Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Costume Connection

[I can relate to what Einstein said once: that he loved traveling, but hated arriving. Indeed you get to experience different things in travels – from the hilarious ones, to the harrowing (yeah, I still haven't recovered from that Laglag Barya Gang encounter), to the most memorable ones. This recent one left me quite confused on the issues of travels and judgments.]

To reach the university would require passing by these two towns, Calauan and Ba'i (hehe, the original name). I boarded a jeepney from the terminal on this particular afternoon to go there. Though full when we left, almost half of the passengers dropped off already in Calauan which inevitable led to one thing...staying for awhile in one of the loading zones there to pick up some passengers.

I wasn't in a hurry at that time and so chose to just be as relaxed as I could possibly be (being a self-confessed choleric, hehe). It was at that moment that this man in ragged costume composed of what looked like an old black jacket and maong pants boarded the vehicle. He sat next to me and so I moved a distance away, purely for “cleanliness” purposes.

Then an old man in glasses opposite the dirty guy signaled to the driver, using his right hand to trace out a circle on the side of his head. “May lukong sumakay,” he meant. So the driver promptly returned the vagrant's fare and asked him to step off the jeep. The man stayed on his seat.

Upon further insistence of the driver, the man grew angry and snapped, Iderecho mu na, may nag-be-brainwash lang sa 'yo! Iderecho mo na!” (And from the way he talked, he didn't seem to me the ordinary type of wanderer, he seemed to me like a learned man.) To add to the drama, one of the passengers was in fact has handicap and upon realizing the scene, butted in: “Ayaw nya sa 'yo!” Then proceeded to let out a sarcastic laugh.

Feeling it was hopeless to argue, he finally stepped off, a seeming triumph for the spectacled old man.

It gave me a disconcerting question: "What would happen to me if ever I find myself in such a situation, when I would be in dirty clothes but had to board a public transport like a jeep? Would the people shove me away just like what they did to the man?"

(Sighs). It just left me wondering how far now has “judgment by apperance” affected (or perhaps destroyed) the lives of some (perhaps a multitude) of people.
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