Friday, May 9, 2008


The other day, I had gone to a pharmacy (Mercury Drug) to buy my medicines.

Beside me was this mother who was buying medicines for hypertension. She asked for 5 tablets and asked how much the total was. The clerk said P375 (USD$8.82) and she commented at "how expensive." "It had gone up by P2.50 (USD$0.06) only", retorted the clerk. Then her 10-year old daughter went up to her with a handful of JUNK FOOD! Exactly one mini bag of Pringles, 3 small bars of Oreo cookies and 4 mini boxes of Mentos. She put the junk on the counter and returned 2 tablets of the anti-hypertensive drug.

I was thinking - OMG (Oh My God)!

The Filipino has a penchant for not being thrifty when it comes to junk - in whatever form. Junk food flood the airwaves and are the items on the shopping cart. A chocolate bar, instant noodles, powdered iced tea or those that purport to be "healthy iced tea in bottles", the junk and you've got it. It's not surprising that it's the staple food they have as well. Look at the queue at McDonalds and Jollibee and KFC. You'd wonder why they complain so much at the rising prices of medicines and gas, when they have the money to spare for JUNK!

No where in the food pyramid is it taught that these JUNK food are part of the healthy diet. But media and advertising shows its power by barraging the public with false information. Ironically, media is at arms when it comes to the rising cost of medicines, rice, electricity, gasoline, water and other essential and necessary items.

What has happened to Filipino people? They complain so much about the unnecessary things in life which they spend to no end but will scrimp when it comes to health and public utility goods.

When my patients ask me to prescribe a medicine to stimulate the appetite of their kid, I tell them to just go and buy FOOD! But no. They will howl at how bad the appetite of their kids are. The kids will cry, the parents will make a big issue with me when I tell them that their 2 year old child should not be bottle feeding anymore, there was even a young child who cursed me when I said that he should avoid eating so much junk because he was already obese and then turned to his mother and cursed her too. Where is the sense in that?

That, ladies and gentlemen are the future leaders of tomorrow. These are the kids we raise, we teach, we educate and ironically we will depend on for the next generation of Filipinos.

I look around and see so many children hungry without having to eat three square meals a day and yet the small sari-sari store beside their shanty sells soda in unsanitary plastic bags, korniks full of MSG, iced candy packed in filthy plastic sheets, and yet the parents can afford to buy these JUNK.

There has got to be some sense in all these, but I cannot seem to find one.

Survival of the fittest. That seems to be the goal of each country during these trying times. Food shortage, diseases that are uncontrolled, rising cost of gasoline and electricity. They do not fit the vocabulary of the Filipino who refuses to part with his mobile phone and would rather have a P20 "load" rather than buy 5 pieces of bread.

No wonder our children have empty brains and are becoming less competitive in this dog eat dog world.

They say, you are what you eat. Junk. That's what they eat. Is that what we are?

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