Imagine

It’s a Saturday night and instead of glamming it up with the buds and hitting the town, I chose to stay at home and lounge the night away. Summer classes were over so I really had no reason to lucubrate. To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t as if I had a choice – I was flat broke. So my Saturday night was spent talking to this guy, Quincy, an interesting character from La Salle.

Anyway, I’ve been active on the current affairs scene (which is both informative and a great conversation piece with guys), and that night, I tuned in to watch XXX, a local show that featured exposes. I actually saw the teaser, which featured an expose on a massage parlor in Paranaque that used breasts and tongues as tools of relaxation. The show featured 3 exposes and what bothered me was not the massage parlor expose (I would have been hooked had they busted on male masseurs) but the first one which focused on a public school in the province that reportedly charged Php 150 as enrollment. Now what made the scene wrong was that public schools should not charge interested enrollees. Free education was provided for the less fortunate and some greedy principal decided to take advantage of the situation by implementing a “No Php 150, no enrollment” policy.

It broke my heart to actually see footage (hidden camera) of a woman begging the principal to allow her 2 children to enroll. Problem is, the woman couldn’t afford to pay the “tuition” so the principal was vehemently denying the kids to be enrolled in the school.

Whether or not her excuse is true – she claims the money was optional and was to be used for insurance and for arrangements for the PTA – I think it’s total bull. When Karen Davila confronted her, she was nervous. It was a sight to behold. I laughed.

I was suddenly ashamed of myself. My closet alone could send the children of an entire barangay to school. Some individual pieces could even send one kid straight to college if the rates were that low. And to think it I only use ¼ of my clothes. I was embarrassed because what seemed to be too much for one woman was too little for me. I suddenly had a vision of last week’s gimmick with Kay and Ysa to Tiananmen Bar, then to Beer’s Paradise, and Government with Arvin where I spent an unmentionable amount on drinks and cab fare – and I felt myself go red in the face.

Yes, it is true it is not my fault that my family can afford to put me and my brother to exclusive schools and have a little bit of leg room for life’s luxuries. My mom has worked hard for our money and although I hate my father, he has been an excellent provider. But these reasons do not justify selfishness. Just because our money was hard earned doesn’t mean I should not give.

I am no philantrophist, and I am definitely no Mother Teresa. I am not going to claim I am going to sell my clothes and donate the money to charity. While I was watching the footage of the woman begging, I wanted to reach out, hold her hand and tell her it’s okay, I’m going to take care of your kids, but I knew I couldn’t, because what could I give? I’m still a student, I am not making any money, and to be honest, I pay more than what I earn.

But what I could do is to give what I can. And that is where you come in. My effort, combined with yours, we can help the less fortunate. Consider yourself blessed that you have a family. You are blessed because you are studying, or you have finished studying. Blessed because there is always food on the table. Not everyone has these privileges. There is no need to keep the blessings to yourself. Please share. You don’t need to donate thousands of pesos to help the world. Loose change will do. There are coinboxes in most stores that cater to various charities and organizations. Please do not confuse them with the tip boxes. Giving alms wouldn’t hurt as well.

A popular song said that children are our future. This is true. Your help will move the mountain that is poverty. You never know who you’re going to save or send to school. He might be the person who will find a cure for AIDS. Or cancer. Won’t we need these kinds of people in the future? Or better yet, he just might be able to revolutionize cosmetic surgery and give you a better nose. Give others a chance. It is only fair.

Unlikely, yes, but what are the odds? He might contribute for the good of mankind, but he might just be like the many Filipinos in the streets – somewhere in Manila, a high school dropout, a raging drunk, a wife beater, with 5 kids.

Life. What a funny thing.

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