Working cool


Jullie Y. Daza

A long time ago T.S. Eliot said that April is the cruelest month. Another person, perhaps also a poet, said that “April is a promise that May is bound to keep.” What promise? In these our tropical islands, please make that the promise of rain, but rain without typhoons and floods.  

While praying for those masses of clouds to drop their showers into our dams and reservoirs, this particular April has been cruelly frying us in our own oil – with heat indexes as high as 46C – and drying up our fields and farms, throwing young and old into various fits of discomfort, while sending our a/c bills right through the roof (even with Meralco announcing a teensy-weensy discount).

And still we see brave souls cloaked in black, day or night. How’s that? Black absorbs heat and induces sweating. At night, it’s hard to see on the road, on pedestrians as well as cars and particularly motorcycles.

Whatever the temperature and for whatever reason or season, black is a very popular color in Metro Manila’s malls, the most popular and public of our public buildings. You see men and women garbed in black tops and pants, whether shopping, dining, reporting for work or parking their cars. Even when they opt for shorts, those would be in black. A millennial explained it thus: Black makes a person anonymous, and yet that person is trying to make a statement.

Should we ask government workers to throw out their black mourning gear? If being fashionable means looking comfortable and smart in the right clothes at the right time for the right occasion, President BBM has the correct fashion sense with his cotton shirts in light colors, or short-sleeved FM shirt-jacs in jusi or piña.

Sen. Francis Tolentino is consistently “cool” in his colorful shirts with their tropical prints. (Many people cannot help calling it the “Lito Atienza look.”) Thumbs up, too, for mayors who show up in their most casual gear and are seen as being on the job, on the ball. Still on the subject, isn’t it time to design for our cops a summery look that will make them look as friendly as the world’s friendliest tourist cops?