Traffic Lights, Color Blind: An Exposé



BY ANNE QUINTOS

I was diagnosed with minor color blindness and cannot distinguish green, red, and orange when they're mixed together in patterns. This, however, does not bother me at all (at least for now). Let me tell you what bothers me more.

It never fails. Every Sunday, after attending our evening mass, most from our Filipino community, the creme of the crop who supposedly have perfect vision for their work in a handful of factories in Taiwan, swarm out of the Church, and cross the streets to different directions no matter what color the traffic light is.

Since they go in big groups, it really disrupts traffic here. Scooters and cars had to stop in the intersection whenever 20-30 Filipinos cross the streets. The problem is, my husband always want to join the crowd, literally tugging my arms along because, I don't know...it'll be green light for us in a few seconds.

This has always been one of our little irritations as a couple. I don't want to cross the street when it's still red and even if the streets are empty. I didn't want to do it because the locals here follow simple traffic rules. Sure, I've witnessed some Taiwanese cut traffic, but never did I see a big crowd of pedestrians claim their turn to cross. Most locals patiently wait and count the seconds until it's their time to walk.

Of course, I really didn't start out following the rules back home. I wouldn't be called a true Manileno if I did. My college days had generous times when jeepneys honked because I crossed the street too soon. I didn't care. And to some point, I felt like I outsmarted the law.

What caused me to try to change? The mere fact that nothing in our country did change. From the time that I went abroad to my first visit as a balikbayan, I found the same road puddles, traffic enforcers hiding in the same spot, and the same awful traffic jam. In the end, we may have save three to five seconds of our personal time, but our country stayed right where it was ten years ago. So now, I challenge myself and my husband to resist the adrenaline rush of jay walking. And there were a couple of times when one or two Filipinos stopped to join us as we waited for our turn to walk.

Food for thought: Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking.  There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught.  ~J.C. Watt

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