Lost in our own survival Olympics
THE NEW YORK Times on Saturday called the monster flooding caused by tropical storm “Mario” a deluge that brought Manila to a standstill.
Correct, but not really a standstill, because the general scene was of soaked, shivering citizens sucked in a frantic, friendless race to save themselves and whatever they could snatch back from the raging floodwaters.
It was, like in the maddening procession of the Blessed Black Nazarene of Quiapo, to each his own as survivors, numb to cold and hunger, try to stay afloat after being driven out of their flimsy slum dwellings.
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Not everybody was ready and willing to jump out mindless and escape.
There were many who stayed put, as floods rose brow-high, in a grim bid to save their belongings from professional looters.
There was a desperate tug-of-war from all sides, a smash snarling scene which could always rival a wild, wild spectator event on television.
Welcome to the poor people’s survival Olympics.
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Of course, it’s no simple coincidence that the superstorm is being played out at regular intervals, as though nature has been rehearsing for it.
“It’s the Lay of the Land,” explained a respected Filipino professor who advises the government on disasters. “The metropolis has been built on flood mains and rivers.”
When we have this much rainfall, Mother Nature reclaims her rivers back, so much so that we are driven off, he explained of the primitive structure
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Meanwhile, out in South Korea, the Philippine delegation joined in the revelry of the colorful opening for the Incheon Asian Games on the same day that tropical storm “Mario” submerged and tormented much of Metro Manila.
As expected, national attention will be centered on the Gilas Pilipinas national basketball team, and how it would uphold its newfound status in world sports.
It was totally unexpected, but the head of the Philippine delegation, Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia, made a bold prediction that the country would be able to bring home at least seven gold medals, a big jump from the three golds it salvaged in Guangzhou four years ago.
There was nothing clear if Garcia based his lofty projection on a revolutionary approach to training.
Or will they be riding on the same primitive sports structure that has caused them to be savagely run down to the ground by dominant Asian sports powers through the decades?