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Only when there’s nothing to buy

Ben Contreras .

WHEN we criticize, our criticisms sometimes depends on our mindset and biases. When the subject is someone we don’t like or somebody we hate, we tend to criticize the subject no matter how trivial the issue under which our very own criticisms would look ridiculous, funny if not downright stupid. Of course, like some would love to say, we are all entitled to our own stupidity.

A few I have seen tell it all about their dislike or hatred or bias against this regime. One is about “mahal ang bugas”, posting a picture of rice at P80/kilo. Why not “mahal”? It is Jasmine rice, a variety of rice supposedly only those who are better off in life can afford. But the real Jasmine rice could be four times more expensive than this one. I suppose it must be another variety than Jasmine.

So, why use it for propaganda purposes? Certainly, the poor do not eat this rice. My reaction to that is, “I do not know that the poor eat Jasmine rice. I bought my red rice at P46/kilo, bought the rice from a rice miller in Alubijid on my way to my little farm. I also eat corn rice once in a while which is cheaper and more nutritious. Do you eat corn rice?”

A colleague known always to react to what I say reacted with more than necessary and went out of tune. But I respect his statements.

Then, a rabid anti-Duterte posted a list of vegetable prices showing among others the price of broccoli at P320/kilo today when it was P180/kilo before. I just came home from S&R and broccoli there was selling at P226.95/kilo. I presume it is cheaper in our merkado. But this guy must be gloating for what he did, so typical of a rabid Duterte hater.

Then, we have this sili at P1,000 per kilo affair. A lady with a green thumb reacted, “But a sili, throw the seeds anywhere in your backyard or any plastic container with a little soil. The seeds will grow and you can easily have the sili you want.”

Criticisms are not only cheap. They have no price. Throw them anytime, anywhere and however you want. But even criticisms require finesse.

We had lunch at Tuna Republik. Beside us was a family of four. When they left, they left with plenty of rice on their table. Of course, they don’t look poor. In another occasion, a family of about 10 was having lunch at Steve Manok. When they left, they left with plenty of uneaten rice and chicken barbecues on their table. If they can waste food like that, would you think they would complain of rice price going up?

Let’s not kid ourselves. There are many alternatives to rice. For many reasons, we can skip rice once in a while. Your sugar is high, your tummy is bulging, you’re obese, etc.

Of course, Sen. Villar is wrong to say that we cannot stop hoarding, cartel and smuggling. What are they there for? But it is also wrong to say that if rice is expensive, we plant rice ourselves. There are just many ways to mitigate the impact of rising prices.

Many things apply to our way of living. Never spend beyond your means. Prioritize what is more important in life, like food or recreation? Raise food in your own backyard no matter how small. Cut down on luxury items or activities. Encourage productivity.

What we are complaining about are not things that didn’t occur in the past. Like kinilaw fish when it used to be more than P100. When the price reached beyond P200, we complained. But today, we are able to accept it at more than P400.

The only time that we should really complain is when there is nothing more to buy.

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