Underage

If you ask any child, “What is your dream?” You would, in an instant, hear the most extraordinarily honest answers.

When you are young, endless possibilities are a truth; it is somewhat of a childhood mantra because in our innocence we can achieve anything we want, we can be anyone we desire, we can go anywhere we dream of because “it is the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life so interesting.

I am a twenty something year old man, sometimes boy, whose dreams are as big as when as I was five years old running off to elementary school on the first day, wearing my tiny blue shirt, short nicely pressed khaki pants and  hugging my red lunch kit with goodies my mother had prepared.

In my innocence, I was going to be Dr. Deokiesingh by day, and “Jenson”, Hollywood action star by night. As the years have faded away, my dreams have somewhat changed but I still dream…big.

Are all my dreams going to come true? Maybe. Maybe not.

But, to tell the truth, sometimes I would just sit on my bed in my diminutive apartment in Japan, stare at the twinkling stars and then make a wish. These dreams are what ignite a passion in me, that stir a symphony of emotions, they set me aflame.

And I am not the only one.

Children, young people and old, black or white, rich or poor, Trinidadian or South African, Muslim or Christian, have fundamentally the same dream, and that is to be happy.

Last night while perusing Facebook, I noticed that one of my friends had posted a video entitled “Underage”.

From the title and the still image of a little tanned Asian boy with his small folded arms, resting on his knees I knew immediately it was about childhood prostitution.

"Underage" by Ohm Phanphiroj

I clicked ‘play’ and started to look at the seven minute documentary by famed Thai art and fashion photographer, Ohm Phanphiroj.

The documentary begins with a young boy innocently saying that his dream is to be in love, have a home, travel the world and have money.

“The same thing I dream of,” I thought. The same thing each of us want. As different as we all are, we are, at the core, the same.

The video continues and Ohm then asks the boys, “If you could ask the world one question, what would it be?”

One boy replied, ” Why was I born like this.”  There was a lump in my throat.

As each second passed, my heart broke a little more. It made me realised how truly blessed I have been to live the life I have and, it is this life that has given me the possibility to dream.

The video continues and the boys are asked, “What is your dream?” 

Every child has a dream.  They replied, some smiling,  “…to be a news reporter…policeman…break dancer…singer…to have my own business…to have a good job.”  

Then fourteen year old, Pai, blankly said “I have no dream.”

His innocence was forever gone.

No child, no woman, no person should be forced into in life where they have to sell their bodies because they are hungry, because they have been abandoned, because they have to support their families.

Everyone should have the human right to wish, to want, to dream and to hope and no one should have that taken that away from them because it is in our innocent dreams that lie the greatest possibilities.

– Jenson

Jenson recommends: Going after your biggest dreams because we are all entitled to it. And, spread the word on how we can end child prostitution.

For more information:

“Underage” by Ohm Phanphiroj: “Underage” video

How you can help: End Child Prostitution, Pornography And Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes

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One Response to Underage

  1. Aki says:

    It’s shocking, and sad for us to know such children exist somewhere in the world. Yeah, you are right. We should not spend time for complaining or depressing which is easy to say. This magic word(dreaming) might be just for myself at the beginning, but it will work on children’s dream because they keep following us all the time.
    Ganbarou!! 🙂

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