Portland, Oregon, USA
At a homeless shelter in downtown Portland, Oregon
It is fascinating to be in Portland, its a very interesting city filled with various characters of life. Downtown Portland is a little grungy, some parts are pretty old and there are streets where there are homeless people roaming around near homeless shelters. For a wealthy country like the United States, it is heart wrenching to see how many are marginalised and the wealth gap just keeps widening.
For someone who comes from Asia, where we do struggle and receive no government help at all, I am puzzled by the amount of people choosing to be homeless. They have their own stories to tell and clearly some are mentally ill and have become drug dependent. But why would there be such unusual amount of young people choosing to be homeless is perplexing to me.
I don’t want to photograph nor interview them because I was only there for a few hours, it would take a whole project to discover this whole situation that America is facing and I am not the one who do it.
Maybe in Singapore we are too comfortable, to realise how tough it can get in the Land of Dreams. But we are Asians and we have grown up to believe that no one would help us. Being homeless is not an option in our society where it is deemed illegal by our Singapore government. Since there is no one out there to help us, we must help ourselves and not rely on anyone especially our government. Even if it is dark and bleak, we discover tiny pieces of Hope, hope that is instilled in us since we were young. That’s the Asian culture, we grow up thinking that there is hope somewhere out there and we have to find a will to work towards that even if there is no outside support at all.
That;s the difference between the Land of Dreams and where I live. Hope is sometimes taken from people and darkness fills in the gap.
At least we have Hope, and sometimes we need to spread that to others who need them.