Yesterday, a beggar-man hang by the jeepney to ask for alms. He asked for food saying he hasn’t eaten yet. He also gave us his disclaimer: that asking for alms isn’t bad (that is, he is not doing anything bad or dautan).
Perhaps, because hardly anyone doled out any goods, the beggar-man went on asking for long. His litany of beggar-plea started when the jeep was still in J.Y. mall and lasted until the vehicle reached the Gorordo intersection.
I was seated near the entryway of the jeepney, which is why I am in the position to see how my co-passengers reacted to the beggar-man. Most of them faced the front — eluding the beggar’s sight (and plea). When the beggar-man went down, I could practically hear my co-passengers’ sigh of relief, their faces now turned to the spot vacated by the beggar-man.
For most people, his presence would stir compassion. This same people will eventually, if not instantaneuosly, rummage their pockets or bags for spare coins or food. In most instances where I cross paths with these beggars, I’m almost always without anything extra to give. Thus, they can often leave my sight without their pleas ringing loud in my conscience.
But the thing is, I hate beggars. I can’t stand the sight of them. While I could feel or sense a stirring of empathy for hardworking (but constantly tried) street vendors, I just couldn’t feel anything for beggars.
Why? Is it because I’m heartless, cold-hearted (if a heart does exist), or indifferent? Now, assigning me with some villain-titles won’t help, would it? So to satisfy my wonder, I dug deeper. And what did I found?
My self loathing.
I can’t stand the sight of beggars because the lack in them — from clothes to manners — remind me of what I have. And by them-versus-me standards, I am by all means considered a “privileged one.” How can I own that?
I don’t know. That’s another question for tomorrow.
“To ask, ask, ask — and not recieve, you must either be a con artist or a saint to endure that.”
~Me to the Beggar-man~