The Hampaslupa problem (and how we may deal with it)Posted: December 28, 2013
(A throwback to how I wrote back in High School! Published on 22nd December 2013. Not very Chirstmasy, you say? Yes, and eating ham in front of starving beggars is. )
“Umaasa kami na nauunawaan ninyo kung bakit kami napilitang parusahan si G. Serapio. Tinuturuan niya ang mga kasaping magkaroon ng mga haraya, ng mga pangarap, na di naman matutupad at dadagdag lamang sa kanilang lumbay.”
So says the hukom in Paul Dumol’s Paglilitis ni Mang Serapio of the members of his beggar federacion, painting a picture of hopeless suffering for these lesser members of society.
And NORSU’s recent staging of the play could not be more apt for Dumaguete. For the past weeks, the City’s growing problem with mendicants has been thrown to light: the number of people living off of alms on the streets is growing out of control. (This recent attention is almost surprising, considering how conspicuous the feces and urine these street-wights leave behind on the pavements is.)
But in articles in the past few issues of the MetroPost, the City Administrator’s office pointed out these beggars’ unwillingness to part with their (convenient) lifestyles as a difficulty in enforcing the anti-mendicancy law (which, as I looked up, has no provisions for when mendicants refuse offered help).
In a time of promise for achieving progress, they allow themselves to remain crippled by a combination of laziness and self-imposed despair: Dumol’s totalitarian poverty is total only in the beggar’s imagination.
Far from the misery painted by the hukom then, what we have at hand is a whole class of people happily defiling our streets with their odious presences, wetting our walls with their wee, refusing to be any better. A clear demonstration, really, of what James Fallow once described as our damaged culture.
To make matters worse, our Christian respect for dignity makes us more sensible working-folk tolerate these “lesser brothers and sisters” of ours, responding to their demonstration of civic selfishness with pity and generosity. Paradoxically it is our kindness that keeps them on the streets.
To put it in the words of Bobby Villasis’ immortal character Ursulina Bough: Charity is a virtue but not when it creates beggars.
(Yes I said in my past article that I will avoid poking the bush here. But for fun’s sake, let me shake the shrub one last time, a reprise-finale of sorts, and write something unmeant but offensive, all for the spirit of good old sarcasm. Everything that follows, be forewarned, is satirical and ought not be taken seriously.)
Now with this attitude at least, we can do something. By refusing offered help, these mendicants have as good as waivered their right to be treated with dignity, and we ought to treat them with condign condescension.
And so, in a list that would have made the late Paul Walker cry, here are some suggestions to dealing with our worsening Beggar problem.
Promote a Matapobre culture: Charity should be passé. “Mendicant,” “beggar,” and “vagrant” are too kind labels, the use of “hampaslupa,” “dukha,” and “mahirap” should be promoted. Promote “it” instead of personal pronouns. When seeing a hampaslupa on the street, don’t forget to say “eew mahirap” to its face (or if you’re feeling generous, throw in a nice kick!). Print “Eew Mahirap” stickers for cars and establishments. And more jokes about the dukha should be aired on TV and the radio! We’ve made fun of gays (productive members of society I must say) for far too long, it seems right to poke fun at the palamunin people now.
The Poison Your Garbage Campaign: Many a hampaslupa, being too lazy to even beg for food, condescend to eating from garbage bins, strewing our streets with used sanitary napkins in the process. To combat this, households ought to be encouraged to add arsenic, malathione, racumin or any poison of choice into food-related garbage.
Spook them away: Someone should weave an urban legend that a serial killer, bent on disemboweling any beggar, is on the loose, or that the streets are infested with a type of fungus that travels via tears (through sleeping on the pavements) into eyes, causing eyeball rot.
Make money out of them: There is such a thing as poverty porn, after all, and tourists are already coming to our country to get a pity-trip at the sight of our mahiraps. Why not make money out of it? We will be world leaders in Pity Tourism! We display these beggars in a conspicuous location, and for a fee foreigners can take photos of them for their next Pulitzer or something. The beggars (whom I suspect partly stay begging because they love the attention) will be perfect poster-things for poverty. But we must make sure we don’t feed or pay them.
Make More Money Out of Them! A Black Market: This is for private initiative. Hampaslupas are ripe for exploitation, and there is a big demand for organs! By supporting the development of the trafficking industry, not only can we take care of our hampaslupa problem, we can even feed the need for fresh cadavers of the medicine students in this university town. And the exports!
The Pied Piper solution: Invite a celebrity game show host – preferably one that gives away jackets – to tape his show here. Like moths to candle-fire, the hampaslupa is attracted to game show tapings, so herding them won’t be difficult. Use as a venue a purpose-built sea craft and tape many miles away from shore. In the middle of the ocean, fly away via helicopter the game show host and the crew, leaving the hampaslupas in their own floating beggar colony. If they will beg from each other here (beggars begging from beggars) they will cause a paradox and warp the fabric of reality, opening up a passageway that may lead to God!