Damo ulum, Dito uran (more food, less rain)

After extensive research* apparently there is no conclusive evidence that weather effects mood. Unless you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (with the amusing acronym – SAD)

But if the weather has stripped you from all your possessions, loved ones and the life you once had, I beg to differ. At the peek of the Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy) 80% of Manila was underwater, with over 200 dead and thousands homeless.

Although Samar was not severely hit by last weekend’s typhoon the wet season has kicked in, and it kicks like a wounded carabao. Another typhoon is brewing, perhaps even a ‘super typhoon’, and no one seems to know exactly when and where it is travelling to.

Bad weather impedes your movement, with inadequate drainage the dirt road that I live on is a soggy, filthy quagmire of plastic garbage and dog ta-e (God I hope they are only dog turds). Like a refugee in my own opisina, I am huddled in a corner to escape the wind and rain (uran). My usually peaceful work vista of an azure blue sea and coconut trees is now a smear of washed out grey and military green.

There is also military green sitting on the corner of the street, with their AK-47s casually slung across their shoulders. They always seem quite jolly, and even happier when I pass in the morning (they’re only ‘uman as Kimmy would say). With the elections next year there has been ‘increased activity’ of NPA (New People’s Army), arson and extra judicial killings. ‘Increased activity’ being a euphemism for some heavy shit is going down in the hills of Samar these days and even in the towns.

I will be the one to keep a low profile (ha ha), listen to the not-so soothing rain and read a good book.

So as we pray for the rain to stop, help put rice on the table for an Asian family in need –  Asia Pacific Disaster Appeal – maraming salamat po. 

Destruction beyond comprehension

Destruction beyond comprehension

 *Read two blogs and the New Scientist online

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City mouse, country mouse

Once again I have a totally unsustainable way of dealing with the swamp, I ran away to Manila for a night of clubbing.

I see my hometown of Newcastle as a bit of a backwater, so why I thought a ‘remote’ assignment was for me I still can’t quite fathom. However the pollution, the traffic and the expenses associated with living in a teaming mass of a city is also not ideal.

I do plunge into a sort of consumerist frenzy when I get out of the provs, eating salads, going to the movies, window shopping. Even rather pedestrian Australian wines taste like manna from heaven.

And so to the club – which was more like a mini-entertainment centre with a rather impressive rig and mirror ball. Between 9-11pm there was free beer, and a terrible cliché, for what seemed like hours three Aussie drained the beer tap in a massive empty hall.

Reminiscent of the more trendy clubs in Sydney the main purpose of the evening seemed to be seen there. Of course there were some local die-hard fans of James Zabiela, and a smattering of expats but it’s a sad indictment that a world-class DJ set ends with only half the crowd remaining. True he pumped out 3 ½ hour set of delicious and unrelenting electronica but Manila – harden the f’k up!

If I can be in the front for 5 hours straight, walang any artificial assistance meron giardia, anyone can. Pay respect to an artist when it is due.

As an aside, despite the rather high cover fee and classy looking clientele my friend had her bag snatched from the dance floor. That could happen in any city in the world, but it sort of hit home that we are not in Kansas anymore. Crime is more prevalent and dangerous here, even the ‘safety’ of an expensive nightclub you have to keep half an eye out and look out for your friends.

Once again typing this blog on laptop during a brown-out, hope we have power at some stage today *sigh – mini pity party*

Additional: posted this blog one week after it was written due to chronic brown-outs.  Damn swamp 😉