Wednesday, August 03, 2005

oh look, a little baby!

D ended up with a fancy-ish hotel room to herself in Manila on friday night, after a training workshop. I drove in late (got there about midnight), had dinner with her and stayed at the hotel (it was fun, but the next day I got stressed because of work and we had a bit of a tizz).

Anyway - if you only visit certain places here, you can forget that the country has a lot of serious poverty. And you sort of desensitize a bit too. But, regularly enough, you see stuff that reminds you that poverty is actually pretty serious here (for a few minutes at least before you go and but a coffee that costs the average daily wage and get back to worrying about all your educated, white, middle-class worries, like whether you're in the right career blah blah; why the hell you're writing this shit when you have DEADLINES, boy! DEADLINES!!).

So, in the early hours of Sunday morning, D and I were walking past a small park in the middle of the
restaurant/bar area of Malate when I noticed that, lying prostrate and alone on a concrete area next to the grass, was a stark naked, dirt-filthy 1-2 year old baby boy. No sign of any parents or guardians; presumably they were out on the street somewhere trying to make a buck. Or he'd been abandoned. And I didn't even think till hours later that maybe I should've told someone. If I saw that in Oz I would have reported it to some sort of authority immediately. Here, it just seemed...not normal, but not worth reporting. I sense that if we'd reported it, nothing would have happened, but wonder if I should have tried.

Anybody could have picked him up and taken him. I've read reports here of people abducting babies and then renting them out to beggars for the day, because you can garner more sympathy if you have a baby. I guess the day I get desensitised to that sort of thing is a good day to leave.


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