By Harvey King (3D), Stallion Features Writer and YCLC Member
Posted Thursday, 16-Dec-2004 3:54 PM
The Evil Yoyong had just destroyed lives, and it was once again up to the Xavier boys to team up and do their part in saving the world. It was almost routine for Xavier to ask us (its army of donors), to fish out our wallets and help the next great cause. And why should we complain? The warm fuzzy feeling that came with donating made up for the lost merienda . Yet as I reached for my pockets, ready to bring out little Manuel Quezon and his big brother Manuel Roxas, I stopped. This time it was not as routine as I had thought. The organizers told us that, although money would be of help, what they really needed were volunteers. They were asking for students who would willingly go to Unimart, Robinsons Galleria, SM Megamall, and Shangri-La to act as the voice of the impoverished victims whose homes and families have been ravaged by the typhoon. They wanted volunteers who would ask and beg for donations. More than a twist in things, I would later learn that their proposal was quite the challenge.
Armed with an ID, a handful of flyers, and the friendliest face I could muster, I stationed myself in Unimart and went from one counter to another asking people to care. I was met by various reactions from different kinds of people. There was the kind mother who asked her children to get extra cans so she could donate them. There was also the secretly rich woman, who, in her simple clothes and timid demeanor, casually surprised me with a thousand peso bill. A lot gave boxes and cartloads of food, while there were also those who gave a can or two from the little that they could afford. The generosity they showed was refreshing and riveting. It rekindled in me a sense of hope and boundless optimism that I forgot ever existed. However, this spiritual high was easily countered, crushed even, by the utter lack of concern that others had shown. Yet it was not the people's refusal to give that made it depressing. Rather, their complete disregard for the cause and of our presence was what made them unbearable (actually more of sarap batukan ). They were rude enough to ignore us and leave us standing there (with our cute little IDs), or walk right past us without saying anything close to a sigh. A simple “no” would have been at least border politeness, and a “no thanks” would have been even better. Instead, they chose to ignore the problem and placed themselves well above the issue of poverty. They did not have time for us or for the poor, because frankly, it was not a problem for them. These people could live the rest of their lives not caring, and I think that is exactly what they will do. Perhaps, for them, poverty will always be that nameless man outside their car window and nowhere near the comforts of their lives. They felt little need to acknowledge the poverty surrounding them, and even less to get involved. Their reaction was that of indifference, plain, simple, but most of all, painful and sad.
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