Wednesday, April 6, 2011

El Empleo


A Spanish word meaning employment. A strong video that shook my nerves when I saw it. Shook me to my core. It is not because I might be doing exactly what the character has done, I am thankful that my actions are not even close to his actions... but the video deeply affected me because I do ask others to clean my house for me or ask  them to take care of my  most precious possession in my life, my daughter and have done with my beloved son as well, while I worked at school.

I looked at the SMALL picture of this video and whom it represented. It was of people in general, people around us, the stratification of classes, the affluent and the poor... But I also looked at the BIG picture and what this video might symbolize... this disgrace of a man, who later became another man's door mat, can also represent countries and their relationship with one another or a regime's relationship with its subjects.

Before you watch this video please think of the following questions...
1. Who does the main character in the short movie represent at the beginning of the movie?
2. Who do the people who are providing him with such services represent?
3. Who does the person in the last scene of the movie represent?

Please keep in mind that the questions above can also be asked of countries!

Powerful wasn't it!.. I bet many of you thought about whether or not they are represented by the main character.... or that this video might symbolize Corporations....or stratus systems, or regimes, or regions in the world... or specific countries. Amazing isn't it? 

What an eye opener! Phew! I am still trying to get over it and its messages; both overt and covert.

N.B.... I just realized that the video has been taken off Youtube for copy right laws... I apologize that you did not get a chance to see it.

This is a synopsis of what it was about…
It started with a man waking up early to the sound of his alarm… and you watch him go through his day getting ready for work. His mirror is carried by a person, his table and chairs are people on their hands and knees…  his elevator is operated by an over-sized man who is the weight for the pulley system …. his taxi is a man who carried him on his back… his closet/locker hanger is a woman holding up her arms to carry his coat…. and then at the end of the day he lies face down in front of a door… and waits for someone to come in and wipe his feet on him…. i.e. he is a door mat for someone else.

I am going to hop to something else now......

The other day at school, I said my usual Sawasdee Ka to the pretty smiley cleaning lady on my floor and went into my classroom... a few hours later I had a non-contact lesson and I decided to have my morning coffee then.  I saw her standing by the window with the cell hands-free set in her ear... she appeared tearful and after her conversation ended, I tried to communicate with her... with gestures and a few words, I understood that it was her little boy's 2nd birthday and she was not with him. 

I felt so bad for her... these kind desperate people usually have to come to the urban areas from the villages and have their parents take care of their babies in order for them to find work to feed their family. I cannot tell you how her face changed when I asked her to show me pictures of him. She was unable to find any, maybe because she was a combination of shy and nervous. I asked her to show me the pictures as soon as she gets some because in my head I really wanted to get back to my classroom and work.... 

Did you take note of how impatient I was in my head... why couldn't I just give her that time? This was the beginning of a connection between two different worlds... Even though we had laughed together before and we had exchanged a few Thai and English words to help our vocabulary... she never once talked about something personal... Why was I in a hurry? I later reprimanded myself... I felt guilty for doing that and a sense of guilt falls hard on one's chest.... 

I was so relieved that she actually came into my classroom beaming because she found a picture... She was forgiving... she was giving... What a beautiful soul she is! I am glad I talked to her... I am glad she came into the classroom and persevered to make that connection... I am thankful to her!

Back to the main purpose of my entry....

The one lesson I believe that one can take from both sections of this blog is that we should not take anyone for granted... we should not step over people and treat them like a piece of furniture, a piece of metal or an object that is devoid of feelings.... we should not generalize and think that those who have what we do not have are heartless and corrupt, they might be like that character in the movie... someone else's *itch!  They might be forced to do whatever they do or do not do.... We do not know sometimes and I am learning that it goes both ways.

We need to start small, then slowly work towards the highest goal, which is universal humanity and equal rights. We need to start with ourselves... and like the Prophet Mohammad said, "We need to start with the Big Jihad... which is within ourselves." We need to start with the people we see everyday. Smile to the cleaners, cooks, garbage-men and women, gardeners, sweepers, mechanics, kind to them... Smile to our difficult bosses and supervisors, maybe their hearts will soften....

If we were in contact with people everyday then we need to get to know them better... ask them questions about their families and how they are doing... we need to show kindness... no matter who was in front of us... forget that these people might have more than us and might snob us,  forget that they have less than us and might envy us.... it must be hard but we must persevere with our kindness... because then they will slowly get the picture and do the same... forget the systems, segregation and stratification... we need to forget those and see the person in front of us.... 

Then we can definitely feel with and support each other.... we can establish connections... strong connections... we will begin to work together and work towards a place where everyone is satisfied... everyone is happy... everyone is guilt-free.... where everyone's conscience is clear... where there are no hungry mouths and no greedy bellies.

This is how it begins... it begins with US!

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