Behind the Smiles: Callous Indifference to the Suffering of Others


Wandered the streets of Bangkok, with lit well-used pavements for the tourists and shadowy alleys where even the ownerless dogs refuse to roam. Bangkok is a city filled with surprises, at times emanating a wave of negation that seems to consume its inhabitants.

People walk by, most with little care for the disabled, the children and the elderly who decorate the uneven roads. Stretched palms, others bowing low at every pedestrian who passes by, people live in either utter misery or burdened with irregular misfortune. Thais and foreigners can't escape the poverty and urban grimness that consumes most of the city, leaving only the privileged few scattered in high-rise condos or luxury bungalows. 

Looking ahead, the night seems unbearable. The smog is different, maybe the reaction of pollution and a vile sense of toxic loss. I see the homeless, chained to this culture of modernization where people chase after a dream that are beyond their means - and sacrificing their core values that makes us human. 

The victimization, infuriating those in the working class, has seeped deep into the multi-clustered society. Hardship of those unfortunate to have tasted it, or drown in its cesspool, are burdened by the guilt, the frustration of their predicament - for being born poor, marginalized and begging at the bottom of the social pyramid. Delicate to bear the thought of having the soul to live but in a city that seems to care not.

Their minds and bodies, bruised to suffering, coldheartedness, and inhumanity, they toil away in a society that lacks the capacity for empathy, hidden behind the smiles.  

Bangkok

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