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lucid thoughts

Philippine Connection - July 22, 2002 Monday

I'd been bingeing on fruits lately for breakfast, and remarked to Dad, "fruit breakfast is always nice....better than bacon and eggs".

Most of the morning was spent on the phone. Touched base with Ferd and Tony Ancheta, former high schoolmates. Talked to Ping Oliveros, a former colleague from PNOC. Through him, I finally got hold of Mr. Ding Corral, my former boss. At 72, he has long retired, now owns a Petron gas station, and already suffered a heart by-pass. We scheduled a lunch meeting for Wednesday.

I took a siesta to recharge myself for this evening's affair, dinner with Rizabel and Dulce's birthday concert.

The President's State of the Nation Address

Today is also the president's state of the union address (SONA) that was met by widespread demonstration between pro and anti administration factions. I only caught the last 20 minutes but the impression it left on me was not exactly positive. She talked about building a great republic without addressing the pressing issue of crime against property. What would a person living below the poverty line care about nation building when he has to worry where his next meal will be coming from? To the middle class, what's nation building when you have to keep looking at your back wary that you can be held up by criminal elements sanctioned by the police or the military? The message was rather abstract within the framework of the people's hierarchy of needs.

I received a text message from Rizabel canceling dinner due to the vice president's (of the country) arrival at St. Luke's Hospital and expected patients from the violence resulting from the clash between police and demonstrators at the president's SONA.

I called Tots for dinner/beer at Shakey's Pizza, but not surprisingly this time, he cancelled at the last minute. It's a good thing TJ showed up and we headed out to a restaurant/bar, "Tapika" where 2 of his friends, Jay and Ton joined us. I left them using TJ's car on my way to Dulce's concert.

One Corrupt MMDA Traffic Cop

Along the way, when I swerved to the right lane approaching Kamias St. on my way to meet Dad for Dulce's concert, an MMDA traffic cop flagged me down for a swerving violation. Upon presentation of my Canadian driver's license (read: this corrupt cop, just like most of his kind, is now seeing bribes in Canadian dollars.... ka-ching!). I knew he wasn't going to let me off the hook without money changing hands. While I knew the bride would be around P100 (CAN$3.00), the smallest I had was P500. Needless to say, despite my vain efforts to negotiate a P400 change, I got nothing back.

Dulce's Birthday Concert

I finally reached Southern Bull, venue of Dulce's concert and met Dad. The last time I saw her perform live was at the "Ugly Duckling" during the early stage of her career, long before she became a celebrity. She has definitely improved with better control on her tonal range, particularly when she belts it out.

The Flamboyant Congressman

A funny thing caught my attention. While the band doing the opening act was performing, a congressman, surrounded by an entourage of sycophants gave P1000 to the band as a gesture of generosity in full public view. Considering what public officials technically earn in salary, that gesture came across to me as a blatant display of dirty money being doled out from graft and corruption. How come these government officials always drive the fanciest cars, dine at the most exclusive restaurants, drink at the most exclusive bars and order the most expensive Scotch?

Not seeing TJ's uninsured car where I left it, thoughts of carnapping, a typical crime against property that has pockmarked the social landscape, crossed my mind. A sense of alarm took over...only to realize I actually parked the car elsewhere - duh!!!

--- TheLoneRider

July 22, 2002

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