Thursday, March 25, 2010
To be or not to be
"Whats wrong? Sometimes I also miss meals!"
Gloria Arroyo alleged President
when informed about the statistics of hunger in the Philippines
On my Facebook, there is a link to a site that shows the by now famous and award winning short film, Chicken a la Carte, by Ferdinand Dimadura. It traces food served in a fast food restaurant, turned into left overs, collected as pig slop and finding its way into the homes of an impoverished family in the slums, to be served as dinner. To say the least, it is painful to watch and difficult to forget, particularly the part where the family gives thanks to God for their supper. Despite the sometimes trivial and facetious nature of Facebook, I keep that short film on my wall because it keeps me grounded.
In a country where the statistics vary only on just how high the poverty rate is at the moment (it ranges from 60 percent to 80 percent, depending on whether or not the President is legitimate), it is sometimes ironic that I find myself writing a food blog. But here it is and here we are.
I know that this kind of writing is guaranteed to make people want to click off and go to some site where consciences aren't troubled by the starving. And I wouldn't blame you. I will eventually get back to writing about food and related matters, but I find it essential, at this time and just before Holy Week, to consider and ask readers to think just how much or how little trouble would it be, to give out biscuits to the old man or little girl tapping on your car window?
I know that we have bought into the canard that we should not give beggars anything because they may be pawns of criminal syndicates. But personally, I just can't. When someone begs me for something because they are hungry I will take it in good faith. The rule of evidence states that a positive assertion is generally acceptable as the truth, unless proven otherwise. And if an adolescent boy, stunted in height who sleeps in the streets tells me he is hungry, hell, I will assume that he is, and I will give what little I can.
Over one year ago, I took in a street child and allowed him to sleep in my house. There was a typhoon, and my son, who had befriended him asked me if this boy could stay even if it was just for the duration of the storm. The boy had been sleeping in jeepneys and making a living selling rags. My son and his friends had befriended him and sort of adopted him, but were terrified that their parents would find out.
That boy is still with me and has gotten great grades in school. I wonder what my life would be without him if others had not taken pity on him and given him just enough food so that he was alive when we came along.