Two Towers, Two Little Girls, Two Cents: a Reflection

There are two little girls, identical twins, outside The Two Towers. I was surprised, actually, when I realized that there were two of them. They sell cigarettes, soda, junk food, bread, and whatnot to the workers. I'm not really sure if this is their ordinary routine. It was my first time to be here on a Sunday. Traffic was light, the halls were empty, and in that moment of peaceful yet deafening silence, I just wanted a cigarette (a bad habit I'm starting to pick up again).

I remember my father would always tell me that he used to sell peanuts when he was a kid. My mother, aside from working in their booth in the wet market, would make a hundred plastic-wrapped sugared milk and put it in the freezer so she could sell a local desert called ice candy (something that now would only be priced at around 2 to 3 pesos if adjusted for inflation). So much work for so little profit for people of their age then. Profit they learned to treasure nonetheless.

And it's so easy, as we are young and raised to be compassionate and idealistic, to say that the the two little twins, probably aged at around 5 to 7, should be playing with games on iPads, something I noticed adults are so proud of nowadays: ang talino ng apo ko ang liit pa lang marunong na mag iPad. It's easy to say they shouldn't be working or engaging in labour at such young ages. And I don't disagree. It's so easy to desire for social justice and for equality for children. We should abhor parents who wouldn't want only but the best for their children.

I just found it so amazing that the two kids were so sharp and responsible, that they could be left alone to handle a small business. And since they've somehow managed to monopolize that place and they're the only ones selling cigarettes in that smoking area, I'm sure their business is making a killing (in more ways the one). These kids were so sharp that they were already engaged firsthand in business math, trading, finance, microeconomics, and entrepreneurship. Should their parents be able to manage their profits properly, I wouldn't be surprised if these two twins ace through college or succeed in life even without a degree. Entirely speculative but plausible.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

I just feel like I, along with those like me in our generation, grew up pampered and sheltered: instantly provided  with the physiological and safety needs on the chart above that we got to focus more on love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. We became more engaged in social interaction and self reflection. Many of us getting very interested in the liberal arts and contemplating the meaning of life: a luxury the majority of young people in the world don't have. Whereas my parents, much like the two little girls, had to provide for the physiological and safety, sometimes even just the bare minimum for themselves.

This is not to generalize, of course, as there are those born with a silver spoon in their mouths still succeed on their own and aspire to do so with or without the help of the wealth accumulated by their parents.

I guess it had more impact on me because I had to deal with irritated people, many of whom are irritated for such petty reasons. We live in a world where it is a luxury to complain thus creating a boom in the demand for customer service industry.

I'm not saying customers have no right to complain. I just feel that being in the frontline and seeing it all unfold infront of me: a veil of perception is removed and I see how ridiculous it all is, including myself. That same day I encountered a person complaining about a late delivery of an iPhone 5. It made me wonder what was wrong with the iPhone 4S he was currently using. Is it so that he can be more efficient in playing the logo quiz game?

Personally, I had no right to interfere with his liberty to complain about his voluntary agreements and trade. For all I know, it could be used for something important like using LTE to Skype with loved ones who live abroad. I was in no position to judge.

It actually reminded me of this Louis CK bit about cellphones and airplanes:

It just really made me reflect more about myself. It's all very humbling. It reminded me of how there is a bigger world out there with problems way bigger than mine. As much as I love technology, there is wisdom in Louis CK's jokes above.

If you liked this post then you might also like:
1. My Two Cents on the Spratly Islands Conflict
2. From Burma to Vigan: Semantics and How Simple Words Can Affect Politics and Society
3. Cornetto's “Hanggang saan aabot ang 20 pesos mo?": Inflation and Monetary Policy

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