Saturday, August 8, 2009

Blackout and blindness

It is very dark tonight. As I write, someone is currently fixing a transformer which blew up somehow. There is a blackout. I have access to no electricity, barring the cellphone (whose battery will soon die) and the laptop. There are two things that grieve me: the blackout and the blindness.


The blackout, or the brownout, began before I came home at 9 pm. Somebody told me power would be back by 11 or 12 so I went out to eat dinner at a mall until 10. I came back and went to the Meralco vehicle to ask how long it would take for power to return. There was no one inside, someone told me that they went out to eat. I called the Meralco hotline (yes, a call center), and I was told it would take 2 to 4 hours to fix the problem. If it started at 9, then it should be (at the most) fixed by 1 am. Unfortunately, it was not; according to my laptop, it is 1:02 am.
I know that this country is a developing one, and our culture makes us indifferent to time, but I wish problems like these could be solved faster, more efficiently. Is it not enough that the company could charge so much? Can they not find ways, use money, to both avoid and fix these problems?
It is amazing that so many people are inconvenienced by the destruction of one item. It is even more surprising that very few people speak up about it. Are we doomed to be a country of “pwede na?”


My other grievance is how dependent we actually are on electricity. Without it, our civilization returns to its pre-industrial revolution state. I myself cannot imagine a world without lights, televisions and internet. This harnessed energy has allowed are species to live in the night and to extend the day. We can do many more things at night because of the light bulb. We do not have to sleep. There is no worldwide curfew at sundown, but while we free ourselves from the sun, we enslave ourselves to another master, technology. I do not think I can survive without it; this gives power to those who control our energy sources. That is a very scary thought, at least for me.

I am blind without technology. This dependency, this addiction, sometimes terrifies me.

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