Friday, November 06, 2009

Life as a jeep

Jeepney has been part of the consciousness of every ordinary Filipino. Unconsciously, it has helped us fashion our philosophy as individuals and as one nation.

Some skeptics would raise an eyebrow and ask the inevitable “Why jeepney?”

Simply put, tricycle and pedicab are not originally Filipinos. And I say that they are not as ubiquitous as the omnipresent jeepney.

On the other hand, though twice the size of a regular jeepney, and thus, could transport greater mass of people, does not strike much relevance in our society. For one, something is not Filipino in the way the seats are arranged. It is smack of formality, and hence, hearty conversations are limited to only a few passengers.

Jeepney evokes a strange brew of emotions in the heart of a Filipino. This has nothing to do with the flashy upholstery of the interior of the jeep, nor the eye-catching signboards, nor the dancing lights on the dashboard. The reason is probably because it has been part of our lives as a people.

I remember, when I was younger, it was vivid how our catechists could even inject some group dynamics which really involved everyone. Probably, as a contrast to the bus, the strength of the jeepney is its weakness. The Philippine jeepney may not be able to transport that much, but it becomes a venue for a more intimate interaction among the passengers.

The article offered a refreshing insight on how jeepney becomes a world inhabited by Filipinos. Let me add some more:

The depth of interpersonal relationship is manifested in a jeepney. How many times do we eavesdrop to conversations—some boarder on intimate stuff which detail the interesting—and at times, gory ones—of lives we encounter in a trip?

But it is also true how we tend to protect our ‘territories.’ If say, some people go beyond the ‘imaginary boundaries,’ consciously or unwittingly, expect to receive some scolding. This is also true when one accidentally (or perhaps, deliberately) sleeps during the trip. Yes, there are good and considerate ones, but there are also those who are snooty, indifferent and seem to be oblivious of the needs of their fellow passengers.

Well. In a jeepney, as in life, there exist good times and bad times.