Archive for April 2008
As my motorcycle got closer, I saw the man turn around and run. Hobbling after him was a tiny man with disfigured legs. He screamed “Stop him Stop him” but it was too late. The man zoomed down the dark street, his tires screeching hard and his face white with horror. Within a split second 2 men who were dining across the street hopped on their own bike and gave chase. My brain started running… Should I give chase also since my bike was very fast? But what if out of desperation he would attempt to harm me, like a wild animal cornered? But what really happened? Was that guy drunk and did he just commit a hit and run? I slowed down and looked at the man with the disfigured legs. He seemed fine. I scanned around. The wheelchair was turned upside down, its wheels spinning sporadically. There was no blood anywhere. And then…I saw her…She was old and miserable. Her mouth was foaming and she just laid there on the dirty asphalt, her skull perfectly intact, her fingers clutching a stack of lottery tickets. She, together with the little man, were street people, making a few bucks a day selling the goverment’s lottery tickets. More people ran to the scene. They moved her to the sidewalk. I screamed “Get her to the hospital. Does anyone knows the emergency number?” but no one listened to me. I turned my bike to face her and shined my headlight on the crowd which was now slowly circling around the lifeless body. The man with the disfigured legs turned to me and asked if he could use my phone. The first call was incorrect. He apologized softly and redialed. This time he got the right number. Speaking slowly into the phone, in a chilled voice, with words fragmented:
Mom had a bike accident. Come quick!
I paused and processed the whole scene once again. I couldnt give chase now and beat the shit out of that guy. It was too late. I was no doctor and hence couldnt aid her. There was nothing I could have done…Except one thing.
I waved the man with the disfigured legs over. Pulling the wallet out of my pocket, I said ” Here is 200K. Take it.”
He took the money without saying thank you
I sped up and plunged into the empty street. It was 1:30am and I felt like I was the one who was escaping.
These 15 year-old boys were found on the sidewalk in Phuoc Son village of Quang Nam province, dirty and starved. According to them, they just escaped from the gold mine by hiking 2 nights and 1 day through the thick jungle, with the mine bosses hot on their trails. Before that, they worked 2 shifts a day in the remote region of Phuoc Thanh for a little mining operation called Kim Thanh Loc. Often with an empty stomach and beaten, they lasted 1 month. I guess they aren’t tough enough, like the 20 odd little boys who are still there, shoveling away in search of gold dust.