Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Poor: Two Narratives (Part 2)

As a follow-up to my previous blog entry, i was looking for the best way to describe the second narrative. I've come across some good ones, but i think this quote linked to by Urbano de la Cruz nails it:
"the people who come to the city [and live in squatter developments] are the cream of the crop with the highest ambitions and aspirations."
As he says, it's something to think about.

1 comment:

Equalizer said...

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights …

—U.S. Declaration of Independence

In a cynical article in the January 8, 1990 edition of the tabloid Extra, it was pointed out that among the garbage recylers there also are the privileged: "At a time when dining out has become an unaffordable luxury, urban poor residents of the former Department of Services area in Vito Cruz, Manila, can claim to be eating nothing but the best. The most expensive food is daily fare for DPS residents, most of whom work as garbage collectors. The food, actually hotel and restaurant leftovers popularly known as 'pagpag' (shake off), is saved from these establishments' garbage cans. DPS, adjacent to Ninoy Aquino Memorial Stadium, near Sheraton Hotel in Vito Cruz, Manila, has a population of about 200 families. Almost all say they are 'pagpag'-eating families. (The DPS cluster is just one among many of Metro Manila's 'pagpag'-eating urban poor community whose population numbers in the millions... Adelina Carballo, 55, who tends a small store, admitted that she has been eating 'pagpag' for 12 years now. At first she could not touch the food her husband collected from restaurants and hotels because she thought of it as garbage, or pig feed, but when she tasted the leftovers, she said, she began to like them and has eaten them since. Now all of the family members including her five children are 'pagpag' lovers. The term 'pagpag' came into use when leftovers... were brought home, shaken a bit to remove the dirt... and directly eaten or sometimes boiled for an hour or so or reconstituted into some other 'dish'. Garbage collectors who have 'ideal routes' consider themselves lucky to get an everyday supply of leftovers, although not all restaurants give away their leftovers.