A power outage is not uncommon to me. My family and I, at one point, learned to live with the scheduled “brown outs”, as they were called locally, in Manila. Lasting for at least four hours a day, everyone adjusted their schedules according to the “brown out”.  It was a blessing if it didn’t occur at night. It was too dark, obviously, despite having numerous candles lit and there was no way one could read. If it were in the morning, reading was possible with natural light. Buying a generator became a trend and soon neighborhoods would be filled with the noisy humming sounds of the bulky machines, which grated on the eardrums.

Moving to Singapore, power outages became a thing of the past except for that one instance which lasted for 30 minutes. I was far from nonplussed unlike my colleagues who were left in the dark as to how to go about living during a power outage. They looked and sounded as if they just escaped from Tartarus when they related their horror stories the next day. The local papers reported local government agencies besieged by calls for help and, true to Singapore efficiency, a totting up of the billions of dollars lost during the 30-minute blackout.

Indonesia has its share of power outages like last night, which plunged me in complete darkness while washing the dishes.  After cursing for a bit – I had no torchlight or candles in the flat – my neighbors and us decided to troop down to the nearby IndoMaret, the country’s version of the convenient 7-11 for candles and lighters. Their generator was hard at work outside the store! Haranguing the guards wasn’t going to work – they were in the dark as well about when electricity would be restored. Even they had to endure the blackness of the night because their emergency light was dimming fast. It was just infuriating to see the store – it sells home stuff – well lit amidst the inky night.

What can you do during a power outage? Calling the local power agency won’t work. They’re probably too busy answering calls to get down to restoring power. Cursing won’t help either. I’m miffed that I can’t read but perhaps that is a blessing in disguise – I can give my eyes a rest.  Having a better perspective of the situation would be a start because, after all, people before us survived devoid of electricity. Dovetail it with iron equanimity and you’ll see that it’s not like wallowing in the lair of Hades. Do a bit of soul searching, meditation or plan for the future. Or just hit the sack, like what I did, thinking Bali, Ritz-Carlton buffet and Blizzard.


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