So I spent the week basically chillin’ like a hipster villain (someone like the Gray Goblin – because “Green” and “Hob” are too mainstream).
Basically, I made evil schemes and created evil doomsday devices. (If you count “travel plans” as “evil schemes” and “a well-packed backpack” as a “doomsday device”, that is.)
The reason for all of this evil-ness was that I was taking off for NTU’s recess week to fly to Bangkok for a few days, then head down to the island of Koh Tao to get my diving certification, and I was so excited, it was criminal (almost as much as that pun). After what seemed like forever and no time at all at the same time (stupid internal clock is still broken), it was Thursday evening and I was on the MRT with my buddies, heading to the airport. I spent a good hour ditching the chillin-hipster-villain thing, and acting more like a puppy that just discovered squeaky toys, I was so excited. Eventually though, like all puppies, I passed out asleep and was basically unconscious until we arrived at our destination – Khao San Road.
Now, Khao San is basically backpacker-central in Bangkok, so naturally, sleep didn’t occur before some Chang, Pad Thai and 10,000 offers to buy flowers from street vendors who looked far to young to even know what time of night it was.
On a slightly more serious note, child vendors really represent a difficult situation: I know that because they’re out trying to get me to buy a rose at 2am, it means they’re not going to be waking up for school the next day and therefore building the foundation for a better life, etcetera. At the same time, I also know that they’re only out at this time because they need to make money to support themselves and their family in order to simply get by in their day-to-day life. It’s one of those vicious catch 22s that are all too common in developing countries. Kids acting as street peddlers gets to me a little bit more though, because they’re sent in to work more than adults in some places because families know that tourists are more likely to buy souvenirs from/pay to get their picture taken with an adorable little girl in traditional dress than a surly old man smoking a cigarette.
At this point, I feel like I have the choice between being an optimist and (unfortunately) a realist. As an optimist, I realize that if I don’t buy the rose the girl is trying to sell me, her family might realize they’d get more out of sending her to school in the long run. As a realist, I see that if I don’t buy anything from her, she might not have the money to eat tomorrow, or even if she does go to school, she might fall in with the wrong crowd and end up in a bad scene regardless.
In the end, I like to think that even a seemingly small chance at something better is worth trying for and that we should all at least get the chance to try.
(And no, I’m not just saying this because I was too indecisive about whether to buy something from the girl and that she had left long before I was able to reach a decision!)