February 23, 2018

"In the Philippine capital, Manila, meat is recycled from landfill tips, washed and re-cooked."

"It's called 'pagpag' and it's eaten by the poorest people who can't afford to buy fresh meat." BBC video:



ADDED: I'm trying to understand the Britishism "landfill tips." As an American, my first thought was that people are hearing the news — getting a "tip" — that meat has been deposited in a landfill. But I think the "tip" is the deposit of garbage into the landfill. A container is dumped or tipped, and where we say "dump," they say "tip." I looked it up in the OED, which has "rubbish tip" — with no definition — in its entry for "rubbish." 3 quotes are offered, perhaps to orient us, and one is the deliberately weird: "On a step a gnome totting among a rubbishtip crouches to shoulder a sack of rags and bones." That's James Joyce, "Ulysses." Google Books gives me the larger context. I scroll up to get a running leap into it and find: "Peep at his wearables. By mighty! What's he got? Jubilee mutton. Bovril, by James. Wants it real bad. D'ye ken bare socks? Seedy cuss in the Richmond? Rawthere! Thought he had a deposit of lead in his penis. Trumpery insanity...."

81 comments:

Wince said...

And we used to make fun of our parents for admonishing us to 'clean our plate' because of the starving children in China.

Fernandinande said...

"landfill tips".

Tibore said...

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. My elderly mother talked about witnessing all sorts of living off garbage heaps in the Philippines from back in the 60s and 70s. She never mentioned scavenging for food, but I'd bet she wouldn't be surprised about that part. Seeing all that bothered her a lot.

rcocean said...

Is it healthy?

If so, then just shut your eyes, and make believe its filet-minion (sic).

Big Mike said...

In the United States poor people have fresh food to eat. But we’re evil. Just ask Rober Cook. Just ask any Democrat.

rcocean said...

Once I went on a hiking trip in Africa. The native guides usually cooked the food and served it to us.

I wanted to go over and watch them cook it, but our group leader said, "the less I knew about how it was cooked, the better I'd enjoy it".

Peter said...

Pagpag makes a great substitute when you're out of roadkill.

n.n said...

A consequence of a high-density population center that is deprived of the means to provided for themselves.

Ray - SoCal said...

Philippines was the 2nd wealthiest country in Asia in the early 1960’s.

Amazing what corruption will do.


Lem said...

"contains some upsetting scenes"

good thing they don't eat with their eyes.

otherwise they would shoot their eyes out?

that doesn't make any sense.

Clyde said...

No. Next question.

Quaestor said...

In the United States, poor people have fresh food to eat.

In the United States, poor people sometimes much choose between NBA League Pass and the latest iPhone.

Leland said...

I've seen people pay good money for someone to pull out a small lawn of wheat grass, mow it down, and juice it to a shot.

Nonapod said...

Street food can be pretty dicey. In China a lot of street vendors use recycled oil, so called gutter oil. In Africa, dubious bushmeats have been blamed for the spread of some very nasty diseases.

Lem said...

Thanks Althouse...

your addition confused me even more.

Gahrie said...

A "tip" is a "dump".

rcocean said...

"Philippines was the 2nd wealthiest country in Asia in the early 1960’s."

They've had a population explosion, as a result, their GDP per capita has declined.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Tip=heap,dump.

Iowan2 said...

It’s a landfill term. If you hire refuse removal at a large scale, you will quickly get educated in ‘tipping’ fees. As in $ per ton

SeanF said...

I'm pretty sure I've seen photos of UK garbage cans with signs that say "no tipping."

As I understand it, it means you're not supposed to put your own personal garbage in the cans, not that you can't tip them over.

Although, I suppose you'd get in trouble for tipping them over, too.

Robert Cook said...

There are people in America who eat food from trash dumpsters and trash cans.

But then, American restaurants and supermarkets throw away literally tons of edible food every year, instead of donating it to food banks, so maybe American garbage-eaters are getting a better choice of garbage to eat.

America really is the best country in the universe!

Bay Area Guy said...

No worries -- Duterte will solve this problem.

It may involve shooting someone, but, nonetheless, the problem will be solved...

I Use Computers to Write Words said...

Oh, I had taken "tips" to mean little bits of meat. As in "beef tips" which you'd use in stew. So "landfill tips" would be little bits of meat from a landfill. The thought of the verb tip hadn't crossed my mind, though that does sound very British.

Ralph L said...

Tips are the dumpsters themselves.
Like bins, only bigger.

Curious George said...

If Trump used the term "shithole conutries" then he could add Philippines to the list. But he didn't.

John Pickering said...

For the Brits, a tip is also the container into which trash is dumped: Americans usually call the container a "dumpster".

Ralph L said...

"Trumpery insanity"

Joyce really was ahead of our time.

Ralph L said...

Dustbin is often shortened to bin.

I doubt they still have charwomen.

Yancey Ward said...

If you are hungry enough, there are lots of things you will eat.

buwaya said...

No specific comment on the practice, but lets say this is far from the most upsetting aspect of extreme poverty.

An interesting point, I think, on social development there, which in my day was quite recent, is that of residential separation. I grew up in an "old" neighborhood of Manila, walled compounds with a mansion inside, but adjacent to postwar slums on waste land, or squatted-on lands, more a hive than a collection of homes. The richest existed meters away from the poorest.

Then some clever people started developing American style subdivisions where the rich (or upper-middle) could better separate themselves from the poor. And everything else, such as shopping malls, to limit contact as much as possible.

As for development - its true that the country lagged the rest of East Asia, except Indonesia, 1960-2000. The cause was less corruption than, I think, misconceived economic policy designed to exclude foreign investment, or domestic investment, plus the extreme centralization of governance. Nothing could be done anywhere unless someone in Manila approved it. Not even land sales or transfer of titles. Private property was very insecure without political power.

You can take nationalism much too far, and centralization too - let that be a lesson to those who support an Imperial Washington; Imperial Manila didn't work so well, be warned.

It took a very long time to extract the country from the nationalist trap. The baby-steps here can seem absurd - in the 1970s certain areas with customs-perimeters were created, where specially vetted foreign companies were permitted to build manufacturing plants and hire locals. Permissions which could be revoked overnight. And even this was politically controversial.

This all has been relaxed since, and the results can be seen in increasing economic growth, becoming the fastest in East Asia over the last decade, but regulatory overhead is still an obstacle. The business climate is generally still bad, and Manila is still an imperial city.

As for corruption, all Asia is extremely corrupt.

Levi Starks said...

Still, they’re eating better than Argentinian oil field workers

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

I just came across a related Britishism: a skip is a container into which debris or garbage might be put, such as at a demolition or construction site. I think we might say a dumpster. Wikipedia now tells me that a "wheelie bin" is a container that can be dumped into an appropriate truck on site; a skip has to be carried away. Dumpster would then be a synonym for either type.

OT, but I came across "skip" in a book called A Life Discarded, by Alexander Masters. Moving and interesting, with many funny moments. Academic types find many volumes of a hand-written, anonymous diary in a "skip"; this happens in the city of Cambridge (UK), but it seems to have almost nothing to do with the University. Masters is in the biography business, so over the course of some years, he takes an occasional look at all these volumes, and begins to get a sense of the writer. He eventually writes a story about his discovery of the author, including meeting her, how he made discoveries about this person while working through the many words in the diary, and what value such a diary has in the case of a non-famous person who writes with remarkable frankness.

buwaya said...

GDP per capita has actually consistently increased, except in some bad years of economic depression, such as 1982-86 - and you really don't want to be anywhere near an economic depression in a third world country.

The real problem was that per capita GDP growth lagged.

Gahrie said...

But then, American restaurants and supermarkets throw away literally tons of edible food every year, instead of donating it to food banks, so maybe American garbage-eaters are getting a better choice of garbage to eat.

This is due to an overabundance of lawyers and liability issues.

buwaya said...

Duterte was elected, in part, as a reaction to Imperial Manila.

He has disappointed a bit.

On the positive side his administration has continued the reforms of the Aquino administration, corruption has not worsened, that I have heard, which was a major concern. The "deep state" there, which had been significantly reformed by Aquino, has been left on auto-pilot, which is not a bad thing on the whole.

On the other hand there has been little additional deregulation nor much if any decentralization, in spite of much talk.

Susan said...

When I lived in Australia, I learned the terminology as:
Tip = trash dump
Skip = dumpster
Wheelie bin = the home trash bin with wheels (fill it up, roll it to the kerb for pickup)

rcocean said...

Philippines Population 1960 - 26 million
Philippines Population 2018 - 105 million

Their population has increased 4x. Just to remain with same GDP per Captia their economy would've had to increase 4x.

But the Philippines has nothing for export that China/Japan/Korea don't have. And the amount of industry has always been relatively small.

Talk all you want about "centralization" but demography is destiny.

Hagar said...

Wonder what the Philippines would be like if it had remained a US Territory?

Tyrone Slothrop said...

The UK word for dumpster is "skip".

Drago said...

Robert Cook: "But then, American restaurants and supermarkets throw away literally tons of edible food every year, instead of donating it to food banks, so maybe American garbage-eaters are getting a better choice of garbage to eat.

America really is the best country in the universe!"

Allow me to apologize on behalf of terrible, horrible, no good very bad America for failing to live up the leftist standards set in the Soviet Union, Venezuela, North Korea, Mao's China, et al.

Perhaps if we put our heads together we can come up with a way to make sure that not only is there no food in the garbage, but make sure there is not enough food at all!

Hope springs eternal!

buwaya said...

Malaysia population 1960 - 8 million
Malaysia population 2017 - 32 million

That is, also 4X

Sally327 said...

"Wonder what the Philippines would be like if it had remained a US Territory?"

Puerto Rico.

buwaya said...

Keeping the Philippines post-1945 would have been a terrible idea.

It was also a terrible idea to keep the place in 1899.
It was a white elephant, expensive and unremunerative, to the US (as also to Spain), and embroiled the US in colonial rivalries that it should have avoided. In particular it, over time, created the conflict with Japan.

Big Mike said...

@Drago, Cookie wants us to be like Venezuela — where rich and poor have the same amount of food. Because the rich can’t get any food either.

buwaya said...

Puerto Rico is a little place. The Philippines is much larger, the size of Italy in land area, and with 25X the population of Puerto Rico.

It would be an enormously expensive dependency.

That said, Filipinos in the US (of which there are at least as many as there are Puerto Ricans) are vastly less troublesome and far more productive than Puerto Ricans.

Whether anything like that would have been possible across the Pacific, who knows.

buwaya said...

In Venezuela the rich have much more food available than the poor. Real money buys food that is unavailable to those without money. That sort of crisis has the effect of increasing such discrepancies, increasing class differentials, not flattening them.

And, moreover, most of the rich (the old rich, and many of the new) have fled.

Rabel said...

This tells me that the shrimp I boiled three days ago and didn't finish are still good to go.

Howard said...

The trash in Britain is placed in a bin, collected in a skip, sent on a lorry to the rubbish tip

Howard said...

In the US, grocery stores are paid to have their meat waste rendered into biodiesel and dog food.

Drago said...

Howard: "In the US, grocery stores are paid to have their meat waste rendered into biodiesel and dog food"

Man, I'm getting hungry just thinking about that.

Who's up for meat loaf?

Chuck said...

Iowan2 said...
It’s a landfill term. If you hire refuse removal at a large scale, you will quickly get educated in ‘tipping’ fees. As in $ per ton

I agree. Althouse; "tipping" isn't an odd Anglo phraseology. "Tipping" in the landfill context is used regularly in the U.S.

Here in Michigan, we've had a long-running public debate as to whether Michigan landfills should allow trash to be imported from Ontario, Canada across the Detroit river. Whether our landfill sites could or should charge more; whether they could charge a different rate to Canadians. I recalled that in the context of "tipping fees" and within a few seconds was able to locate a Detroit Free Press article mentioning "tipping fees."

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/02/19/canadian-garbage-michigan-landfills-solid-waste/337837002/

It is standard landfill-business terminology.

m stone said...

Las Vegas has a pilot program operating that takes leftover hotel and casino food (mostly buffet items), flash freezes them (or otherwise re-processes it), and stores the food for distribution to the poor. The food keeps for at least three months. I hear the program is successful so far.

Vegas apparently wastes more food than any US city.

M

mikeski said...

Robert Cook said...

But then, American restaurants and supermarkets throw away literally tons of edible food every year, instead of donating it to food banks, so maybe American garbage-eaters are getting a better choice of garbage to eat.

Gahrie replied...

This is due to an overabundance of lawyers and liability issues.


Correct. In my liberal-minded youth, I worked at a grocery. I wondered at all the food thrown out. (Or burned, in an incinerator that didn't provide heat or power to the store... this was many years ago. The incinerator was just to cut down on our trash bill; ash being lighter and smaller than unburnt stuff. We did eventually start baling and recycling all the cardboard boxes, rather than burning those, too...)

I was told a combination of health codes and tax laws prevented us from donating the food. (There was probably a zoning ordinance or something similarly stupid involved, too.) Anyway, a torrent of my "but what if?" questions were summarily shot down.

My brother worked at a fast-food place. He could bring "leftovers" home for himself, but again, liability prevented them from donating to food shelves.

Better that people starve than become sickened by donated food, I suppose? Maybe the laws would change if more people were actually starving? My now-retired parents volunteer at the town food shelf. They don't seem to run out of stuff, so I guess taking grocery and restaurant "waste" would be superfluous, anyway?

Ray - SoCal said...

PH has a strange relationship with the US. I had some workers based in the PH a couple of years ago.

The US has a huge amount of PH immigrants, both legal and not.

Due to anti Americanism, they asked the US to leave Subic and Clark Airbases, and we did. Chinese moved in a bit aggressive because of this.

In the South, you still have an insurgency going on.

Corruption is still an issue, with some areas basically being in a feudal set up. And a lot of investments mismanaged. A few years ago there were power outages that a barge based power plant was used, why on a barge? So it could be taken out of the country if any issues. And part of power outages were caused by sub-standard fuel.

People power is alive, for better or for worse. I met a priest who got a burning dump closed down, and housing built there for the people that lived there. He got results through demonstrations.

Huge growth in the outsourcing industry for technical support, customer service, and sales.

Lots of workers going to other countries as Nannies, Maids, etc. Taiwan and countries in the Middle East. Also working on cruise ships.

Good education system for the elite, which is basically Manilla.

And at the same time extreme poverty and riches.

Ray - SoCal said...

And as in many Asian countries, the ethnic Chinese, control a lot of the economy.

rcocean said...

"It was also a terrible idea to keep the place in 1899."

Exactly. We found a stupid, immoral war to keep the Philippines, for no good reason. Of course, the USA Power Elite wanted to have a colony, just like England, France, Germany, etc. So we had to have one too.

Later, all the "wise old grey-beards" decided we couldn't give the Philippines their independence (despite being in the 1912 Woodrow Wilson Platform) because blah-de-blah. They didn't become a Commonwealth until 1935.

The end result is that the Philippines got dragged into WW2, and god knows how many innocent Filipinos were killed.

rcocean said...

Malaysia has benefited from being near Singapore. IRC, Singapore and Malaysia were yoked together - after the Brits left - but Singapore broke off and became independent.

Anyway going from 8 to 32 million (24 million) is much less strain then going from 26 to 105 million which is additional 80 million people.

The amount of land available to farm doesn't go up - no matter how many peeps you have.

buwaya said...

Malaysia benefited from having a high portion of Chinese, period, plus generally a much better investment climate, very likely because it was >40% Chinese and Indian (Hindu) for most of the period, plus a direct legacy of free trade from British times.

Singapore was in a "cold war" with Malaysia for a couple of the relevant decades, Singapore was not a factor.

The Philippines actively kept out Chinese, regardless of wealth, part of its nationalist policies, dating from the 1930s. One of the nationalist complaints against both US and Spanish regimes was that they were too lax about letting in Chinese (and Indians, a lesser-known issue). Its immigration laws are still extremely restrictive. Immigration scandals (payoffs, etc. for residence permits) have been a perennial political issue also since at least the 1930s if not earlier.

Mike near Seattle said...

I remember first encountering the British use of "tip" some years ago on a trip to London. At the end of a street my wife and I saw a sign that said "No Fly Tipping." It took us some time to figure out that this meant "No illegal dumping of trash" and did not refer to some quaint Anglo-Saxon ancestor of the rural American sport involving cows.

buwaya said...

Philippine agriculture is enormously more productive now than it was in the 1960s. The country imported food then as it does today, but in real terms it is more self-sufficient now; in spite of having a much larger population, imports have mainly gone into a better diet - more protein, etc.

It has about quadrupled rice production since 1960, keeping up with population, while also increasing the proportion of other elements of the diet. Rice imports are at about the same proportion of consumption as ever - 5-10% depending on the crop year.

jaydub said...

The garbage dump in Manila (really a small mountain rather than dump) has had thousands of scavengers working it since at least the late '60's when I first saw it. The scavaging has been a continuous operation ever since. Extreme poverty does terrible things to good people, and in my experience Filipinos are some of the finest people you will meet anywhere.

buwaya said...

The US would have let the place go sooner had it not been for the Filipino politicians of the time. Manuel Quezon in particular, but his opponents too. They played the game of nationalism, while sabotaging actual progress towards independence - "independence, but not yet". Quezon was a master of this two-faced politics, and became one of the first of Americas ethnic politicians, being just as familiar with Washington as Manila - a rather stylish sort of Al Sharpton. In the end he was vetting appointments for American Governors.

They were reluctant to lose US investment, US subsidies, US spending on military establishments, and not least the US implicit guarantee of ultimate recourse as a backstop for business confidence. It was easy to sell investment in the country, foreign or internal, as being just as sound as investing in the US.

But they played that game just a little bit too long, and the ongoing risk of being a dependency on a great power caught up with them. Quezon understood quite early, by 1939-40, that he had gone too far, and tried desperately to find a way out.

Postwar the new governments did not have a Quezon, and so were insufficiently hypocritical about nationalism (imagine that, the downside of sincerity among politicians); and worst of all listened to their own academics.

DrSquid said...

Yes, I would eat it, if I was hungry enough. So would you. We'd fight over it.

Ralph L said...

Do they have rag and bone men?

buwaya said...

Yes they do. This was a profession with its own customs.
I remember fellows pushing their wooden carts down the street, shouting "bote jaryo!". That means "bottles, newspaper". But they would take all sorts of garbage.
Very 19th century.

Other itinerant merchants would push their carts or baskets on poles, down residential streets, selling ice cream, balut (fertilized duck eggs, with embryos), basketry (usually on huge carts pulled by oxen), fried fish balls, etc. In those days too it was common to find horse-drawn cabs (kalesas, like a tropicalized hansom cab), plying the back streets.

In many ways it was, and much still is, a world out of another time.

DavidD said...

I understand that a dump truck in England is called a tippy lorry, so it makes sense that a dump would be a tip.

Will Cate said...

"Trumpery insanity" .... it's today's Phrase that Pays

madAsHell said...

fried fish balls

Is this anything like Rocky Mtn Oysters?

PackerBronco said...

I bet they also drink "raw water".

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Etienne said...

Truth be told, Manila is a shithole.

buwaya said...

"Manila is a shithole"

True. Always was, pretty much.

Rabel said...

"The end result is that the Philippines got dragged into WW2, and god knows how many innocent Filipinos were killed."

Amazing.

cold pizza said...

Love the Philippines. Stationed at Clark AB in '84. Brought home a souvenir and we'll be celebrating our 33rd anniversary soon. I'm active in our local area's Filipino community where I'm one "puti ng puti." The music is soppy, love-song ballads or soppy, nationalistic folk songs (I much prefer K-Pop).

In fact, I just had dinner of tortang talong (fried eggplant). And rice. Everyday there's rice.

I love the Philippines--but I love living in the US with food, water, sanitation, electricity, wi-fi, etc. -CP

Brian McKim and/or Traci Skene said...

Not sure how it works elsewhere, but a trucks usta snake through the streets of Philadelphia in the hours before sunrise and pick up specially designated buckets, bins and cans filled by restaurants with their wet waste. The trucks would deliver the slop to pig farms in South Jersey and some in Pennsylvania, who would feed it to their pigs. When I found out about it, I was stunned by weirdness of it. The seemingly anachronistic practice had been going on for... a century, or two, maybe longer? Then I immediately admired the practical nature of such a program. And I felt stupid for being stunned. Then I found out they did it nearly everywhere there are pig farms. Far as I know, some meddlesome animal rights or health group has yet to decide it's bad and try to have the practice banned. I wonder how many other such practical and invisible deals go on without our (or my) knowledge?

rcocean said...

"Amazing."

Yeah "amazing" isn't it- Rabel?

Glad you agree - Rabel. Unlike, so many on childish Dumb-Shits on the internet, who can't say *why* they disagree, cause they're too stupid.

Glad you're NOT a Dumb-Shit.

Rabel.

Josephbleau said...

Nations don’t exist in a vacuum. If the US had not taken the Phillipines ( and Hawaii) some other nation would have taken them from a weak Spain. If the US absented themselves out of moral impulse Japan could have created their Co Prosperity Sphere in 1900 and the WW2 pacific theater would have never been. Horrible slavery from Australia to Alaska to this day.

Josephbleau said...

To correct, I do know that Hawaii was not colonized by Spain.

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MB said...

I thought this sort of stuff only happened in "The Dosadi Experiment".