"To mingle with them"
(Or all after encountering with these youth)
(Or all after encountering with these youth)
It was weeks ago when this writer had mingle with these strange kind of people.
Mostly in rags, others sniffing solvent, and as if nothing to worry other than roaming policemen, these children were quite noisy, if not showy in bragging their pride as a hood regardless of being unkempt, unfed, or sleeping outside despite the sudden heat and cold.
Most of them aren't even shy and willing to take pictures of themselves in front of the camera. Like Ze Pequeño of the movie Cidade de Deus, these children like to show who are they, that they are famous no matter most people called them as a social refuse if not the scum of the earth and liable for problems directly attributed to these people such as drugs and pickpocketing.
Only to hear their replies stating that they are contented in scavenging, if not seeing some of them sniffing solvents and roaming around the streets of Manila like Recto, Legarda and R.Papa. Their happiness consists of their very own rap music, dance, and if having enough money for a computer in a nearby rental. In Mendiola, they are known to be as "Mendiola's finest" according to their elder whom they regarded as their "mother."
At first, this writer had mixed reactions about these children. Not because they are begging for alms, but they like to interact. Few of them knew this writer, and with a camera they eagerly wanted yours truly to take pictures of themselves and be sent via their friend's social media account. This writer had talked with them about their interests such as music and the way they wear. And most of them are like any other kid living in the shantytowns in the Philippines: taking interest in rap music, wearing jersey shorts or daisy dukes.
Obviously, it is easier for most people, upon seeing them be easily described as "jejemons", "swaggers", "gangsters", "chicanos" and other recognizable Filipino subcultures, that these children had interest in singing rap if not dancing to the tune of hiphop and for some time wearing scantly for a heavily edited picture. Yes, these people may likely to be criticized more for their actions, that they are deemed "jejemons" for their appearances, but for sure few are willing to talk with them no matter how they are deemed as "refuse" or "scum" in the community.
But come to think of this, how come few are willing to talk with them regardless of the dangers? All after seeing them sniffing glue or whatsoever trying to escape from the reality, of seeing their teeth gone bad and swarthy out of sudden heat, end least trying to understand? Perhaps no matter who are they they had to be an object of concern and be encouraged to reform as persons. This writer had once met a rapper, a tattoo model, a social media personality, a once chorus singer all in social media sites, but how about in actual wherein people likely to look indifferent towards them regardless of having the same interest as what this writer had met and talked with in social media? They're much accurate being than what the media being depicted so much regarding certain genres children nowadays used to take part with (minus the solvent sniffing of course!) much more that their culture are a hodge podge of Tagalog rap music most people being scorned due to its lyrics, hip hop dancing that usually featured on shows like "Showtime", might as well social networking sites where they love to post heavily edited pictures with all their pride. Most people may describe them much as "Jejemons", "Jologs", or any other genre like to be described of other than the usual "Batang hamog" (solvent kids) if not "Taong Grasa" (greasy person) because of their swarthy appearances.
But despite all of their interests, especially those of loving to have themselves being taken pictures, this writer had found some few facts about their lives: few of them had go to school, one of them was once a contestant in a mayflower parade, their so-called "mother" of the gang had sisters well enough compared to her's whom out of her past trying to escape by wandering on the streets, and lastly, one of them had to protect her friend from others that end up having a wound on her head. The last one seemed to be courageous though to confront a rival group just because she was trying to protect her friend from being harassed.
And with a shot from this person's camera comes these people yearning for a series of pictures featuring themselves. The handsigns, getups, faces, anything is all but what had earlier being stated: a hodge-podge of genres they had taken interest with.
Personally, these people are by products of rampant poverty and the culture that is prevailing. Living by scavenging if not escaping from the reality by sniffing solvent, these children had been reminding of what Lu Xun and his "eat people" statement,that they are eaten by the flow and thus resulting to these so-called "hopeless creatures" people usually downplaying them. This writer may had waited for these youngsters for June in order for them to go back to school unless they opted not to and become a wandering stowaway. But again, few people would dare to approach and to talk with them regardless of the fears upcoming, although most had afford to give a McDonalds soda float for nothing.
Seems that it all reminds of an anime this writer had watched years ago whose group was called "Fratelli Neri", and theirs were dubbing themselves as "Mendiola's finest" after the place this writer usually go for taking pictures during a protest rally. The heavily dited pictures coming from their respective online accounts somehow provides "pride" regardless of seeing in actual as swarthy beings in need of care and attention.
And underneath their escapist smiles lies an obvious problem creeping in their sanities. How wonder why some like them had resorted to sniffing glue or solvent for the sake of escaping from reality.
That's all for now,