In a disturbing display of apathy, in China a pedestrian ignores a toddler hit by a truck earlier and saunters on. The disturbing surveillance footage showing a young child hit by a truck and later ignored by passersby has sparked outrage all over the world.

Recently, a video from China went viral which sparked anger from many around the world. A toddler had managed to wander out on a busy street and soon fell victim to a hit-and-run from a passing truck. Making matters worse, she was soon run over by a second truck and she lay dying on the street with passerby after passerby ignoring her. Eventually, it was a humble street scavenger who took pity on the child and moved her to the side. She was eventually brought to the hospital by her distraught parents and she succumbed to her injuries just days later.

What has people up in arms is not that she managed to leave her parent’s shop and wander on a somewhat busy street, which is something her parents will have to live with for the rest of their lives. The real tragedy was that after being hit and run over, the toddler lay on the pavement clinging to life while those passing by did nothing to help her. Imagine what could have happened if the drivers who had hit her, or even the pedestrians lifted a finger to help her. She might be alive today, and those people would know the satisfaction of having done good for their fellow man.

I was watching the movie Patch Adams starring Robin Williams, and as the title character he said the following lines that got me thinking:

“What’s wrong with death, sir? What are we so mortally afraid of? Why can’t we treat death with a certain amount of humanity and dignity, and decency, and God forbid, maybe even humor. Death is not the enemy gentlemen. If we’re going to fight a disease, let’s fight one of the most terrible diseases of all, indifference.”

I always considered myself (to a certain point) one who cared a great deal about others, often to the point of overstretching myself. But deep inside, I always felt a great sense of satisfaction when I have done good for others. It is the kind of feeling that you won’t get from doing just anything.

Just a few days ago, I was at the MRT station waiting for the next train to work when I was approached by a man who mentioned he wanted to get to Magallanes and it was his first time riding the train. I mentioned to him that he was on the right train and it would be the next station after I got off at Ayala station. After we boarded the train, I then decided to stand near him and right before I disembarked, I reminded him that the next station was his stop and he should be okay from there. After he thanked me as I exited, I felt a high I had not felt in some time.

We are all connected in the circle of life, I once learned. And if we did just one good deed every day for the rest of our lives, imagine how much nicer the world could be for once. But only if you truly believe it.

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The bustling Terminal 1 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila recently gained infamy as the world's worst airport by a travel website. The terminal has exceeded capacity since 1991, and many of its facilities are now overcrowded and non-functional.

The website Sleeping in Airports recently rated the Ninoy Aquino International Airport as the world’s worst airport, pointing most of the blame on Terminal 1 where most of the international and local carriers are now based. You may get access to the review here. Below are a few of the reasons why Terminal 1 got such an appalling rating, according to reviewers:

  1. Terminal 1 was built back in 1978, at a time when the air industry was experiencing a growth boom. It reached capacity in 1991, and many travelers have complained of overcrowding in the said terminal.
  2. Facilities are long outdated and limited, with restrooms having non-working plumbing and limited counters to handle the growing volume of passengers.
  3. Incidences of criminal activity in the airport have been reported, with pickpockets and thieves brazenly stealing from passengers and alleged corrupt airport employees asking for various “fees” for many services that should otherwise be free of charge.
  4. There have been reports of structural issues with the aging Terminal 1, such as ceiling collapses in certain areas.

And just before that, I came across a blog shared by my high school batchmate about a British national who regularly travels the world as part of his work, and he regularly stays in Manila as part of this. Recently, he wrote a scathing (but surprisingly truthful) post on his poor experience in the city during his last visit, which then triggered some terrible outbursts from those who read it. You may get access to the blog by clicking here.

It is surprising how defensive we Filipinos can be when someone makes a joke about us, yet we do not care to look at why we are treated as if we have “Kick Me” signs taped to our backs.

So instead of a knee-jerk reaction to such negative comments and perceptions, wouldn’t it be better to take these criticisms constructively as a way to improve ourselves and the country? When one thinks about it, there is much we can do to build our nation and it always begins with us. We are at least partly responsible for the poor reputation of our country in the global eye, and it is up to us to prove that we are not an ass-backwards lot.

As Dr. Arthur Mendelsohn (portrayed by Harold Gould), a mentor of Patch Adams said in the same movie:

“You’re focusing on the problem. If you focus on the problem, you can’t see the solution. Never focus on the problem!”

*****

Just recently, the National Transitional Council announced the death of longtime dictator Muammar Gadhafi after ferocious fighting between rebel forces and Gadhafi loyalists in the former leader’s hometown of Sirte. With the death of the erratic and repressive Gadhafi, the rebel forces of the NTC proclaimed victory in the months-old civil war and announced that they had full control over the country.

With that victory comes a huge price to pay for the Libyan people, however. The economy is in ruins, and property and lives have been lost. Experts have estimated that it will take years before the country resumes its previous levels of oil production, which will lead to higher global crude oil prices. Rebuilding the lives of its populace will take perhaps the longest of all, as many Libyans were born and knew only a life under the Gadhafi regime.

So while I salute the Libyan people for their selflessness in fighting for the most basic of human freedoms and rights, they have much work to do. And while it will not be easy, based on how hard they fought for the right to live with dignity and without fear, it should be more than worth it.

Looks like Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams in good company now. As symbols of people triumphant in the face of great odds with little more than determination and a passionate love for their own personal causes, it is something we can smile about despite the insanity of our world.

*****

Looks like I’m spending yet another holiday at the office, while my siblings, niece and nephew get to have some time away from the city with my kin in the province. Oh well, time to make the extra pay bonuses count. Happy Halloween, All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day, everyone.

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