Canticle for the Indonesian and Filipina Helpers

Edward G. Nilges, The Unknown Helper’s Helping Hand, 12 July 2010, pencil, A4 size

Behold, and see. On Sundays and Holidays, the Helpers (who do nothing more than Help for peanuts).

Like birds of paradise gather they under the shelter of the unseeing Bank, and their Tagalog talk ascends to heaven. Obviously they are human, all too human, and must be replaced by abstractions of shoppers and other Platonic Ideas. They go to church, they play games of chance, and do anything but Shop.

Indonesian Helpers, who Help for peanuts and other groundnuts too, gather in their modest robes in Victoria Park watched grimly by the old one, the statue Victoria, which used to be in Central and was used for target practice by the Japanese. Nor do these good Muslim women Shop.

For it is written that he who shoppeth in an actual shop in Central or in Causeway Bay is a Fool, and should go to a Physician, to have his or her Head, examined.

For is there no Stanley market, named after the Lord who won the field for Henry Tudor? Yea, King Richard said, call up lord Stanley, bid him bring his Pow’r: and Catesby said, my Lord, he doth deny to come, whereupon the crookback said, off with his son George’s Head, whereupon Lovelll said, after the Battel let George Stanley dye.

But I digress: digresseth, I.

Hast thou not seen, hast thou not been to, hast thou not dug upon, Jardine’s Crescent?

Hast thou not seen? Hast it not been as writ with an iron pen in words of eternal flame, or neon?

The Lord thy God shoppeth not, nor doth He look for bargains in malls. Instead She walketh in the ancient bazaar and gets the best price. For it is written in the Book of Wisdom that She crieth in the open places but is unheard.

She doth not waste her money on a T shirt, paying 800 dollah merely to get the Name of Calvin Stein, which I could imprint for Ye in silk screen in a jiffy, only ten dollah.

The souk and bazaar merchants beckon and will dicker, saying, ai-yah, you make me hungry, but for you I will lower the price.

The man in the stall is the owner and for you he shall deal. He is mad crazy to give you best price. He wants to give you that Rolex copy but his wife won’t let him.

Behold. Who hath money to spend, these days? Who hath a credit card that the analytical engine doth not decline? Is there no Depression? Do not the Mariners mourn, in empty ships?

But, I digress: digresseth, I.

Behold, then, the Helpers, whose chatter on Sunday doth delight ancient Wisdom, playing in the world.

Edward G Nilges 15 Sep 2011. Moral Rights have been asserted by the Author, so there.

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