#AnimatED: Yaya meal: Far from the egalitarian dream

'Yaya meal' is symptomatic of the unsettling divide between the haves and have-nots.

Balesin, a members-only island resort, was true to form when it whipped up “yaya meals,” dishes downgraded in price and portion meant for the nannies.  

Celebrity Maggie Wilson-Consunji, a club member, made this public in her Facebook posts early April, calling the practice “offensive.” This triggered a storm of comments on the exclusive resort’s “discriminatory” policy. 

Last year, a similar incident happened when a condominium building banned drivers and maids from using regular elevators – and designated a separate elevator for them.

Answering criticisms, the property manager, Katherine Garrido, was dismissive. “There’s no issue. It’s not for the world. It’s just for the building. It has been a policy ever since the building was created,” she said.

Like Balesin, Garrido was true to form. The world of the haves is markedly different from that of the have-nots. 

It is an unsettling reality in the Philippines, where class consciousness is part of people’s mindset, manifested in various ways, from cooking lessons for helpers only to putting premium on family names, addresses, car models, and club memberships. Such stuff are considered achievements more than how people think and innovate to close the economic gap.      

Our most pressing problem is inequity despite our surging economy, which is forecast to be the second fastest-growing in the world in 2015. 

One indicator is the total wealth of the Forbes top 50 richest in the country, $74 billion, which is about a third of the gross domestic product of $272 billion – and they are only 50 out of 100 million Filipinos.  

The Philippines, however, is not an isolated case. Worldwide, income inequality is rising, according to Oxfam, a global charity. Seven out of 10 people live in countries where inequality has increased in the last 30 years. 

Still, our leaders have to address this. Balesin and “yaya meals” are just the tip of the class iceberg. What they stand for should definitely be part of our national conversation – and goad us to aspire for an egalitarian society. – Rappler.com