"Please, kuya, find me a chat friend, a foreigner," she pleaded as I just sat there amused while at the same time bemused by the request.
I was helping out a relative whose computer had a minor software problem and was testing it by going online and chatting with somebody from Indonesia when a young house helper saw what I was doing and then she popped the question.
The rationale for the request was obvious. She wanted to get to know a foreigner, preferably rich, at least by local standards, marry him and escape the poverty that is condemning her and the rest of her family to a life of drudgery and hopelessness. She has seen others of her kind do the same thing and have done well indeed. But it is also true that many others who also tried the same path ended up broken physically and mentally, poor as ever, and worst of all in many cases, dead.
I did not have the heart to talk ker out of it. After all, what alternatives are there for her to take? One often has to play the cards life has dealt him the best way he can and winning or losing the game of life is all about taking risks. Some of the choices may riskier than others but as in gambling, the higher the risks the higher the rewards.
I felt like a bastard then but I promised the young helper I would help her find her chat friend. And when I said so, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.