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The J Spotter

Personal insights from the J Spot author J. Angelo Racoma
( this site has moved to http://jangelo.racoma.net )

The J Spotter » Scents in the air

Scents in the air

The MRT smelled like coffee this morning. Come to think of it, the office smelled like coffee as I arrived this morning. And it wasn't the sweet, strong aroma of coffee drip-brewing, as would usually signal that I've arrived (I'm one of the resident coffee connosieurs). It's the smell of instant coffee mixed with newspaper ink; yes that's what it was. Nescafe had been publishing advertisements in major dailies recently, appealing to the olfactory senses, in a similar way that cosmetic companies advertise their perfumes in magazines. And to what do we owe the pleasure (or displeasure, in my case, as you would see later on) of this appeal to our sense of smell? It's this free newspaper called Libre (English translation: "Free"), which is an ad-supported tabloid-format daily by the publishers of the Philippine Daily Inquirer ("PDI" or "the Inquirer"), a widely-circulated broadsheet.

Now what I dislike about the Inquirer (and its other publications) is that their paper and ink have a distinctly pungent smell (in my humble opinion), which I find quite offensive. Multiply this by the number of MRT commuters who find time to fight their way to the newspaper rack to get their free copy of Libre ( Filipinos are, indeed, fond of anything that's free), the result is an allergic reaction from my sensitive sinuses. I guess the smell is because of the recycled paper and soy-based ink used in PDI publications, or as claimed by the publishers.

Don't get me wrong. I love the smell of paper. I'm that type of person whose memories would be triggered by scents. And the scent of paper, for instance, in a library, would conjure a number of memories, emotions and visions in my mind. It's just that I'm not too fond of certain smells, in particular that of certain publications, most especially if you get to smell it everyday. I guess there's a tradeoff between print quality and environment-friendliness.

Tomorrow, as I ride the MRT to work, I would again expect the diffusion of soy-based ink in the air, perhaps with a hint of Nescafe instant coffee. I'd just have to content myself with reading my Time, Newsweek, The Economist, FEER, or Businessweek issues (current ones, or my collection of back-issues, borrowed--ok, stolen--from airport lounges), perhaps less environment-friendly, but definitely with better print quality!

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good to know that there is another nose friendly person out there, its hard to live in a world with many smells and not create a memory for it (like the smell of grandmas cookies on christmas, that sort of thing) Live long and have fun (and by the way, your great with words, could almost smell the coffee and newpaper)

Posted by Blogger FlUfFi Bunni MASTER on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 1:03:00 PM  

Thanks FlUfFi Bunni MASTER! I guess having a sensitive nose is both a boon and a bane. You get to appreciate the world through its scents, yet you also easily get repulsed by the not-so-desirable scents.


Posted by Blogger J. Angelo Racoma on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 1:10:00 PM  

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