DRIVE-THRU by Stephanie Jones Jallorina
Do you think you’d prefer a bus as a mode of transport? Here in Japan or in Tokyo in particular when trains are very much accessible and could bring you practically anywhere? With my last question, am pretty sure, your answer would be NO. But back in the Philippines, we were sheltered by pedicabs, tricycles, jeepneys, FXs and buses that faithfully bring us to our doorstep, workplace entrance, school gate, to the church, anywhere and whenever we wish to. This system gives us comfort, firstly, we need not walk. It is so much hassle, not to mention skin disease which is now quite alarming, to walk under the scorching heat of the sun especially during summer. Also, it becomes an additional livelihood to millions of Filipinos who could not find any other decent job that could feed their families. However, with this getting outmoded system to answer the cry of our poor brothers and sisters, traffic has doubly jampacked. Apparently, increasing taxes for road widening and recently toll fees become issues.
Here in Tokyo, both the train and the bus religiously work ON TIME and ON SCHEDULE with only about 3-5% delay on a daily basis. When I was taking the Hibiya line before, one of the reasons for delay is the suicidal cases and, I have learned that here in Japan, the family of the deceased will have to pay the train line for causing delay. Because buses and trains have an exemplary time discipline, no one can be late in any activity he or she has to attend to. I am almost hundred percent sure that when someone got late, he or she has miscalculated his or her ETA or ETD from the beginning of his or her trip. Guilty as charged here! In the Philippines, though it is a lame excuse, still many blame it to the traffic when caught late. Here when you are running late, you would prefer the trains than the bus that could reduce your tardiness or the probability of you not getting to your destination on time. But when you are on time and a bus is possible, I bet you would take the bus too. I have known a few friends who prefer to take a bus than the train. Lyn is claustrophobic while Len says, “I dont have to go up or down the stairs. I just have to step out of the bus and get in my workplace.”
Yes, taking the bus saves you from the unnecessary discomforts – jampack, long walks to and from the station then another walk to the wicket for your norikae, getting down the subway and up to the surface, no vacant seats, reduced noise barrage, reduced phone calls and reduced drunk co-commuters among other things. It is much friendlier and safer for kids on school, hence, originally there is only a school bus, not a school jeepney or a school tricycle as there evolved in the Philippines now. Also, with the leeway on ascent and descent of kids, same is being accorded to senior citizens and handicapped individuals. Lyn added that, “with only a good number of bus-transporting and undisturbing public, I always have a good day start. I always have a proper disposition to and for work and, I can have a good nap, too, when going back home.” On a more personal note, I, on the other hand, since I now always have a seat waiting, has the time and the habit of seeing every person inside the bus and once done, would start seeing every person getting inside the bus. Lately, there are more and more old people commuting, a good number of them are old couples who are amazingly tightly gripping the hands of each other as if praying all the time for their safe passage. But once, I encountered a mother who, only when I reached out for her hat that fell into the floor did I know that she is with her special child. I remember that was the only time too that I had to stand for I was running late and the bus I got was jampacked. Yet, I was able to take a glimpse on the child’s condition. He was loud but not that typically loud special kids, but the kind who is humming a song. My boss once told me that humming or singing a song inside or outside office, anywhere public, is actually off because you can disturb work and quiet. But the hum of the kid, not to mention his swollen lips, was just the sweetest song since that morning – that brings so much joy, so much peace, so much hope; surely a music to all of us, his free recital’s audience.
We have our ways of handling situations - we could ride the trains as we progress as a nation or we could still take the bus and yet, cultivate our relationships with one another, usually the roots of our underprogress. Perhaps, it is not an issue of traffic that road has to be widened or it is not because of traffic that we have to increase our toll fees. It could entirely be three different things and, increased unemployment and under employment in our country could be answered differently. The poor spirit and social stigma could not be answered by a good bus system. But what choice do we have? Should we keep buzzing each other’s miseries or our government’s failures and not start do anything concrete? It is an open challenge to everyone to take part in the race for good governance in our country. It is the season of Autum once again; plants dried, fell and shriveled and it is a timely reminder for us that anything bad has to finally go to allow good things to spring. To end, let me borrow the tag line of ABS-CBN’s news and current affairs, TV Patrol, “Ako Ang Simula ng Pagbabago!” And, I would like to add some ring a bell, “Bus Tungo sa Pagbabago, Sakay Na!”
by Frances Saligumba
BOLD AND DARING: ARE YOU?
Malakas ba ang loob mo? O malakas ang dating ng personalidad mo? Kung malakas ang loob mo, pagsasabihan ka ng matapang ka; pero kung malakas ang personalidad mo makakarinig ka na mayabang ka. Pero meron naman na kaya mayabang dahil siya ay matapang. At meron din naman na nagtatapang tapangan lang dahil siya ay mayabang. It is very hard indeed to discern the true intention of a man’s heart. Let us see the following given situations on being bold and daring.
On Career: Have you ever tried cursing back a customer in a microphone, and said: I've been in this business for 20 years. And that's it, I'm done." Then grabbed two beers then escaped thru the emergency-evacuation chute just like what the fed-up airline crew Steven Slater did? Certainly he was ready to face any consequence that will come his way, like losing his job for so many years. Wow! That was really a bold and daring act.
On Sports: The bravery of a matador to entice the bull to charge by using a very bright colored cloth that could show his skill by artfully and quickly evade the bulls’ attack, or even escape the nearness of death. Definitely, that is a bold and daring act.
On Environmental Issues: In 2007 there were about 600 volunteers that went naked in Swiss Alps to bodily cry out for help against global warming. That was really “bold” and daring!
Let’s get closer to our personal issues.
On determination: Stepping out of your comfort zone, showing your “XXXXXL” sized body and joining the “Big Loser” game show, just to lose weight is one bold and daring act.
On Moral Compass: Acting for a pornography film or just posting your nude photographs in a website or in any public forum wherein people across the globe could actually see and salivate on you is really a “bold” and daring act.
On Spirituality: Even if Apostle Paul was arrested and beaten in Jerusalem, he still managed to tell his great testimony about his own conviction as he was once persecuted Christians and had even put them unto death. Telling the people alone that you were once a sinner and have come short to the glory of God is definitely a bold and daring act.
On all of these given situations, you could actually tell if that one “bold and daring” act is an act of courage or cowardice. An act of courage because once and for all; you are ready for the “big change” in your life. On the other hand, it is cowardice because you do not want to face the problem yourself and have a self examination on your own actions. Thinking that going with the flow of the “worldly” pleasures is a testament of an “I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul” dogma. For that matter, why shouldn’t we allow God’s word to explore our inner beings? For the scripture says: Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.