Sniffing Life Away with ‘Rugby’

Sniffing Life Away with ‘Rugby’

boy sniffing rugby
Photo by Akira Liwanag

I have been troubled by a thought in my mind for the past few days. Although here in Singapore, my mind wanders off to a faraway land where I see heart-breaking images that my friend has ‘painted’ to me; kids in the street sniffing ‘rugby‘ (a brand of glue) in bottles, plastics or paper. Through a TV report, my friend learned a haunting truth. A boy was asked the reason why he sniffed rugby and he replied that sniffing it helped him to stay full.

From another friend who is also from Manila, Philippines, she told me that at times you could even see a whole family sniffing away. Can rugby really make them full?

Somewhere in Cebu, Philippines, “A woman was walking on a flyover along Osmeña Boulevard when a small kid suddenly grabbed her blouse and stretched his hand to her as a sign of asking for something while his other hand holds a plastic containing a yellowish substance.

Aghast and caught off-guard, the woman took some coins from her bag and put them into the boy’s grimy palm. Then he runs to a pack of children huddled together in one part of the flyover, sniffing plastics of strong and addictive industrial glue…Could this be a familiar scenario to you too?

What do you think we can do to help? In an article I read, from associated content, “…there is a law prohibiting the selling of solvents to minors without parental consent ….” And yet there are store owners who are still selling rugby illegally to minors and even teaching the children how to get away with buying rugby. The law must be there to prohibit the sales of solvents to minors without parental consent and the people who illegally sell solvents to children must be severely dealt with.

However, on top of the law, we will also need a long term solution. My friend and I thought that shelter, foods and even stable livelihoods will be the long term solutions. If the children in the street can be fed and protected with love and care, will they let go of the bottles, plastics or papers of rugby in their hands? I believe they will.

Providing shelters, foods, livelihoods seem to be the straightforward solutions. The question is, “who should be the one providing them?” Should it be the sole responsibility of the Philippines Government? Most will agree? I believe that besides the government, any organisation and individual with the resources could provide aids too.

How about the general public? When united, the general public will be the powerful driving force to see through projects by government, organisation and individual. What else do you think can be done?

I believe first and foremost, the opinion about the street children needs to be changed. According to an interview with Cameron Sugden (a volunteer with the organization Bahay Tuluyan in Manila), “…Street children are often called ‘yagit’ by the general public – which translates as ‘rubbish on the street’. This is something very sad. From young, I have been told that children are the future of the nation.

Yes, these children can be the future of the nation. But without your help, what future there is to talk about? You have the power to help; with your help, this post can find its way into the hands of people who may have the resources to help these children.

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12 thoughts on “Sniffing Life Away with ‘Rugby’

  1. Walter

    Such is a very pitiful sight. It makes me hate those politicians who spends a lot of money in their campaign–I did not even know if it’s their personal money. If they truly care for this country why not start with those poor children.
    .-= Walter´s last blog ..Crippling habits people embrace =-.

  2. Liza

    You know BK, this is getting me troubled too. More and more kids, and even adults are turning to rugby. According to them, rugby/solvent makes them feel full. When they go out in the streets and beg for money, they would immediately buy the stuff, and it will let them through the day even without food. I think for just 5 pesos they can already buy rugby. For that amount you can’t even buy food. I don’t know what other measures are being done but I know selling of rugby/solvent to minors have been banned years ago.

    When I see kids begging for money, I give them food instead of money because I know where the money would go.
    .-= Liza´s last blog ..Mellow Yellow Monday #27 =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Liza, banning the sales of rugby is needed to make it more difficult for the minors to buy it. And we also need to make sure the law is enforced; meaning to severely punish any business-owners who are selling rugby illegally to minors. I simply cannot understand why some business-owners will do this for that mere profit. It is simply inhuman. I understand from a friend that although she pitied these children, some of them just do not want to be helped. What we can hope to do is to reach out our hands to those who want to help themselves. Even if there is just one, we will start with the one.

  3. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ VanillaSeven, I thought so too that someone from the top must initiate the change. And I also believe that if they have enough food to eat, they surely won’t be sniffing anymore glue.

  4. Philip

    Hi there!
    I was in the Philippines not so long ago and things are terrible there for most of the population. But for anyone expecting the government to provide any real help they will be disappointed; they are highly corrupt, couldn’t care less and besides when has government every really solved problems efficiently and effectively?

    As to the issue of banning the sale of ‘rugby?’ It won’t work in my opinion. Heroin, cannabis, pills of all sorts are banned everywhere but last time I checked that hasn’t solved the problem in most countries. All banning will do is increase the price of ‘rugby’and that will result in increased crime to pay for it.

    What will work is small organisations working along side these kids. They can see exactly what needs to be done and they can react quickly- something that a govt. can never do.
    .-= Philip´s last blog ..Tell me the Moral of the Story =-.

  5. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ Philip, you’re not the only one to feel that way about the government. If they are to wait for the government to take action, they will be disappointed. I thought that in additional to the ban on the sales of rugby, the more important thing is to work along side these kids. If they see that there is someone caring them, I believe they will change in the long term. I agree with you on small organisations initiating projects on helping these kids. However, often time small organisations will the challenges of limited resources. This is the area which any big organisations and the government must step in to support.

  6. Stefan

    Well I lived in cebu for a year and a half
    and I have seen the problem with kids sniffing glue and other solvents.

    In a country like the philippines where unimployment is verry high and is growing due to the fact that most people do not use birthcontrol.
    It is not unusual with verry large famelys of 7-12 or even more children.

    In the statistics womans are not even counted as unemployed in the national statistics.

    When you as a tourist give some coins to a street kid.. they will not go and buy food.. they buy rugby glue or cigarettes .. I even tried to buy food to some street kids nagging about coins..

    and they just throw the food on the street and wanted coins. So one way of keeping their brains healthy is to avoid giving cash to them. The local mafia takes some of the childrens money and the rest they buy drugs for. Better to give a fruit or a packet of hanging rice or some local food. NEVER cash.

    And also remember.. the catholic church is one of the wealthiest organisations on earth. They forbid the use of birth control and threatening with eternal damnation if using it..
    If anyone have a responsability to these children it is the catholic church.

    Tell any begger to ask the local church for help (they will not get any help since the church is more interested of own profit than helping kids on the streets)

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Stefan, thank you for your detailed comment. I have also stayed in the Philippines for about a year and a half. I agree with you and would rather give fruit or a packet of food then to give them money; giving them money may give them the wrong idea that money comes easy through begging. It would not really help them.

  7. kiel

    i am from philippines i have already lost hope no point in complaining about it we have no power and the ones who has power is doing nothing…that is why i never vote, i dont want to be a part of the people who sank down my country..

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Kiel, when you chose not to vote, you are already part of the people who sank down your country. I agree with you that there is no point in complaining because complain doesn’t help. It is time to take action to make change. Who do you think must change first?