As I walked through the pool of people with my hands cuffed, I noticed that the media was all over the place ㅡ flashes of cameras here, pointing microphones there and a bunch of reporters everywhere trying to get near me so they could get a good scoop to air.
“Why did you hold a lot of people’s lives in danger?”
“Are you aware of the consequences you’re going to face?”
“Why haven’t you talked this out in private with your boss? Why did a little grudge have to reach this point?”
I walked past them bravely with no answers to give. My eyes were open, and so were my ears for the criticisms they want to throw at me ㅡ the security guard who hostaged a mall in exchange for public exposure on media.
My life was pretty normal like any other people in the world. I am a father, a loving husband, a friend to many, and a decent employee dedicated to my job. I work as a security guard 24/7. I guard posts, gates, protect people from any harm like a police officer does, greet people with a smile, and go home every night with numb feet and cold shoulders from standing all day.
Every day is like a battle for me and the hardships I experience in this kind of occupation are surely no joke. But, I work hard for my family so I could give them a better living. Yet in a game called life, some people do not treat us fairly and justly even if we try our best in everything we do.
They say, ‘we are JUST security guards.’ Yes, we have not finished college. Yes, this job requires no kind of degree of studying or certification as proof of competency. Yes, there are no medical or technical terms to be memorized when you’re in our shoes of being a public servant.
Because of the absences of what society thinks the standard of being treated equally should be, the people who treat themselves as above anyone else are entitled to the notion that they have the right to step on us like useless rags and look down on us like some sort of trash that’s needed to be cleaned.
“Is it true that you caused all of that trouble just because of your selfish desires?”
“You will pay for your crime, behind bars is where you belong.”
“How inhumane. The poor people are the violent ones who tend to threaten the lives of the living.”
“If I was your child, I would not like you as a father. I would loathe you, hate you and would wish to never be affiliated with the likes of you.”
“What do we expect of the less fortunate? Of course, they have higher chances of committing unimaginable crimes because of their status in life.”
“You deserve to be imprisoned. All the bad people should be thrown out to be isolated. No, villains are even better off dead.”
A villain I am, they say? A villain for hostaging a mall and holding a deadly weapon? They call me a villain, but do they even know what urged me to become one? Or what has provoked me to do something bad?
I have become bad, to fight for something good. But if I haven’t done that, will my agonies be heard by the public? Will my rights as a human ever be recognized? Will my voice as a poor one be acknowledged?
Yes. I am guilty ㅡ guilty of putting a lot of people’s lives in danger.
Am I crazy? Am I using drugs?
I hostaged a mall and held a deadly weapon, but not to gain money, fame, or to kill anyone in mind. I garnered attention so that people would listen to the voice we, small people, would want the world to hear.
Oh, this society I truly pity. Society would push you to your limits, and when you explode, you’re suddenly the bad guy. I caressed the smooth metal bars that separate me from the rich people, who on the opposite side-eyed me with so much judgment and belittlement and grins on their faces.
Why is it that when rich people rob the poor, it’s called business? But when the poor fight back, it’s called violence?
I looked down with tears falling from my eyes. I risked my life to gather millions of unheard Filipinos whose tiny voices were outshined by some of the rich people who think they could get away with anything by using their fortune.
I wish society would open their eyes and finally realize, that not every villain is bad ㅡ some of them are just broken heroes who failed to save themselves.
Photo credit: healthaffairs.org