Typhoons, Allergies and Funerals

Odd past week… Not been able to sleep much due to being allergic to something… Unfortunately I think I may find myself now allergic to sleep – which is curable only by sleeping.

So yesterday was the funeral for Michael Duglas, the boy i mentioned in the last post. The wake lasted a week and in the Philippines that means the body is in the coffin with the top half open while everyone else is around the area kind of keeping watch so to speak. Interesting version of culture – in some ways it’s healthier as people respond and deal with death rather than hiding from it. Usually there’s drinking and gambling too, a percentage of the gambling winnings then goes to pay the cost of the funeral which works well.

We all drove up to the cemetery, a huge piece of land on the top of a hill. It was an incredibly hot and sunny day which just feels odd for a funeral. What feels worse, of course, is remembering that the boy is 16 years old and died because there wasn’t enough money for his operaiton and medical expenses. Corruption in the healthcare system and politics of most countries means that England is the only country i know of with a free healhcare system. Amidst all the criticism of the NHS, it’s worth remembering that it is one of the best healthcare systems in the world! While we complain of waiting lists and spending hours to get treated, most people in the world never actually get treated! Hence, the funeral.

There’s so many examples of people taking backhanders to push drugs that don’t work and have even killed people, giant pharmaceutical companies covering up trials of drugs that caused serious side-effects such as not being able to be alive anymore and then selling the drug on (Pfizer for one example, watch the film The Constant Gardener – the place and names have changed but essentially it’s real). This is what happens in a world where money is the aim and people become objects to us. We see the checkout person as just someone who is there to help us. The waiter or the fast-food employee is there to serve us, and that means we can shout at them when our order is late or wrong, what dignity do they have right? Worse, the jobs we really don’t want to do and the reason our countries are rich in the first place are shipped overseas so we don’t have to see the suffering and poverty our lifestyles cause. Those clothes we wear, most of them are made in factories for pennies – employees forced to take drugs to keep them working. I once met a boy at Uni who spent £100 on clothes. I had drunk a little bit so didn’t hold back on him, which was probably unfair, and was asking what’s the point? You know people are exploited to give you that? He replied that he was giving people a wage through buying fancy clothes… He wasn’t. Look into any major retailer and the percentage of the price that goes to the workers and it’ll always be daft. Marx called it surplus labour, and this was the measure for the exploitation of workers. It has only increased. While the price of most things has increased massively over the last few decades, average wage has stayed pretty much the same for most people. Of course you go outside the western countries where that’s true and you see a worse picture. The UN admitted that poverty last year actually grew in most countries, China was the biggest exception.

Anyway that’ll be the illness-induced medicine-fueled rant over for now… the questions are just what would we do in the same situation? What do we most cherish for ourselves and for others? Do we look to get a job and have a family and that’s it or do we look to see what difference we can make in the world – something we’re passionate about, something we want to work for. To step outside of working for a corporation or a boss and being told what to do and to look at what change we want in the world. Maybe i’m just delusional from the medicine… :p

oo but we do have the fully finished documentary online now! Here is the link to the latest version in hd!!


One thought on “Typhoons, Allergies and Funerals

  1. Alvin October 18, 2010 / 14:19

    Roy! Long time no see/talk.

    That’s the culture here indeed. In the past, people wait for 9 days after death before putting someone to rest. Families from all over the country/world usually go to wherever the dead family member is, and stay there for the duration of the 9 days. Obviously now, this is just too costly to do and hence, not observed by many anymore.

    As for the typhoon: It has already made its landfall in Northern Isabela/Southern Cagayan area and is expected to move towards Southern Ilocos Sur/Northern La Union before moving towards Macau area. Hope you’re well and safe Roy 🙂

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