Kid ~ I hope I can Read YouPosted on Sep 15 in Laos, Laos Kidsby ShelynPrint
My mum used to babysit the kids when I was a teenager. Seeing cute little kids running around in the house was among the best moment at home. There was a time once, when it was just myself and a little girl left at home. I played with her whole night in the room feeling so comfortable and happy seeing her face beaming with sweet smiles.
When I grew older, I gave tuition to the kids. Those are lucky kids from wealthy families. How to tell they are lucky? Well, first, look at their body size, you’ll be able to tell some of them are fed with excessive nutrition. Secondly, look at their school bags, you’ll be amazed of how high-tech the bags are that you might think they had just returned from other planets. Finally, look inside the bags, you’ll start pondering wondering why a small bag can be stuffed with so many toys, not counting the books.
Those are happy kids, they always have a smile on their faces that make you have this the-world-is-so-beautiful feeling.
Then I grew older again when I finally can afford to visit my neighbors like Thailand, Indonesia and Laos. Those countries present to me a different aspect of kids.
Let’s begin with the story from my recent experience in Laos. We were climbing up to Cave Pak Ou and along the way there were many kids holding the caged birds trying to sell them to us.
‘Free the bird. Buy it, free the bird, good’
The sound kept following us from the foothill to the cave.
The kids are probably used trained to (hard) sell the caged birds to the tourists and to further annoy the tourists so the tourists would buy the birds in order to get rid of them, while their parents were sitting on the stairs doing nothing.
Kid, ‘Free the bird. Buy it, free the bird, good’
Don, ‘No, you free the birds’
Kid, ‘Free the bird. Good karma’
Don, ‘No, you free the birds’
(Repeat for another 16 times throughout the climb)
This is exactly what happened to the rest of the tourists also. Apparently most tourists discourage this unethical activity that utilizes child labor, but also damages the ecosystem (the birds probably don’t do too well once captive). With such tourist attitudes it is a very good sign that these activities might be eventually eliminated.
While most of the Malaysian kids have their favourite PSP or Transformer to fill up their time, the kids in Laos have grasshopper for toys.
I was resting at the entrance of the cave and observed this little girl for a long time. She looked bored as no one bought the birds from her, so she played with the grasshopper like how a Malaysian kid plays with a toy car.
She looked so not like a kid (She did not look like a kid). I didn’t see any smile in her face but only calmness with a trace of sadness, as if she has seen through the vanity of life and the world. She caught my attention so much that I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
I eagerly wanted to take a picture of her but I was so afraid her parents would suddenly appear out of no where and threaten me for money (ok, I exaggerate it, probably just demand payment for photo taken). Despite having to risk my life, I focused my camera on her. Surprisingly she just looked at the camera and waited for me to press the snap button. She behaved so naturally as if it was her job to be photographed. Right after the camera flashed, I heard she said ‘Money, photo, give money’
I wanted to help her, but I can’t give her money. She was not supposed to be here to make money. She is supposed to study in the school to learn to be a good person, but not here to help her parents or whoever that might have kidnapped her to make money.
I hope I have a better camera to capture the melancholy cast between her brows. There were a thousand words in her eyes. I wanted to read it, but I don’t know how. I wanted to help her, but I don’t know how.
~~ Let’s pray… May God bless all the kids. ~~