As the date of my eventual return to my home city comes closer, I am starting to get apprehensive. I’ve kept in touch with family and friends and my city through the Internet and saw what was happening over news and photos shared over social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Often enough, I get horrified at what I see. The disparity between what’s going on at home and what’s happening in my current location can be so jarring, especially since what’s happening at home is what will resume to be my regular, normal state and this current state that I’m in is only temporary. I will have to leave it.
And Manila has been hit by storm after storm, typhoon after typhoon, and suffering from flood after flood.
Despite the hundreds of typhoons that come every year, and the few major disaster level typhoons that have come and ravaged my country; no politician or elected government official has done anything to fix the flooding problems of the city, of the whole country, except to study it and to implement temporary solutions.
Nothing longterm has been done or has started and I read an article that says that a flood-control project was axed by this current government because it had been approved by the previous government, which means it was “addled with corruption.”
And even if it were riddled in corruption, how is it any different from the billions of pesos that was lost over the past six years through fake NGOs in the pork barrel scam and the DAP where we can’t even see the proper accounting, liquidation or disbursement so we cannot account for any of the money that’s supposed to go to infrastructure?
How is the corruption then, over a project that the approved studies show would actually work, be any different from the corruption happening now and nothing is happening to the country? At all?
This is what is happening now:
This is what I am coming home to and the funny thing is, the culture shock that’s going to hit me so hard is my own culture, assaulting me again in full force.
People not knowing how to queue, selfishness on the road, cars not giving way to pedestrians, trash all over the city, high-crime rate (always having to look over your shoulder), constant flooding, unable to walk in the streets because there are no sidewalks, and a host of other things — things that I’ve been living with for over thirty years now and have considered routine.
This is the danger of traveling over an extended period of time. 55 days in another country and you get used to things. Like how things could be, if things were better, if people cared a little bit more, if people in charge just did their job and made things work, if efficiency was the goal and not survival.
I have to go back to survival mode.
I’m scared shitless.