Earth Hour

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Amazing Peso

This morning, I have 2000 pesos in my wallet. By this evening, I only have 1200 pesos. In less than 12 hours, the amount of cash I have in hand was reduced to almost half. I spent it on only two things, food and water.

Our money is so amazing. It is so easy to spend. I am so impressed at how easy my 500 peso bill was reduced to coins. I bought food stuff for lunch and some bananas, it was down to just 350 pesos. The house help told me that we had to buy rice. I told her to get 5 kilos so it will last until the weekend, the remaining amount went down to 150 pesos. We also had to restock our drinking water and the money left in my hand amounted to 30 pesos, in 10 peso coins.

This whole scenario happened in less than an hour. That means, in less than an hour I spent 470 pesos for my upkeep.

The story of the amazing peso does not end here. By afternoon, we had to buy food for dinner and breakfast tomorrow. Total cost for everything: 300 pesos.

If you think that I buy expensive foodstuff, you're wrong. Most of the food I asked the house helper to buy were vegetables and fish. The only fruits I bought were the bananas I mentioned earlier on.

My friends and I would sometimes joke among ourselves that the 100 peso bill is the new 10 pesos. One could hardly buy anything substantial for 100 pesos. I use to spend less than 50 pesos per day for my lunch. Now I pay more than 100 pesos per day. I still eat the same kind of food, nothing fancy just the regular food we Filipinos eat.

Our 100 pesos is not enough for even the value meals of fastfood chains. It used to be enough for two persons, but now it is only enough for one value meal.

What's even more amazing with our money is that it is so easy to disappear but very hard to find and earn. Right now the average minimum wage is 275 pesos. So imagine how a minimum wage earner can balance his pay with his expenses. Go figure!

Monday, June 14, 2010

When Mother Nature has a Bad Day

There's no doubt about it, Mother Nature was having a bad day yesterday and she made us know about it.

The whole day was so humid.  We were in Tiendesitas yesterday and I never felt so uncomfortable.  There was sweat on my forehead and arms and I was thirsty the whole time even just after taking a drink of water.  It was like the heat was coming from inside my body.

It was so uncomfortable that I could not enjoy the all breed dog show that was going on in the area.  I feel sorry for those pooches for being subjected to the harsh weather we had yesterday.

On my way back to Bulacan, the  skies over Bocaue started to darken and at 5 in the afternoon, it looked like it was already early evening.  Just as I stepped off the bus, it started to rain.  It was that big, fat rain that could drench you in seconds.  I hurriedly took a tricycle to bring me home as water was starting to fill the streets.

Rain fell from the sky and it was accompanied by bolts of lightning and claps of thunder.  It lasted for more than an hour and when it stopped, it stopped suddenly like a faucet turned off.  In a matter of minutes, the chorus of frogs croaking filled the air.  Then it started to get warm again.

It was like being hit by a double whammy.  Warm and humid in the daytime, and torrential rains in the afternoon.  I hope it Mother Nature doesn't have another tantrum and it doesn't get that bad again today or tomorrow, which is the start of the new school year.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thank God It's Over!

The winners of the last elections were finally proclaimed last Wednesday and now all of us could finally take a sigh of relief. The last eight months were excruciatingly mad; there were mudslinging, accusations, and even violence. It was as if all of us were dragged into a telenovela with a totally convoluted plot.

Last Wednesday's proclamation may be considered as the grand finale of those tumultuous months. Consider yourself lucky if you chose to stay home or in your office and watch the proceedings in comfort. The Session Hall of the House of Representatives where the event took place was in total chaos. Decorum and protocol were dispensed with as supporters of the winning candidates came in droves.

I don't know if it can be considered as a good start but the two groups engaged in a cheering contest. There were no insults or disparaging remarks but it seemed that the order was the louder the better. I don't understand why they have to resort to this since both there principals were already winners and honestly, it was too juvenile.  Good thing that they were seated on the opposite sides of the hall, away from each other.

Many supporters of the winning Presidential candidate considered themselves important people so they wanted a seat in the first gallery.  What happened was plastic chairs were lined up in the Session Hall floor which, ordinarily, was a total no-no.  It came to a point that we could not identify anymore who among the people there were members of Congress and just guests.

Some members of the committee that canvassed the election results were given a few minutes to speak.  Surprisingly, the crowd went silent except at times that they had to applaud the one speaking but everybody was still subdued.  It was like this until one Senator started saying nasty things about the running mate of the winning Presidential candidate.  Those on the side of the winning candidate was cheering and clapping, but those on the side of the losing candidate appeared to have clenched their teeth and seething.  The speech was totally uncalled for, maybe the Senator was just too bitter that his son and daughter both lost in the two consecutive Senatorial race and there'll be no one to replace him in the Senate.

When it was time for the members of both Houses of Congress to approve the Canvass Report, the crowd went wild, drowning whatever the Senate President and Speaker of the House were saying.  The cheering erupted like someone scored a triple shot in a highly contested basket ball game.

And when the winners were finally called to the rostrum for the proclamation ceremonies, the whole place was justa bedlam of catcalls, screams and all the kind of noise a human can make when he or she is in a state of ecstasy.  Nobody could hear anymore what was being said infront of us.  All I was able to see was the leaders of Congress raising the hands of the winners.

It was all over in a few minutes.  Everybody went out of the Session Hall still buzzing with the excitement of what has just happened.  The crowd continued to distance themselves from each other.  I don't know where they all went but after just over an hour, the halls were empty again, except for the cleaners.

As we put those months behind us, many of us look forward to better days. The just proclaimed winners will be taking office at the end of this month and every one who gave them this position will be watching them.  Me, I will see if the incoming President would be true to his words - no corruption.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Here Come the Jejemons

On the spotlight lately are youngsters who wanted to create their own subculture.  They have their own way of writing and sending SMS on their mobile phones and now, they want to create their own fashion.  They're called the Jejemons, and they are created in the Philippines.

Why jejemon?  Several reasons are being floated as to why but I stick to the original one.  Instead of the usual "hehehe" to mean laughter, this group writes "jejeje".  hence, the first part of the word.  The second part is a reference to the popular anime,  Pokemon or pocket monsters.  In short, they are the "jeje monsters".

It is quite frustrating to receive a text message from a jejemon.  It's like reading a cryptic message with ordinary words spelled differently and in a combination of alpha-numeric characters. To add confusion to the uninitiated, the letters were randomly written in upper and lower cases.  In fact,  one self-confessed jejemon said on TV that the more confusing the combination, the better for the jejemon.  Consider the following: 

Jejemon: Eow phfu0w i wud llyk t0 mk3 fr3ndz phfu0w wd u z@Na .

Me : Ha? Who is this?

Jejemon: ffWuez phfu0w cr3 2 t3ll mE ur n@m3?

Me: Wait... you're a jejemon!

Jejemon: jejejeje...

In the first message, the jejemon was asking if we could be friends.  In his next message, he was already asking for my name. 

At first, people were just amused with this new fad.  But as it slowly crept into the mainstream and even younger kids started using it in email and other social networks, the amusement was replaced by bewilderment and caused alarm in certain sectors.  On the extreme side, there were those who hated the jejemons so much that they wanted them eliminated.  Some even put up Facebook accounts calling for the "execution" of jejemons.

Recently as part of its clean up before the opening of schools this year, the education department released an order discouraging students from using jejemon spelling and grammar (or jejenese if you will) in communicating through text and chat messages.  The Education Secretary believes that jejenese could cause the deterioration of the young Filipinos' language skills.

While I commend the Secretary's good intentions, I believe that jejemons will have little effect on the language skills of students.  While they use it to communicate among themselves and with some of their unwary victims, I seriously doubt that these kids will use jejenese in their classes or in other formal communications.  Young people easily get bored and perhaps this is another one of their means to entertain themselves.  Like the others before them, jejemons will surely grow up and even wonder later on what made them do what they did.

So let the jejemons have fun while they could.   In the meantime, c3nz$zyA n@ pfh0uw... jejeje....