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Sharing Stories - A Glimpse into Another's Life - The Real Courage On The Road

PHILIPPINES | Wednesday, 10 April 2013 | Views [326] | Scholarship Entry

First afternoon in Mandalay, I was just hanging out at the hostel’s lobby since they cut off electricity in Myanmar for 3 hours everyday. The manager started talking to me about the tours but I told her that I have arranged a tour for the next day. Ma Nyu Yee was so nice and helpful, she offered her help with almost anything not just to me but also to the other guests.

I was a bit bored that day so I asked about ‘Moustache Brothers”, political stand up comics that caused them to get imprisoned for joking about their government and performing in front of Aung Sang Suu Kyi. She then talked to the Xychlo driver, Koo Yeh, he quoted 3000Kyat to go there and back for the service. It was a bit expensive and on the map I can walk to the place, so I told her that I will just walk to go there. Few minutes later, I talked to her again saying, “I know I can walk to the place, but I think I’d rather help the Xychlo driver and take his service to bring me to the Moustache Brothers’ place”. She was surprised, trying to hide her tears, she happily went out and yelled Koo Yeh’s name to give him the news that I decided to his Xychlo service.

I know I did the right thing helping him, at least to get by for a day or two. I realize that not all backpackers will hire a xychlo driver to that distance since backpackers are trained to walk miles to save money. I just couldn’t turn my back on that because I remember how it was like ages ago, and it reminded me of the haunting memory of letting one old man starve for his dinner way back. Story of frustration not having a courage to help out someone in need. It was a sad story but I’d still tell you.

One night, I was queuing at a local bakery back in the Philippines for my turn to buy something. The old man before me was trying to get a packet of noodles handed the lady his 5 pesos. The lady gave his coins back saying,”It’s already 6 pesos, price has gone up”. A poor man’s dinner is usually a pack of instant noodles and maybe some rice if they are lucky, family of 5 or more shares a cup of rice and noodles. Disappointed that he will not have his dinner, I was crushed, thinking why I did not give him a peso? I was there for a higher reason but what? Why didn’t I reach out to help? It would have been nice to help someone not to sleep starving. That moment is marked on me until now, the reason why I continue to try and help people that needs a hand I come across.

Tags: Travel Writing Scholarship 2013

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