The problem was, I had the hardest time sympathizing with her. As a Filipino living in Manila and having to endure, day in and day out, the obvious traces of corruption and poverty everywhere—from potholed streets to nursery-aged kids weaving in between moving cars, selling sampaguita leis—I was hard pressed to complain about Singapore society. Especially as I walked home from her place that night at 11:30 in the evening—nay—I didn’t just walk home—I sauntered home in the well-lit sidewalk in the heart of
So as I sauntered home, I took advantage of the safe environment I was in, and stopped to listen to the stillness once in a while broken by the swishing sound of a passing car—chances of it to be either a BMW or a Jaguar are high. I also stopped to take a couple of photos—wondering if I had steady hands to take photos of the night scene (I don’t!). I also realized that I could actually sit on one of the bus stop benches and enjoy the cool evening breeze—without being eaten alive by mosquitoes (I guess they know to keep away from humans--or else they’d be fined!)
Our conversation played in my head again and I realized it’s all about what Abe Maslow said. Once your basic needs are met (food, shelter, security) you turn your attention to higher needs (emotional, spiritual, intellectual). The thing is, we Filipinos are barely getting our basic needs met—so how are we to look beyond that?
Half of me wish I had my Singaporean friend’s problems—but then again, would I be any happier?