down the toilet.

  • ••

I was in a barbershop several days ago. There was only one barber. So, when two people came in, they had to wait for their turn. After my haircut, they had to wait longer, because I told the barber to give me a massage. One of the waiting customers asked the obvious: “Magpa massage ka sir para relax?” I said yes.

So, he waited.

A third customer came, wearing a familiar helmet — one of those things we see on TV when someone is assassinated. So, I thought, now there are three big men waiting and waiting for me to finish a reaaally fantastic massage.

And then, the sound system went off.

Brownout.

The customer who had asked me if I was going to have a massage giggled, and remarked: “Maayo na lang nag pa massage ka sir, kay pahak unta akong alut.”

He said he’s thankful I had a massage or else he would have a bad, patchy haircut.

MORAL LESSON: Be thankful when nothing happens.

E-mail: e.elizaga@gmail.com

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