Skip to main content

Asuwang biotechnology (This saw print as a PJI editorial sometime February 2005)

DIRE necessity ought to be the mother of invention if not forcible incursion into technology.

With prices of crude oil products soaring between the rooftops and beyond the clouds, motorists and commuters are likely to set their sights even keep their fingers crossed on anything that promises relief for hemorrhaged budgets.

Even the next to impossible, the arcane lore or once-hidden know-how can invite exploration, maybe dead-earnest research and development.

Take the case of a horror movie staple—zombies. As early as the 1930s, certain witch-doctors cum labor dealers in Haiti and Martinique made piles of cash from tractable work gangs that they hired out to cane growers. Those workers slaved nearly ‘round the clock, in fair or foul weather, hardly slept or rested, and subsisted on food more fit for pigs.

It turned out that the workers were zombies. Yes, zombies!

They were drugged with a powerful anesthetic derived from certain species of toads and the deadly puffer fish. That drug—identified in the 1990s by medical researchers as tetrodotoxin – sent a worker’s consciousness at the edge of coma, yet allowed his body to go through the motions of work. Every centavo they earned went to line the labor dealer’s pockets.

Naturally, a semi-comatose labor force didn’t howl “Foul!” They didn’t go on bloody strikes so unlike that noisome Hacienda Luisita picket-rally.

Now, take an unblinking look at our own asuwang. For pity’s sake, take a look, and heed Marcel Proust this time—“discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

Folklore, vague reports of sightings and unwelcome appearances in urban settlements, and probably gross ignorance or sheer fear of people with alternative lifestyles confined the asuwang into a midnight region of fright and terror.

So we’re told ages back that by some unknown means an asuwang grows wings, easily takes to the air, and does airborne surveillance and probably easy loop-the-loops, any such aerobatics. This malevolent creature can snatch full-grown men and children, so we were warned again and again.

These days, the more scientifically minded would muse over such feats that probably involves bionics (remember the 1980 TV series “Six Million Dollar Man” and “Bionic Woman”?) or biotechnology.

Truth is, there’s less traffic up there where prices of crude oil products have flown beyond the reach of motorists and commuters alike.

Can you read my mind, folks? Whatever secrets of arcane biology or biotechnology an asuwang keeps from us, it’s something that does more than compliance to the Clean Air Act.

It’s a technology that can free us from the clutches of greedy oil multinationals, greedier government men slapping additional excise taxes this year on oil products, and noisy transport groups perennially seeking to jack up fares.

Before we fly off the handle, will a genuine asuwang please stand up; share us your secrets… Please?


Popular posts from this blog

Every single cell of my body's happy

I got this one from Carmelite Sisters from whose school three of my kids were graduated from. They have this snatch of a song that packs a fusion metal and liebeslaud beat and whose lyrics go like this:

"Every single cell of my body is happy. Every single cell of my body is well. I thank you, Lord. I feel so good. Every single cell of my body is well."

Biology-sharp nerds would readily agree with me in this digression... Over their lifetimes, cells are assaulted by a host of biological insults and injuries. The cells go through such ordeals as infection, trauma, extremes of temperature, exposure to toxins in the environment, and damage from metabolic processes-- this last item is often self-inflicted and includes a merry motley medley of smoking a deck a day of Philip Morris menthols, drinking currant-flavored vodka or suds, overindulgence in red meat or the choicest fat-marbled cuts of poultry and such carcass.

When the damage gets to a certain point, cells self-destruct. T…


MAYAMAN pala sa tinatawag na phytochemicals o sangkap na panlaban sa samut-saring sakit ang singkamas—na sa alias nito sa Latin ay talagang kahindik-hindik na ang dating, Pachyrhizus erosus. Tunog erotikong suso sa dulo.

Jicama ang pangalan nito sa pinagmulang lupalop. Mula pa Mexico, nakarating sa ating pampangin nitong kasagsagan ng kalakalang Manila-Acapulco. Jicama. Sumablay ang bigkas dahil kasintunog ng “higa kama.” Nabalbal. Naging singkamas sa ating wika.

Pampigil sa salakay ng kanser, pampababa ng antas ng masamang cholesterol sa dugo, likas din na antibiotic o pamuksa ng mikrobyo sa katawan. Pampalakas sa likas na panlaban ng katawan kontra sakit. Anti-oxidant o pampahupa sa pagiging amoy-lupa. Karaniwan ding gamit na sangkap sa siomai at lumpia.

Hubad na lumpia! Opo, hindi hubo’t hubad ang tawag sa naturang lutuin. Hubad lang. Masarap kung may kalahok pang budbod na mani.

Kaya nakagawian nang talupan ng mga hayok. Ilalantad ang kinis-labanos na laman na pinipithaya (kahu…