Search and You Shall Find in My World

19 July 2008

Transcendental Meditation on Begging (Or Eating Alone at Chowking Early One Morning and Having Violent Thoughts While Looking at a Beggar Using Her Child as Pawn)

While I was about to eat a spoonful of corned beef omelet, a woman dragging a child knock on the glass window near me. I looked at them. She extended her arm like I was going to regurgitate my corned beef meal. My sweet Lord!

My thoughts suddenly went on memory recall just like in the movies.

I can remember pretty well that Mother used to admonish us when we ask something from our neighbors. She told us we would rather eat camote or gabi but not beg for food from other people. As long as we have both hands and feet, we can work and eat. If Mother can see these begging entities, they would be reprimanded as well.

We used to live in a shanty (defined as a small thatched hut with lots of cellophane matter in the roof to cover disintegrating nipa strips) in our hometown. When the rain pours, we ran in the corners so we would not get wet or squat at the top of a stool so the overflowing creek would not touch our feet. We were made to wake up early mornings to help plant anything that can be eaten. And could sleep soundly because we diligently water those plants in the early mornings and late afternoons. We would gather firewood in a nearby forest and bring snails to feed the pigs. I even had a share of tilling the land for rice and other staples when our neighbors needed workers, from planting to harvesting.

And I have survived.

Which made me wonder why these people shamelessly beg for anything from me, including this hard-earned corned beef? I am not rich. I can only afford to eat a full meal once a day. I work so hard to buy myself things I like. Where is the amor propio that is so Filipino in them?

Poverty? These people are not poor! The poor in my place works hard so they can eat. They toil day and night. Their skins looked like carabao skins. They smell. But they do not beg. These city people have the luxury of sitting around like something is going to happen to them of which they only knew. I know somebody who could not even walk but he sells newspaper day in and out. Now he has a motored wheelchair. But them? Ugh!

And we blame the government.

They should get lessons from priests who are the number one beggars but living luxuriously in their palaces.

Damn! Early in the morning and I am nagging!

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