Friday, April 25, 2014

Jeepneys and jeepney stuffs about jeepneys

The backbone of our transport industry. I cannot imagine
our roads without a jeepney. But I could imagine it without
jeepney drivers.
For sometime now, I have not traveled on a jeepney. Having a motorcycle made it unnecessary. So, when our motorcycle had a mechanical problem, I had no choice but to to take a jeepney from Cainta to Taytay. 

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say. And seated on a jeepney, feeling the breeze touching my face while listening to the stereo,  I realized that I do miss riding on it, but at the same time I was also ruing about the physical discomforts and the pains of the trip. Some things have not changed like suspensions and driving skills (or the lack of it) and  the drivers ignorance of Newton's law of inertia (you don't hit the brakes abruptly! full tank you, driver!).

The refitted WWII vehicle changed very little mainly its seating capacity and the fitting of more powerful engines. 

Personally, I prefer that the jeepney's external appearance not to change for cultural and sentimental reasons despite the fact that it is aerodynamically blunt and violates almost every articles and provisions of the automotive engineering's laws and constitutions. 

Willy's GPW or General Purpose Wheeler which was
shortened to "Jeep." This our jeepneys ancestor.
According to history Pinoys converted this
WWII vehicles left by the Americans
to passenger vehicles by retro-fitting it with seats
 and roofs. Sarao pioneered the mass production
of jeepneys based on the GPW.
It has a deeply ingrained identity. The boxlike body and the front grill with  two headlights and front grills, human-face-like if you ask me, retains its Willy's jeep ancestry. The multi-leveled bumpers that could turn Mad Max green with envy is a remnant of WWII battle tank philosophy that was designed for resistance and ramming, the very opposite of the impact absorbing bodies of modern vehicles .  There are accessories that are excessive like multiple side mirrors and tire flaps, signal lights, fog lights, and other auxiliary lightnings and powerful sound systems that could either induce heart attack because of the thumping bass woofers or seizures due to the the high frequency tweeters--I have not ridden a jeepney that has a balanced sound system--, but these defines the jeepney. 

Aside from these superfluities, there are now jeepneys equipped with DVD- karaoke system and airconditiong and it sometimes makes me wonder if they have their own portable nuclear power plants to feed these gadgets electricity. 

Its body paintings and other works of art are also another thing that should not change. The jeepney is considered a travelling canvass of Filipino artists. These designs say a lot about the drivers and the operators.

The INC's tricolors. This can be seen everywhere: on session
guitarists guitar on TV, Taho and puto vendors pails,
windows and doors, tricycles, bicycles, t-shirts etc.
Religious affiliations for one: a red-white-green sticker or a Romans 16:16 verse or an Ibong Mandaragit words printed on the mudguards says that the driver or the operator is a member of the INC. 

Rosary and the Lord's Prayer booklet hanging on the rear view mirror, statuette of the Virgin Mary:, a Roman catholic, 

Evangelical verses like John 3:16 etc, could mean an Evangelical affiliation. etc. Observe the logos and colors, there are meanings,(overt or covert), and order in the chaos of colors and designs.

Where the money for the jeepney came from: An anchor or a ship's helm obviously says that the owner is a seaman. "Katas ng Saudi" this is getting fewer and more and more I am seeing "Katas ng Barko", "Katas ng Uling", Katas ng Saging", "Katas ng Gulay" and other "Katas ng ___"

Family oriented: Portraits of family members, the bunso, acronyms of names like Jomajenroblinron (for Johnny, Maring, Jenny, Roberto, Linda, Ronaldo) etc.

What else? Humorous sayings like "God knows Judas not Pay" Hmmm...naughty stuffs like "bulbuhok", ...nevermind.

Horns...I don't know where jeepney drivers get these horns. Cow moos, gunfire, laughter that could make your hair stand on its ends. I was riding our motorcycle when a jeepney stopped in front of me, then I heard chimes and an elevator voice over message:"thank you for riding". Where do they get these things? 

I had a horrible experience with smoke belchers.
I was riding at the front with the driver who
abruptly cut another jeepney to pick up
a passenger. This is stealing among jeepney
drivers. So, the other driver ran after us,
cursed our driver and then aimed his exhaust
pipe adjacentto the driver's seat and pumped
black, acrid,dirty, poisonous smoke on the driver,
me,and the rest of the passengers.  
I cannot imagine our streets without jeepneys and its mechanical idiosyncrasies. But it does not mean that the iconic Filipino mass transport vehicle should not change. 

Engines for one, they are still using junked engines from Japan, Korea and other industrialized countries. The poisonous exhaust is horrible. Needs no explaining.

There are moves for alternative fuels like gas or battery but the jeepney's body are made of cast iron that only steam and diesel can power it. Body works and the materials used should change too.

Suspension. I don't know if these vehicles are still using the Christie-Battle-Tank suspension.system but it's obvious that it was designed for cargoes and not for human beings. 

The jarring and the throwing from the seats, head bumps, because of the vehicle's stiff suspension, may cause cramps down there, below;  cramps basketball players experience when they play without their supporters. I often experienced this when I was still studying in Morong, Rizal. Ask anyone who is travelling to south of Rizal province and they will tell you what the word "fast" and "blender" means.

Seats. For heaven's sake there are things that discomfort and injure passengers like protruding welding joints especially in the seats, the sharp objects that is used to hoist the tarps against the rain, extra signal lights placed on the headroom, the protruding cabin lights that bumps the head, slippery floor, low headroom, etc.

Windows. I mean, why are they still using tarps?

Driving skills. I have respects for jeepney drivers. They have outstanding skills for maneuvering, evading, slipping through tiny openings, it's as if they were riding a bicycle. But their skills are for military applications; they will make excellent battle tank drivers.

Anyway...I have run out of energy. I have an asthma attack,. It's hot, for heaven's sake, I gotta do something to take my mind off the ailment...blah, blah,blah, blah,..Good bye.

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