By Alex Chung
Laktawan Village, Philippines, is the place where my life and value change. I was warmly welcomed by the family of Nanay Elma (Mum Elma) and lived with her kids Keith, Kim Kim and Shan Shan.
The life was simple. They do not have a television, which most of other families in the village do. Their entertainment was playing music aloud, resting on bamboo beds outside of the house and chit-chat with each others. Neighbors and relatives come around to eat and drink as if they were one of the family members. I do not feel tensed and I feel so comfy laying on a bamboo bed after dinner. Joy and happiness are shown on their faces. This really shows how true the rule of “happiness is not bought by money” is.
Kids here treated the entire environment as their playground. The kids of my host family took us to a far away beach without guidance of a single adult. They climbed the rocks and swam in every water they saw. Their laughter was all around the tranquil countryside. They were worry-free and jolly. In Hong Kong, these activities could have been strongly prohibited or carefully planed by parents who take every steps to ensure their kids do not get hurt. Are the kids in HK over-protected? Or is it just a natural and the best way to grow up by getting a few harmless scratches, and explore the beautiful nature created by God?
The neighborhood here is so close that not only the houses were placed next to each other but also the way villagers treat others. Nanai Elma was always welcoming to other villagers that stop by and would provide them with drinks and food. Everyone in the village knows each other very well. Whenever I walk by a house and greet them, they always reply me with a smile and greet me back. These all were so warm. Places like Hong Kong where flats were built right next to each other do not seem to have such kind of kinship. Neighbours do not greet each other or even know each other. Would it not be a better place to live in if all neighbouhood in the world act just like Laktowan Village?
If there is a word to describe here, it would be “To Hua Yuen” (the paradise in Chinese ancient stories). There are so many things to praise about here but I am going to have another wonderful dinner with my Nanay, Tatay (daddy) and the kids, see ya!