Beggars however—and their tribe increases by the day in various forms of disguised beggary, from caroling to slapping soapy water on your windshield—are not so easily dismissed in the heart. I’ve always thought they posed a bind, even to the mind.The best way to deal with them of course is to not look them in the eye. At the very least that’s so because eye-contact is the equivalent of the first question you ask the salesperson who knocks on your door. As everyone warns, never do that. Just say, “Sorry,” if you’re in the mood to be polite or slam the door on his face if you’re not. You ask a question and that’s his one foot in the door, which can sometimes be scarily literal.But more than that, don’t look the ragged children in the eye because if you do, you impale their fleeting forms into reality. You transform a vague and abstract presence into living tissue, into flesh and bone, into solid matter, as solid as the loud rap on your window. You look them in the eye, and suddenly, terrifyingly, movingly, you’re no longer looking at a formless mass, you are looking at a four-year-old—if he’s at all so, it’s not easy to reckon age in age-worn faces—trudging along with not much older company, a torn and worn-out T-shirt hanging over his body like a tent.But this best way of dealing with the problem is the same best way to make the problem stay. Which is the bind. I’ve always thought the only reason we’ve kept out equanimity in the face of the teeming poverty around us, some of its aspects too mind-boggling to contemplate, is that it is invisible to us. It is invisible to us because we do not see it. We do not see it because we do not look it in the eye. And because we do not look it in the eye, the poor, like beggars, or carolers on the street, cease to exist. They are just a blur, a ghost, an apparition that flits by but is swallowed in the dust and smoke when the light flashes green.By all means let us not give to carolers on the streets, or out-and-out beggars who badger us with their pain and their humiliation. Though heaven knows that isn’t always easy during Christmas, a season dedicated to discovering the existence of others. But whether we give or not, the point is to not be blind to their being there, to not make them disappear in the mind, if not in space, because they are an inconvenient truth. They will continue to be there in space, whether we see them of not: the beggars, the throwers of soapy water on windshields, the children in the streets, who while waiting for the cars to stop stand in awe before the tailoring shop near where I live, admiring the basketball uniforms that proclaim various teams. They will continue to be there, like an indictment, like an accusing finger, like a question hanging in the air demanding an answer.Like eyes that haunt. Like eyes that bind.
In recent days, we’ve seen someone like Nick Perlas, who is intelligent and passionate idealistic and who also seem to be crazy enough to join the circus of the stars and get thrown out of the ring. He has neither money nor machinery and outside a small circle of people, not famous enough to be recognized. Is he a fool? Or are we the fool? Are we fools to waste such resource? Are we Fools to discard his passion and his idealism, who could be put to use solving the problems of tomorrow? Are we fools then to allow for more than 2 or 3 people to vie for the presidency?
Forget that guff about Rage against the Machine vs. X Factor – truly, a herd of independent minds. What’s more worrying is the large number of basic irrationalities contained in popular songs.
I was at the gym the other day – this finely chiselled physique doesn’t come naturally – and Alexandra Burke came on the TV, singing “The bad boys are always catching my eye.”
Well of course they are. Bad boys hang around on street corners and in malls where you can see them. Good boys on the other hand are working or studying and so are in offices and libraries where they’ll not catch your eye.
The memory I most treasure of Kim is of our mutual feelings of joy and excitement at finding someone who understood, in some small way, what it was like to think and feel and perceive the world very differently. We spent a long time swapping facts and figures with the kind of affection normally reserved for the gossip and reminiscences of old friends. And it really did feel as if we had known each other for years. There was a warm and wonderful ease and intimacy between us. I was and remain profoundly moved and inspired by the experience.
Meeting Kim and Fran helped me to learn much about what it means to be a savant, and a man. Kim faced his condition, its blessings and its burdens, with great courage, humour, and dignity. I must also pay homage to the tremendous and untiring dedication of Fran, on whom Kim depended and of whom he famously said: “We share the same shadow.”
I’ve tendered my resignation a couple of weeks ago (…). I am having this weird notion that my next job would only be for a tech-startup who wants to build something. This could easily turn into a rant but my mood picked up thanks to someone. I just saw this video and decided to post it. It was weirdly inspiring to me.
With the deal gutted, the heads of state session concluded with a final battle as the Chinese delegate insisted on removing the 1.5C target so beloved of the small island states and low-lying nations who have most to lose from rising seas. President Nasheed of the Maldives, supported by Brown, fought valiantly to save this crucial number. “How can you ask my country to go extinct?” demanded Nasheed. The Chinese delegate feigned great offence – and the number stayed, but surrounded by language which makes it all but meaningless. The deed was done.
Taking a vacation and using the Mayon Volcanic activities as excuse initially infuriated be when I read the reports. I am less mad now. I believe the President didn’t know if she was going to be China or USA’s lackey, might as well not get in the oven and get burned in the process. Shrewd move.