MALLS AND BOMBS
I was planning on posting the first of a three-part blog on the changing nature of NGO work in the
Or through the link with his organizational website:
I will take this up again in a future posting.
Friday morning, October 19, I spent reading at the library of the development agency where my wife works. After lunch I began my trip home on the Metro Rail Transit train, the fastest way to get around Metro Manila despite the crushing numbers of people during the morning and late afternoon commute. The last stop of the train is the North Avenue Station which opens on to the new TRINOMA mall in
When I lived in
Many of these malls are bigger than anything you may have seen in the
SM North, which is being renovated, sports bill boards saying it is “one of the ten biggest malls in the world.”
Big deal, several malls here are much bigger.
The SM Megamall, a few stops down on the MRT train and adjacent to my wife’s workplace, used to be
The biggest chain of malls, the SM chain, is owned by Henry Sy. Following this are the Ayala malls owned by the Ayala family, a Spanish mestizo family and, according to Forbes, the wealthiest family in the
By the end of such a walking excursion, however, you will have suffered permanent hearing loss, as is already the case with most people in Metro Manila.
There is a direct relationship between the noise levels in a mall, the frigidity of the aircon, and the income levels of the shoppers – the poorer the clientele, the colder and louder the mall. Poor folk come to a mall to cool down, and to be entertained. They want their money’s worth!
SM North Mall leaves one half deaf after an hour, and you had better bring a sweater if you’re planning to take in a movie. The Rockwell Mall, which you can’t even get to on public transportation, goes for the very upscale shopper and is nearly silent. So, if you want powerful aircon, well, you can get that at home.
A few weeks after the new TRINOMA mall opened I realized it was not going for the same demographic as the Ayala’s Glorietta Mall in the City of
Speaking of Glorietta and TRINOMA, if you are avid international news junkies Glorietta might ring a bell for you, and this brings me back to the opening paragraph. I was in the grocery store in TRINOMA on Friday, on my way home from that library trip, looking for something to grill on the weekend. The security office at the agency where my wife works sent me and several thousand other staff and family members a text message to our cell phones. A bomb had just gone off at Glorietta Mall in
Intermittent text messages kept us informed of the events and investigation in
While we were still dating my now wife and I used to rendezvous at least once a week at the Glorietta Mall. We don’t go there very often now because TRINOMA and the new Gateway Mall in the Cubao area are closer, but we still go there once in awhile, and we know exactly where the bomb went off.
It was serious explosion, ripping up through three floors and blowing a hole in the roof of the mall, and leaving at least eleven people dead and over 100 injured.
What is interesting is how quickly we absorb the shock, those of us who did not lose a loved one and who were not injured. On Sunday, two days after the event, we were in the SM North Mall to get some gardening supplies. The mall had about half the number of people one might normally expect for a Sunday. Barring any new bombings, I suspect the crowd will be back to normal by next Sunday.
The October 21, 2007 editorial in the Philippine Daily Inquirer notes the sadness of our country, the fact that there are so many suspects in this bombing. The real tragedy, however, is that for a great many Filipinos and other residents, including this one, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her government are among the suspects. This is not the assessment of wild-eyed conspiracy theorists, but of average work-a-day people.
In his article in the October 22 Inquirer, political analyst Amando Doronila notes that whoever is responsible for the bombing, it certainly did draw attention away from Arroyo’s latest political scandal. Several days ago a handful of governors and congress people attending a meeting at the presidential palace reported that they were given gift bags stuffed with money. The governors received P500,000 (over $10,000
This is only the most recent and probably most serious scandal to rock the government in recent years. There’s the question of the president’s legitimacy. She took power in a popular uprising (although she was vice president at the time). She cheated in the following presidential election, and close aids and family members appear to have been involved in a fraudulent bidding process for a broadband system to be implemented by a Chinese company. It just goes on and on.
So, many people believe she may have orchestrated the bombing to divert people’s attention, or to create a pretext for declaring some form of martial law. On the other hand, many people also believe some faction of the military is behind it, to destabilize the regime.
But life goes on.
If accurate statistics were available I think they would indicate that life is safer in Metro Manila than in most cities in the
Much of life in the
Thanks to those of you who wrote to say you’ve read the blog, and to those of you who have posted comments.