We’re back into lockdowns here.
- There’s no dole. Theoretically everyone gets a free bag of rice and some tins of sardines but mostly it gets pinched before it reaches anyone who needs it. There’s meant to be some money, too – not yet met anyone who’s got any.
- Lots of hungry people.
- Theft and drug dealing both up.
- Uncertainty and inconsistency about the rules. There was supposed to be outdoor dining but that doesn’t seem to be happening. Greasing palms can help in obtaining permits for limited capacity operation.
- Little to no impact on infection rates.
- Hardly matters anyway because with a very young population the IFR is probably under 0.1%.
- Schools are closed but they have been since March 2020. I’m starting to think they might never reopen.
This lockdown doesn’t affect me much this time as the beach remains open, officially or unofficially I’m not sure.
I’m fairly Zen at this point but there are still things that shit me: corruption, bedwetters and dobbers.
City vs Province
The city and provincial governments publish totally different infection data for reasons neither has troubled itself to explain.
City data is lower. They get money from local fees like diving permits for marine sanctuaries so they need businesses to stay open.
Provincial data is twice as high, sometimes higher. I think they get extra funding from Manila during lockdowns for ‘welfare’ (see above).
[Update: a hospital in Cebu just got busted for falsely claiming a patient died of Covid in order to reap a PHP300,000 funding boost. Also, every person quarantined nets the province PHP15,000 for food and ‘treatment’ which they’ll be lucky to receive if sick. Would you believe a lot of people test negative while boarding at Manila Airport then test positive upon arrival in the provinces? Would it surprise you to learn that there are far more positive tests at public hospitals than at more expensive private clinics? Things are starting to add up.
Immediately following the Cebu bust, authorities here abruptly dropped the official number of active cases. How about that. Anyway, on to the Things That Shit Me.]
Rich old foreigners
Some of them looove the lockdowns because Boomers being able to boom just a few more years with zero risk is far more important than a largely young population of a Third World country suffering malnutrition. Some live in a Cloud Person bubble where the poverty and desperation are not apparent. All they see are smiling locals battling on, not the many people forced to go back to their home village and live on bananas as their savings and dreams evaporate.
To their credit, most old foreigners are close enough to the local working class via their girlfriends/wives to know the real situation and very few support it. The type who chooses to retire around here tend not to be oversensitive to risk.
Or ‘tattlers’ if that’s the term you use.
The local Taiwanese dive resort/cafe was quietly staying open at reduced capacity but the lady next door complained to police and got them closed down. The local cops really don’t care unless someone makes a fuss. Why the hell did she have to go and make a fuss?
Well, she didn’t suddenly turn into a horrible bitch in March 2020. Always has been. She’s made constant complaints about the poor old Taiwanese place about any tiny thing she can think of, such that they’ve had to accumulate a large stack of permits just to operate a normal business that causes no harm to anyone.
Her angst is not specifically directed at foreigners. Everyone in the neighbourhood knows she’s a rotter. After all, the Taiwanese business hires mostly locals. They just took on some new waitresses after the last restrictions eased and the girls were stoked to be there. Any job is a good job at the moment.
It’s jealousy. Filipinos understand the ‘bucket of crabs’ analogy and use it to describe themselves. If my neighbour is rich, that must make me poor. If I fuck him over and make him poor, I will become richer. Somehow. It’s like they think there’s only a thousands pesos in the world and if someone else makes more, I must therefore make less.
A canny neighbour would have taken advantage of the situation. Sell them fresh coconuts to serve their customers. Offer them dibs on the best, freshest fish they catch each evening. If the joint does really well and wants to expand there’s only one direction it can go, thus greatly increasing their own property value.
You should see the old biddy. Angry lesbian hairstyle, face like a punch in the balls, marches around like a T-26. The Taiwanese tried to win her over by giving her some food, which she took, but nothing wins over that sort.
More of the same
Lockdowns didn’t change us, really. They just enhanced what we already were. Corrupt. Selfish. Whiny (cough). Nasty. Stupid.
We sometimes wonder what life would be like if we were among the scattered survivors of a nuclear holocaust. The answer is, we’d have to tolerate the same shitheadedness as we do now. Nuclear explosions are not very selective.
If they were, they’d have been used more by now.
And another thing
The second Groundhog in my life is Australian border controls. They’ve just halved the number of people allowed to enter the country from an already low limit.
No point bellyaching about these things anymore, only maneuvering around it.
My original plan was to hold out another ten months for Japan then give up and go home, under the assumption that the giving up and going home option would be possible by then. Now it seems that it won’t be, with flights from here very few and highly expensive.
New plan: hold out ten months for Japan then give up and go absolutely anywhere that (a) will have me, (b) that I can get to and that (c) has internet speeds good enough for online work to sustain me for the interim. I’ll probably need a certificate of vaccination to go anywhere but that might be arranged. Read that sentence carefully.
Anyway, Mexico, Albania and Georgia are frontrunners.
I have to leave here because slow internet speeds plus weekly blackouts make online employment unfeasible, and I’ll eventually reach a limit where I’m no longer allowed to renew my tourist visa anyway.
Whatever happens, the challenge of the next five years or so will be clinging to any little patch of dirt I can reach.
Had this Groundhog Day struck any earlier than it did, I would have been completely wiped out. Small mercies.