An eye-opening video produced by a team of citizen journalists in Penang. Courtesy of Obnoxious 5xMom’s blog.
Great work by these citizen journalists in putting a human face to the street people, who are often “invisible” to passers-by. The scary thing is that more people could be forced on to the streets as retrenchments soar and people are unable to pay rentals or housing loan repayments.
It should prompt us to ask what kind of social welfare or security system we have in place and whether it is enough. These street people are periodically rounded up by the authorities – but where are they sent to?
The video reminds me of the haunting lyrics of Ralph McTell’s ballad ‘Streets of London’:
Have you seen the old man
In the closed-down market
Kicking up the paper,
with his worn out shoes?
In his eyes you see no pride
And held loosely at his side
Yesterday’s paper telling yesterday’s news
So how can you tell me you’re lonely,
And say for you that the sun don’t shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of (George Town)
I’ll show you something to make you change your mind
Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the streets of (George Town)
Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags?
She’s no time for talking,
She just keeps right on walking
Carrying her home in two carrier bags.