Past is future

Published January 25, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Jullie Y. Daza


Jullie Y. Daza

On one of my rare visits to the supermarket, a display of garbage bags – not in black – attracted my attention.

They stood out because they were packaged in sunny colors and labeled as pleasant-smelling garbage bags, thanks to the added value of fruit and flower scents such as lavender, lemon, mint, orange. An abomination or a reinvention?

What a nice way to look to the future, when garbage might just be induced to smell fresh and fragrant! With all the hand-washing and disinfecting going on in our near-normal lifestyles amid the threat of COVID patients losing their sense of smell, this is a product of and for our times.

The sweet smell of success is the fate of the world’s richest men even as the pandemic continues to claim millions of victims. The top ten “doubled their wealth during the first two years of the pandemic,” as reported by Oxfam, a confederation of charities focused on alleviating global poverty. Their wealth grew from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion at an average of $1.3 billion a day. You have to wonder how much, if any, of their investments are in the giant pharmaceuticals manufacturing vaccines and other timely drugs.

When will a Filipino make it to the list? Think about the 26-year-old computer programmer who provided the key to two Nigerians to hack the airtight security system of BDO and transfer the money to Union Bank. What a waste of talent! A techie genius who could have sailed into a lucrative future here or abroad. A victim of his own fate?

For stay-at-home seniors, life is pretty much like living in the past. They relive the good old days of their youth, they turn on the TV and find a stream of replays and more replays, they hear or read the all-too perennial news about galunggong shortages, water interruptions, escalating prices of fuel and food, all underscored by the déjà vu experience of listening to politicians promising good, better times ahead.

Ping Lacson, the most senior presidential candidate, had the best throwaway one-liners on Jessica Soho’s show: “Korapsyon ang papatay sa atin” (Corruption will kill us) and “Yang kalamidad, pinagkakakitaan pa” (Profiting from calamities). A fresh take on a habit as old as crime.