Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Wake-up Call --

The weekend was surreal, to say the least. What was up with the world then? In the Philippines, I literally woke up to the news that people died in a stampede at Ultra. I took a shower listening to news about the trouble that Danish caricature caused in the Muslim communities. And then there was the ferry boat accident in Egypt.


The stampede at Ultra saddened me the most, realizing who the majority of the casualties were and why they were lined up to get into a game show. It was difficult watching the news coverage and seeing even more people asking, despite what had happened, if the show was still going to go on -- people seeing the brief "disturbance" as their chance to get into the stadium and be part of the audience.

People were that desperate.

I was reminded of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," which we took up in my fiction class a few weeks back. I think of all the stories for that section of the semester, "The Lottery" was the one that jarred them out of their dream existence. I remember reading about "The Lottery" when it was first published and how people were so shocked to come face to face with an account of their cruelty. Even though it was a work of fiction, people couldn't quite accept the remote possibility that they would be capable of such an atrocity.

And here we are.

Where life has imitated art. 72 people died and the question on most people's minds was still -- "Will the show go on? What happens to my lottery ticket?"

And then there's the blame game. Whose fault was it?

The easiest answer would be the security teams of Ultra and ABS-CBN. There were too few people managing the crowds. I watched the DILG interviewing/interrogating the ABS-CBN head of security. The head of security was trying to justify the 1:200++ ratio. The security from Ultra admitted that they weren't clear on their role at that event, so when the madness started they didn't know what to do. There are even accounts of the security guards being the first ones to leave and seek higher ground.

Some people were saying that it was the PNP's jurisdiction, since the lines were on public roads.

In today's newspaper, the headline for one of the tabloids said that the President will really go after ABS-CBN for this and I wonder whose best interest is being served here. I wonder if there is anything more to what our president is planning. Some other enterprising parties have also "cashed in" on the tragedy -- a class action suit is being planned and rival networks have used this to encourage people to watch their shows instead.

While ABS-CBN has taken full responsibility for the accident and is currently in the process to reimburse medical and funeral expenses, I can't help but think that this is a stopgap measure.

That there are harder questions with less digestible answers and more difficult sacrifices need to be made --

* * *

More on the weekend --

In contrast to the madness happening all over the world, my sibs and I enjoyed an afternoon with our sister (it was her birthday). She treated us to Steak MD and then we visited Wheatberry and Greens nearby.

Everyone went crazy for the Wheatberry sweets and we ended up having dessert there. I had the double chocolate cream puff and I finished the whole thing without sharing it with anyone. >_<

On our way back to Katipunan, we dropped by Cost U Less, which had always intrigued us. We were pleased to find some products that were featured on Lifestyle Network's Unwrapped.

Fun fun afternoon with sibs. ^_^

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