Michael L. Tan

No Time To Play

By Michael L. Tan

Around my parents’ home in San Juan, I have watched through the years street child vendors grow up. I remember one of them very distinctly because he has a congenital condition in his eyes that always made him look like he was half asleep. He survived selling cigarettes, year after year. I watched him as he grew into adolescence. Then he disappeared from the streets, only to pop up again, now a young man driving a pedicab. He’d made it in his own way. We need to hear from him and others like him. We know what goes wrong. What we need to know is what went right -- the difference that allows the children not just to survive but to thrive in a society that’s only now beginning to accept childhood.