Face shields and broken mirrors
TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - September 16, 2020 - 12:00am

A foreign luxury brand has come up with a face shield priced at upward of US$900. That translates to something like 50,000 in recession-rapped Philippine pesos. In a different time, no one would probably find that obscene and outrageous. Far more frivolous things have sold for so much more in this crazy increasingly materialistic world of ours.

But there is a pandemic sweeping the world. A type of coronavirus is running rampage across the globe. No one is safe from the threats of COVID. Every action must be deliberate and serious. The consequences of frivolity and nonchalance are simply too scary to imagine. We need to measure every step if we hope to emerge from this long walk unscathed.

And then along comes this P50,000 face shield. Of course it is difficult to blame the foreign luxury brand entirely for putting on sale a face shield priced so scandalously. The foreign brand is not a cheap plastic toy factory but a high-end fashion designer. It has no qualms charging anyone as much as the traffic would bear.

If anyone wants to pay US$900 for a thin piece of clear plastic and has the money to do it, then why not suffer such fools gladly. If they did not steal their money from anyone, they have every right to spend it on anything under the sun. Besides, it is only us, the have-nots, who are always getting scandalized. Seeing what we don't have in the hands of others is almost always scandalous.

Such observations, however, always need to be qualified. In these upside down times, it is almost a crime to be on the good side of luck, to be on the gratuitous side of providence. The field has been leveled, so to speak. Where parity does not apply, and others simply have more than the rest, you do not make the obvious vulgar.

   In other words, for God's sake, why must some have a face shield costing like heaven when it offers no better protection than a dirt cheap one? And it is not even that which prompts the question but genuine befuddlement. Even without words to debate the matter, the matter still begs to be debated. There is no silencing of questions begging to be asked.

So indeed you may ask why? And then again why not indeed? I don't know if wealthy Filipinos are on the line to make the purchase. I know the urge is great and there. But will the really? That is if they had not done so already for I know of certain types who take to ostentatious display like ducks would to water.

I wish they would not, though. There is a sensitivity in this matter that just cannot be swept under the rag. When the wife of a very wealthy personality started posting about life in the lap of luxury, she was rapidly consumed by the flames of anger from netizens who, while accepting her wealth, could not countenance the insensitive display of so much in this time of great tragedy.

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