Business Times p.B1
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Learning & Innovation
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
With the sound and fury of a waterfalls
My dining table, water dispenser, rice box, house decors, and other small dining appliances, tools and kits were swimming in seven feet of water inside the ground floor of my house. Out in my lawn, my refrigerator, living room set, lazy boy recliner, chairs, TV table, book shelves, shoe rack, and many other small things were floating in eight feet of flood water. My oven, washing machine, dryer, food processor, oven-toaster, laundry, sundry kitchen tools and utensils including some of my neighbours' belongings were all trapped in my kitchen and crashed my back door. My booooooooks, celphone, treadmill, electric fans, shoesesses, and many other denser-than-water things were lying in deep muddy waters.
It all started at about 10 o'clock in the morning of Saturday, September 26, until the morning of the next day with ankle deep water remaining in the streets. Actually days before, rains have poured in regularly. The flood waters rushed in so quickly, we only had time to save my computer, printer, a few books, shoes, and the television set. All through the night, we watched from the top of the stairs water flashed in and out of our house, with the sound and fury of a waterfalls.
The devastation inside my house, back and front yards, my neighbours houses, our entire community bounded by Magsaysay Boulevard, V. Mapa and Old Sta. Mesa Streets seemed like a nightmare. My narra sala set is already about 65 years old and there it was all muddied and tangled with other things. The only things I retrieved from my ref are magnets which are souvenirs of my travels around the world and the Philippines. I found my dead celphone.
I will not go into more details because I realize that I am much luckier than a lot of Metro Manilans.
It is now one week today and with my assistant Virgie Senarillos and five helpers from Laguna, my house is still in shambles and we are gearing for more typhoons and whatever they bring. We had electricity only yesterday. It is one sad episode, to say the least, in my life.
One lesson learned: I will stop acquiring things. Save for much needed ref, oven, washing machine, dryer, rice cooker, books and other essentials, I will not buy anything else.
I have questions in my mind. What happens to many affected small enterprises? How will SM, for example, compensate the entrepreneurs of fast food stalls in the flooded basement of SM City Sta. Mesa? Or does their contract stipulate such payments?
I just talked to my neighbour, a widow with two sons and a couple of nephews living with her, with a small tailoring shop. She laments, "Our five sewing machines got soaked in flood waters. Previously, we get very little jobs mostly repairs of pants bought from ukay-ukay and Divisoria. And now, this was totally unexpected. This is the first time floods reached our house. We don't know where we would get our daily subsistence, and the money for the schooling of my sons."
There are several small sari-sari (variety) stores whose goods and livelihood are gone. Another next door neighbour has an upholstery shop and their cloths and stuffings are wet and muddy. And many other enterprises too small to be able to afford insurance for the business.
I just received a bag of goodies—one-half kilo of rice, two small tins of sardines, two small bottled water, four small bags of junk food. In the bag is a note that says it is a gift from Mayor Lim and the Manila Department of Social Welfare. That is still subtle, other bags screams of the names of donor-politicians. Who really paid for those goods? Our tax money, for sure. With their large gaggle of staff and security, politicians came to our baranggay making speeches and waiving with put on sadness on their faces.
Pathetic! What we need from our politicians is to do their job well, with integrity. We don't need dole outs and blaming. We need real leaders, not jerk bosses.
I am selling my house. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.