Thursday, May 23, 2013

Manila as Gates of Hell

The new novel by American blockbuster writer Dan Brown, Inferno. One character, Sienna Brooks, is a sexy 32-year-old English doctor who happens to be bald (because of a neurological condition). Brown describes her experience of joining a humanitarian mission to Manila, only to be shocked by its apocalyptic poverty and then raped by local ruffians.

An excerpt from the book goes: “When the group settled in among the throngs in the city of Manila—the most densely populated city on earth—Sienna could only gape in horror. She had never seen poverty on this scale.”

Brown then enumerated what Sienna saw: hungry kids gazing at her “with desolate eyes,” “six-hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, and a horrifying sex trade, whose workers consisted primarily of young children, many of whom had been sold to pimps by parents who took solace in knowing that at least their children would be fed.”
The book also mentioned panhandlers and pickpockets, and how Sienna “could see humanity overrun by its primal instinct for survival. When they face desperation … human beings become animals.”

Sienna, like many visitors to Manila, also saw her surroundings as “a kind of shantytown—a city made of pieces of corrugated metal and cardboard propped up and held together” with “wails of crying babies and the stench of human excrement” in the air. She saw herself as having “run through the gates of hell.”

Then comes the graphic story of Sienna's rape in a Manila slum and how she was saved by... [no spoiler] ~