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‘Modified enhanced’ stupidities

By: Ma. Ceres P. Doyo – @inquirerdotnet, Philippine Daily Inquirer / August 27, 2020

The emoticon I would use for “modified enhanced” stupidities is the yellow smiley face with a big laughing mouth, two fat tears bursting out, and furrows between the eyebrows ( ) as if saying, it is so damn funny if it is not so damn stupid and tragic.

Memes, cartoons, photographs, and comments on Facebook on the travails of our daily quarantined lives get instant emoticon and emoji responses, the netizens’ way of virtually showing their emotions. There is no emoticon or emoji to depict murderous feelings, is there? But there’s one for throwing up.

Filipinos have been force-fed alphabet soup these past six months, the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has not abated in our neck of the woods. GCQ (general community quarantine), ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), and MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) have been ruling our daily lives. Six months after they were invented, many have yet to decipher the discombobulating tongue-twisters that correspond to equally discombobulating protocols to follow.

If you modify the enhanced or the general, is it to raise its severity or to lower it? Is general, as the word suggests, more encompassing and therefore more strict than modified? One has to read the dos and don’ts that correspond to the clump of letters to be able to follow.

This is not a delayed reaction. I had said some months back that the Inter-Agency Task Force or IATF (add that to the soup) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases should have used numbers the way weather experts refer to typhoon severity.

And how to say modified and enhanced in Filipino? And community quarantine? If you cannot translate it, drop it. Use numbers instead. Is there no com-mu-ni-ca-tor in the house?

Another example of modified enhanced stupidity was the required metal and plastic barrier between the motorcycle rider and the one riding behind. To prevent virus spread? It was enforced without the IATF consulting cycle experts on the risks. It was required even for spouses who slept in one bed at night and who still had to show proof of marriage. That prompted a frequent rider to carry a placard-size copy of a marriage certificate.

The metal separator and the spouses-only rule have been scrapped, but they left holes in people’s pockets. So is it now a same-address rule?

After the alcohol ban was lifted, I found out that one could buy beer only after 1 p.m. The cashier was almost done with my groceries but said that I have to wait two minutes more because it was only 12:58 p.m. Could I first pay for the bulk of the items, she asked, then she would call me back to pay for the two cans of beer.

A colleague’s post on the same experience got comments ranging from the absurd to the ridiculous. Among them, that those with the previous night’s hangover would have been sober by 1 p.m. Or that was one way to cause a 1 p.m. clustering in the beer and wine section and spread COVID-19.

And there’s the required use of a face mask even while driving alone in one’s own car.

A lampoon photo on Facebook shows a poor family observing the social distancing protocol in their one-room shack. One was seated on the floor, one by the door, another on the window sill, still another on the beam close to the ceiling. As I had also said before, why not give locked-down families who live in cramped places some scheduled outdoor breaks?

Getting a lot of laughs are video spoofs of the Department of Education’s idea of distance, blended, remote, and alternative learning despite problematic or zero internet connections. Like the video of Ma’am who could not connect to her virtual classroom and had to clamber up the fence, then the roof, then the top of the tree. But there were real photos of teachers in a webinar seated on the roadside trying to catch a signal on their gadgets.

President Duterte’s minders, keepers, and handlers take the cake for making their boss habitually address the nation at close to midnight. This Midnight Cowboy, along with his Cabinet officials who look like lost souls, has been making only nocturnal TV appearances from his domicile in Davao City where he is said to be in perpetual isolation and under observation.

Now comes that ragtag band of miscreants calling for a Duterte-led revolutionary government. LOL emoticon here.

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