One of Manila’s true originals, Andy Maluche, has a new website displaying his photographs and art. Unfortunately Andy is also quite ill and his treatment and operation have left him completely broke. And those great photos and paintings are for sale.
Andy's recently lost a part of his anatomy, but fortunately his sense of humour was stored elsewhere. His description of a visit to a Chinese traditional doctor in Quiapo is just hilarious. Here is a taster:
"Although it felt that way, the place wasn't actually dirty. It was something else. No part of the room seemed to have ever been considered to be in company with any other part of the room and everything stood at a slightly odd angle to the other objects which didn't really help the overall composition. The space gave you the impression that whoever holds office in here doesn’t give a shit about how the place looks. Judging from all the Chinese restaurants and offices I have seen in the Philippines, this philosophy seems to be at the very heart of the Filipino-Chinese Interior design code.
The doc himself looked so average that I have a hard time to describe any remarkable features about him. Mid-fifties, grey hair, glasses etc, you get the picture.
By the time we came in an old woman was about to sit next to the doctor on a plastic chair.
"Woa problem?" he kind of shouted but not too loudly. At that point I remembered my friend telling me before that the good doc, although being here in the country for many years, doesn't speak any English nor Tagalog.
I couldn't hear what the old woman was answering but I got the response of the Doc: "How Tae?"
Tae being the Tagalog word for stool and he seemed to be inquiring how the old lady’s bowels were moving. I felt pity for the old, sick woman having to discuss her bowel movements in front of 20 people who had nothing better to do than to intensely listen to what the each patient's problem was.
Then it struck me like lightning. This meant that when my turn came, I too would have to reveal my problem to a roomful of strangers. That was my moment of Zen. Instead of panicking I started to plot how I could possible get the most fun out the situation. I was suddenly liberated. I had no more problems openly discussing my condition, even in public.
Since the doctor didn't speak any common language with most of his patients, every time he had something to say he had to involve the whole room trying to help him to interpret. It became some sort of group therapy.
He would throw an indefinable combination of sounds at his patients, who then would just stare at him obviously having no clue what he was talking about. The doctor then would repeat the same a little louder directed towards the general "audience" hoping somebody can figure out what he is trying to say. Sometimes somebody gets it and translates it to the patient. Other times it didn't work so well and the doctor then just proceeded to write his prescription. I thought that it would make a great reality show. If your survivor group of patients can't figure out what the doc had to say, fat luck - you get sick, die and you are out of the show.'
Hong Kong tea seller
Dennis seldom looks this good or this bad, depending on your politics
Andy having a quiet intellectual conversation