Sunday, November 11, 2007


The Philippines is a very religious country. Right now, as I type this, I'm looking out my window at big green neon letters on top of a building that say "IN GOD WE TRUST." That's one of the only things I don't really like about this country, except when I'm in a cab. When I get in a cab I'm very excited to see that cross hanging from the rear-view mirror, because then I can be reasonably assured the driver will immediately turn the meter on and keep everything honest. You see, in guidebooks (written in typically alarmist fashion) they always say shit like "Many drivers will try to rip you off by not turning on the meter and then asking for an inflated rate." Not true, as long as your driver has the fear of God in his heart. The one and only time I had a driver try to pull the "no meter" shit on me was with this young guy driving a "pimp my ride" cab bumping obnoxiously bad modern R&B. Sure enough, no cross dangling from the mirror, or any other religious paraphernalia in the cab. Because he knew that there would be no lightning bolt waiting to strike him down the second he got his con on, that gave him the mental freedom to act shady. CAB DRIVERS + GOD = GOOD! I look for the guys who are deathly afraid of that ominous lightning bolt in the sky. I know they'll get me to the destination in a righteous manner.

GREENBELT MALL + GOD = NO GOOD! I went walking around at the Greenbelt mall today. I'm definitely NOT a mall person, but in Makati if you want to see a movie or just waste some time, the mall is about the best option. Greenbelt is kind of like a little oasis of Green in the city too (whoever named this place was a fucking GENIUS!!!!) It seems removed from the urban cityscape, noise, and smog of the city. Unless you go there on a Sunday afternoon, where you will escape the city and smog, but not the noise. Today's noise came in the form of a preacher blabbing on and on over a LOUD P.A. system. He kept on talking about how God wants us to reject sin. Every few minutes or so he would pause for a second, and then I could hear birds chirping, and the water bubbling in this nice little fountain with fish in it. I would feel tranquil for a few seconds, and then he'd start telling me what God wants again. I was thinking to myself "What if God wants me to enjoy the sound of these birds and this bubbling water?" Maybe I should get my own bigger, badder P.A. system so I can wage a GOD-OFF BATTLE ROYALE with this dude next Sunday. He can tell everyone to reject sin and I can read passages from Bertrand Russell's "Why I Am Not a Christian." I'm sure his audience would be larger.

Oh well. At least it was better than that time in New York where this radical Islam dude was standing on the sidewalk with a mic and a few cronies, yelling about how the White man is the Devil. I walked past and he pointed at me, saying "look at this Devil!!!" I started laughing in his face and blowing him kisses.

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