24 days, 24 timezones | Part 1: Manila

Nine o’clock in the morning I walk with my guide through Baseco, one of the slums, in Manila. Klam weather, the district is located on the sea, where all kinds of junk find their way to open water or beach. Houses, who aren’t houses, pavement, who isn’t a pavemen. Cables everywhere. Running around grubby children. Suddenly I hear someone sing. Nine o’clock Monday morning, not really time for karaoke.

I see a happy lady behind a microphone. A little further is the next to sing, now a man. Was there nothing else for these people to do, than to sing? During my studies on time, I have studied the time scarcity and what that does to someone. I came across a study by the American professor of sociology Eldar Shafir: Scarcity. Actually, it does not matter which scarcity you suffer; money scarcity, food scarcity, time scarcity, it all does the same thing in our brain. It takes possession of your thinking and it takes you completely. Scarcity keeps attention caught and takes you into a tunnel vision. Scarcity changes the way you look at things and it moves you to make different choices. Scarcity paralyzes. That was exactly what happened to the lady and gentleman. The scarcity was no longer to act, that they put their heads in the sand like an ostrich. Away from the misery. 10 percent of Dutch households have serious payment problems. It is very difficult to come out of this situation independently. Especially because people with scarcity hardly have the strength to work on a long-term vision. First things first and that keeps them in the grip.

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