28 September 2014

Instagram versus the Homeless Man

The other day, I was in Berlin Hauptbahnhof, which is the main train station. It's a big place, with 16 different tracks, 8 going north-south and another 8 going east-west. Obviously, given its size, it attracts lots of different types of people. Including homeless people. And I saw one that day. Normally, given the state of uncleanliness of the homeless man, I would be disgusted with him. But what I saw later made me more disgusted of other people.

See, that afternoon, I was heading to Friedrichstrasse, heading east. I climbed up the platform heading to the S-Bahn trains (Platforms 15 and 16). Opposite my escalator, on the escalator going down, there was a homeless man who wasn't exactly dressed. And given his state, there is a high chance that he might be emotionally unstable too. His clothes were pretty much rags. His butt was exposed. His body was pretty much caked in mud and dirt and shit. His hair was very long and tangled. And yes, he was in a very sorry and pathetic and disgusting state, and I have to admit, if he walked straight into my home, I probably would get a high-powered hose and wash him first.

But as my escalator moved, I saw people on the higher platform, with their smartphones out, taking pictures of the homeless man. And somehow, that made me more disgusted of them rather than the homeless man.

Maybe because I don't get it. Why would you even take a picture of that? What exactly does that picture mean? Homeless documentation? Seriously? What if it were you, and someone else was taking a picture of you. Would you really not mind that? I am pretty sure that most people would mind it if strangers just took photos of them without asking for permission. And suddenly, when you're in tatters and dressed in rags, it is suddenly okay to do so.

I dunno, as much as I am grateful for the fact that I am not homeless, I also hate the Instagram generation. Instead of helping other people in need, people have the need to take out their camera and film. Instead of calling social services, they fish out their phones and record a video.

Perhaps this is yet another reason why I closed my Facebook account.

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