13 August 2005

Quid Pro Quo and Thoughts on Reproduction

I am happy today because the sun finally decided to appear. After nine days of consistent rain, due to Intertropical Convergence Zones and tropical storms, the rains stopped and the sun shone this morning. Of course, the clouds are still there, but for people whose moods are affected by the weather, this is a change.

It also gave me time to sweep the yard of the leaves that fell due to the rain. My four mongrel dogs are also happy, now that they can run around the yard free of mud. And, I also got to harvest some more avocados from our two trees.

Having these avocados can be a benefit. It can be used as social currency here in the Philippines. Something like quid pro quo. I gave a basket of avocados to my neighbors, and in return, I asked them to watch the house especially since my sister will be all alone, and there won’t be a male in the house anymore. They kindly agreed.

That’s the system here in the Philippines, especially in between the people in the neighborhood. Urbanization still hasn’t gotten its grip on the people, that’s why people are still curious of one another. Unlike the anonymous living conditions of the urban world.

My mother called me today from Vienna. Perhaps it was her last long-distance phone call to me here. She bid me to travel safely. I wonder how parents would feel once their children are out and living by themselves in the world. Once the bird leaves its parent’s nest. Because that’s what I am doing right now. While here in Manila, I have the comfort of a bank account that I can depend on. But when I get to Buffalo, it’s all by myself now.

I bumped into a former elementary school classmate the other day. He was one of the truant guys, the ones who didn’t like to study. And as usual, he turned out to be what he is right now. I wonder if he ever finished high school. His work is a tricycle driver (Note: A tricycle is a Philippine type of short-distance cab. It is similar to the rickshaw of the Eas Asian countries. It is a motorcycle that is equipped with a passenger-side and a third wheel). I learned from this guy that he already has 4 children, and from him I learned that some of the other classmates who also didn’t do well at school were of the same plight. One even had 6 children already. I gave him twice the usual fee for the ride, and I wondered after getting off that tricycle, that I never would want to be like him. It made me value my education, and I immediately became thankful of my blessings, that I got this fellowship and that I was given the opportunity to study for free for the next five years.

I wonder why there is a negative correlation between education and reproductive capability. The less educated you are, the more children you have. I have a personal goal that I wouldn’t get married until I reach maybe 28 or so. I may have only one child. But my contemporaries, some who aren’t so fortunate as I am, already have 4 to 5 kids. And some of these are so poor that they live on un-owned land, on the sides of the railroad tracks (Yes, I went to a public elementary school, where the tuition was free, so I got to have classmates from every sector of society, of course, excluding the well-off ones, who sent their children to exclusive schools. I started going to a private school at high school, but only for a year, since after that one year in private high school, we moved to Japan, where public school is of top quality.). My sister’s hypothesis was that they don’t have entertainment on those poverty-stricken areas, that’s why their entertainment would be reproduction.

Another opinion would be that they think that having many children is actually an advantage, because when these children grow up, they would have more people to take care of themselves when they grow old. But then, they couldn’t even provide an education for the children, so it becomes a vicious cycle.

Anyway, I am not a sociologist, all I can do is wonder about the social problems. I still have a dinner date with a few friends tonight, they’re taking me out somewhere I don’t know. I’ll surely miss my friends. My good friends – another reason to be thankful for.


  1. I always wondered about that poverty-circle as well. It seems rather, well, fucked up, really.

    Anyways, have fun on that dinner-date. You need to leave your friends on a good note, right?

  2. "The less educated you are, the more children you have." is not all true...

    Some people actually want large families (not me - my family is complete with two planned children)... and there is nothing wrong with wanting a large family. Children are a big part of the future. People were made to reproduce, afterall... I know people who are well educated and have children. But I never classify them... nor do I classify the ones who aren't well off.

    However, those who have kids and can't feed them and live in poverty- now that's a whole different story that even I don't understand.

  3. @PM: True. I acknowledge the existence of parents who want large families, and who can provide for their children. However, although I do not know the exact statistics, I am pretty sure that it is a minority. In most cases, there is a correlation between the two variables. Look at these charts.

    I am merely stating an observation. I don't intend to classify. And I regret if my post lead you to think that I do.


  4. I blame catholics for banning condoms and whatnot, and the lack of family planning. Coitus interruptus simply does not work.