Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tacky, gaudy, ugly

There must be a logical explanation somewhere.

Perhaps at some point in the last few months, the Mayors of Metro Manila came together to organize a contest as to which one of them can come up with the tackiest, the gaudiest, and the ugliest streetlamps. This must have been a tall order, of course, because the benchmark set by Manila Mayor Lito Atienza already qualified for the Guinness Book of Records in all three categories. But then again, this is the Philippines and if there is something that we can never ever be found wanting in - it is the desire to raise the bar at anything - longest suman, biggest strawberry cake, largest bibingka, most number of billboards in EDSA, etc.

When those UFO looking street lamps began sprouting in Adriatico and Nakpil at Malate a few years back, we thought it was... weird. But at least the streets looked a little less dangerous although a number of Malate denizens complained about the extreme cruelty flourescent lamps inflict on those in dire need of a facial. But Mayor Atienza is a man overflowing with creative juices that could not be contained by merely wearing floral shirts, so those square lamps at Nagtahan bridge (that changed colors!) had to be installed, and then those atom lights at Bayview, and then the other garish and ornate ones that defy description in Escolta, Avenida, etc.

And then the other mayors followed suit and the streets of Metro Manila have never been the same again.

There are now multi-colored streetlamps in Kalookan and diamond-shaped streetlamps in Pasay, and so on and so forth. The thing is, these streetlamps are only one side of the road, are in addition to the old, normal (far elegant!) streetlamps that have been there for ages, and in most cases, merely serve as decorative pieces since they use ordinary flourescent bulbs. In other words, form rather than function was obviously the main consideration in choosing the designs of these streetlamps. I wonder how much they spent (and earned!) on those plastic- looking, tacky, gaudy street eyesores.

I know there is no accounting for taste, but surely there are limits to how far public officials can impose their concept of what is artistic and beautiful on the general populace.

9 comments:

peterlavina said...

I understand China has already produced street lamps powered by solar panels at competitive prices. We should replace all our streetlights with this practical lamps. Powered by the sun during the day and powers the lamp during the night.

chinchin said...

Hi,
I like your blog. Where can I send you private e-mail. I promise it won't be spam ;-)

vina said...

so true indeed. not only are the streetlights tacky, they're downright a waste of electricity! at least, kahit paano, roxas boulevard has bright white lights that really do the of illuminating. with the pasay lights, hello...yellow?

BongA said...

thanks guys. Chin, send me another comment with your private email which I will not post. I will email you.

Bong

Reg said...

Well, if you try to visit the ParaƱaque area you'll see that the long-forgotten, feet-ugly Joey lamps are gone, replaced by the JB posts. May emphasis pa talaga sa initials niya. I guess nowadays, not only do dogs piss on posts to mark their territory, they actually build them pa.

Anonymous said...

Got that right Mr. A ! and did you noticed all the letters of the alphabet that somehow leads to the proponents of the lamps as a subtle way of saying to citizens that "I built this...you owe me!"
B in Makati, JB in Paranque, E in Pasig, LA in Manila, etc..etc...hay naku! puro ulterior motives ang mga politiko dito...wala ba talaga dyan na PURE PUBLIC SERVICE LANG!
-Mr. k-n

mong said...

hindi lang streetlamps, mukhang iisa lang ang contractor ng mga mayors, halos pare-pareho yung mga pinapaganda nilang sidewalks, yung gamit ay red cement tapos parang mga bricks.

jairam said...

I think the reason why street lights are fast becoming a "trend" is because they are some sort of extra income - as in price padding talaga. Hmp, masyado na kinakawawa pinoy!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget JBC of Bacoor, Cavite. At least in Binakayan, Cavite, they actually fixed the old lamps instead of building some of those plastic rubbish (they bought the wrong color though).