Twas last year when the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair provided the nation a break from its collective boredom, after taking offense in the author Dan Brown’s referral to Manila as “gates of hell” in his book, Inferno. Mr. Tolentino wrote Dan Brown a letter, tagging the public as its witness, to which Dan Brown allegedly and promptly answered back.
But, seriously, the mega city is an inferno. In the literal sense. Everyday, on Twitter and the networks, there is news of a fire and almost always at the end of it, charred victims, not to mention the financial loss incurred from total destruction of the building. The networks, it seemed, have become quite good, adopting a certain flair in reporting this particular piece of news, that, whether or not they’re aware of it, their audiences know that it is again time to turn themselves into electrified zombies, popping Cheez Curls into their mouths while staring at the screen zooming in on dishevelled half mad survivors howling for their dead at the gory scene of the fire. The scene gone, they call out to whoever is in the kitchen, aren’t we having dinner yet? at the same time taking in a huge gulp of Slurpee. If not, they flick channels and laugh out loud when they chance upon a zombie on the changing screen.
Alarming, for two reasons. The first reason is the power inherent in these networks to create in their audiences split personalities which I’ll refer to here as Unidentified Sitting Objects manipulated as puppets via an inanimate network (or is it animate? Blurred lines, as Robin Thicke sings.), the television (or, the Internet). The Undead. But this is not what this article is about.
The second reason, which this article is about, is the alarming rate at which fires occur in Metro Manila. One inferno a day. Five people charred and accidentally dead and probably all descending into hell a day (the Bible says it is easier for a camel to go straight to heaven). I feel like throwing up every time.
In the mining business, this is a cause to stir up the Board, because it means there is a gross muck up in the Safety First department. Relative to Metro Manila, the statistics is a reflection of how the MMDA is conducting its business of managing the mega city. The agency should therefore write daily reminders to itself in CAPITAL and BOLD letters – to bring fire occurrences to nil a day and why, again, is public safety among its services – and pin these everywhere in its building. Writing to Dan Brown did not and will not solve the problem.
(Note to followers and regular visitors: I’ve been away from this blog for some time because I’ve been experimenting, i.e. engaging in, with the social network called Facebook. I’ve been for quite a while curious about FB users’ feedback particularly their frustrations and traumas, if you like, using it. I was curious as to how, for instance, a user could get so wired up over a “friend” ‘unfollowing’ him or her. As a researcher and evaluator, these things spark up my idea of fun discovery. I’ll write an article on my own experience and will post later.)