Monday, October 15, 2007

Scattered Thoughts on Money and Happiness

"Happiness is a warm puppy."

Today's headline screams about the unabashed bribery by the Arroyo government of local officials to keep the so-called President in power. Apparently, after a meeting/party hosted by Malacanang officials, Congressmen who attended the event were each given fat envelopes with amounts varying from Php 200,000 to 150,000. Called as a early Christmas bonus, these extravagant gifts were handed away to keep their loyalty in favor of the present President. After the brouhaha brought about by the NBN deal fiasco, the Arroyo government feels the pressure and wants to be on the offensive by fielding a sham and weak impeachment complaint in order to effectively shield Arroyo from a potentially damaging real impeachment move. It must be recalled that the law protects incumbent presidents from power-play political manueverings by only allowing one impeachment case to be filed per year. So technically in legal parlance, if you file a impeachment complaint this year and it turns out to be a dud, you have to wait for one whole before you could take the only legal action of throwing out a President.

I am in the state of doldrums these days. I am still reeling from the pang of betrayal and lie by a loved one. Can a trust lost be ever fully regained? Where do you find the courage to stand up and pick up the pieces after you knowingly brought destruction to yourself? How do you find strength on your own? As I wallow in despair and soak myself in the pain of denial, my mind struggle to find the answers to these eternal questions. I breathe in sadnesss and breathe out anger by turns. I ask myself the question "why" a countless times. Immobilized by despair, I move automatically like a robot. Trapped by the daily routines of my insipid life, I spend the day doing what is expected of me like a chore and devoid of any sense of purpose and passion. Where do I go from here? How do I get myself back, if ever I had "it" in the first place?

Just last week, a meeting with an old friend provided me with much needed comical relief. Fresh from her recent trip to Korea, she regaled me with her stories of adventures and misadventures. She told me that the elitist or "sosyal" afternoon snack in Korea is would you believe sweet potatoes or "kamote" coupled with hot white milk. Koreans, being consciously healthy, even add kamote as toppings to their pizza. Philippine bananas are also a big hit in Korea and only the rich can afford them there. The temperate loving banana stalks refuses to grow in their country's cold and wintry weather. So they have no choice but to import their bananas here and purchase them in Korea at ludicrous prices. What I find so amusing about these stories is the apparent irony of it all. What the rich classes eat in Korea, the poor folks here in Pinas have in abundance. I cannot help but notice that there seems to be a leveling of some sort between their rich and our poor. No wonder Koreans come to the Philippines in great droves. They can eat whatever their elite class can in stupendous abundance. If Koreans knew that only the truly poor ones in the country are forced to eat kamote and bananas, particularly in the rural areas, when the staple food rice is not around, I wonder, if they would still consider these fruits as a symbol status of "kasosyalan."

So I am left with the safe conclusion that indeed the value of money and happiness are relative. Money may seem to make the world go round and may bring happiness to most people but there is more underneath. So much more. Bribing money to gain friends and support, a political move perfected by the current administration, may give them their desired goal for the time being but not forever. Sooner or later they may run out of friends once they ran out of money. The goods that people buy for a hefty amount of money for the ultimate purpose of finding happiness and getting satisfied may be of no value at all to others. While some may even get it for free and yet still find no satisfaction despite of its superfluous presence. Happiness has different a face for everyone. It is not easily recognizable as its form varies from one person to the next. But happiness in order to be true and lasting must come from within. Only "you" can tell what can make you truly happy. So I ask myself again, "What makes me happy?"

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