(Short, short) Stories & Reflections
From The Fringe

Lady Boy
Is this true?

Lady Boy

While waiting for the elevator, from the corner of my eye I noticed a couple come up the condo reception desk. The early amusement from the spectacle of watching the parade of pretty women . . . um. . GROs. . . um. . . guest relations officers. . . um. . . women for hire. . . um. . . prostitutes. . . has long been lost. But when the receptionist on duty raised his voice, my attention was turned. There was a young Korean guy with a much taller attractive blond companion. In a quite commandeering tone, the receptionist ordered the blond to sit. Sulking, she went to sit while muttering a stream of incomprehensibles.

While the sitted receptionist was explaining a point to the condo guest, the blond companion keep muttering her dismay. The receptionist again addressed her, resoundingly.

"Baka hindi niya alam! " (He might not know.)

Then I heard him tell the young man: Lady boy. But the young man remained clueless. After a few more verbal attempts, the receptionist stood up, pointed to the blond companion, then with his left hand holding his right fist at his groin, the index finger extended upwards, and in slow humping motions, he said again:

Lady boy! Lady boy!

Finally, a flash of comprehension and embarassment streaked across the young Korean's face – that she was a he. Without a word, he about-faced and walked out of the lobby. His blondie beaut was already a few steps ahead of him as they walked in opposite directions, each to search anew – one, his fantasy; another, his commerce.

Is this true? Totoo ba ito? Ganyan bang kahirap ang mga Pilipino?

. . . the slums and shanties that collars around the burgis and gated communities. The young mother with her infant splayed in her arms, baking in the noonday sun, waiting for the light to turn red, for their minute of begging, knocking on our dark tinted windows that shields the anonymity of our unconcern. The children hawking stringed sampaguitas, innocence long gone, many inevitable into a commerce of flesh. The father with the sleeping child tied to his back, his garbage bags in tow, digging through Christmas day rubble. Families feeding off "pagpag" meals or climbing small mountains of trash to dig into them for their livelihoods.

There are a thousand and one such sights and stories, every day, anywhere, in Anytown, Philippines. Sometimes these stark stories and cruel graphics trickle out through the cyberchannels into the lives of those in their tranquil diasporas.

Is this true? Totoo ba ito? Ganyan bang kahirap ang mga Pilipino?
There are recurrent doses of such collective angst. But it wears off fast. The blinders are put on again. A good night's sleep reshelves the images. The poor, easily, become invisible again. . . until the next story touches us again.


Godofredo Umali Stuart
The ABCDE of Philippine Cuisine
The Rural Wedding
EDSA 2009
The Edsa Shrine
B a n g u n g u t
Philippines for the
Intrepid Traveler
Let him who is without stone, cast the first sin
The Jeepney: Undisputed King of the Road. . . Not?
Cirque du Stuart
Sagada Photos
The Return of the Naytib
a work in progress