sweet sewage

2:33 AM Thursday, January 17, 2008

Did you know that sewage tastes sweet?

Now I semi-understand how rotten things can smell 'ripe' :)

And no, I didn't taste sewage. I did read one of Ambeth Ocampo's articles, "The Miracle of the Water and the Cross", and I quote:

Sometime during the term of William Howard Taft, a fisherman in Manila Bay found “bubbles like a crown of pearls… stretched upon tile surface of the sea.” He tasted the water and to his surprise, it was sweet!

Sweet water in the middle of the sea? The fisherman returned with a priest who promptly pronounced a miracle. People from nearby Tondo came in boats and saw bubbles form a cross. They took bottles of the sweet miraculous water home. Two days later, one of the cholera epidemics hit Tondo.

Dr. Victor Heiser (who later wrote a book about his "adventure" in the Philippines) went to the site to investigate the “miracle" and discovered that the bubbles and sweet water came from a busted sewage pipe! Kadiri (Gross!). People were actually drinking, or should I say gulping sewage water. Taft could not do anything because keeping the people from the "miracle" could provoke a revolt.

I am not absolutely sure if that was the case, but knowing the Filipino's penchant for anything supernatural, miraculous, etc... I wouldn't be surprised. I don't even know if it's a genetic characteristic, this willingness to surrender to the divine and unexplained. I hate to think we're just naturally stupid, even given the fact that we willingly elect convicted rapists and tolerate blatant corruption.

Or is that it, we're a nation of people who want immediate answers, which is why praying for and hoping for and banking on miracles is more convenient than working to make the positive changes that we are hoping and praying for? We gladly trade our votes for a kilo of rice, our bodies for new cellphones, our children's future to get-rich-quick schemes?

I guess it's fitting then... how sweet it is of us to be so trusting and full of hope, and yet, how rotten too that we believe we are not responsible for the good government we want for our country.


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