One of my friends called me a few hours ago (yes, at 1AM) and told me the story of a Filipino 12-year old girl named Mariannet Amper who committed suicide by hanging herself with a nylon rope. She wrote in her diary how she wanted simple little things: a bicycle, a new bag, a new pair of shoes, and the chance to finish her education. However, due to extreme poverty, she wasn’t able to get any of these things — they don’t even have electricity or running water.
In her suicide note, she wrote that she wants to finish studying in order to buy a bicycle. She’s had been absent at school for more than a month because they don’t have money for transportation.
The night before she killed herself, she asked her father about (P100) US$2.50 for a school project but his dad had no money. The following day, he managed to get a small cash advance for construction work but when he got home, he found his daughter dead.
Hearing stories like this make me want to throw up and question my existence. I actually question my existence every day, however, let’s leave it for another blog entry. Remember what I wrote earlier last year about starving people in the Philippines? When you have 90 million people in your country and the majority of that figure live below the poverty line and when the Catholic church discourage use of contraceptives and their brainwashing antics, things like these are NOT unusual. It happened before, it happens now (albeit unreported) and no doubt, it will happen in the future.
Clearly my friend got depressed to the point where she’s in tears. It was inevitable to talk about how extremely lucky we are — if you are reading my blog right now, wherever you are in the world, that includes you, too. The fact that you have internet access and have food on the table it means you’re lucky more than most of my compatriots. I know it’s easy to point fingers and go on a high horse on how fashion this, poverty that etc.
I tried to console my friend by telling her at least she had a conscience. At least she felt something — and told her friends about it. I’m sure a lot of people out there read things like this every day WITHOUT doing anything (no matter how big and small). For instance, I may not write about poverty every day (this is a fashion blog) but it doesn’t mean I don’t acknowledge the problem. I do — and whenever I can, I try to help out, privately, without announcing to anyone.
I also don’t think people should feel guilty whenever they compare their lifestyles to the REALLY less fortunate. I mean, it’s great that people feel guilty but there are more important things. It’s already given that some people are more blessed than others. Some inherited their blessings, some worked hard for it, some are continuously working hard for it and then there are some who, because of some sick twisted fate, do not AND cannot have it. Either way, it’s completely irrelevant to compare our lives with anyone. Nobody can erase the past, you can only witness the present and you could only change the future. The more important thing is — what
could ARE YOU GOING to do help others? Any act of kindness is always appreciated by people who need them most.
Think about it. Then do it.
Privately. Unannounced to anyone. Not even to your own mother.
Trust me on this and you, too, can sleep well at night.