Monday, November 09, 2009

Stop and look

Its a pretty warm Sunday evening, so I decided to take a stroll down the river again. Summer's here! Time to get out your sunnies and bathers and hang out at the wonderful beaches.

Like huge metal guardians, these statues watch quietly over the Yarra River.

Melburnians and tourists alike are strolling along the Yarra River bank, perhaps stopping by the restaurants for an elegant Italian meal or some gelatti for dessert. School kids are now on their holidays, hanging out with their friends without any worry in the world (unlike some unfortunate Malaysian school kids who have tuition during holiday times).

But that's all that is on the exterior, isn't it? All pretty, prim and joyful ? Allow me to give you a glimpse of whats happening below the surface based on what I've seen so far.

A saxaphonist nearby busks for his daily living, hoping for some pitance from passersby. They throw him a coin or two, listen for a short while, then continue on their way. He treasures every coin, cause thats whats going to earn him a little dinner for himself. He hasn't eaten the whole day, and continues to play on through the night as long as he can.

A drunkard hobbles slowly along the footpath, shouting randomly at anyone that gets his attention. He's unshaved and hasn't bathed for weeks. He holds his bottle like a vice, and drinks from it from time to time. He goes towards the saxaphonist and utters some more random words. He's a public nuisance and pisses on the streets. No, the rest of the folks aren't amused with what he's doing and they don't give a sh*t.

A group of homeless folk sit down on a bench, talk among themselves and share a cigarette. Though the city council does give them some cash to tide them over, they instead spend it on booze and drugs. Unless they get a real job, they'll most likely in that same situation for a very very long time. They've only got their fellow homeless friends to keep them company. Things get worse with old folk. They're usually on their own, and just make do with whatever there is, usually a park bench. I've seen a fair share of them all these years. Only God knows if they'll ever be remembered when they pass on.

A homeless mother and her child wait eagerly for the soup van to arrive for their daily dinner in one of the city's back alleys. Their meal is simple, just some soup and bread, served by willing volunteers. Otherwise they wouldn't have a chance of surviving. They're thankful for their meal everyday.

Every city has its ugly side. If you're looking at this article right now, chances are you have a comfy home to live in, a stable job, a nice family, accommodating friends, etc etc. You're so much luckier than they are. Its just a matter of whether you're willing to stop and look, or turn away and go your own way in life.


1 Comment:

robin said...

Gosh I so miss the night shots of Perth skyline. I used to walk an hour from where I stay to the peak of a hill to do some long shutters. Those were the goods times..


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