Of Sticky Floors and Bubble Wraps

All the evening news programs carried the banner. “300 families in California living a tent city.” The images were novel: heating water in tin cans, lining up in food distribution stations, sleeping on the ground without soft mattresses supporting the back, and not knowing when it will all stop. It’s a scandal to that part of the world.  

But not here where I sit. I’ve seen worse, I’ve even experienced far more excruciating circumstances.

Being a sucker for current events, I have seen how the startling drama of the global financial crisis unfolded. And I could confidently say that I have always known that something like this would happen–not in this magnitude though. How did I know? The signs were telling: US housing boom, China’s economy in a meteoric rise, globalization is at it’s fastest, etc. All these were happening while most of Africa is suffering, war is being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan, and most of the third world bear the brunt of globalization, resulting in the rapid loss of culture and identity. In short, there’s this fabled gap between the rich and the poor and it’s appalling. The rich creates an illusion of prosperity while the poor are forever stuck to the sticky floors of poverty.

Are we, Filipinos, not feeling the crisis? I certainly do not agree. the fact that we call it a “global” financial crisis is a recognition of the fact that it affects everyone. Maybe, we are just inclined to say that we are not feeling the crisis at all because we have been under a series of crises from way before (rice shortage, power shortage, investment scams, too much politicking by government officials, rampant graft and corruption, natural disasters, war in Mindanao, etc.). Financial crisis? what’s new?

At the home front, here’s how we feel it. Just this afternoon, I received a text message from Bebeth, my sister. She is an engineer working as a team leader in the quality assurance (QA) and legal department of a technological firm. Her text goes: “Guess what? Thank God!.. Hindi po ako natanggal… just now isang supervisor at 2 team leaders sa QA ang natanggal…”  Thank God, indeed. 

I could just imagine how the others are dealing with this and how the others are coping. I just hope and pray that the mess would stop soon and that a more sustainable and lasting solution would be on the table soon.

What’s your take on this?

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