Thursday, 28 August 2014 12:57



LOS ANGELES, CA. — Living in the U.S. isn’t easy. Even Americans have a difficult time contending with the daily grind and monthly bills like mortgages and standing loans. “Stress” (a word they use to mean exhaustion) is often times blamed for depression. When you’ve achieved self-actualization, the highest hierarchy of man’s needs, there’s nothing to look forward to. Then the downtrend begins.

Retirees here are looking for “paradise” to spend the rest of their lives. The drudgery of 50 years of work is gone. Now, they want to live a quite, peaceful life away from it all — from the sometimes violent derangement and frenzy. I’ve talked to a handful of retirees (Americans) and they’re planning on living in cheaper habitation like the Philippines — in Dumaguete, Palawan or Bohol. There they can enjoy the mountain breeze and beautiful beaches without spending a lot. You can’t retire with a pension of $3,000 monthly and expect to live comfortably in the U.S. With that same kind of money, you’re utterly made in the Philippines. The piercing truth is life in the U.S. when in retirement is hard.

You don’t have to be gainfully employed to survive in the Philippines. You can live with P20,000 a month for as long as you can make your living simple. I’ve not been able to reconcile to fact that workers paid way below the minimum wage can still eat three times daily in Zamboanga, watch a good movie once in a while, buy clothes at small shops owned by Chinese and send their children to school. They accrue debts every now and then, but who doesn’t. Even the rich take up bank loans, for Pete’s sake. That’s how simple life is in Zamboanga. How come we’re not in the radar of American retirees?

We should give thanks for being Filipinos. We are a consecrated race. Admittedly, there is poverty in the big cities. People live in slums, under concrete overpasses and on the sidewalks with only hard cardboard serving as sleeprites. But they can eat from their “earnings” through begging. But this should be discouraged, if not eliminated, totally. Government has a moral obligation to feed and house them.

Street children (ah, they are many) must be rounded up and placed in government shelters and their parents prosecuted for child neglect. I think City Hall is doing a great job along this line. Authorities have resettled hundreds of homeless and indigents (those whom we call urban poor). We are giving children easy access to public education. Through insertions in the budget, the government has provided computers to public schools to raise the level of competence of those who have less in life. Opportunity, not money, is a gift to the poor.

And so, Zamboanga moves on as she strives to get better. That is achievable if we work hard, together — for only a handful outsiders will help us grow. Transparency, as enunciated by our mayor, is good. But performance is better and the product is such is best.