Less exposure to danger equals less accidents, equals less sorrows, equals Merrier Christmas. This summarizes Metro Manila Development Authority's (MMDA) ban on children carolers in the streets and highways of the Capital that was issued by its Chairman, Bayani Fernando.
The plan, considered by some quarters as unfeeling since it will deprive the less fortunate of a chance to earn for the holidays, is merely a constriction to prevent road accidents and traffic jams during the season. According to the MMDA, children could still go caroling inside communities and subdivisions where it will be safer, cleaner, and less likely to be of any serious risk. The MMDA is avoiding a repeat of incidents in the past where children dart into the streets and are run over by speeding vehicles; or vehicles screeching to a sudden halt that cause multiple car pileups.
Certainly, this would be good news to a lot of snooty motorists who deplore the grime and smudge that street children rub on their well polished SUV's and European sedans. These fancy smelling folks do not even want to look the children in the eyes, much less smell them, to get a whiff of their smog tainted aroma and pungent breath made thicker by acidity from hunger and starvation. The perfumed crowd are stunned by the sheer determination of the kids to come close, and the tenacity by which they stick to the vehicle until they receive something, or until the vehicle moves away. This reaction totally denies any contribution of wrongdoing to the plight of the scrawny bunch of humanity milling around their obsessive affluence.
The "more enlightened" drop coins from their slightly opened windows to avoid touching the kids, which puts them in more danger in picking up the droppings. Some give candies, unwanted food, or slightly eaten sandwich. Isn't this a touching display of Christian generosity? Wow!
Some holler and shoo the kids away with threats, like street dogs. Do they acknowledge that their vehicles cause the pollution and smog? Are they aware of the low salaries and below subsistence level wages they pay that produces such hardships and deprivation? Do they have any guilt about their practice of modern day slavery that allows them to indulge their expensive lifestyles? Obviously not. They relish the fact that they are the upper class and would do anything to sustain it or go to even greater heights.
The kids, with their tin cans, flattened bottle caps stringed with wire, and long hungry faces sing the carols off key, jumbled lyrics or mispronounced words, that don't do justice to the songs. But this is unimportant. The more critical factor is that they know these car riding people can afford to be a little forgiving and generous because of the holidays. They cannot express it eloquently but they are aware that doing justice to the carols is immaterial; seeking justice for themselves at this time and in a small way, is all they ask.
Ironically, it is those who ride public utility vehicles such as buses and jeepneys who show more concern and compassion for the street children. These are the people who practically have nothing to give and only try to survive. Sadly, the more those fortunate people have learned to live, a part of them had died.