Play with firecrackers…responsibly

Posted: December 30, 2010 in Events, Musings
Tags: , , , ,

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Every time on New Year’s Eve night, my family sit together by the terrace, while we enjoy a fabulous spread of food prepared by my mom, on the table. What we enjoy watching more upon greeting the coming year are those fireworks that light up the sky, rather than the deafening sound of firecrackers. My dad always go for those that light up the darkened lawn of the house—these are fountains, luces, and these past few years, super luces (those heavy and long, thick sparklers that lasts roughly five minutes). That’s been a family tradition from the get-go. 

My dad has always been very cautious in lighting those fireworks. Before he lights a fountain, for example, he gets a long piece of stick with a thin cloth wrapped around at the end, as he douses it in kerosene, sets it on fire with a lit candle, before approaching and finally igniting the fuse of the small pyrotechnics. 

Ideally, this is how a firework, or firecracker, should be handled: carefully. Some people still don’t know how to treat a firecracker with utmost caution. Something that could possibly wound or worse, dismember a limb, should be handled with care, and not just be toyed with like it’s just another…toy. Years have gone by, and still ending up in the news the same way. The stats seem to be predictably consistent, but why is it? 

Is it the thrill of being able to embrace something dangerous in our bare and unprotected hands? Is it the power of knowing that it can inflict hurt to some hapless passerby? Is it because we’re wont to the gory sight of firecracker-related reports that we just don’t care anymore? Do we just never learn? 

Let me digress a bit and recount what happened when I was a kid. I remember one time during post-Christmas Day leading to the new year when my mom and I were outside our house waiting for transportation. A group of young men in an owner-type jeepney slowly went by the front gate, all seem nonchalantly doing chitchat. What we didn’t see was that one of them had actually lit a labintador or rebintador and, with malice, tossed it right in front of us. Those hooligans were cackling as the firecracker exploded, looking back in our direction even when the jeepney had already passed us. Luckily for us, no one got hurt. But it was very clear that they were trippers and they wanted to inflict pain on whomever they see fit as potential victims. 

Why can’t people use a pole to ignite fireworks? It won’t hurt one’s manhood whatsoever. Also, why can’t we light fireworks and firecrackers in uncrowded places, away from all those bystanders? And why, oh why, do we have to be jackasses and use pyrotechnics in our idiotic trippings? 

There’s been previous campaigns on the use of horns and other noise-making instruments to use instead of fireworks. I can’t say that it was a failure, but hey, it’s just good sense to keep the tradition alive, on welcoming New Year each time with a bang. I get that, we all do. But to those who have watched the news for the longest time, do we want to keep that tradition alive as well? Seriously, if we want to end the year with a bang, do so responsibly. 

On that note, so long 2010. 2011, here we come!


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