Tuesday, September 16, 2008

News from home

It was another weekend in Rio de Janeiro; the 5th time actually. But unlike office routines or movie re-runs on cable TV on an idle dragging weekend, it was refreshing and stress-relieving though the place seems to reduce towards the ordinary due to frequent visits. Pinoys here already made a joke out of it: “Ginagawa lang pagluwas from Laguna to Manila ang Rio” (considering 6 hours of aching butt!). Nonetheless I will still return there over and over – with the Atlantic winds on my face, the powdery sand under my feet and the solace only Rio can give.

So now I’m back to usual hurly-burly that is São Paulo; a contrast to a laid-back Rio. Back to city routine: wake-up at 7am, spruce up, take a 15-min subway ride, get free coffee, boot up my laptop and then read the morning’s online newspaper. Well, considering an 11-hour time lag, the news is far from being hot-off-the-grill. Even so, I am still cognizant of what’s happening back home.

GRP-MILF MOA on Bangsamoro homeland.

Continuing air strikes in Mindanao.

Bribery in the Court of Appeals.

Lacson vs. Villar on C5 case.

Debate on Charter Change.

And the usual problem on corruption, political bickering and social injustice.

It comes to a point that these make me consider applying for residency visa here; pledging my allegiance to a new mother country. But home is still where my heart is. That’s why it saddens me to read news from there; an ironic way of stepping the morning up before work.

Peso tumbles.

This news, I know, can wake any OFW/Pinoy expat around. It never fails to wake me up. Cash-iiing! Thinking of the conversion, raking the rewards of being far from home. I hope it continues to fall. Umabot pa sana ng USD 1 to P 50! Every breaching of the all-month low barrier is good news that seems to dilute the melancholy of the others. It’s like Rio in a way that gives high satisfaction even on a negative premise. But this would be an absolute insult to the place.

Though it would really be glad tidings to every Pinoy expat (most of which are scraping the bottom of the fish tank), I think there’s more to the news that meets the “slot machine” eyes. Not that I am hypocritical but at the end of the day it makes me wonder if this really is the news I’m looking forward; somewhat a primer for my early retirement back home. Not that I am an economist but I understand that as an importing country, we are highly dependent on the foreign exchange rate. We are not like Brazil that is self-sufficient. We import oil. We import raw materials. We import rice even though we were once the leader in rice production (why do you think IRRI is established in the Philippines?). The side-news also reveals that since the fall of the Peso our national debt increased a certain percentage. Even I understand this since the reverse (i.e. Peso appreciation), on the other hand, would loose me some from lower conversion. Lugi! And look at the inflation today. My Php100,000.00 today might not even be the same in the next years! It’s a personal dilemma: choosing between raking in funds for my early retirement or stronger Peso. Actually, no one has a choice on this. I am just a spectator of the news. We all are. But one thing that strikes me is the irony of it all. It’s like during college when a student cheers over typhoons since classes will be suspended but fails to realize effects on flood-infested areas and aftermath such as landslides. Yes, it’s hard to exhort on things that are not beneficial to oneself. It leads me to think that Charles Darwin’s idea of natural selection or, aptly, “survival of the fittest” governs modern society than the idea of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia. But that would be for another blog.

Maybe it’s time for me to think out of myself.
Think of the long-term for all of us.

Then maybe news from home doesn’t have to be all bad.

GMT -3 Sao Paulo, Brazil

No comments: