Community. A life lived together. On the street.

Life is certainly lived on the street here in Quezon City. I suppose it’s because the climate is so much more favourable to being outside. There isn’t as much variation as we experienced in Saskatchewan; every day starts at 25 and rises to at most 35. That means the occasional 21 degree mornings are surprisingly cold. In Saskatchewan we experienced a range of about 80 degrees over the nearly two years we lived there!

The small town of Herschel, Saskatchewan (yes the same Herschel immortalised by the backpack company) overcomes the weather when gathering by using a hockey rink. Monday evenings the buses don’t drop the kids at home. Instead everyone gathers at the rink, skates, talks, eats, and cooks. Sometimes a curling match breaks out. But nonetheless community happens. Inside.

Right now I am sitting at the carwash down the street from Emily’s new place and the videoke has just started up. For those unfamiliar, videoke is a singing system invented by a Filipino that features a TV showing various scenes accompanied by subtitle-like lyrics and thumping music. The quality of the voice isn’t as important as participating in community. But it sure is fun!

The carwash waiting area consists of three picnic tables places end to end. A variety of people are seated around these tables but their connection to the carwash has yet be determined. Neighbours? Friends? Passersby? At any rate, community is happening mist obviously through the friendly teasing of the carwash boy. Conversations in Tagalog about having to talk to me in English, which will give him a nosebleed because his brains will explode. Laughter later when they find out I understand them.

What is interesting is that there is never an option given of not speaking with me — because they want me to join them in their community making. Because in Filipino culture it’s not really us vs them but people who share community and identity together. The word here is kapwa and describes a complex relationship achieved after progressing from mere acquaintances to bosom buddies. Everything is about this shared identity: Classmates, barkada (originally those who travelled with you on the ship to prison but now simply meaning your closest friends), wearing a common t-shirt, dressing in the role you are currently in (road cyclists attire, school uniform, clothes for just popping out of the house, security guard uniform).

Everyone’s identity is shared with everyone else’s identity. Everyone knows where they fit.

Community. A life lived together. On the street.

What is your community like? Please comment below.

Remember sharing is what friends do.

Image is mine.

5 thoughts on “Community. A life lived together. On the street.

  1. Great observation, Dr. Fast. I had the same experience. The carwash boys are jolly, and they would engage you in a conversation. What is amazing is that they seemed to be contented with what they are and I wondered why they didn’t seem to be envious of our own status as they routinely cleaned our car diligently until the last part of cleaning up – – -the application of a “tire black.” This can be a good study of carwash boys in our community through a dialogic approach.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A wonderful post, Michael. Thank you very much! I can see and hear the people on the street with you. Very vivid descriptions.

    Liked by 1 person

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