Sunday, September 7, 2008

Blonde

While travelling along Taft Avenue in Manila last week, a child wearing dirty shirt and pants entered the jeepney we were riding. He then distributed small 6 3/4 white envelopes to each passenger and just waited at the corner. Written on the envelope was a message in Filipino that says, "Ate at Kuya. Pahingi lang po ng kaunting tulong. Pambili lang po ng pagkain." It did striked me to put in some coins in the envelope, seeing such a helpless kid, running along Taft barefooted and wearing dirty clothes. But in a matter of seconds, I suddenly realized that this child may not be the one who wrote the message. First, the handwriting looks better than mine. Second, it used "po" which is very rare now, among Filipino children. One passenger gave some coins while I hastily took a shot of the very good handwriting. Guilty for secretly capturing his letter in my camera, I suddenly felt the need to give him five pesos. Together with the other envelopes, around three were in my hands waiting to be submitted to the kid. However, just as I was inserting my five pesos in the envelope, the kid stood up and left the jeepney leaving all the other blank envelopes, including mine. I thought he was going to come back and get his envelopes but he just went off. Should I have ran after him and returned his envelopes and our "tulong"? Did I just scared him off for taking a picture of his letter? What was in his mind then if not to get some cash? He wasn't even aware that ten pieces of the white envelope costs six(6) pesos, more that what I was about to give him. If you were in my place then, what will you do? What do you think should we do to solve this problem in our society? o_O By the way, the boy had blond highlights in hair, if you know what I mean.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Nature or Nurture?

I met with a college friend yesterday. We talked about his "toxic" job, my part time job, of Wu Shu, Kung Fu, and of our childhood green thumb experiences. People with Green Thumbs, are those who are able to grow and maintain plants without "casualties" and in great condition. During my elementary days, our school used to distribute vegetable seeds for FREE. It was supposed to encourage cute kids like me to learn more about plants. We had Tomato, Ampalaya and Corn seeds. There were not much kids who availed of the FREE seeds placed in clear, small, plastic packets, so my brother and I got more than our fair share. hehehe. The distribution of seeds ran about a month if I remember it correctly.

Our garden was still in good condition when we got our vegetable seeds. After around two years, Mt.Pinatubo gave us free ash and sand that fell about 3 feet in height. We planted our seeds around our big Duhat Tree. The said tree was already present since our family moved in to that place and there were a lot of eerie stories in that area, but I'll blog on that some other time. The easiest to grow were Tomato seeds followed by the Ampalaya and Corn seeds. Tomato and Ampalaya are Dicotyledons while Corn sees are Monocotyledons. If the seed splits in two "wings", its a Dicot, while Monocots has a "wing" that stays until the plant brings forth its first set of leaves. After some time, we were able to harvest fruits from our Tomato plant but our Ampalaya vine just kept on sprouting leaves and crawled all over the trunk of our Duhat Tree without giving us any fruits. But we don't eat Ampalayas, so it's no big deal. About the corn plant it grew way beyond we expected it to be. However, when it came out with its fruits, we only got baby corns instead of full grown corn cobs. We learned that the area around our Duhat tree, which has a 2-feet cement wall around it, is not suitable for planting additional plants since the soil's nutrients is not enough to sustain them. On the other side of our small garden, my grandmother grew a Papaya tree, Squashes and Kamotes. Talbos ng kamote were gathered for some of my mother's dishes. The Papaya tree was a superstar during that time. My grandmother was so attached to it that she got into a fight with our neighbor who "stole" some fruits from the tree. And she got so furious to find out that our friendly neighbor picked unripe fruits. She was not aware that green papayas are used in some Filipino dishes.

Lately, I tried to rekindle my interest in plants. But so far, my two roses suffered fungal infections and died. I wonder if Clotrimazol can cure plants too? So far, my Tomato and Cucumber seedlings have shown their first set of leaves. I got four gerbera or daisy plants at very low prices. I feel so lucky that only a few people knows the beauty of gerberas and/or transvaal daisies....that I was able to haggle on their prices. I also have a Plumeria or Kalachuchi tree in our province. I hope the kids in schools are still given FREE vegetable seeds. It will teach them in some ways, patience and discipline to nurture plants. It will continuously give them the thrill in seeing new leaves, new buds and the fruits of their labor. Nature or Nurture? I believe the two are inseparable.
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