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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Narcolepsy

Written by scudi

My name is Steve and I am 17 years old. My favorite subject is Political and Social Sciences. I look up to the leaders who have put so much to be able to fulfill the job they swore to do. They are noble heroes for me. One day, I am going to be like them.

I live in the Philippines, a country I love so deeply. A tourist will have the time of his life if he would go around this country. An 8GB memory card for a digicam will not be enough to capture all the beauty its islands have to offer. Add to that the fact that Filipinos are hospitable and friendly.

There is one thing that hinders this country from moving leaps and bounds in terms of economy. There could be more reason but selecting people to lead us is really flawed.

Because I want my first vote to be really meaningful, I scheduled a one on one interview to one of the more prominent person hinting to vie for public office 12 months before the election.

When I arrived to her office, Ms Betty Dumlao is in her casual attire. I was surprised because it was time for work and she is our incumbent mayor. I expected her to be in formal attire as I see with most political figures.

She offered iced tea and water, both in sealed pet bottles. I declined both. Then she signaled on one of her bodyguards who opened the door. We went into her car and drove away.

“Will you vie for another term in office this coming election?” was the first question I dared to ask.

“No. I am so sorry but I won’t run this coming election.” came the answer.

Dumbfounded, I almost screamed at her face “Why?!”

“Sit back. I’ll show you why.” She said.

The driver made a turn and stopped in the front of a school. It is a public school that admits and produces students of top caliber. Every parent in town wants their child be admitted there. Aside from the prestige they will be able to acquire, the education and training level in the school is unparalleled in town.

She started talking, “Five years ago, this school seriously lacks classrooms, teachers and facilities. When I won in the elections back then, this school became my priority. This is the school where I graduated from so I know first hand that this school can be the pride of our town.

"Surely, the townsfolk would still write your name in their ballots come election time. Why not run?"I allotted budget for new buildings and laboratories. I asked the superintendent to hire young and competent teachers. The fences surrounding this school were fixed. Faucets with potable water were built. I would say that I have covered almost everything that this school needs.

Now, we are reaping the results of the labor rendered for this institution. We are now recognized as one of the prime producers of competent students. Our students are now competing internationally and have won several awards. It is very fulfilling.”

She nodded at the driver and the car started moving again. It is moving very slowly this time as if the driver has planned his course and the speed to specific places. It is a scheduled trip and the mayor has planned everything we are doing right now.

“Before I was a mayor, I’m sure you remember” she said. “This street is an eye sore. Garbage is thrown here and there. Dogs are defecating and peeing everywhere. Lots of flies and bugs can be seen all over. Simply put, you wouldn’t want to be here.

With me at the helm, new garbage collection scheme was implemented. Landfill maintenance was owned by the local government to make sure that no negligence shall happen. Street cleaners are detailed on every corner of the town.”

Well, it’s true that I remember avoiding this street in the years before. I never really noticed the change in this place, not until now that I am told about it.

Thinking about it, it is now a pleasure to walk around town. Even in the wee hours of the night, I am not scared that I will be mugged by unscrupulous people. Aside from the cleanliness, the town streets are well lighted.

She saw me ogling at the street lights and she smiled pleasantly at me. “So you noticed it, too. You made me glad.

“Aside from those lights all around the town, police outposts are also placed especially in places where petty crimes have been rampant. Street cleaning and clearing is for crime prevention too. Since the streets are now unobstructed by garbage, police force can now respond quickly to calls.

That also goes for ambulances. People of this town are guaranteed 5 minutes arrival time from time of call. It’s safe to say that so far we are able to maintain this.

As a general result, crime rates drastically dropped and emergency medical needs have been attended to.”

The car halted outside the fence of the sports complex. This is my favorite hangout so she really does not need to say anything.

I remember it so well, as if it is just yesterday. As a kid addicted to basketball, I am always playing the game with my friends. There are times when we are looking for a place to play the game because the grown ups occupies the court near us.

We once went to this same sports complex, paid the entrance fee and checked out the basketball court with our hopes held high. We were so disappointed upon seeing the court. The floor is uneven, puddles of water are present and the hoops themselves are in awful situation.

That is just the basketball court. The tennis court, oval, soccer field and volleyball courts are all in equally awful state. The few people who utilize the complex are in high risk of getting injured due to the uneven flooring.

When I looked at the mayor, she was smiling at me. Maybe she was talking all the time I am lost in my thoughts. I am really not sure.

Before I know it, the car is already in motion once more. I heard somebody screaming followed by a shrill cry. I looked around to see the source of the sound.

It was an old lady watching a loved one being brought to the emergency room of the only public hospital in town. It was a pity sight.

“Deaths are unavoidable, are they?” the mayor asked.

“Yes” was my only answer.

The mayor began narrating, “Actually, there are cases where we can save a dying person. With the help of people in medical field, some lives are extended.

Sad to say, most public hospitals have been notorious for slow service, lack of modern facilities and incompetent staff. There are cases where a patient’s life has been saved but because of the said factors, they died. Our public hospital is not exempted from this reputation.

So what I did is hire new breed of staff. We hired those with urge to save lives, not just to earn something for living. We hired those with the will to serve any given day.

I allotted budget for new facilities that are vital in saving lives. I also gave budget for new ambulances so that in case the facilities in our hospital cannot save the patient, he can be transferred to a more modern hospital.

So far, our hospital showed vast improvements from years ago and I am so happy to have driven that change.”

I took the chance to talk and do what I am supposed to do.

“So, mayor, you have done so much for this town. In a span of less than 6 years, this place transformed from a dirty to a healthy town.

Because of your projects, investors began considering our town as the heart of their operation. Beyond doubt, this town needs you, your loyalty and your service. Surely, the townsfolk would still write your name in their ballots come election time. Why not run?”

The mayor took a deep breath then smiled.

“That’s where you got it wrong. I am not needed in this town anymore. I have done what I swore to do. Actually, I am very happy that you implied to me that I did a good job.

What this town needs at this time is someone who would continue my projects and improve what I have finished.

It may be a selfish move on my part but it’s my way of saying I have been loyal to the town. I know there is someone out there who has ideas on how to improve this town further.”

I realized that the mayor is really a person to admire. Her desire to serve the town is so noble that she is ready to relinquish the post after she has done her work.

Before I realized it, we’re back at the city hall. We got off the car and went back to her office where a chalkboard is standing.

While I was busy admiring the mayor and her thoughts, she handed me a chalk and asked me to write on the board my ideas on how to further improve what she has already done.

I took the chalk then walked towards the chalkboard. I leaned my head on the chalkboard then thought hard. With my eyes closed and my head deep in thoughts, I can hear some people chuckling and jeering. And then I heard an elderly female voice call my name.

“Steve! Steve! You slept again while doing your board work! “ my Social Studies teacher yelled. “Go to the detention room and write ‘I shall never sleep in class again’ 500 times!”


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