Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Plug the Hole

Filipinos are very good at stopgap solutions. Like stopping gasoline leaks with chewing gum; jerry rigging viable televsion antennas from wire hangers; closing wounds with superglue; discovering more uses for toothpaste than manufacturers ever intended...

Maybe all this ingenuity has something to do with a dearth of material and spare parts-- necessity being the mother of invention, and all. But I've noticed the not-so-obvious downside to the Filipino's vaunted ability to do a MacGyver wherever he is. An environment in which everything is damaged, jerry rigged or in short supply also fosters a mentality of limits and, of all things, a strange complacency --

"So what if my line of buses is full of obsolete junkers? I can still make 'em run with chewing gum and hold 'em together with scotch tape, safety regs be damned. I ain't paying for new buses. Puwede na 'yan."

I'd like to see Filipinos shaken out of that complacency, someday soon.

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