Sunday, November 07, 2010

The difficult life of a teetotaler

Last night, I was at the oath-taking of the officials of the Barangay Defense System (BDS) and after the short program, an old lady approached and reproached me repeatedly for being so young. I kept answering: Thank you, it's a compliment. Gaining no traction with her harangue, she then asked me for money to buy a bottle of gin. She was incredulous I didn't have cash. All the while I was thinking, "Shouldn't she be home knitting and minding her liver?"

It is a real health concern: Some heavy drinkers are afflicted with Hepatitis B (see information on the disease from the Mayo Clinic here), and because they never got tested for the disease, are unknowingly inflicting further damage to their livers by drinking alcohol.

One of the hazards of being a mayor is that you invariably get asked for money to buy alcohol, sometimes by people who obviously have had so much to drink already. During the election campaign, I was initially torn about the subject of alcohol. Personally, I could live without it. The Taliban could take over the Philippines tomorrow and I won't be pining for beer.

One classmate who operated a sari-sari store before simply refused to sell alcoholic drinks and cigarettes. She was not Muslim or Iglesia, but as a matter of principle simply refused to sell those items.

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