“Tunay na buhay!!!!!”

by Ka Edong on August 1, 2012

There was a TV show teaser I saw one-and-a-half times (the first time, I saw only half of it), a trailer for an episode of “Dokyu”, a local TV show featuring documentaries by university students. Just one-and-a-half times I saw that trailer but the images and message of that 30 second trailer were burned in my mind for many days after.

“Real life”

I use that phrase. After spending time online in a chat session, I sometimes end the exchange by saying, “Okay, logging off. Back to real life”.

I used it also in an essay I wrote after my one year course in AIM. After a year of classroom sessions, case discussions, grueling written analysis of cases, months of sleep deprivation writing my thesis, it was a relief to be back in my “real life”.

But “Real life” or “Tunay na buhay” meant something very different in that Dokyu trailer.

The trailer showed a close shot of a little girl, around 6 to 8 years old maybe, street smart, poor and from the slums. She was replying to the film-maker’s queries, presumably to a question like: “Ano ang pangarap mo?”

The little girl’s reply was caught on tape:

“Gusto ko ng tunay na buhay!”

The film-maker prodded, asking for an explanation. To this the little girl replied once more, irked but still smiling:

“Ano ang hindi mo maintindihan, ang linaw linaw naman ng sabi ko! Gusto ko ng tunay na buhaaaaayyyy!”

These words resounded in my mind long after I heard them.

This young Filipina girl has been told that she isn’t living a “real life”. This little girl has learned to cope by convincing herself that her life is unreal, just like a dream.

To this young girl, “real life” isn’t poor. “Real life” isn’t difficult. “Real life” isn’t hungry. “Real life” isn’t garbage. “Real life” isn’t what she is living now.

Show me this little girl. She has lessons to teach us all.

Baby boy edwin


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