I’ve been noticing you for quite some time now. You are almost everywhere – literally! I see you in the jeepneys I ride on; in the cafeteria by the tryke terminal who has a karaoke machine – singing your heart out in a Regine Velasquez/Michael Learns to Rock classic; in the streets of Alabang-Zapote.
Isn’t it dangerous that you work your way up in between jeepneys and cars and buses, in the middle of a major road? I think the risk of losing your life over a few panhandled pesos is not worth it, to be honest.
Where’s your mom? Your dad? Do you have siblings’? You almost always are in a group of kids, but I doubt if anyone of them is biologically related to you, as you kids don’t even resemble one bit, physically.
You kids wear the same dilapidated pair of shirts and shorts, that’s for sure. Some of the girls in your group would even go as far as putting lipstick on for God-knows-why. I mean, you’re kind too young for that! You’re like, what 10? You’d rudely ask drivers if you can take a hitch and once you have the go signal, you’d sit beside one of us passengers, and suddenly belt out a song!
You’d sing a few verses, would abruptly stop, then open your hands to each passenger, begging for money.
At times, when jeepney drivers refuse to let you in, you’d shout so loud at them, acting as if the driver owes you anything. Once, you even spat on them! I just can’t imagine a 10-year old doing such a horrible thing! When I was 10, I’d be at home when not in class, watching Cedie ang Munting Prinsipe or playing with my C3PO action figure.
I mean, what has happened to the world?
I’m sure if you had a choice, you wouldn’t choose this kind of existence. This existence sucks! Where has your childhood gone? Where’s you thinking of collecting the next NBA card? Or you anticipating for the next Power Rangers movie? Or you imagining that new Barbie doll you saw at the mall?
Instead, you work at an early age so you can support your family. You brave the risky streets of Manila just so you can bring something home for your siblings and parents to share. You have to have frequent altercations with jeepney and bus drivers just so you can buy yourself a token to use the karaoke machine.
Kid stranger, I encourage you to get out of this kind of living. You are too special to be abused, to be put to danger, to be emotionally and psychologically mistreated, this young! You are supposed to be in school, learning astronomy and developing to be the next Marie Curie or JK Rowling! You’re supposed to be engaging in sports to be the next Elma Muros or Serena Williams! I just can’t accept the fact that society permits this because we don’t have any other choice. We always have a choice!
Kid, you have to stand up for yourself, take the courage to get off the streets and find a way to get a safer way of earning money. Or better yet, make your parents realize what you are ought to do at your age! Don’t just give in to you having no choice. Don’t surrender to the idea that you don’t have a future anymore, ‘cos you have and that’s what you should prepare for.
Praying for you,