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It always happens. At a basement taxi line of a downtown mall, five shoppers with filled shopping carts were standing in line for taxis when suddenly, a lady with two teens in tow, casually walks past them and heads towards an approaching cab, shoves their grocery bags in and orders it to speed off. The assisting security guard, who at the time had his back turned while assisting the last in line with their cart, could only turn and shake his head when others sought his attention.

As the cab passed by the stunned crowd, the dark faces inside looked straight ahead, their profiles unmoving, as though eye contact with the peering eyes of the crowd were needles piercing at them through the windows. They know they’ve done wrong, someone muttered out loud, they know they done wrong.

At an ATM machine outside a Recto bank, a few people wait in line in the noonday heat. Just as the door opens, a tall dark man gets sneaks past them, armed only with an air of authority, gets inside and transact his business. A momentary glance in the direction of the people outside was his only acknowledgement they were there at all.

At Seniors’ lane inside a thrift shop, a tall student, in complete school uniform with his ID on his neck, stood prominently amid a sea of white-haired elders and their baskets. No amount of scrutinizing gaze from the people had fazed the guy; not even a direct and sarcastic query by someone behind him if he was either a senior, pregnant or someone with any physical disability. The poor guy’s only recourse was to stare intently at his iPhone as he neared the cashier. Clearly, I thought he knew very well, he had done wrong.

We like to think, what’s new, we encounter them every day. As a matter of fact, we call them out in real time and social media, and even have a ready label for them; the privileged few. However, while perhaps we so-easily assume they are among those that are so above the law, I am also of the mind to think, when there were times I had done something really dodgy and people found out, is my own mask of shame any different?

As this opens up a can of run-arounds and possibilities, I’m in a quandary, should I let these go then and shrug it off? After all, the idea of “he who is without guilt should throw the inaugural ball” bear heavily on me often whenever I espy others cutting through lines and having their way. In the past, I have also seen Karens shooting back at their detractors, “you looking at me? how about you looking at you?”

It’s that sort of ‘can of worms and throwing stones’ kind of exercise that gets to me at times. What to do, what to do?


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