Who Lives Longer?…man or woman

Who Lives Longer?…man or woman

By:  Apolinario B. Villalobos

While the question on strength and intelligence has oftentimes been raisedbetween the two genders, the issue on longevity is almost always not given so much attention.  And, this despite the fact that the matter has its effect on our social structure in general. Say, who would take care of the one who would outlive the other? What if the wife outlives the husband or the other way around happens? – are just two of the questions with regard to this issue.

Scientific findings supported by statistics show that women, indeed, outlive men.  And, in this fact is where the difference matters.  As a tradition, the man who is expected to be stronger than the woman is expected to take care of the latter as they grow old, and because of this expectation, the wife is plunged into various depressions brought about by loneliness when she survives her husband.

Tradition dictates that on the issue of partnership, man must be older than the woman, as the former is expected to set out house rules, hence, the authority.  Lately, however, some researchers aver that the reason for the age factor is due to the fact that the woman show external manifestation of aging faster than man.  So that between a twenty-year-old woman who marries a twenty-five-year old man, the former already has an advantage of five years, hence, the concept of her outliving the latter.

Research findings have helped a lot in the understanding of the biologic factors that influence the life expectancy of both the man and the woman.  However, other key factors involve choices of lifestyles that can lead to a full and active, hence, longer life. Playing important roles in determining the life expectancy of both sexes are the hereditary factors in which some hormones are seen to have a very significant part. Our glands produce these chemicals that affect the organs in which they are produced oraffect other organs by travelling through the bloodstream.

 Each gender may be made unique by some hormones.  For one, estrogen appear to protect women from coronary atherosclerosis, making them at risk with this disease only between the age of 65 to 74, compared to the men’s risk upon reaching the age of 55 until 64. Modern science has afforded the financially capable women to undergo some kind of estrogen replacement when they reach the menopausal age during which estrogenproduction of their glands diminishes rapidly.  This therapy also helps prevent osteoporosis.

 On the other hand, vanity that is more attached to feminity has given the woman an excuse for external physical retouches – facials, bustlifts, regular skin smoothening that include chemicals that eradicate wrinkles, liposuctions, and the like. The trend has radically changed the marketing strategies and diversified the products of laboratory firms that made the forty-up age bracket of women as a veritable and a gold slice of the market for their products that flood outlets – from body lotion, make-up accessories, shampoo, and injectibles.  Ads clearly specify the intended target of the products even coming up with photos of mothers and daughter for customers “to see the difference and judge for themselves.”

How about the men?  Well, the macho gender has a way of proving his virility despite the ascending number that comes with years of his life.  It is a fact that man can still be fertile even at age seventy or even past that age.  This is how beerhouses and nightclubs and some discreet videoke bars have flourished.  Man does not need make-up and smooth skin to prove his virility.  A pocket bulging with cash will do.

 We now find that the effort of both sexes are expensive, seen from any angle or even how much justifications are rattled.  Unfortunately, these efforts have their consequences – the course of modern living.  Casual sex on the part of the men to prove that they can still do it, although most of the time done with other parts could result to hideous STDs (sexually transmitted diseases).  As for the women, overdose of those beauty products could result to blotchy skin due to indiscriminate use of skin bleach, cancerous breast due to improper implants, loss of facial expression due to overdose of injectible wrinkle “erasers”, and even damage internal organs due to overdose of synthetic hormones.

The question now that we should seriously ponder is not who gets or looks older earlier or faster, the man or woman, but who had been and will be more productive and useful.  For the woman, remember what you always assert – equality of genders.  And for the man, do not forget chivalry that is eternally marked in manhood.

T’boli

T’boli

By Apolinario B Villalobos

 

 

Gentle people of South Cotabato –

Epitome of strength who moves with agility

But graceful enough to sway with the wind

With innocent smile easily parting their lips

And laughter that crease their gentle face.

 

Fortunate people, contentedly they live –

In the fastness of green, rivers, hills and valleys

By God’s will, long- hidden from lowlanders

Which did them good, but then time came –

The haze was parted, and finally, they were seen.

 

Clothed in patiently – pounded fibers

And woven into the smooth cloth – t’nalak

The men stand proud in the earth-colored garb

While women looking regal in their vivid dress

Seen from afar, they seem to float in the breeze.

 

People of the rainbow, these people are –

And placid that made them prey to the greedy

But to them, God is kind, made them secured

From harm that only the heartless could inflict

And nature’s wrath, to them could easily wreak.

 

Straight from their heart, to God they pray

Sincere praises are mumbled by betel-red lips

No pretensions in their offered dances

Pleadings are for their safety and health

That for them are well- cherished wealth…

(The T’boli is one of the indigenous tribes of the Philippines, found in the southern part of the archipelago, particularly, South Cotabato province, island of Mindanao)

The Alley

The Alley

By Apolinario B Villalobos

 

 

Beneath the shadow of two buildings

Pockmarked with holes, squares

Enough for one or two,

The alley beckons to me

and through it, I squirm my way.

 

I go through it with counted steps and smile

at girls with pouting lips

as I was prodded on with curiosity 

to peek inside the room

foreboding, clouded with gloom.

 

Heavily made up faces, some young, some old

all with ready smile, entice the timid and the bold

for short-lived happiness along the alley

where life is lived from day to day

and for what comes next

Nobody could say…

Seeing Reality

Seeing Reality

(Thanks to a fallen friend)

By Apolinario B. Villalobos

You told me once between rounds of rum

That life is short but could be meaningful

If lived according to the Book of Man.

It seems you said it right.

As I see your lips parted by a contented smile

While you lie inside that dreadful box

As if telling me that everything’s alright.

You opened my eyes to see reality

And made me feel life as it should be felt –

With sincerity: to appreciate what God has given me

Those which only He has all the right to take.

So now, for me to change, I think is not yet late.

Thank you my friend for letting me

See the truth and accept reality.

Malala of Pakistan…jewel of courage

Malala of Pakistan

…Jewel of Courage

by Apolinario B Villalobos

Though young, to the world you showed
that age is not a measure
of one’s attitude,

your cherubic smile, so full of innocence
surrounds you with aura
of blinding magnificence,

your heroic deed bespeaks of great strength
and belittled, put to shame

the bulging muscles of men,

angel of Pakistan, you are a jewel of courage

how many young girls your age

will sacrifice for others, as you did?

the world prays for you, that you still live

you are such a rare jewel, hard to find –

breath of relief for deteriorating mankind!

(Malala Yousufzai, of Swat Valley, Pakistan, is a girl of 14, shot by the Taliban for defying them, as she relentlessy went on with her informing the world through the internet, about their atrocities. Todate, she is fighting for her life in a hospital.)

The Power of Money

The Power of Money

By Apolinario Villalobos

Money is not the root of all evils. It is the love for it and its improper use that make it such. Those who have been able to deposit hefty sums of this tender regardless of denomination are  generally,  of two types. One type are those who remain footed firmly on the ground and remained simple in their ways, and the other one are those who developed wings of arrogance that buoyed them up so that they feel “superior” than the rest of humanity.

There is not much to discuss about the first type, those who remained footed firmly on the ground despite their material wealth as they are doing just fine as far as God and their brethren are concerned. As for the second type – well, they are something else, and very interesting, too.

If money is used improperly, the following may just be the result:

1. It can make one stiff-necked, such that he will never be able to look back to where he came from before he became rich.

2. It can give him a horse-vision, such that his focus is just forward, making him such a “grand peacock” that never looks sideward.

3. It can make him feel like a “god”, such that he thinks he is in control of everything and everybody.

4. It can transform him into a robot– no past, no genetic origin because he has disowned his brothers, sisters, parents, cousins, friends (as they may just ask for money if he happens to throw them even just a simple squint).

I once had a very close friend. Like me, he was a survivor, too, of the harsh life in Manila. We came from the same province and both of us belong to poor families. Unlike me, however, he was nailed to his first job, while I got promoted after four years. Promotion came to him after another four years, during which I was already a manager.

Fortunately for him, however, he married, though late in his life, a widow, who though not a looker, got a lot of glitter – businesses in Manila and four major provinces. In other words, he hooked himself a millionairess. And, that was when his transformation took place.

The case of my friend inspired me to come up with the four enumerated transformations after we bumped each other in mall in Makati. When I greeted him, he glanced at me with a blank look. I was and still close to his brother and sister who are now working in Manila and they told me that their mother died without seeing their now rich brother. The reason was, he cut off his communication with them. They could not just get in touch with him so that he can be told of  the news about their dying mother. Eventually, the poor mother died without seeing her rich son. They were told that he now lives in a very uppity subdivision in Alabang and that’s all. One sister was able to contact him while she was applying for a job. That was the time when he was about to marry the widow and she was told by him to just wait for his letter to be sent to their address in the province. The sister thought all the while that he could help her find a place for her to stay in Manila. But it did not happen. Out of pity, I brought her to my former boarding house in Baclaran and introduced her as my cousin so that she will be given a discount by my former landlady.

My friend indeed sent a letter much later to his sister, with an enclosed money – 2,000 pesos. In that letter was a clear instruction for the whole family – not to locate him, and just let him get in touch with them, if he has the time.

Here is another case of a friend who got married at a very young age. He also came from a struggling family. He was fortunate to have met a hardworking girl who toiled her way through college. While he was not able to finish the course that he started, the girl became an engineer. Both have business acumen. They started a small business that grew tremendously in just less than ten years. They went into franchising. They were able to stash a lot of money which they used in buying shares of resorts and two condos. They lived in one unit and rented out the other.

Unfortunately, they became paranoid. They distanced themselves from their families and relatives, thinking that they will ask for a share of their fortune. They distanced themselves from friends, thinking that the latter will ask their help in sending their children to school or burden them with hospital bills, etc. Only the phone numbers of their office were known. Calls were strictly screened. They have practically isolated themselves.

In both cases, my two friends thought that with money, they could buy themselves comfort and security. In a way, they were able to do it. They have cars, luxurious dwellings and foods, salaried secretaries and guards.

I suppose that with their stature, my two friends could be surrounded now with newfound friends who are equally rich. But all of those have no meaning as they lack the warmth of the real comfort and security that do not have monetary value. It is the warmth of friends and family – the warmth that goes with the thought of belonging, of being together no matter what happens.

We cannot buy love. We cannot buy loyalty. They have no monetary value. Their value is measured by the heart and not by the ounce of gold, silver, platinum or karat of whatever precious stone.

I know of a filthy rich guy who also started from scratch. He died of cancer but during the wake, his rich friends wondered why no relative showed up. Their wondering gave them the impression that their rich friend could have been bad to his family because until the day he was interred, only his wife and two children, aside from them rich friends were around to bid him farewell. As you see, even the friends whom the dead rich fellow thought were his friends, sent him off with a bad impression.

Well, that’s money for you.

The Mispronounced “R” and the Abused “kung saan and “di ba”

The Mispronounced “R” and the

Abused “kung saan”, and “di ba?”

 

by Apolinario Villalobos

I learned since my days in elementary school the basics of the English and Filipino alphabets, their proper usage and most especially, their correct pronunciation. Part of my learning is knowing the difference between the two, the English pronunciation being “soft” and that of the Filipino being “rolling” as in pronouncing the “R”, the way it should be pronounced. But to my dismay, everywhere I go today, I hear conversations among Filipinos, especially, the younger generation, with the “R” pronounced as if they are Americans. It irritates the ear, especially, because those concerned are trying to give an impression that they are “Americanized”, hence, should talk in Filipino just like an American.

What is sad about this is that even the influential broadcasters who are looked up to by their viewers and listeners are guilty of the same practice. It is unfortunate to note that foreign talents who appear on TV talk in Filipino better with correct pronunciation than their local counterparts, especially, with the “R”, pronounced properly.

Add to that mispronunciation the abused use of “kung saan” and “di ba”. I do not know how it started, but I just noticed its proliferation in the broadcast media and among the students lately. The “kung saan” has an equivalent in English, the “in which”. So I cannot understand how broadcasters say for example, “Nagkasunog sa isang lugar sa Tondo subali’t makipot ang daan at hindi makadaan ang mga bumbero kung saan ay tumuluy-tuloy ang sunog kaya maraming nasaktan”, instead of saying a clearer statement: “Nagkasunog sa isang lugar sa Tondo subali’t makipot ang daan at hindi makadaan ang mga bumbero kaya tumuluy-tuloy ang sunog at maraming nasaktan”. Why can’t they just avoid using the “kung saan” if they do not know its proper use?

Then, there’s the “di ba?” (isn’t it?) which I find as an improper part of statements because you seem to force the person you are conversing with to accept what you said. The more  improper it becomes when used by broadcasters, especially, when doing interviews. There is a danger on the part of the guy who is fond of using the “di ba” to be embarrassed with the retort, “ewan ko” (I don’t know) from the person he is conversing with. So, the safest way to avoid getting embarrassed  is by taking the “di ba” from your vocabulary.

Filipino as a language has evolved into a richer one with the addition of new words, but let us not put it down with improper use of what are already its  integral part. Let us speak in Filipino the way it should be spoken, and speak in English the way it should be spoken. Let us be what we are.

Quo Vadis, Philippines?

Quo Vadis, Philippines?

 

By Apolinario B. Villalobos

Before you proceed reading this commentary, I would like to make it clear that what you will find herein are personal observations and questions not intended to incite dissatisfaction against the national leadership or any of its agencies. These concerns are already in the mind of the Filipinos long, long time ago, yet. They are mentioned during informal discussions among “wise guys” in barber shops, in parties to while time away, in  drinking sprees. My intention here is just to open the eyes and minds of the rest who play blind and deaf to what are happening around us:

1.         The perennial  flooding of Metro Manila streets during rainy season and high tide. Did somebody ever mention anything about the inconsistency of agencies which are supposed to maintain the  drainage system? My simple observation is that they forgot the word “monitor” in their operation. Worse, they de-clog the drainage during rainy season, when they can do such during the summer months!. Sad to say that during the summer months, esteros are left with hardened silt compose of garbage and mud. Not any of the administrations ever thought of de-silting these drainage outlets. What they do is just skim the floating garbage, that’s all.

Still on the clogged drainage system of the cities, if floods can no longer be tolerated and agencies concerned are bombarded with complaints, the drainages are de-clogged and to some extent, repaired. But, while all these are going on, the manholes are left open to be filled again by debris, sands, gravels, which are just piled beside them. By the time the manholes are closed, the drainages are again clogged considerably. Again, months later, budgets are released for de-clogging, making some people richer. It is a vicious cycle.

The towns and cities are supposed to have Administrators. But do they ever go around to check their domains, so that they can also have the opportunity to find manholes without covers and dumped with garbage, drainage outlets without iron grills, and  the already mentioned hardened silts of waterways? Your guess is as good as mine.

Is the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) concerned only with streets and traffic? How about the waterways or esteros that are supposed to be given equal attention just like the streets, hence, the need for their daily upkeep?  The same garbage that we find on the streets are also found in waterways. So why can’t these waterways be cleaned up just like the streets on a regular basis? If it is not the MMDA, what is the concerned agency doing about it?

While wise guys always point accusing fingers to the plastic bags, household garbage, etc. as the cause of flood, have they ever thought that the entire drainage system of the metro needs to be “elevated”  to a  level higher than the prevailing high tide? No amount of campaigns against plastic and garbage can help if the issue on the elevation of drainage system is not resolved. The old outlets of the city drainage system that spill out to the Pasig river are easily “covered” by the high tide due to the thick silt from the waste coming from the ground and households. The silt has been deposited for so many years. So what can we expect when the occurrence of high tide is aggravated by rains? In Thailand, the river is utilized as a major traffic artery. Though, brownish in color, the river is free of any garbage, in fact portions are even used as floating markets. Sadly for our Pasig River, several attempts have been made to make use of it as a flowing highway with the establishment of ferry terminals and even operation of ferries, but it was short-lived. The agency concerned just lacked the drive necessary to push through with the project. Most sadly, fund-raising drives were made but with no good and encouraging results. Why? Because photo coverage and TV exposures were done and those were enough to somehow put on record that the government had a project of this kind, for Filipinos in the future to know that something was done.

2.         Laws relegated to the sidelines. Always, we hear comments that the Philippines has the best laws in the world. There is a law for practically against everything – smoking in public places, drinking on the sidewalk, urinating in public areas, improper attire of jeepney and taxi drivers, jaywalking, posting of streamers in prohibited areas during election season, vote-buying, drug-abuse, littering, sidewalk parking, squatting, etc. Unfortunately, none is properly implemented. News programs show solvent boys clustered under bridges sniffing the intoxicant, many jeepney drivers take to the streets in sleeveless shirts, shorts and slippers, jolly shirtless guys huddle in street corners and sidewalks with cases of beer or bottles of hard liquor, rampant vote-buying before election day, illegally cars parked on sidewalks, squatters proliferating in vacant lots and even under the bridges, etc. Why can’t these be stopped? The reason always heard from agencies concerned to impose appropriate laws is the lack of budget, hence, not enough personnel and equipment. Worse, they insist that there are no complainants. But let a violation be done to a VIP that results to media exposure, in a snap of fingers, these agencies, greedily grab the limelight and take action. What is commendable though, is the effort of Davao City government which is consistent in implementing the law against smoking in public places and fireworks during New Year. Some cities took the cue and followed suit.

3.         Commercialization of public education to an embarrassing high level and unattended needs of far-flung primary and secondary schools. Just recently, the country was shocked by the news about a student of the University of the Philippines-Manila who committed suicide due to her failure to take an exam resulting from her non-payment of tuition on time. Many more related incidents, though, some not necessarily reaching the point of suicide, are still happening in government educational institutions. They just do not grab the attention of the media because of their “insignificance” compared to incidents in big institutions found in Manila. As if the commercialization is not enough, children in far-flung corners of the country are deprived of their right to proper education due to lack of conducive facilities. It is shocking to find dilapidated structures with corroding tin roofs, termite-eaten walls, muddy floors. The measly-paid teachers, sacrifice substantial portion of their meager salaries to buy chalk, blackboard eraser and even pencils for most-deprived students in their classes.  You see them on TV, thanks to the effort of some stations. Interviews are made with the hope that their concerned bosses in air-conditioned rooms can give them a glance. Still, nothing is done to ease their situation. These bosses rely on reports by supervisors and superintendents that are too good to be believable.

4.         One-time usability of textbooks. It is very expensive to climb the rungs of education in the Philippines. Second-hand books for kindergarten school kids and the rest of the education levels can no longer be bought by parents. Enterprising personalities in the concerned agencies allowed the inclusion of test exercises after each chapter of the books, hence, making them not applicable for the learning process of the next user because of the answers in those pages. They did away with the separate test papers, a system which is an advantage for the parents who can still keep the books for the younger children in the family. This “bright idea”  practically made textbook publication and printing a booming industry at the expense of the poor.

5.         Inconsistency in the maintenance of public facilities. Ningas kugon is the most appropriate two-word description for most government projects – good only for publicity or photo opportunity during the few months after they have been inaugurated. All one needs to do is just to look around:   plant boxes dividing main thoroughfares that used to be painted with the colors of whoever is at the helm of the government unit are now with wilted plants and broken portions, bridges that once were blindingly lighted with colorful plastic street lamps  are now with busted bulbs and broken posts, toilets that used to have gleaming granite floors and walls complete with running water are now stinking due to lack of running water and worse, with heavily stained toilet bowls, lavatories and walls. The light rail transit system (LRT) with its sister facility, the metro transit system (MRT) have toilets only in very few terminals. Toilets at most terminals are not open to the public. But during their inauguration, the said facilities were proudly tweeted to make the travel of the commuters comfortable. Such displays were shown on TV, even mentioned during interviews.

6.         Corruption. Practically, all levels of our society, both the private and public sectors are tainted with  it. Everybody knows about the ghost projects, misused pork barrels, sex in exchange for favors, tong system. Generations of Filipinos grew up breathing its obnoxious whiff. The atmosphere of the country is heavily smogged with it.

7.         Political dynasties. It has become a profitable industry in the country. What makes it such is the great temptation to earn favors and money. That temptation is greatly enhanced by our culture, part of which are the padrino system and utang na loob (gratitude). Today, a negtive enhancement is the rampant vote buying during election season. This practice favors families who have the money to invest in politics, they who are willing to spend millions as they expect a greater return when they assume office. This practice is a glaring exploitation of the major sector of our society – those who live even below the tolerable poverty line.

Many NGOs are trying their best to correct the wrongdoings, even religious organizations are doing the same,  lifting not only one finger, but all fingers to be dipped in so many issues that plague the Filipinos in general. All efforts are to no avail. A foreign student was even  threatened with legal actions and expulsion from the country when he posted photos of public toilets with no running water and tissue paper. Instead of thanking him for bringing the matter to the attention of agencies concerned, though via a social network, the poor guy was treated as a persona non grata.

TV viewers are treated to scenes from time to time, of solvent boys opening doors of cars in traffic jams to snatch valuables from helpless motorists, climbing over fences along EDSA as their way of escape. But except for the TV exposure, nothing has been done to apprehend them. What happened to the radios that are supposed to be part of the gear of the traffic enforcers and are supposed to be connected to monitoring sites? If only the ones assigned to monitor the traffic through CCTVs, especially, portions of the roads identified where the aforementioned incidents usually happen immediately get in touch with their counterparts in the field, there could have been encouraging results of apprehension. But no, all we see on TV screen are interviews, that’s all.

What is lacking in our government is proper coordination and strict checking of those down the rank if they do their responsibilities properly. But how can this be done, when the guys up there who are supposed to go around and check are killing time in their air-conditioned offices? Simply said, our government system is not result-oriented. Obviously, it is reactionary in its attitude. The end result is finger pointing as to who is at fault.

Here is something on the rally culture of the Filipinos – the effigy of Uncle Sam, alongside with the one of whoever is at the helm of the country are always part of the show that climaxes every rally. Even the world-respected and spirit behind the People Power, Cory Aquino is not spared. To dramatically show the rallyists’ “deeply- entrenched emotion and sentiment”, conflagration of these paper structures is done as climax of the event. For so many years that these things were done and still being done, what have we gained? Some of those who are into this kind of activity despise Uncle Sam, but have the gall to fall in line to have their passport marked with US visa . I know of friends who shout obscenities against the government and Uncle Sam during rallies but spend their vacations in the US – in the homes of their parents or siblings who are green card holders!

All that poor Juan can do is draw a heavy sigh and ask himself: “where are we going from here?”  Indeed, quo vadis Philippines? Don’t ask me….

The Scavenger

The Scavenger

By Apolinario Villalobos

I saw you there

kneeling by the garbage basket

with hands busy sorting out

the needed and not needed ones

among those in that dump.

I saw you there

Kneeling by the garbage basket

From time to time putting to mouth

Morsels of rice and bits of meat

Thrown by conscienceless man.

I saw you there

kneeling by the garbage basket

unmindful of the rushing crowd

who did not stop

and throw you a glance, but

anyway, here’s a bag of bread.

I am a Filipino…proud, yet suffers, too

I am a Filipino, proud

…yet suffers, too

By Apolinario B Villalobos

“Let us not lose hope…”

This I have to say first

For if I won’t, but instead

Put that line at the end

I will be stirring your anger

That  I will just regret later.

When foreign people

Set foot on our sacred shore

Our ancestors welcomed them –

Not just with smile

But warm embrace

Showed them kindness

Showed them love –

The way of Filipinos

As the whole world knows.

The Chinese brought pots and silk

Gave names to our islands and islets,

The Japanese brought their skill

And goods of steel,

Spain sent forth Christianity

Tainted with gracious civility,

The Americans brought more-

More than what we could muster

And  all of these-

Supposed to enrich our culture

But instead, defiled our identity

Stained much of it with sheer gravity!

I hear Filipinos speak English with a twang

But should not be, when they speak our language –

Filipino,  the rich language of every Juan.

I see Filipinos enjoy foreign food, every bit of it

But should not be, when they push aside

Our own sinigang and pinakbet.

 

I hear Filipinos sing foreign songs so soulfully

It’s just nice, but not when they despise

Our own that should be sung with dignity.

Deep inside, I suffer as I see and hear them

I know that just like me, others out there

Are gritting their teeth but can’t do anything;

Proud as a Filipino, yes I am

But so many things are left undone –

Things that our heroes in the past have begun

They who put color

To the vivid pages of our history;

Things that should have been done

By our heroes of today

But who died just when a new light

Started to shine on our democracy.

Leaders, policy makers, lawmakers…

Are they…really?

They who warble promises

And steal the people’s money?

Paid with lofty sum from the coffer

Where  money for those who suffer

Should have come

Should have been done

But only the few – these warblers

Enjoyed no end, they who are supposed

To be brimming with wisdom!

After the father, comes the wife

Then the daughter, and the son

Not contented, the cousins and in-laws

All in the family, to power they strut

With a taunt in their face that says:

“What are we in power for,

And  you with money has none

Eat your heart out, here we come!”

Rain that used to bless the earth

Filipinos now desist

Especially those who live

Along the river banks of the cities

For with it comes the flood

A curse that only the Bible says

Shall wipe out sinners

From the face of the earth;

But why…the floods?

Simple: the money for saving projects

The conscienceless –

Unscrupulously pocketed!

Innocent lengths of asphalted roads

That for long defied the trash of nature

Helplessly wrecked by greedy contractors

So that low-grade fresh overlay can be spread

Later giving up to rain’s patters

And treading of cars, trucks, and all…

Even the precious school books are not spared

By purported educators blinded with greed

Seeing to it that new ones, yearly will be printed

Exam questions, at the end of every chapter

Are cleverly printed!

So then, closing school years would also see

These books so dear, become useless –

Thrown to the garbage, not to be used

By aspiring younger brood of the family.

I am pained by the sight

Of plates at restaurants

and food stations of the malls –

Half –finished food left with pride

By those who seem to say

“I am rich, I can squander money”

And who never thought

That out there in the dumps

Some brethren try to salvage morsels –

Precious food that could be stuffed

Into their guts so they can live

Better than nothing, or they’re dead.

I said in the beginning of this:

Let us not lose hope…

But wish for the best

If we strive together

And do what is right

Then new life for us

Will be in sight!