“ They are killing people there” (in Germany)
By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas
That was what a German national told me 17 years ago.
He came to the office to settle his Filipina wife’s obligation regarding a publication on a land application where their house was standing. To put matters in proper geographical perspective, their residence was found in a forested part of Benin which was at the other side of that mountain in front of you if you looked westward while standing in front of Easter School.
While he was waiting for the preparation of the things he needed from us after paying his wife’s bill (the affidavit of publication and copies of the issues where the matter was published), I had to engage him in some peep talk just to make him comfortable. I had to find a way for him to open up as he looked a bit reticent. So think, think, think. Then came to mind the German truck parked for a long time at the nearby Dep’t. of Agriculture yard. It was the snub nosed Mercedes Benz Unimog truck. True enough he got animated by that and started blubbering about the superiority of German products.
Just one look at the truck and you would know it was the one that could get you out of the middle of nowhere—in the desert or in a thick wilderness. It was as small as a small Isuzu Elf truck (of the Buguias joke fame—no ayshe Elf mo, ayshe kasar—‘if you have no Elf truck, sorry I can’t marry you’) but looked a lot, lot tougher and taller. It had two or three steps for you to be able to climb to the driver’s seat so has a high ground clearance. It was a 4X4 with a winch in front to pull you out of any kind of rut or hole or perhaps it could even get you up a cliff.
Then our conversation strayed into his family’s plans. He volunteered that one of his sons was graduating from an engineering course so they were starting to prepare to relocate abroad.
I asked, “Are you going to your country, Germany?” I was shocked by his answer, “Are you crazy, they are killing people there.”
It brought back memories of historical accounts of the Holocaust where 6 million Jews were somehow exterminated through gas chambers, gunshots or other means.
With shivers in my spine, I asked, “What do you mean?” I was expecting a revelation of some German state secret of modern day extermination or final solution. But I got none of that.
He went on to explain that the Germans are driven by the unbridled desire or effort for more wealth, power and prestige. In short, the rat race. Or to Americans, the uncontrolled desire for the American dream.
Then he summed it up by saying that they are killing people with stress. A result of the culture to get ahead in terms of material wealth, having more and more power or prestige. As he put it, “All the so-called progressive countries around the world were brainwashed into this kind of culture.”
So where are you planning to go? He answered, “I want for my family a more laidback environment. We are trying New Zealand.”
Might have been the best choice, I thought.
Then I met him once on the road driving a Kawasaki motorcycle. It was a trail bike so it could jump over all those bumps and ruts on the mountain road that goes to their house.
I shouted at him. “Why not a BMW bike?”
He shouted back, this is tougher. As he amiably smiled, not much stress on his face.
Sure! Why kill yourself with stress?**