Marathon eating


TODAY newspaper has one of its wonderful tart editorials which says, in part,

Be that as it may, either “breakfast, lunch and dinner” is the summation of FPJ’s view of the Philippine malaise — let’s hear the candidate pronounce that — in which case the devil would be in the details or — panic time — “breakfast, lunch and dinner” are the details of FPJ’s worldview. In which case, the only areas for further exploration would be what exactly he finds wrong with Filipino breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

We can think of several, starting with too much lard, and go on to the compulsion to eat all the time, which is one big reason this country is going nowhere. In Hong Kong people eat once a day, a bowl of noodles for dinner, and in a rush on the way to the subway home.

Ditto New York, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin and Beijing, where one of its most competitive sectors (prison labor) is just too happy to be fed once in a while without a beating; while in Los Angeles the most successful people might be caught pushing their salad greens around the plate but rarely putting them to their lips.

An unceasing preoccupation with eating — especially making a point of three square meals a day — is the classic symptom of severe economic underdevelopment. Economic progress no longer consists of hewing wood or hauling water, which indeed requires three full meals to sustain. Today, it consists of unflagging attention, consistent thought and very careful motion; with all of which activities a full stomach gets in the way.

And really, this is true. We Filipinos are so obsessed with eating we seem to resemble Hobbits.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

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