Earlier this week I saw families living in make-shift houses along Amorsolo Street in Makati— I think their houses burned down or they were simply driven from their homes. I saw mattresses on bamboo beds under tents right on the street. Along with their kids, bags and all, they hid from the rain. Cars drove by with its passengers who, like me, possibly felt sorry for a moment. But once the car turned the next corner, they were back to their own realities. Also equally likely, they ignored them altogether and did not even stop to think about why they were there. These people now in the streets, they’re probably just informal settlers after all, right?
This morning on the way to work I saw a man rummaging through the trash by the side of the road less than five minutes away from my gated community where the guards keep people like him out. Maybe he was looking for food, maybe not. Or more likely, he was looking for clothes— as obviously he didn’t have any on. He could possibly just have gone mad and wasn’t in his right mind. That might explain it, right? Well, that’s probably what we all told ourselves as we went about our day. He’ll probably just be a story we tell our friends and family over lunch. Some might even say they’ve seen something similar, but in the other side of the metro.
Nothing new, life goes on.
When did I become so ‘inhuman’ and heartless? Did I not used to care so much more?
Why is such poverty and hardship so normal? Am I really so selfish to so often think it’s all about me— or at least the people close to me? That we’ve got it good?
And yet still, life goes on. Here I am in an air-conditioned room, my tummy full from all the food I’ve just had for lunch.
Am I supposed to be thankful for my ‘luck’? Am I supposed to be taken aback and for a moment feel pity for those who do not have what I have: food to eat? Then what, what happens afterwards?
Yet now, as I ponder such things, life goes on.
I will eat, I will sleep, I will probably see such things again on the way home. If not, then maybe tomorrow.