Friday, March 10, 2006

Walang Sayang

I have a good friend in Australia who is technical director for a theatre, he is also a magpie. His workshop is a veritable cornucopia of equipment that may become useful one day. He has hung onto some it for so long that it looks like it came out of the ark. He also has in daily use equipment that his colleagues have discarded several years, if not eons, ago.

One of my first impressions of Manila was that this particular workshop had taken on a national significance. From jeepneys that have seen better days, wooden hand carts with patches on their patches, street vendors who repair umbrellas, market stalls that repair cell phones, to the payment of a 2.50 peso deposit for the bottle of beer or lolly water, recycling is an ingrained way of life.

My best beloved will not discard an object until it has very truly reached the end of its useful life. Even then she will hang onto it and sell it to the junk man who comes round every few weeks. He buys clear glass bottles, medicine bottles, cardboard, old electrical goods, scrap steel, anything that has a potential recyclable use.

Even what makes it into the trash, which is collected daily, is given a final sort by the scavengers who make a frugal living scouring the cities’ rubbish dumps.

As the first world promotes recycling to its throw away consumer communities, the Filipino’s frugal nature encourages this ideal as a normal way of life.

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