When a slum burns/ Dirtiness

Shanty town, Malabon City, Philipines
Maysilo village, Malabon City near Manila, Philipines

This seems pretty common: fire razes shanty town. I suppose this is the visual result when ramshackle amidst waste burns: gallons of seawater were used to put out the dawn flames and 3,000 homeless were left homeless.

The sympathy and pity from the rest of us that anyone has to live among and take such literal crap to hang on to the vestiges of their lives is expected and usual.

I also am humbled that they are able to plunge full-on into the muck to save what they can, so some comments irked me–

Why cant they just go and buy it again from the shops ! You never catch me doing this !! – Peter, Manchester, 8/4/2011 1:44

They created it. They can live in it! Idiots – Joe, Essex, 7/4/2011 19:51

These are no academic discussion, and thankfully a sour few. But no one should assume these are dirty people anyway, living entirely tepid lives; dirty people who wouldn’t have a clue or concern about the divide between clean and foul. I think asians themselves would admit that asians tend to have rather anal rules governing the clean/safe and the dirty/forbidden.

Once, in the sort of queue that seems ever-present in a female public toilet, a young lady gingerly peered into the last loo, eep-ed, reeling back out in horror, “it’s a squat toilet, so gross lah.” Her equally young and ladylike friend eeped back, and they waited more minutes commiserating about their bladders and inconsiderate toilet hoggers until the only other cubicle was blessedly freed.

Me? I’d grown up in my grandma’s old house grew up performing bathroom necessities on such a loo, and i was quite surprised at her refusal to use a squat loo at a time of supposed dire need. Not adjusting her standards seemed like loo snobbery to me. I wondered what they’d think if i jumped queue and took the squat. Would i be considered by them, and all behind me in the queue as “so gross lah” as well?

Maysilo village, near Manila, Philipines

3 thoughts on “When a slum burns/ Dirtiness

  1. Strange powerful pictures! There are people who think they live the “right” way and they are usually the ones contributing the most to global warming and everything that that implies. Not sure I would want to be in a line with them when reality sets in.

    • Yea, quite surreal.. most such comments are off the cuff market chatter one would never say directly to the person’s face, but it’s interesting, and yes disturbing, that those are the most natural instinctive reactions.

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