Nobody is Too Poor to Give

Posted: October 1, 2008 in commentary, Musings, Stumbled Upon

If you have been growing up wondering why your mother keeps on giving away plastic bagful of rice to your neighbors, or giving away your old clothes, while your family ended up with just enough food to eat and clothes to wear, read this article and find out why.

My best friend Roberto “Bobby” Salva wrote an opinion piece on “Giving” published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer yesterday. It is a well-written, well-argued, and most of all moving piece, backed-up with statistics, that talks about how giving is not a practice exclusively relegated to the “haves” but is also a strikingly common practice of the “have-nots.”

The article starts:

“When I was growing up, I was an accomplice to my grandmother’s crimes. “Lola” [Grandma] Sosing needed a lookout to alert her to the presence of “Lolo” [Grandpa] Monding, an irrational guard. Whenever she got caught, a protracted war would break at home and that was something we all did not want. The crime was simple but often repeated: Lola stole rice from the plastic drum, where we stored our monthly ration, to give to our poor neighbors. Why was it a crime? Because we were also poor….”

The latest episode of “Kahit Isang Saglit” yesterday even reflects this culture of giving among the poor. The character Garie who comes from a rich Malaysian family finds herself living in one of the poorest urban baranggays in Manila. In her hurry to escape from her Grandmother who was forcing her to marry a rich man in an effort to seal a company merger, against her will, Garie failed to bring clothes with her. The community in the Philippines, which became her adoptive home, welcomed her fully and offered clothes for her to wear, helped her find a job, gave her food and shelter. This kind of hospitality is an example of the quality of giving we practice as part of our communal consciousness.

Bobby writes:

“Giving is, apparently, not a monopoly of those who have more than enough. In fact, the poor give more often than the rich. More members of the E class (23 percent) donate cash to non-governmental organizations more frequently than those belonging to AB and C (9 percent).”

It is heartwarming to know that you are never too poor to give, but at the same time, it is also disturbing to be reminded that we are getting poorer, and yet, we give. Not like those who have more than enough who have to think twice whether they should give or not. 🙂

But Bobby, towards the end of the article, opines:

“Before I incite another class uprising, I should say that giving is not a monopoly of the poor. If the undermasa, the poorest in our society, can give, so can the members of the upper class. About 90 percent of the ABC class, according to the survey, does give. In fact, almost 90 percent of the Filipinos give, 70 percent give on their own initiative, and 43 percent give to help those in need.”

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