09 October 2009

Grave of the Fireflies

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I just downloaded the anime film “Grave of the Fireflies.” This movie touched me greatly. The story is located in Japan during WW2. A 14 -year boy must do everything he can to ensure the survival of him and his baby sister during bomb raids. The film explores the depth of human souls. What would you do if you lived in these conditions? What we think we would do and what we actually would do might surprise you. Would you be the one giving up your last grain of rice to another or instead anxiously gobble it down? If you were starving, would you steal? If a family member verbally abused you would you swallow your pride for food and shelter or would you try to make it on your own? A 14-year old boy is faced to make all these decisions that I don’t even think grown men could handle. This film makes me again grateful for everything I have. I have shelter, I have food-all of my needs are satisfied. At this point in my life I just cater to my wants. How lucky I am! It’s interesting how often I take basic things for granted.

Lately I have been having fun walking down the street and handing out money to toothless old women with cups and flower children. There are a lot of beggars on one particular street and you know if you give them money they can eat a meal. In America, you only see middle-aged men asking for money-usually for drugs. People here get so excited about 20 cents! 4 yuan (58 cents) can feed one quite well if you know where to look. I will often buy roses from the little children for a dollar. It made me sad that on such a large holiday, (Mid-Autumn Festival), children weren’t eating mooncakes like they should have been doing, but instead were working. I call them the flower children, because they will literally follow you home with bunches of flower, pleading with you buy them, sometimes with desperation in their eyes. I don’t even mind just giving them money for free. Honestly, to me giving up 10 yuan a night on beggars is nothing to me, but means everything to them. There is a lot of diversity in social classes, even though this is communist China. Shanghai is so rich and yet you can still find the poor.

There is a man that hangs out with them that I call the monkey man. He has a pet capuchin that he always lets me cuddle and pet in exchange I give him 1 yuan. This monkey always has a look of hunger in his eyes. I always think about bringing banana chips or nuts but always seem to forget. I gave the monkey a coin and placed it in his hand, and he almost tried to eat it. It was rather adorable. The police always move us along though-I think they have something against loitering here.

2 comments:

  1. In Shanghai, we usually do not give them money because you can not tell who is a real begger. Many children were hired to beg and actually they are not poor. Once I saw a girl begging money somewhere for her bus fee back home in the morning. In the evening, I saw her again somewhere else and beg her bus fee to some other "home". It is very common in Shanghai and many people know that. So next time you met them, be careful, they can be thieves or not real begger begger.

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  2. I love your caring heart. Beggers are never easy to take, esp when its children. Keep being generous and loving - its who you are :-)

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