Wednesday, October 03, 2007

At the MRT Station (and other money musings)


A man stands in line with little silver Rizals tucked away just outside his ear drum, crest of helix anchoring it with the aid of melted hair wax and the stickiness of dry sweat. Rizals upon Rizals, aligned, stuck closely together, whispering sweet nothings to one another, cuz each one's conceited in that way, talking to his own likeness. I wonder if they'll bother to whisper something to the man himself, perhaps a thank you, or a how are you?, maybe remind him of their lost brother in the right side pocket of his trousers, inform him of his untied left shoe, his unzipped zipper.


A maid in Hong Kong celebrates Ninoy's victory in a mock online election for OFWs, edging out Rizal and Bonifacio. She had chosen Ninoy cuz she still remembers her mother talking about him, saying something about his wife who would eventually become president. She had chosen Ninoy cuz Bonifacio's just too ugly and Rizal sooooo last century. She takes out an envelope, stuffs a letter in it along with a P500 bill. The address on the front of the envelope reads Where I Should Be in Home, Where You Are. Another Ninoy's returning home, but it's not him who does the sacrificing this time, not him who becomes martyr.


I ask you if you can break my P100, five P20s is my request. You refuse, saying you'd rather have five bills than one. But it equals the same amount, I argue, it makes no difference. Still, you insist no, saying five is still better than one. Quantity over quality, you say. Whatever you say, I say, and I'm left now waiting in the rain at the trike station, waiting for the driver to exhange my P100 to something smaller, something for the trike, the two trains, and nothing more than that.


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