Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Baclaran Notes (5/6/08)


Coming from our weekly Baclaran trek last night, the wifey and I were annoyed to find that the usual routes leading from the back of the church to the rest of civilization were blocked. So we had to sniff our way out, found the corner right behind the Heritage Hotel, where Victoria Court kept its Pasay branch, and crossed the service road to the break in the plant box/island. Then we were accosted at some “corner” of Roxas Boulevard… a sad stretch of no more than five to six cars long was branded as “one way,” and… well… best if I illustrate instead.

See Figure A.

Once apprehended, the wifey and I both explained in unison “Bakit po?” Only to be told that we totally ignored one way signs for the break in the island between the service road and Roxas Boulevard. Unfortunately, unlike Ace of Base, I did NOT see the signs…

I write about this, because the poor traffic enforcer who is not a cop, seemed like a genuinely nice guy, subtly offered to “redeem” my driver’s license on my behalf if I signed the blank ticket or something. I didn’t even let him get to the point where he spills out his “redemption fee.” My wife was already trying to bribe her way through to Mr. Non-Cop Traffic Enforcer, while I was gently elbowing her to knock it off since I told her that I wanted to be a responsible citizen and not encourage small time corruption. She was practically simmering at me for refusing to shell out the hundred bucks to get rid of Mr. NCTE (Non-Cop Traffic Enforcer).

Their justification for that turning that few yards into a one-way “strip” was meant to curb incidences of cars traversing Roxas Boulevard almost laterally just to get on board the fly-over. But despite that, I sincerely felt wronged, especially since I had no plans of endangering my pregnant wife and unborn child by going all Gran Turismo to the fly-over. Thus, I asked Mr. NCTE to indicate very clearly on my ticket that I was apprehended between Roxas Boulevard and the service road. The nice man was sweating a bit more, and I suspect that he is sweating at the prospect of writing something in detail. So I repeated my request that the ticket indicate what I asked. I slowly repeated: “paki lagay po, ‘between Roxas Boulevard and the service road,’ kasi po ihaharap ko pa sa opisina yan.”

And with beads of sweat forming on his poor brow, he came up with Figure B:

Figure B.

It was at this point that the wifey was showing the irritated temper of a hungry pregnant woman who was inhaling smoke just because her idiot husband wanted to give Mr. NCTE a hard time for nothing. And it was also at this point that I felt sorry for Mr. NCTE. He couldn’t even spell “SERVICE,” dammit… At least he has a job, right?

Here comes Mr. Real Cop Man, who swoops down to save what’s left of his lackey’s dignity by simply offering to authorize that my arrest grounds be downgraded to disregarding traffic signs. Again, sadly I am not Ace of Base…

We zoom on out to the Aristocrat for a late dinner and my dose of their Java sauce, and I asked the wifey to stop being pissed at me. I repeated to her that I merely didn’t want to encourage small time corruption. After a few seconds, she threw me this: “And if you paid for the ticket ‘properly,’ do you honestly think the government will use your hard-earned money for good and productive things?”

I suddenly remembered the genial Mr. NCTE, who could have bought an extra four kilos of NFA rice with the hundred bucks I would’ve bribed my way out with. Better that than a little more fuel allowance for the gas-guzzling SUV’s of the city officials of Pasay City, I thought… or the money would’ve also only gone to paying for a week’s worth of power for one of those ridiculously colorful street lamps along Roxas.

I should’ve just given four kilos worth of rice to the guy who couldn’t spell “service.”

Maybe this doesn’t really apply so simply, since there are clearly a lot of corrupt cops running amok in this sad, infested city. But the biggest pests are not skittering through the streets trying to leech a couple or so hundred bucks at a time. The real vermin are sitting behind desks and wearing barongs as they feed off the carcasses of the citizenry they swore to serve and protect. Citizens starving and sleeping in the streets, while government people indulge in big buffets at five-star hotels they rode their European vehicles to get to, using money earned from traffic violation tickets, taxes from overpriced gasoline, taxes from hard-working companies who receive nothing in return, or money from kickbacks from shady government deals.

Government officials that feed off wastes, remnants of the sick, the bony shells of the dying, and the carcasses they helped create. Just like insects do.

No tickets for me after this. This is the last one.

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