Road rage Manila style

This is why sometimes, I am glad I don’t have a car anymore.

Driving alone in Metro Manila is tough already, what with the jeepneys acting as the “king of the road” and then you have heavily tinted SUVs and luxury cars whose owners and/or drivers don’t give a damn about pedestrians, and then the occasional fools who don’t give a damn about traffic rules or disobey traffic enforcers like that guy caught on camera by a roaming media group. Why? Just because they want to, I guess. Or maybe just because they can. Which is sad.

Even pedestrians aren’t safe from road rage fools sometimes. Once, at nine at night, I flagged a jeepney that stopped properly at the side of the road to pick me up. But a Pajero was after it, and its driver got irritated when the jeep stopped. All he could have done was to stop and let me ride in peace, but he had to blast his loud horn relentlessly in impatience. I got irked and shook my head in reaction as I boarded the jeep. The Pajero impatiently swerved and overtook the jeepney that was still stopped because it was waiting for another passenger after me. I thought the Pajero would already speed away, but it stopped beside the jeep, passenger window rolled down, and a guy who looked like this road rage guy in the video started shouting at me, mad as hell. “Ano, ano’ng gusto mo, ha? Ano’ng gusto mo???” I was like dafuq is this guy shouting about? But I just stared at him with a questioning expression, not saying anything. He didn’t look drunk or anything, just agitated. One of those assholes, you know. There’s no sense engaging the bozo so I just shut up. And in my mind, there was only one peg for this: Rolito Go ito. When he didn’t get any reaction from me, he speeded away. Crazy.

Flashback to the early 1990s when the concept of “road rage” didn’t seem like a “viable” concept — yet. A young man who drove out and bought pizza for late night snacking met the rage of an older man delivered by the barrel of a gun. That older man was eventually caught, sentenced, escaped prison, caught again, and so on and so forth. I had no energy following up his story anymore after that first escape since we all know that there seems to be something wrong with the prison system if rich prisoners have airconditioned cells and could walk in and out just like that. Hanep lang ‘no.

And this is where my earlier road rage peg came from, now resurfacing anew. So this older man, apparently now in his 70s and is suffering from some sort of cancer, kinda disappeared lately but he was also recovered. Why he disappeared is yet being investigated. I kinda wanted to feel sorry for him when I saw his mug on TV earlier.

Before the concept of road rage existed, there was Rolito Go.

But I can’t. When you lose a loved one in a violent way, I don’t think you can say sorry enough to the family of the one you shot. That was what he was saying after this scene took place. He was saying sorry. But sorry will not give back their son, their nephew, that life you took. I don’t think any amount of compassion could be given to this guy other than let him live his life until its end. And that’s just it. But inside the prison.

I remember the case of the controversial Matthew Shepard, the gay guy in the US who got mauled and was left for dead, all because he was gay. When the deliberations for the sentence of his killers was happening, his father made a speech and addressed the lifetime-convicted killers. He said something like he wants to give the killers the gift of life so that they could always think of/reflect on what they did to his son.  Because of this incident, hate crimes became a legitimate concern in the US, specifically hate against gay people or people perceived to be gay. Yes, give them life so they could contemplate on that death.

But I don’t know. The miniscule Buddhist in me is shouting compassion. Forget the hate and embrace love. Perhaps forgiveness could be afforded him eventually, given the circumstances of his age and health. Well yeah, I guess I am all for that, only if he will abide by the law and just try to do good while inside the prison. But he tried to escape before already, so what does that say?

Sometimes, it’s hard to practice compassion when you are bombarded with hard facts. In the end, all I could do as a spectator in this crazy arena we call Filipino culture is shrug my shoulders and let karma do its job — especially if our law enforcers cannot do theirs.

As for life on the road, just try to drive carefully, folks. And please obey traffic rules, drivers and pedestrians alike.

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~ by leaflens on August 16, 2012.

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