It is an old line but one worth biting just the same.The President’s call to for everyone to practice austerity measures.
Truth to tell, this message has an ironic tone to it. There is no more belt-tightening to impose on majority of Filipino income earners whose take-home pay is just enough to meet the family’s basic needs. Some people are literally living from paycheck to paycheck and have even resorted to unscrupulous loan sharks to spend today what they could not possibly pay off tomorrow. If any, aus-te-ri-ty should resonate loud and clear to the bourgeois and upper echelons of society who romp in parties and flash their baubles as if decency was a virtue that was running out of fashion tomorrow.
It is no longer ka impres-impres to go around town in your flashy Expeditions when the specter of ever-rising gas prices is staring us in the face.
I drive my car on the way to work and sometimes I feel guilty about it when my office is just eight minutes away.Yes, I also take public transportation and it’s actually more convenient that way but what can I do when The Company has given me a car plan? My preference would be to ride a bike like that Congressman from Compostela Valley but in Manila, there are no safe biking lanes, at least, not like the ones I saw in energy-efficient cities like Amsterdam.
Am in a killjoy mode that I now even find the lifestyle pages of newspapers irrelevant, especially sections with praise releases about Prada and Louis Vuitton or some freeloading lifestyle writer singing hallelujahs to the joys of having a massage in Phuket , cruising through the glaciers of Alaska and what-have-you. If any, the lifestyle sections should preach the virtues of simple living and going back to the basics as dictated by these turbulent times.
Am bound to believe in what some people say that “Filipinos are strangers to their country.” This is because some of us prefer going to Hong Kong and Bangkok than sample the sights and sounds of our native land. Truth is, we should do our part in helping local tourism because the numbers are anemic indeed. We barely had three million tourists coming to our country last year. Compare this to a small colony like Macau which had 10 million. Something must be wrong somewhere.
Austerity begins at home. Serving coffee in Cabinet meetings is just the veneer. We must look inwards, into ourselves, our culture and our way of life. We must do away with this preoccupation about status symbols and keeping up with the Santoses and just be the hard-working, jolly good Filipinos that we should be.