“Home along da riles”
By Virginia Jasmin Pasalo
BACK in 2003, I had the chance to watch Home Along Da Riles (Home Along the Rails), a Philippine situational comedy series that aired on ABS-CBN. The title was inspired by the film “Home Alone” retaining the main character’s first name, Kevin. The story revolved around the life of a poor Filipino family, the Kosmes, living alongside the railroad tracks, whose house shook violently each time a train passed by. Kevin Kosme, the head of the family, tried very hard to support his four children with his meager income. While they lived in poverty, the Kosmes were united and hopeful towards a better life, a dream shared by many poor families.
It is for these families that politicians and rebels focus their so-called agenda for change. Either they have misdiagnosed the problems of the sector, or they have rightfully diagnosed the “dream” of the masses, and they pander on the dream but fail to bring them there. It is something that gets buried among the many things they want to achieve for themselves.
The insensitivity or incomprehension of the realities and suffering of families living in poverty leads to the wrong interventions to solve the situation. Some draw their analysis and recommendations from foreign paradigms and expect it to be grafted into the local culture with success. To someone who eats fish and noodles as a staple food, the promise and application of Jo Malone’s Lime Basil & Mandarin, one of the most famous citrus fragrances in the perfume industry, can never hope to change the smell of suffering.
Jo Malone’s “home along da riles”
(A railway track to a perfumed existence)
“I am doing this for the nation”
in a fight whose origins
were entirely your own
without much consultation
from the “nation”
a nation does not suffer
people do, and you are not
part of the people
whose suffering you live
in your home, in Utrecht
and not in a “home
along da riles”
“Lime Basil &
is an imported potion, a scent foreign
to the people, in a constant state
of living, the suffering
you failed, to live.
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