Friday, October 29, 2004


IT WAS flesh ramming into metal.

There’s no arguing when a lanky eight-year old slams himself into a four-by-four crawling at less than 20 kph around noon, first day of Ramadhan; he flies off a few feet from impact, gets bruises on his face plus a pock of a wound on his pate from that sudden smooch with a vehicle’s signal light (smashed), then, a spread of asphalt (intact).

Never mind the usual mob gathering at her heels, the lady driver stops, scoops up battered victim in a jiffy, heads to the nearest clinic for more than usual swabbing of betadine on bruises—say, X-ray and a cranial scan. Find out if the kid got more than scratches inside him. Turnout: the clinic’s lacks staff, facilities. Off rushed the offending four-by-four to get, shall we say, a second opinion?

A few hours later, the kid’s aggrieved kin finally caught up with the driver at a hospital—the kid’s X-ray and CT scan’s gone stale. Surface scratches, yes. No fracture, not a dot of blood clot. No internal harm done as tests showed. The medics shooed ‘em off--- their out-patient department can handle such cases. Something bigger than a flea bite could be lethal.

Hell, no!

Kid’s kin demanded their ward to get more than a shoo-off. He still had scratches on his face, a pock of a wound on his pate that deserves medical attention and nursing back to health. Maybe that’s not medical but it’s an opinion.

Some more hours and more, more kilometers later the less-aggrieved lady driver finally finagled a medic—her co-worker’s hubby, but don’t breathe a word about this, it’ll be construed as conspiracy— for hospital bed and board for the kid. The kin moved in. Yes, kin—that ain’t misspelled. They were willing and eager to share bed and board. The less aggrieved party’s footing the bill—serves her right for figuring in an accident she couldn’t configure.

It took less than a week for the hospital’s medics to ply out a familiar counsel—the kid shouldn’t have been taken in, the out-patient department can take care of the, well, patient. Kid and kin were shooed off again—a more grievous case needed the bed kid and kin had occupied.

Hell, no! More of the same protests, protestations.

Besides, the less-aggrieved party has paid for medical, hospital bills— to the tune of P10,000 plus -- incurred in that prolonged stay. It’s the aggrieved parties’ turn to cough up money to be aggrieved some more, so hospital told kin and kid.

Faced with such a threat, they left.

The road incident happened on the first day of Ramadhan— the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar. Ramadhan offers the opportunity to develop qualities of endurance and self-restraint, to control anger and a fiery or malicious tongue.

Ramadhan is a time to awaken compassion and solidarity with others and in particular with the poor…

We are urged to be more liberal in giving during Ramadhan and are required at the end of fasting to give Zakat al Fitr, an amount to enable all to share in the spirit of warmth, affection and brotherhood.

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