As the parable goes, the hard-working ants toil and keep at it while the grasshopper takes it easy under the sun, and when the rains eventually come, he begs by their door for shelter and food. The lesson from this, ‘always prepare for a rainy day’, may be simple, but in this August spate of tropical depressions, I still know of some people who do not even care to bring umbrellas.
One would think that for an archipelagic nation infamous for its regularly wicked monsoons, the spirits of resiliency and preparedness would have already been common traits descriptive of its supposedly “hardy” people. Perhaps, that is only true in the ads written by us, about us. Why else are these often set aside then, and replaced instead by unrelenting stubbornness?
At airports, you’d still hear of people complaining of flight delays during heavy rains and typhoon warnings, while at seaports, some unscrupulous ferry operators, despite notices of heavy squalls, still set sail and risk passenger lives in favor of the extra buck.
Land travelers fare no better, as floods and landslides become as common as city potholes. Whodunit? No rocket science here, because reasons abound. And we know them all too well; from the indiscriminate cutting of trees that leaves our slopes vulnerable to erosion, to the continuous and irresponsible garbage disposal which ends up blocking canals and drains, then eventually flowing down rivers and out to sea.
One would think that we would know better, but sadly, like the grasshopper of fable, it seemed we have never really even looked at it as a lesson. A momentary respite of going through the motions of prepping for the next habagat deceives us to believing things will be better. Mostly they take the shape of clean-ups galore, tree-planting drives and such, yet some are nothing but propped-up political moves and pogi points. How else can one explain the yearly cycle of calamities then? It’s like blown-out fingers every new year’s eve.
Alas, when the rains come again, the circle would have been complete. Back to square one, and the ants win once more. Along with the rains will follow the rising waters, and with it, the flotsam of certainty of our national penchant for blame, that virus that is deeply entrenched into culture.
The cartoonist Walt Kelly, in his Pogo comic strip had said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” Here comes the rain again, and here we go again.