TaN: There is a way to prevent – or, at least, mitigate – the devastating impact of a tsunami. We just need to take care of the environment! Is it really that simple?
From an article I came across a couple of weeks after the tragic Banda Aceh tsunami of Dec 2004 (cannot locate the article but will post update asap), there is this tiny village along the Indian eastern coastline which survived with practically no damage while everything else on either side were flattened and laid in ruins. Their secret was that there were no “modern” developments – i.e., no resorts, none of those high-priced trappings of modern progress that cater to the whims and caprices of the rich and famous. Their tiny village maintained the coral reefs, the mangrove trees, and the coconut and palm trees along the beaches and the natural forest further inland, living in harmony with nature.
The secret is when the tsunami came roaring, the coral reefs served as the first line of defense – breaking up the momentum of the tsunami (for World War II veterans and history buffs, imagine the dragon’s teeth littering the beaches during VE-Day and the Maginot line breaking up or slowing down the advance of a tank or armored column). Next, the next line of defense are the mangrove trees with their roots submerged and anchored deep into the seashore breaking up the tsunami wave(s) further. The third line of defense are the rows and layers of coconut and of palm trees that line the beach that absorb whatever is remaining of the momentum and energy of the tsunami. At this point, the once cataclysmic tsunami juggernaut has so much of its energy absorbed and dissipated that it has slowed to a harmless crawl.
As for the plush resorts that cleared the beach of the coconut, the palm, and the mangrove trees and carted away all the coral reefs – so that their rich and famous patrons wiil not scratch their pampered feet, as they rush through the beach and into the smooth-bottomed seashore to wade and swim – they just made it easy for the tsunami to rush full force up to the beach and all the way to sweeping everything in its path. It is difficult to learn the lesson nature is trying to teach us if we have money plastered over our eyes.
TaN: Capital punishment (death or life imprisonment, depending on whether the country’s laws permit execution or not) should be applied to all high crimes without the possibility of any other consderations.
What I mean here is, for example, when one is convicted of economic sabotage or plunder, there should be no need for plea bargaining. They can keep the money! You rot in prison or die – PERIOD! Let us see how much of a deterrent that will be.
TaN: People – especially the health conscious – today, are have learned and imbibed the habit of reading labels, believing that they are now in a state of health. Beware! It is not just a matter of reading labels but knowing where or what part to read.
Label-reading people usually read the front. WRONG! The front – with all the brightly-colored large font words – are exactly what the manufacturer wants you to read. What you should read are the legally-mandated information – in fine print – at the back of the label. This is the information that matters. The words are purposedly written in the tiniest font so you will have a difficult time reading – thus, may be discouraged to do so – where all the important words are found (which the manufacturer must provide because it is mandated by law). It is this information that matters. It is their way of circumventing the law.
Another tactic peddlers of inferior and unhealthy products is to export to a country where majority of consumers are illiterate of the language on the label and vice versa – i.e., import from countries with labels written in a language not comprehensible by local consumers.
TaN: The current (circa: April 2011) turmoil over the continuing series of fuel price hikes and the attempts to buffer the deleterious effects are pallative, at best.
The subsidy idea is not sustainable because it will exhaust the already meager resources of the government. Moreover, it is neither right nor ethical to use taxpayers’ money to benefit only a specific segment of the public – identical to what is being done to the MRT, where only the commuters of Metro Manila are benefiting while those in Visayas and in Mindanao are not. Furthermore, repeal of the oil deregulation law is likewise a pallative. Nationalizing the oil industry is a drastic and good idea but, considering how we manage to subert all good efforts to benefit the greater good, I am certain that this scheme will backfire. The best bet, in my opnion, is still to use Petron to put all the other industry players in line – really, give them stiff competition, offer really low prices to force the rest to follow or get out of the industry.
As to the ongoing effort by a certain group of drivers – with the help of a large media outfit – to mitigate the effects of fuel price hikes (by reporting where drivers can find the fuel stations with the lowest fuel prices), this scheme is likewise not sustainable in the long run. First, if everyone focuses on those stations offering the lowest prices, the stocks will eventually be exhausted and drivers will to go to the next lower ones. Eventually, they will have to go to those with high prices.
A better suggestion is to report those with the highest prices and let everyone avoid buying from them. This way, those with the highest prices will have to lower their prices to stay viable. From the consumer side, there are more choices if we exclude the highest rather than confine ourselves to the lowest. Instead of consumers competing for lower prices, let the stations with the highest prices compete among themselves for the patronage of the consumers. The idea is if those with the hightest prices have no consumers, they will lose. However, once they bring down their prices below the second to the highest, the latter becomes the new highest and it will be this one who everyone will avoid. In other words, let the fuel stations compete among themselves; turn the tables on them. Why should they be our headache and we can be theirs? If they want your business, they have to compete for it.