My wife discovers sake

Are you drunk? i’m drunk. I like sake. I’ve decided to become a sake lover.

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Pampered and pretty

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Going on a date with my beautiful boys. Had my hair nails and makeup done for $30. Felt just like cinderella. Now we are going to indulge in a 7 course French degustation. One of the most expensive evenings julz and i have had, a hefty $50 per person. Needless to say we are loving Boracay.

Fatalism and the filipino psyche

We had to take enforced custody of my nephew a few weeks ago for health reasons. If we hadn’t, he would most likely have gangrene in the bone of his ankle right now. Why did everyone assume that it was fine, when it was looking so awful? Why was he playing in knee-deep, garbage-infested water with an open wound so large?

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An xray to rule out bone infection was the dr's first move

I was reading about a psychological phenomenom that may have been at work here. There was a study undertaken that investigated a group of people living on the riverbanks downstream from a large, old unstable dam. The residents furtherest downstream, who would suffer minor property damage if the dam broke, has mild fear about the situation. The residents at the next village along were closer and would suffer more property damage. Unsuprisingly, they were more fearful about the situation. The level of fear was proportional to the proximity of the dam until the very last village, where it disappeared completely. This village lived right underneath the dam and would be completely destroyed should the dam ever fail. The researchers proposed that the constant threat of death was literally so terrifying, rather than confront the fear, the villagers chose denial. So the residents at most risk had zero fear of the threat.

Returning to the situation of my nephew. We saw the potential for Max to lose his foot. But that was not likely to happen, because we have money and thus treatment. But if we had no money, it would be tempting to ignore the problem. The situation akin to that of the villagers directly beneath the dam.
Nanay is Max’s guardian. She has seen children die from simple infections. The horror and the powerlessness make a strong case for ba ha la na, a philipino philosophy which translates: “god will provide” or “whatever”.
Philipinos are tremendously fatalistic, often to a fault. However, poverty removes choices. The less choices you have, the less options there are to take. When only a handful of choices remain, what can you do but accept your fate.

I’ve read a LOT of books on poverty and related issues, but this never really clicked for me until I saw it with my own eyes.

Catchup time

Been doing a fair bit of adventuring these past few weeks.

Total travel to date: 1700kms!

As per usual, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

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myles pretending to be daddy

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the mesmerising mt mayon

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paid too much for a boat cruise, got free complimentry sunset

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if it moves, they will eat it. this stuff is like superior chicken to my taste buds

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myles and dad being dorks

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although it looks like a nightclub, this was in a van. maybe bcc could be disco theme after 9 on a friday night?

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how do we fill the tank and not wake the baby?

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this lobster defeated our appetites in the end

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cute little tarsiers

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big snake

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little snake

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yep, he could eat myles and have room for dessert!

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This tiger was cute. We were encouraged to pat it, but it freaked out when it saw Myles. I started a line of questioning, which revealed a few disturbing details.

“It looks little?”
“Yah, it is only 9 months old”
“When did the zoo get it?”
“Last week! You wanna pat? Only 50 pesos”

Do I want to pat a juvenile tiger that was recently removed from its parents?

“Maybe later. What about the older tigers? Are they safer to pat?”

“Oh, they are too bitey now.”

I politely declined once more.

Consumerism in the third world

Sadly, the Philippines has a rather skeletal education system. I have seen too many examples of advertising and television having a more significant impact on society values than anything learned at school.

The hunger for the 1st world pleasures and the modern conviniences is alive and well. I ask about the best restuaraunts in town. I’m proudly told that a McDonalds and KFC has recently opened.

My own sister in law is desperately poor. They regularly have water and electricity cut off and have to make do without. They threw out the rice cooker because it was costing too much electricity. But still, social pressure and aspiration leads her to adopt infant formula (Almost a whole weeks wage!) For her 3 month old bub.

The people here have gadget lust just as badly as we do in Australia.
They paint logos of the latest movies, on their beat up cars.

Sometimes I feel that they emulate the end result in the blind hope that success of the rich will rub off on them. A friend of ours told my wife that she wishes her kids could afford to go to the mall about two times a week, just like the privelliged kids. I can’t convey to her that maintaining a space for homework in her house is more important. And that perhaps it will lead to success that she desires for her children. She just doesn’t see the connection. She will however, transfer them to a school that is considerered more affluent. But she is confused when they don’t get higher marks than at the bog standard school.

As they say: You can lead a horse to water. We have, so many times, with so many people. But they never drink. You can’t change a culture.

I’ve read so much, had so many ideas and now I have have seen them all fail first-hand. Does anyone know any examples of where a culture has become more self aware?

Consumerism in the third world

Sadly, the Philippines has a rather skeletal education system. I have seen too many examples of advertising and television having a more significant impact on society values than anything learned at school.

The hunger for the 1st world pleasures and the modern conviniences is alive and well. I ask about the best restuaraunts in town. I’m proudly told that a McDonalds and KFC has recently opened.

My own sister in law is desperately poor. They regularly have water and electricity cut off and have to make do without. They threw out the rice cooker because it was costing too much electricity. But still, social pressure and aspiration leads her to adopt infant formula (Almost a whole weeks wage!) For her 3 month old bub.

The people here have gadget lust just as badly as we do in Australia.
They paint logos of the latest movies, on their beat up cars.

Sometimes I feel that they emulate the end result in the blind hope that success of the rich will rub off on them. A friend of ours told my wife that she wishes her kids could afford to go to the mall about two times a week, just like the privelliged kids. I can’t convey to her that maintaining a space for homework in her house is more important. And that perhaps it will lead to success that she desires for her children. She just doesn’t see the connection. She will however, transfer them to a school that is considerered more affluent. But she is confused when they don’t get higher marks than at the bog standard school.

As they say: You can lead a horse to water. We have, so many times, with so many people. But they never drink. You can’t change a culture.

I’ve read so much, had so many ideas and now I have have seen them all fail first-hand. Does anyone know any examples of where a culture has become more self aware?

Calapans version of the crazy toowong bagman

Met this lovely fellow today.
The only Philippino I’ve met with dreadlocks. He was a bit smelly, but very polite. Its kinda nice to know that there are crazies everywhere and sometimes, they can be placid, non drug abusing mutterers that keep to themselves and hug garbage bins.

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I asked someone what his story was:
“Oh he crazy”
“Yeah, I figured, but why”
“Oh he crazy, his wife, she make him crazy”

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So there you have it.