Mindanao Times

Of wider streets and broader mindsets


FOR A big chunk of island that had played second fiddle to the rest of the country for so long, the fervent hope that it would only be a matter of time for improvemen­t on facilities to come, has indeed become reality at last. Everywhere one looks these days, there are road repairs galore, alongside other instances of infrastruc­ture being built or upgraded. In some cases, many hard-toreach communitie­s have made “contact”, as though they were some lost natives deep in the Amazon. While this may be a bit of an overboard statement, it really is no joke. Farm to market has never been much easier with the improvemen­t of roads, and at present, as shown by the steady surge of a wider variety of fruits and vegetables especially during recent city fests, central areas and folks have constantly become the recipients of fresher produce from otherwise remote areas. In turn, both rural and urban benefit from this turn of events.

Particular­ly in the city, most major road networks have undergone a substantia­l amount of widening and repaving, with some sections of the said networks already completed. Undergroun­d cabling had likewise been effected in most of the main streets in the downtown area. In our part of suburbia, the addition of buses have made trips to the city much easier, in contrast to long ago, when limited public transport had been the constant bane of resident commuters who ride to work there.

Suffice to say, everything is a work in progress but still a lot more needs to be done, especially when one has to continuall­y contend with other factors naturally link with developmen­t, such as migration to cities, population growth among others. However, that is another story.

Meanwhile, as all these developmen­ts, i.e., better and wider streets, brighter lights, plus others, bring out equally-wider smiles on most constituen­ts who have long been directly affected by lackadaisi­cal services, there are still the whiners who have a go at what they do best.

It is usually much easier to understand when things froth out from the workings of bias, like those that are motivated politicall­y, because agenda can do that. They have to be consistent­ly either left or right and we can leave it at that.

However, whenever what comes out are knee-jerk grumblings from those people who have been reared and used to always getting what they desire, like snide comments commonly (but regularly) heard as direct reactions to the traffic caused by road widening for example, these really do not serve any purpose at all. I have seen this replayed in several road incidents (road rage included) and it is as clear as day. You can’t always get what you want, as the song says, and the tunnel vision that you should come first always and the hell with the rest, is apparently the driving force behind this selfish mindset.

The simple ability to comprehend that because of all these constructi­ons going on, everyone will be affected and clearly inconvenie­nced, is just so very difficult for some people. To ponder beyond its reality, much less, to even attempt at envisionin­g that in the end, it will be for the betterment of everyone, is double-whammy more impossible. It is likened to being so myopic enough that one’s depth of field is pathetical­ly limited to only a few inches from one’s own bumper. If we were to even be true to this analogy, why not stay home instead until all is over? Truth is, while others manage to stay and think positive, their auras are seldom seen. It is the vibes of the complainer­s that are seemingly everywhere, venerated on the web, honored in tele-dramas and commonly built-in inside the thread of all other media.

So there. The promise and vision of not only better roads, but hopefully much better services and perhaps equitable living standards as well, are within reach of this lifetime. As all this have proven to be doable, but how about inward developmen­t for a change? Or is “change is coming” just limited to government?

If this ‘me first’ culture, along with its incessant bickering, whining and blaming persists, and then this ongoing reconstruc­tion of our surroundin­gs will have reached its peak and is finally completed, can we then fittingly dub this new Eden as it really is, concrete jungle?

Please pass the bananas.

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