Minority Report

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This woman–sheí¢â‚¬â„¢s looking across the water toward Cebu, planning a future trip; or toward the white fishing boat in the distance where her husband is working, waiting for his return; or perhaps sheí¢â‚¬â„¢s just looking: standing there, late in the summer afternoon, looking out at the sea and the sky for no particular reason, enjoying time, happy to be alive.

I hope so. For all the problems and daily concerns that her life gives her, it also presents her magnificent vistas, timeless moments like this that remain in memory, a part of her– even years after whatever purpose it was that brought her here has been forgotten.

And so it goes. This is my 52nd Minority Report, one full year of weekly texts and pictures. I must confess that if I had attempted to do this amount of work all at once, I would have been too intimidated even to begin and done nothing. Doing it this way, piece by piece, Ií¢â‚¬â„¢ve done quite a bit. Ití¢â‚¬â„¢s been like building up a savings account.

Some of these pieces have been critical of life here in Dumaguete. I wrote about and pictured things that I thought bad –not out of a particularly bitter view of life, but simply because nobody else seemed willing or able to look at them.

But most of what Ií¢â‚¬â„¢ve done here has been simply to observe the life I saw around me from a point of view not available to most people here. Ií¢â‚¬â„¢m certainly not a tourist. I have lived and worked here long enough to be intimate with its people and its daily life. But Ií¢â‚¬â„¢m still an American, and I still see the world around me from that point of view.

So Ií¢â‚¬â„¢m both close and distant here. Ií¢â‚¬â„¢m close enough to be a part of life here, and at the same time Ií¢â‚¬â„¢m distant enough to see things around me that others might be unaware of- and I hope that this viewpoint can be of some value for those who read this column. And also for those who look at the photographs; what I see here means as much as what I say about it.

Like this picture, this moment that I caught on a summer afternoon. Ití¢â‚¬â„¢s not a happy picture, but ití¢â‚¬â„¢s not a sad picture either. Ití¢â‚¬â„¢s just a different way of seeing things, a minority report.

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