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             24 January, 2021

Category:  Articles » Business » Ethics


An Ideal Worth Ten Thousand Pesos - Fighting For The Right To Party

         Views: 1665
2008-04-19 02:40:11     
Article by Karen Quinto

One man cannot speak for everyone. Each individual point of view can only be as educated as his experiences, which essentially is the fabric of his beliefs. I myself am a 23 year-old, Philippine-born Canadian woman. I came to Colombia nine months ago to teach English and learn a thing or two about her culture. There are many prejudices surrounding her beauty, among which are kidnappings involving FARC, drug trafficking and violence due to poverty. I was ill-advised by my family and friends regarding my travel; they had their doubts about my safety. Up until last week, I had turned a blind eye.

My Colombian friends and I had gone to an Electronica bar in Bucaramanga City called Lala Lounge . We each paid an entrance fee of 15,000 pesos, which is approximately worth seven dollars. We had not danced for more than twenty minutes when the music came to a halt. The police had put an end to the bar's first opening night due to noise pollution. My friends and I waited for another half an hour before we approached one of the owners of the said lounge. We politely asked about the situation and he told us to wait another twenty minutes. We obliged, although we had made up our minds to ask for our money back in order to go elsewhere to finish the night. Again, we approached the same man who now claimed he was solely in charge of publicity. It was typical, I thought, that he should deny himself of any responsibility at that very moment. We then requested for the bar's administrator. I had related to him our concern and requested the partial return of our entrance fee. We did not receive the service we were entitled to; therefore, it was unreasonable for them to keep our money. He, like the previous gentleman, denied himself of his professional responsibility to handle such a simple matter. He told us it was "impossible".

In my opinion, just like failing to pay for an item is called stealing, failing to provide a service or a product which had been paid for in full is also considered stealing. Apparently, this principle did not apply to this entrepreneur because he simply looked at me in disgust. He snorted, mocking me in front of everyone that a gringa wants a mere 10,000 pesos back. I told him it was not the money I was complaining about. It was the lack of proper conduct on their part that was in question. He still failed to comprehend the situation. He motioned for his own wallet and waved the bill in the air, as if to pay out of his own pocket, although it never reached my hand. It was then that my friend advised me it was a lost cause. These people, he said, will neither go beyond their close-minded mentality nor will the situation turn into my favour. Within moments, the police started to get involved and asked me to leave. One of them threatened to bring me to the police station while the other pried me away from the table I was tightly holding on to. I could not believe he was using physical force to remove me. My friend, with genuine fear in his voice, told me to give up. The futility of my attempt at justice was apparent. Out of anger, I had blurted, "It's true what they say, Colombia es asi! " To which the reply was, "You're not in your country!"

Maybe they were right. I simply cannot expect the treatment I would otherwise receive had I been back home. The right to complain is something upheld and practised without fear of consequence in more fortunate parts of the world. However, this freedom is also too often abused when given. There are many who take advantage of fraudulent claims, sometimes even going as far as making a living out of it. The right to complain can also turn a Customer Service Agent into a Human Punching Bag of Verbal Abuse, whose job is to appease millions of rude whining customers unhappy about the service until they get something free out of it.

I am aware that my experience that night did not even begin to scratch the surface of the issues many Colombians face from day to day. It was not a fraction of the injustices of varying degrees that exist in this country. It did not compare to stories of maltreatment, of false accusations, and of the corruption that plagues the system. I was guilty of giving up. I thought it petty and downright worthless to pursue the solution to a legal level. In the end, the fight truly was an ideal; the humiliation of which only served as dramatic comedy to its audience at best--and at my expense.

One man cannot speak for everyone. A paradigm occurs when the idea is put into action by a mass. The strength of an idea can be powerful. It can fuel the action into something liberating, but it can also lead to brutality and destruction. This puts into perspective how some revolutionaries turn into tyrants, but also bears in mind the reason why they exist. I haven't changed my mind about Colombia. She is still as beautiful and as kind as I found her nine months ago. But as lovers often fall out of the state of elation when in love, I now see her scars and the sadness behind her smile.

Specialized in: Fighting - Right - Party
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