Shabu, a slang term for the drug methamphetamine used in Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Ya ba, also called shabu (Philippines), is a pill with a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine that is prevalent throughout Asia. Methamphetamine is a particularly potent and addictive form of the drug, better known today as “crystalline methamphetamine”. Recently, while walking down an alley near a dam that connects Bacoor and Las Piñas, I heard a group of men and women talk about “shabu” (crystalline methamphetamine) and its easy availability despite the bloody war on drugs being waged by the Duterte administration.
Although I was busy with work and completely forgot about shabu, I noticed its widespread use among the poor. It turned out that the term “Japanese” referred to the way the new drug was ingested by heating it with a flame, as if cooking a Japanese hot pot, “shabu-shabu style”. However, methamphetamine would remain the most popular illicit drug in Japan for decades to come. Known as shabu in Japanese, simple methamphetamine was first synthesized from ephedrine by the Japanese chemist Nagai Nagayoshi in 1893.If the upper and middle classes used shabu as a recreational drug, the poor would resort to it to stay awake and out of their luck.
Shabu (synthetic methamphetamine) and alcohol used to play a greater role in the banzai who faced the grassroots to ensure that they had the right aggressive spirit. One could stay awake for days drinking 500 pesos worth of shabu, compared to a 30-minute discharge of a few lines of cocaine. A person in shabu expresses happiness, their eyes shine with emotion, all their being ready to embrace life and all its possibilities. Either he had asked his younger brother to buy shabu from a nearby source without paying for it, or he could have been a drug dealer who only recovered some of the things from his vendors because he wanted to give me a guest.
After the Edsa People's Power Revolution in 1986, shabu seemed to have become popular among the upper and middle classes.