Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Two films. One premise.

   It has been an interesting movie marathon for me because I saw two films that include an illness as the theme but originated from two countries that are both on the other side of the world. Instead of burning the midnight oil reading and studying for my exam, I spent late Sunday night watching these two movies. I was supposed to watch only one movie, but I lost interest in it that I decided to watch another one to make myself feel better.

   I'm not sure if spoilers are included in this post, but Love and Other Drugs is one of the typical boy-meets-girl film so even if I mention the ending it wouldn't be a spoiler right? In addition, I'm watching the second movie entitled My Love By My Side to distract myself from bawling my eyes out (Well, it's true. But I started writing this post while watching the second film and finished it when I was available.). Here goes.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Will there ever be an epiphany?

So I had some free time to write this post, and I am open to any downtime considering what the past few weeks have been for me. I've just finished watching a BBC documentary about an English bus driver who went to Manila, Philippines, and experienced the life of a jeepney driver. I am grateful to BBC for doing this documentary, so at least the Philippine government can do something about it: to make them realize what life is like in that country from a foreigner's perspective. 

I found the video in youtube, and it took me a few minutes to find the link so I apologize but I can't provide the link in case BBC closes it down, and I might not be able to watch it again. Nor the other people who can watch it. I could send an email if you're interested, but really, youtube's search bar is pretty easy to navigate and you would find the link easily. The video is accessible in the BBC website though; so you can visit there to view it. However, it's not available in all areas so one may not be able to watch it depending on which country they live. 

The documentary is an hour long; an average time for a one-episode Korean drama but longer by 10 minutes for a Japanese dorama. Josh West is a bus driver in London and he embarked on a 10-day journey in the Philippines to live the life of a jeepney driver in Manila, Philippines. He stayed for a while with Rogelio Castro, a jeepney driver and his family in San Andres Bukid, Manila, Philippines. Josh drove the jeepney by himself on his last day to get a taste of what it is to be a driver in the bustling and overpopulated streets of Manila. 

As I was watching the documentary, shame and embarrassment were playing in mind, thinking how a foreigner would see this from their perspective. And it's true; I should be ashamed that I used to live in that city more than three years ago and things are still the same. There is still a clear disparity between the rich and the poor, with the poor people living day by day, just like Rogelio. On a typical Monday morning, Rogelio wakes up, drives in Manila for 12 hours, goes home, eats. The next day, he does the same thing. But he doesn't think about what's going to happen the next Monday. All he thinks about is hoping that he makes enough for the day to pay for the debt that he used to buy the jeepney and give the money to his wife, Edith, and she manages the budget for the eight people living in their home. At least Rogelio and Edith only have three children, because Edith did not want her children to die of hunger. Their grandchildren lives with them as well. But they had a neighbour, Elsie, and she lives in a smaller place with her husband and her thirteen children. Thirteen children. Can you imagine that? And now Elsie just realized that she needed to learn more about Family Planning because she was just experiencing the hardships of having a large family. Which she should've done before so she didn''t have to suffer the consequences now. Here's what I like on what Josh said, when they were about to go to the hospital and saying how Elsie should have gone to the hospital a long time ago but then he said, "I'm not living their life, they are." I don't know if this sounds mean to some people, but I find that he's just being realistic that Elsie and her husband decided to have thirteen children, so they have to suffer that. I know, I know. Their children would suffer greatly because they were only born and they're defenseless. But they should also blame their parents and the government for not implementing a bill like the hot issue of the Reproductive Health Bill (or RH Bill) that is opposed by the Catholic Church (who else?). It annoys me that Elsie's family are going through this because the government didn't have Family Planning programs in the slum areas, but I couldn't help but blame Elsie and her husband as well, for they should have known better. I mean, they already know they're poor, so why produce thirteen children, and not be able to feed them? Why? And her first pregnancy was when she was 14 years old. How about that. It's just annoying, really. And disappointing. That the government still remains paralysed even after twenty-five fricken' years of the democracy the Filipinos fought for. 

Alright, here are some pictures, and I apologize if they're blurry. 

the jeepney

Rogelio's jeepney

Rogelio's neighbourhood


the crazy streets of Manila

a typical day in Manila

Josh and Rogelio, the latter pondering on the distinct separation of the rich and the poor

Josh workin' it

Josh did it! (love their smiles here)

To describe that country, it's like a deteriorating and paralysed place that is also moving backwards. And I am really, really glad, that BBC did this documentary to show the world how ugly the system is.

And don't even get me started on the pagpag

A/N: I wrote this in a hurry, and I don't plan on editing it, so I'm sure there are lots of grammatical mistakes, but I don't really care.