Written by Johnny Fung
It has really been an amazing experience to be a part of the Kua family during my stay in the Philippines and I really could not think of more to ask for.
I still remember at the first day when we arrived at Tubod Mar, Pazz welcomed Suhail and I with a big smile on her face, telling the two of us that she has got the name “The Joker” within the little community. Came together with all those Filipino humours that I got not even a single clue back then, I was introduced to the rest of the family; Pazz’s husband Junior; her father Senior; her elder sister Lydia; as well as her daughter Irish, marking the kick-starting point of my three weeks journey exploring the Philippines.
I was truly surprised by the amount of attention and care the Kua family has place on Suhail and I even we are just temporary living under the same shelter, treating the two of us as if we are their own sons. There was an incident that one of the Kua’s distant nephew’s birthday, and their family decided to go in town and celebrate by visiting a karaoke bar; while it has been such a casual occasion for me to walk alone on hilly small paths during night time back in Hong Kong, the family was so stressed out when they heard the news that I will be out alone at night. At the end, I’ve spent 15~20 minutes to convince the family that I could manage myself and I will arrive back home safe, promising that I will sent them a text message as soon as I meet up with the others. Also during the visit to the Twins Waterfall, Lydia has always been so worried about my condition while I was cliff jumping, climbing on the waterfall and doing all the other crazy stuffs. Only by that point I have realize the amount of worries and anxiety I have brought to my parents during all these years when I keep on challenging myself and pushing my limit through participating different activities, but have not properly inform them most of the time.
Playing together with the small kids living around in the neighbourhood has also brought me loads of fun, and makes me recall those amazing moments I experienced when I was still a little boy. Unlike children of the current smartphone generation who grow up facing a shining screen all the time, my early years has always been spending in parks playing games we designed by ourselves with the limited toys and resources we have got; “Hide and Seek”, “Get the wind blows” and “Defend the Eagle” has always been the all-time classics for me. But while we are aging, it also seems that we have been losing the ability to search for simple but direct happiness, especially living in the society that we call Hong Kong, where people have always complain about literally everything happens around them, kept on criticising but never appreciates. Quoting from Pazz “I am poor, but I am rich inside my heart!”, growing up as a child here in Tubod Mar might not got as much resources and technology as we do in Hong Kong, but it has always been the mind-set that maters the most and I am pretty sure most of them have gain a way more happier childhood when compared with those kids who were forced to attend endless extra-curricular activities lesson that simply leave them no time to play as a child.
It has also been an interesting experience to see a real life example for families to run multiple business in order to diversify their risk as mentioned in the “Poor Economics” reading material simply by looking at how the Kua family earned their living. Together with the large variation of plantations including peanuts, coconut tree, banana trees, eggplant, cucumber and a long long list that the family grows, they also manufacture homemade cookies to sale in the market, as well as raising a few chickens and a few pigs in order to feed the whole family. Pazz has once explained to me that this can ensure that the family still have enough food resources during typhoon time when the village is being blocked away from the rest of the world, at the same time the salary and profit earn from other business could support their needs in areas other than food.
Receiving a massage from the family (and roommate)