Archive for the ‘Noodles Republic’ Category

The “paradoxical” faces of hunger: obesity and emaciation

November 18, 2008


A report shows the United States is beset with hunger problem just like the poor countries of the world. The US Department of Agriculture reports that 50% more American children compared to the previous year suffered hunger in 2007. Other findings are:

“_Some 691,000 children went hungry in America sometime in 2007 (above the 430,000 in 2006.) About one in eight Americans (12.5%) struggled to feed themselves adequately even before this year’s sharp economic downtown.

_The families with the highest rates of food insecurity were headed by single mothers (30.2 percent), black households (22.2 percent), Hispanic households (20.1 percent), and households with incomes below the official poverty line (37.7 percent).

_States with families reporting the highest prevalence of food insecurity during
2005-2007 were Mississippi (17.4 percent), New Mexico (15 percent), Texas (14.8 percent) and Arkansas (14.4 percent.)

_The highest growth in food insecurity over the last 9 years came in Alaska and Iowa, both of which saw a 3.7 percent increase in families who struggled to eat adequately or had substantial food disruptions.)”—Associated Press; Yahoo.news.com (11/17/08, Sniffen, MJ)

What constitutes hunger for Americans is a bit unsettled compared to those who endure apparent lack of food in other countries. Although the definition of hunger isn’t clear, it is appalling that the richest country on earth is reported to suffer hunger like the Philippines, one among the top five world nations which deals with lack of food.

Understanding food deprivation in USA is hard given the tremendous resources the nation has. Many of its “hungry” people are obese and are within arms way from government welfare services which are meager or almost non-existent in the Third World. Sixty-five (65%) of the Americans suffer from excessive weight; among them are those who complain of hunger. Paradoxically, even the overweights experience hunger. Fat people are seen quite regularly lining up in welfare offices, food stamp lines, social service agencies, and soup kitchens.

It seems hunger looks differently in USA than in other places that most people know. In the Third World, the hungry are usually underweight and emaciated—- the usual signs of malnutrition from pervasive lack of food and high incidence of diseases. Each day the poor struggle to eat, mostly subsisting on skimpy food devoid of essential nutrients which explains their thinness. The social milieu in which they live shows food scarcity—-unlike in USA where faulty food distribution is the problem.

Where food supply is abundant and readily available, obesity is traced to poor eating habits. Inadequate knowledge on nutrition, lack of exercise, and alternating over-eating and undisciplined binging are leading reasons for their excessive weight. Concurrent illnesses and the influence of genes are blamed for some forms of obesity, but almost all emaciated people suffer from lack of food and/or concomitant diseases.

So there’s the clue why people who go hungry can’t be easily recognized by their appearances. It’s interesting to know how many among the obese complain of hunger in America while in the rest of the world, the hungry are physically wasting away. It’s sobering to think how Americans could suffer hunger in the midst of plenty. (Photo Credits: Calvaryslo; MioCade; ClaudeBarute; ItuDk) =0=

RELATED BLOG: ‘Hunger in the Philippines” Posted by mesiamd at 11/05/2008

Green Revolution: Only Those Who Plant Can Expect A Harvest

August 9, 2008


In a little patch of earth in New York City, we plant vegetables. Despite the fleeting good weather in between the seasons, we cultivate a small garden, its size no larger than a car space. The space in the metropolis is limited, but the plants grow fast with less than ordinary care.

At about springtime, our garden bursts into life from its winter hibernation. Creeping squash vines, pepper, and camote sprouts supply us with nutritious greens like what we have in the Philippines. Held in pots and sometimes left hanging by the window we have bulbs of scallion, ginger rhizomes, and a few tendrils of mint and thyme fortified by fertilizers and vitamins. Plump jalapeno peppers, and green potato tops grow outside. The stubby calamansi tree in our living room bears flowers in every branch. The pungent lemon grass (tanglad) serves as our natural décor and insect repellant right on the window.

Our little garden proves luxuriantly prolific in sunny weather. It’s something our kababayans must see and learn from. At harvest time, we get more than enough for our dinner table; the extra harvest that can’t be kept in the refrigerator, we give away to our thankful neighbors.

Planting is a simple solution to food shortage. It’s something we need in the Philippines. Yet I wonder, despite so many of us (14.5 million as of latest count) who go hungry, there’s no government program, national movement, barangay association self-help, school campaign, or bayanihan initiative to rally Filipinos to plant and be productive. Why do we refuse to plant, choose to scrimp on food and accept that we’ve become a noodles republic?

Years before, Imelda Marcos had her green revolution program. Blessed with a year-round of sunny weather, lots of time to spare, and vacant fertile land to till, we could have done just that. But we brushed aside planting as though we never needed it. We neglected agriculture and the poorly-appreciated farmers have left to work for other jobs.

Without us planting in a large scale, it’s embarrassing to complain of hunger. Do we think planting is such a menial and demeaning job that it’s not worth our time? What will we teach our children if we’re too picky about work? Why can’t we understand the dangers of relying on other countries for our food supply that someday we can’t afford? If we don’t plant, what do we want to do with our idle time? What will happen to a country which can’t produce it’s own food?

All over the world, planting for food is a necessity. Domestic production is required just like the green movement that’s needed to counter global warming and climate change. Yet in spite of food shortage and joblessness, we remain seated on the fence. The message hasn’t caught our senses yet—-that only those who plant can expect a harvest. =0=

Signs of the times & the words we live by

August 1, 2008

Watching TV, listening to the radio and reading newspapers give us a sense of what’s going on in the country. Words used in the media correlate well with our level of optimism. They seem to function like internal barometers of our feelings, our reactions to the events that go our way, our outlook of the future.

The preponderance of negative words we meet daily goes well with the uncertainty and pessimism we feel today. Despite this however, hope still persists. We see sunshine in darkness. Better days are ahead of us. Here are twelve recurring terms in our media lexicon that’s worth thinking about:

Kaya Natin: refers to a new group of hardworking and ethical Filipinos who wants to promote real change and conscientious leadership in the country. Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio, Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija Mayor Sonia Lorenzo and Isabela Grace Padaca have pledged to lead the group launched in Ateneo de Manila University recently.

Wow, Philippines: the wonderful slogan that promotes the country as a tourist destination.

Swine Scam: another scandal; it refers to the P114.6 million in loan proceeds which allegedly went to individuals and groups, including Jose Nograles, brother of the House Speaker Prospero Nograles, in the form of miscellaneous fees which is being investigated by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

Noodles Republic: the transformation of the country from a “strong republic” promised by Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo earlier in her term to a “noodles republic” which describes poor Filipinos who subsist on noodles for their meals because of high prices of food.

Suspicious Lines: the ignominious other name people use for Sulpicio Lines (SL,) that beleaguered ferry company noted for its frightening maritime record. SL carries a distinctive trail of mishaps, ship keels, and mass deaths that boggle the mind.

A Ticking Time Bomb: a laundry list of problems hounding the administration of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo according to Pres. Fidel V. Ramos. It includes widespread poverty, high prices of groceries, the increasing gap between the rich and the poor, environmental degradation, corruption, red tape, broken electoral process, abuses of politicians, among others.

Double Dead Meat: meat from swine, dog, cow, chicken or fowl which died from a disease or accident, sold illegally without safety inspection, and passed to consumers as “fresh.”

Boom: a positive word to describe a boost in business, an increase in arrivals of tourist, a flood of OFW remittances, a bountiful harvest, a surge in the a catch of fish…to name a few.

Numskull: synonym for idiot and stupid that Sen. Miriam D. Santiago uses to refer to her colleagues in the legislature. The derogatory term draws a numb reaction from her opponents who seem cowed by her narcissistic verbosity and perceived superiority. Many see some truth in what she says. They say collectively, the intelligence, honesty, and competence of senators and congressmen is at an all-time low since Pres. Joseph Estrada ascended to power.

Double Courser: a term in education which refers to a student who previously finished a course to pursue another. It’s mostly seen in the nursing profession which attracts students with academic degrees in medicine, commerce, law, engineering, and education. A double course provides an avenue for Filipinos to qualify for jobs abroad—a double-edged sword that both alleviates and aggravates joblessness.

Corruption: the error-proof explanation of the deteriorated condition of the country. The World Bank disclosed that the country is last among East Asia’s 10 largest economies in curtailing this problem. It is estimated that the Philippines loses more than $2 billion a year to corruption.

Plunder: the ostentatious word for government thievery. High profile officials like Pres. Joseph Estrada had been accused of this crime, but they are either pardoned or left alone to continue their notoriety with greater rapacity and lack of shame. =0=