A glimpse from the eyes of a Third Worlder. With glasses, of course
Okay, kids. Let’s start.
In an ideal world, resources are abundant, enough to meet the demands and still have spare for emergencies. In the real world, resources are like tissue paper in a public bathroom stall in a third world country – you’re goddamn lucky to even find one.
In an ideal world, professional ethics have their roots at the educational institutions and ends when a professional retires, and sometimes, not even until he dies. In the real world, school is where professional ethics ends.
In an ideal world, Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. In the real world, Jack asked Jill to go to the highway and rap at car windows to ask for coins from testy car drivers when that traffic light goes red. Sometimes they even have color amnesia and start forgetting those colors mean anything at all.
Living in the third world country, I found, guarantees you an infinite mental list of an Ideal vs. Real combo.
All these years, I’ve seen (I am) people trying to get on with life with their feet on the extremes of a very fine wire. And all this time, I’ve never seen the weight balanced on the wire; people always have a constant risk of falling since they continuously amass on the extremely deprived side.
I’ve never been abroad, limited resources (i.e. having money just enough for NEEDS, sometimes not even close) saw to that.
But since people find numerous ways of making the world a microcosm every day, it is inevitable to get a glimpse, albeit a blurry version, of how people get on with their lives in the upper ranks of the world (read, first world. Although when you get technical-historical about it, it was never really meant to become a “ranking system”. But as with most things, time [but mostly people] distorts something in one way or another and before you know it, a definition sticks like a leech).
Like you, my mother told me it is never good to compare. But I’d sooner lay a golden egg than find someone who truly doesn’t do it.
I know there are nations who have it worse than our own pearl of the orient, but those who have it better outnumber the rest of them. In all statistical surveys other than Corruption and Poverty and the Worst Airports of the Century, we always seem to be at the lowest ranks. And when the compare-o-meter starts rolling, goats get restless with the knowledge of grass having less leaches sticking on them on the other side. And yes, the Philippines does have a great deal of leeches. Goats, too.
Famine, Pollution, Corruption – I know these jocks are hotshots Earthwide, but in some parts, you can’t help but see them without a fishnet stocking blocking your view. I see them with a magnifying glass (along with devastating healthcare, educational, political, sanitary systems) on a daily basis.
I can’t even blame a good and righteous blue-eyed woman torturing her toddler by saying, “Finish that sloppy-food-that-doesn’t-look-or-taste-better-than-something-that-shouldn’t-get-in-but-out-of-the-body OR ELSE I’ll send you to one of them third world countries where they tread on dog shit ninety times a day!”
In some areas of the country, I suspect that could be true. But it’s not exactly as horrifying as having to tread on Tuberculosis-infected spit or eating in a carinderia (stalls where you get to eat homemade food) and praying every time you get a spoonful near your mouth you won’t get Hepatitis. In most parts of the country, these things are truth.
For someone used to the comforts of living in a first-world neighborhood, living here might be like Halloween per diem.
I know I musn’t be the first to bitch (excuza me for the French, kids, although I doubt any of you would be lost here for more than a tenth of a minute) about these things. I’m one among millions, methinks. And like all of them people having importance only as fillers in the world of Statistics, I’m wondering about how to change things.
A person who thinks normally would have already made the conclusion that I do want to change things as they are.
Maybe I do.
But there’s that space somewhere in the thinking portion of my being (you sensible people would call it the brain, but personally I’m not as sure) that somehow already resonates satisfaction with how things work.
I mean, come to think of it, it’s just like the psychology of abuse – the more exposed you are to something, the more you tend to think it’s normal and the more you resist attempts to change the state of things.
Well, maybe. Yes, maybe I am indeed a culturally-abused individual, the only difference is, I don’t know who to blame.
See, the greatest paradox is how people around me, people who could only knot their foreheads in confusion at the prospect of having Internet connection available in ninety-five percent of every square inch in the country and people who could pop their eyes at the prospect of having enough money for food every day, still have smiles that could reach their eyes.
How they could still imagine promising futures for their children despite being up to their eyeballs with loans and debts.
How they always say people are much luckier abroad but secretly never choose to live away from their country.
How they could look at things around them and never ruminate about how to properly tie a noose but rather how life has blessed them in so many ways.
Some would call it ignorance.
The romantics, however, would call it Patriotism.
I secretly call it Cultural Abuse Syndrome: Positive type, although now it’s not that much of a secret as my having a birthmark somewhere down the bush.
But whatever it’s called, fortunately, won’t matter to the “affected” people because they don’t have time to read and worry about ostentatious, I mean BIG, words; no, they’re busy looking for ways to sustain their basic needs. They don’t have much time for anything else, really, much less on contemplating the mechanism of how to be depressed.
Sometimes, it seems that’s the only thing that keeps you from tying up that noose.