|By Roger Strukhoff||
|March 26, 2010 01:27 PM EDT||
As I was riding in a very crowded jeepney (just called a "jeep" by locals), we suddenly came to a stop. Not unusual, the traffic can be horrendous, and this was late Friday afternoon, just as schools and many offices were letting everyone out.
But we sat. And sat. and sat. The people here are extraordinarily patient by Western standards. Life is hard and people typically just accept things for how they are. "Bahala na" goes the saying (something between "whatever" and "god (little g) willing."
But this was silly. After a while horns started honking, and looks of genuine anger started to appear. If you've traveled anywhere in Asia, you know that the typical protocol goes from placid to homicidal in a flash. There is no steadily escalating anger and threats as in the US and other Western countries. Here, people stay calm...until they aren't.
It turned out that the root of the problem was a political parade. A big one. Supporters of presidential candidate Richard Gordon, in concert with the local police, had blocked the main highway in my area, so that hundreds upon hundreds of cars, SUVs, jeeps, and trikes could proudly parade through a very modest neighborhood in search of votes.
The election is May 10. It's starting to be crazy time here. Daily talk of new conspiracies involving the current president, of a possible military takeover, of why talk of a takeover is so responsible as to cause one, and on and on. Most of the major candidates are color-coded: leading candidate Noynoy Aquino uses yellow (the color of his mother's People Power campaign in 1986); second-place candidate (according to the polls) has countered with orange; Gibo Teodoro, running under the flag of the current ruling party, is in green; and Richard Gordon is red.
(Another candidate, former President and movie star Erap Estrada, also uses orange, but he gets along fine just being Erap.)
Richard Gordon is supported primarily by wealthier voters, according to polls, so I doubt he won any today. He certainly didn't win mine! (That is, he didn't win mine if I were able to vote here.)
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