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Becoming (pt. 1)

wrote this on a City of Dreams shuttle bus whose driver randomly called me on board while I was wandering around Megamall area looking for something to ride back to Manila. (somewhat bitter?)

*******

When you are a certain type of person (or have been perceived to be a certain type of person) things will just come to you. Other people will feel compelled to give you things.

In many places in the city, occasionally there will be people lying along the side of the road. No one looks at them.

I don’t need to conduct a social experiment to tell you that if I, right now, went and lay down by the road in exactly the same manner, I would not be allowed to remain in that state of misery. Someone is going to feel compelled to go over to me, at the very least they’ll poke me with the toe of their shoe, and ask me what I’m doing there.

Why would they be compelled to help me, and not those others? Is the value of my well-being higher than theirs? Is one human life not equal to another? Let’s leave that line of questioning to some stuffy philosophy grad students and stay rooted in the real world. What’s the most likely real answer? Picture me now lying there, let’s say along Malate, near the LRT: fair skin, dyed auburn hair, nice clothes, pretty face. You’ll come to me. Or call the police. Or stare at me, but you’ll do something. The others are invisible to you. They may as well not exist. You paid me attention. Why?

You look like you don’t belong there.”

I don’t? Then where do I belong? Where should I be at this moment instead of lying on the ground in the heat and dust?

“I don’t know… at school… or at home… or with your friends… somewhere comfortable, at least.”

So you assume that I can afford to go to school, that I have a home and friends. You assume all this from the way I look. You assume that I have a place in the world and that place is not where I currently am. And So you feel compelled to help me get there. The others you leave because you assume that they belong there. Do they? Do they belong in the dirt? Dunno, but no one’s doing anything about it.

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