…Austerity?… it’s been around in places other than the UK for a while…

…I have the utmost empathy for the tens of thousands of families in the UK who struggle to make ends meet near, on and below the poverty line, especially those with young families to feed and clothe… it seems a more-than-usually hot political button at present back in Blighty… but I can’t help but reflect back to my ten-year stay in the Philippines, and mem’ries of hardship lower down the social scale for many of the good people there… it’s still considered ‘normal’ to ask a pharmacy to sell aspirin one tablet at a time… the counter clerk will scissor off the silvered paper from the strip tab and not bat an eyelid… similarly, in some places, shampoo is sold in  ‘single-wash’ sachets… re-packed cooking oil is regularly on sale… money is scarce and seems to have been so forever in certain large swathes of the society… at times, paradoxically, it can throw up an event which generates much mirth, although the underpinning poignance and sadness is still there if yeez look hard enuff… fr’instance, one trouble-shooting, ‘turnaround’ engagement I undertook, lasted three years in Manila, and involved a major local ferry company, whose vessels plied daily up and down the archipelago… the ships carried a combination of cargo, mainly in those large metal containers yeez see on the ocean-going ships, holding anywhere up to ten tonnes each… on the upper decks were paying passengers, usually up to a thousand or so, depending on the size of the vessel… these passengers were decidedly not yer Louis Vuitton luggage owners… personal and household goods were more usually wrapped in large stripey, coloured canvas or in re-used, huge cardboard boxes which may formerly have carried refrigerators or such items…


…if our porters could carry it aboard for them, it went free (Ryan Air, are yeez listening!)… our team of porters on the dockside were the equivalent to human ants, carrying loads ‘way above their own weight, up the boarding gangways and onto the ship to park these items beside their travelling owners… one such porter picked up a box, I swear to yeez, about six feet in height and four feet square across… the woman passenger seemed a tad agitated and asked him to be extra careful… we soon found out why… understand, the temperature on the pier was prob’ly in excess of 40 degrees Centigrade… halfway up the gangway, the box spoke!… ‘let me out!’ it said… inside the packaging was the lady’s husband!… the poor man was steadily roasting to death… and all in pursuit of trying to save the cost of one passenger ticket…


…the upshot resulted in my Chief of Staff buying from his own pocket the added ticket for the stricken spouse, a Solomonic and Samaritan gesture all rolled into one… as I stated above, I understand hardship comes in many forms, and have no beef against those truly suffering from poverty-induced trauma, but next time, some of the kinda ‘more-well-off’ complainants may wanna consider if they would hide in a box to go on a 24-hour ferry trip… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!..



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

6 responses to “…Austerity?… it’s been around in places other than the UK for a while…

  1. They sell pills, shampoo, etc. the same way here in India, Seumas. Sachets are very popular. Seeing the poverty, it makes me extra grateful for the food we get. People in the west take for granted things people here do without.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the call to attention, Seumas. Indeed, Western austerity pales in comparison to the conditions in certain places.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This makes me feel particularly humble at the moment Seumas. I’ve just been trying to restore a semblance of order after the builders, and have so much ‘stuff.’ If only I had a magic transporter to levitate all my surplus shampoos, toiletries and clothes to where they would be of use. Instead I can see them adding to the landfill as charities and other groups are not interested in partly used bottles or packets. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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