BEtween friends: Yesterday…Tomorrow PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 29 September 2014 11:46

By Linda Cababa-Espinosa, Ed.D.


For those who have been around for more than half a century in their lives, they have been eyewitnesses to a lot of things that have developed and happened around the world. Together with these developments are lessons learned as life goes on.

Anyone who is more than fifty years old today must have been a child at a time when one could buy ice cream at five centavos a cone, three big fried and sugared bananas at five centavos a stick, a whole bunch of fresh crunchy guavas at five centavos a bunch, and five butter ball candies at one centavo each.  At that time too, a good pair of slippers could be bought at Php 5.00 and a good pair of leather shoes at Php 25.00.  RTWs had not yet made the scene then.  All new dresses came from the local neighborhood seamstress sewn according to one’s original design at Php 2.00 to Php 3.00 per dress with the customer providing the material.

To have twenty five centavos at that time was to be able to run to the corner Chinese store five times for five different things.  That was close to a poor child’s idea of being rich, at least even for a day!

Today, of course, five centavos will buy nothing, a stick of bananas now costs five pesos and candies are already sold in prepared packs.  The cheapest rubber slippers costs twenty five pesos and a good pair of leather shoes could go from several hundreds to more than a thousand pesos depending on the brand.  And dress shops now compete for fashion – conscious customers, and one in a hurry may shop from the nearest department store for a new blouse, dress or pair of pants even a gown ready to wear.

Very few people could afford telephone connections at that time and overseas calls were very difficult to make, if they succeeded at all. Most of the time they couldn’t make out the voice which was drowned out by gurgling sounds.  If anyone at that time had even suggested that one day they would be able to call their loved ones across the seas anytime, night or day, with the use of a cordless phone and type letters on a machine called a computer which could be transmitted and received almost immediately after, that person would have been mocked and laughed at for daring to dream an impossible dream, in addition to having loose screws upstairs.

But amazing things have happened and more amazing beyond what man had dreamed of before.

So, man has walked on the moon, has built skyscrapers that would dwarf the biblical tower of Babel, has designed airplanes that could conquer distances almost as fast as the wind, and advances in medical science that could give a once hopeless patient a second or third lease at life.  Furthermore, people who have lost their limbs in one way or the other and rendered incapacitated may be useful again thru the use of prosthetic arms or legs.  Although, of course, only those who can afford may regain their self-respect thru these artificial limbs.

Thru the years, discoveries and advances in all the fields of endeavor have made our world not only wonderful but also dangerously different. Unlike the atomic bombs that levelled Hiroshima and Nagasaki, today’s nuclear bombs, according to the scientists, are so powerful they can pulverize an entire city and its inhabitants in one blow.

The old fashioned black telephone with wire connection, of yesteryears, limited only for calling was nothing compared to today’s ubiquitous cellphone with its multi capability for calling anytime, anywhere around the world, texting, giving the date and time, and providing a list of the contacts.

On top of that it can also be used to explode a bomb.

The advances in science, especially, have made our world smaller and unsafe. We used to know that the whole planet earth offers a lot of hiding places when we need to run away to hide. Today’s advances in science have exposed every corner of the world.  When we read in the newspapers about the conflict in the Middle East and the alarming situation caused by China’s possessive stance in the South China Sea, we now feel how these two issues have struck fear in our hearts as they begin to affect our lives, with the distance that separates us from them.  We realize that the world has become so much smaller because of man’s progressive discoveries and inventions.  And there is no way we can stop now.  Not anymore.  Because it has become very difficult to stop man’s greed and ambition either for more discoveries and inventions in the name of progress.

One thing is sure. Everything in this world has a price. Ignorance has a price. So does enlightenment.