Shortages, a long list

Published September 9, 2021, 12:02 AM

by Jullie Y. Daza


Jullie Y. Daza

At 11:32 p.m. precisely on Sept. 1, I heard my first carol of the year, “White Christmas.” Twelve  hours earlier, Pedro, a father of four, put up his Christmas tree and pulled out box after box of ornaments. Later in the day, TV5 launched the network’s Christmas look.

Nope, there’s no shortage of hopes for a “normal” Christmas celebration complete with twinkly decorations on the tree, Nativity creches on the most important table in the house, fairy lights to frame windows. We’re just biding our time — 107 days of the SOND months, September, October, November, December – before we hit Christmas Day and its signature abundance of toys, gifts, special menus, and loving greetings.

And yet, and yet, in a country so blessed with fertile soil, mountains, seas, and talented people, why is there a perennial shortage of goods and services the whole year round? On a blue Monday this list of shortages suggested itself with each letter of the alphabet.

Ayuda and not for biyuda only;

Bonuses and other benefits for the low-salaried, such as trash collectors;

Cemeteries, crematoriums;

Drug lords still to be put away, eternally;

Energy to run our plants, electricity for faraway hamlets;

Food for the hungry;

Garlic, galunggong, ginger;

Hospitals and an upgrade of the healthcare system;

Irrigation systems;

Jobs for the unemployable;

Kindness all around;

Labs to test for more COVID suspects;

Money (more for the hardworking middle class who pay taxes);

Nurses and contact tracers;

Opportunities for new graduates, oxygen tanks for patients;

Plumbers – where to find and hire them?;

Quality, not merely qualified, candidates for election;

Rest and relaxation, with pay, for exhausted frontliners;


Tenement housing for the masses;

Upo, patola, sitaw, patani;

Vaccines, more and more, before Christmas comes!

Water, water, also during the rainy season;

Xemplary characters in public life;

Younger generations of farmers, or else who’ll plant our food in the future?

Zeal, of the type displayed by Yorme and Mark Villar.

Does this look like the longest wish list in the world? Well, these are abnormal times, Santa!