Boiling Frog Syndrome: Manila Traffic


I’ve just come home from a 3-day business trip to Manila.  I enjoy Manila, but the traffic is horrific and getting worse.  It took more than 2 hours to travel from the airport to my hotel on Tuesday, and a similar time for the return journey on Friday.  Someone warned me that on a rainy Friday afternoon it can even take 5 hours!  That might have been an exaggeration, but many people told me of 3-hour trips.

That should be absolutely unacceptable.  But Filipinos and Filipinas are patient people.  They tend to accept things with a shrug and a wry laugh.  Perhaps this has something to do with their strong Catholic faith – but Poles are just as Catholic and they can be as impatient as anyone I know.

I think it’s the Boiling Frog Syndrome at work.  The traffic gets a little worse every day, slowly enough that people don’t notice the increments, just as a frog can be boiled to death in a pan of water without making a life-saving leap.

We’re all vulnerable to the Boiling Frog Syndrome.  A cup of coffee used to cost sixpence.  When did it break through the $1 barrier?  How long did it take for it to smash through $2?  $3?

What about foreign exchange rate spreads?  What about bank charges?  What about postal charges?  What about bed-and-breakfast tariffs?  We’re constantly being educated to regard ever higher prices as ‘normal’.

Oh-oh, my Stoppiness Quotient is rising fast.  What do you think?

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