When Preachers don’t Practice

How am I going to get a haircut now? Maybe I should call Fred. Maybe we can arrange something. If MECQ rules would be seriously implemented, his barbershop should be close now.

I know someone who has been doing odd jobs for quite some time. There was a time that he taught in one of those schools with Montessori in their names. But he probably got laid off because of the current situation of the schools; or maybe his contracted ended. But when the crisis hit, he’s been delivering lunch which his mother or sister cooks, around the neighboring barangays. Their Bicol express was good. I tried it once. Then there was a time he advertised homemade peanut butter on Facebook. I know that he’s a good musician, but with no bars to play on, and no face to face classes, there is not much one could do with that. Before this new MECQ, I heard that he got hired with a relatively regularly paying employment with some job in the food service industry. That was good for him. Two days into reporting for the job, this new MECQ hits like a bomb. Some days later, he’s back to selling home made peanut butter. Oh well, I could only let out a sigh of helplessness. It’s one of the times I wish I could do something but as much as I want to, I simply could not do anything.

MECQ once again discontinued the operations of barbershops, beauty salons, spas and the like and dining in on restaurants. So, I wasn’t surprised when I could not avail of the regular services of the carenderia I usually eat at for lunch. I feel sorry for them. Business was down enough without the traditional mass of clientele of high school and college students along Peñafrancia Ave., now, they have to deal with this anew. But why is a large company of fast food of burgers and fries allowed to operate with limited number of diners (which often gets violated anyway)? I’m not saying close them down because the carenderias don’t get to open? I’m saying, if they could operate, why not the small ones? But since we’re in MECQ, we’re not supposed to initiate opportunities for people to come together. So, which is it going to be?

How would local authorities enforce rules on social distance? How would they fine violators? How would they even tell if and when people are already violating? Do they bring meter sticks or tape measures to measure one meter distance between individuals? So, what happens if a crowd of people get close to each other in less than a meter’s distance? Do they get rounded up and detained? Do they get issued tickets?

Consider these scenarios. What if an anti-smuggling advocate gets caught with an undocumented illegally trafficked motorcycle? What if an environmental activist enters into a logging contract? What if an anti-gun advocate gets blocked by police and is caught with high powered firearms? What if authorities who manage tracing of contacts of Covid-19 patients and are supposed to be promoting health protocols test positive for Covid? Maybe, it was an accident. Maybe he meant well but he made a wrong turn, a wrong decision along the way. Maybe he engaged into actions that he was not aware of would bring him into much more danger than he anticipated? Maybe the authorities themselves are not careful enough to seriously observe the protocols?

Come on, cut them some slack. People make mistakes. But are not the people in authority supposed to be privileged with more protection or at least have greater knowledge to protect themselves? Would not CIA agents be equipped with more technical information to protect themselves from tapped phones and enemies on surveillance? Would not Olympic athletes practice more rigid physical training, observe more effective diet and use appropriately protective gear than your everyday sports enthusiast? Would not an IT specialist have the technical awareness of dangerous websites and applications, and would he not protect his own devices from malware with state-of-the-art highly reliable antivirus? Okay, maybe we should be more understanding. Some enemy spies get through. Some training programs have their flaws. Some diet programs could be ineffective. Hackers could find their way to computers. But how could one campaign for adherence to protocols when there is evidence that in some way the person has violated the very policies he promotes? How could a barangay tanod tell passersby to stay away from the ditch when he himself is all muddy all over? If people in authority forget to follow, are complacent, violate, take for granted, or fall victims (which ever the case may be) to protocols, what do they expect from common folk?

“So practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice.”

Matthew 23:3