These are the buildings that survived the recent coup.
[ Previously, I posted a joke that I was told about how the coup was like a Hollywood scene, but I realise it might cause offence and give a skewed impression of the people there. My sincerest apologies. ]
A Manila colleague dedicated a song to me the night we watched Barbie’s Cradle. Now this band sounds like Frente and Sixpence None The Richer, because the female lead has a sweet but not overwhelmingly powerful voice. I thought they could do the Lisa Loeb song well. A while later, a dedication was read out – for Van from Singapore! And what other song could it be, but ‘Stay’. Aww! Well I’m sorry to say that I couldn’t, it’s back to the daily grind for me. But I learnt as much as I came to teach. It was humbling to say the least, seeing how rapidly our neighbours are catching up with us. People with the same skills and talents are willing to work harder for less pay. [Side note: I got to meet the lead singer. Woo-hoo!]
I won’t miss Manila for its disorder, but for its spontaneity. I won’t miss the street beggars, the dusty old buildings, the lethargic plumbing system and the thick power cables dangling from every lamp post, but I will miss how the poor are treated, how people display their love for Jesus everywhere (Christian offices and vehicle decals aplenty), and how they can be happy without having to be particularly rich or successful.
And where else can I go around singing in public without getting stared at?