Some things are worth ending blog-moratoriums for.
A few months ago, while in Davao for a conference, my companions and I went to SM to replenish our supplies and buy pasalubong. While paying at the counter, we noticed that the woman attending to the cash register was standing up and there was no seat in sight. We looked at the other counters and saw that there were no seats as well. Sufficiently bothered, we told the saleslady that the establishment was required by law to provide seats for female mall workers. She shrugged wistfully, as if to say she had gotten used to it and a job standing up was better than none.
Immediately, I texted my friend Gary from Davao and told him that SM doesn’t allow their kaheras to sit down and that I think something should be done about it. He replied that he would look into it and make sure the right people find out.
I left it at that and went on with my life — attending meetings, analyzing RP-China Agreements, giving powerpoint presentations on the Human Security Act and making one pleading after another.
Early this morning, I got a text message from Gary, which was a forwarded message he received from a local government official in Davao, that says essentially this: “that issue you raised 2 us before abt sales ladies of dept stores needing 2 sit down, d ordinance has bin proposed by Hon Ibuyan and the 1st hearing will be dis thurs.” So Gary did raise it, after all. He said he would look into it, and he REALLY AND TRULY did.
Of course, people can say that Gary Granada probably wields more clout than the ordinary citizen and can probably get things done faster (hehe, in the short time that we were together, ive lost count of the number of times I’ve been made to feel invisible by security guards, waiters, etc.. 🙂 ) , but still, it’s amazing what can be done if we make the smallest bit of effort to make the world a gentler place.
It’s not always the big, grandiose acts that get things done. We can’t topple despotic regimes everyday (wait! on that note, hurray hurray hurray to the brave monks of Myanmar!!!) nor do we often get opportunities to do Erin-Brockovich battles against multinational corporations that destroy the Earth. But we can keep our eyes open for even tiniest acts of injustice, and learn to speak out against them.
Even among activists who profess to change the world, there are so many fractures, so many wounds. It would seem that everyone, every organization, has a different “analysis”, and therefore a different way of doing things. So many nuances, so many gray areas.
Lessons like this from Gary are a good way to step back and realize that sometimes, the smallest things can have the most profound effects. Activism can come in tiniest of gestures. We just need to go out there and put our money where our mouth is.
Hello, everyone. I’m back. 😀
p.s. at syempre, dahil saksakan ako ng “creative”, may naisip akong call para sa mga taga davao na gusto magkampanya. “STAND UP FOR THE RIGHT TO SIT DOWN!!!” o sa tagalog, “TUMINDIG PARA SA KARAPATANG UMUPO!” o-ha. gamitin nyo ha. please? sige na naman, please? maganda naman di ba? di ba? hehehe.