Tacky, gaudy, ugly
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.