Hearing Things from Afar
by Jovit Caballero, Nina Sangueza, and Rose ann Santos
Editor’s Note: This article was written by Group 3 during the Northlink Newsletter Writing and Photography Workshop held last January 2021.
Keeping the floors clean and tidy, serving hot and freshly brewed coffee, distributing food during meetings. These are the tasks that Kuya Rey enjoys doing. Reynaldo P. Malinao, fondly called “Kuya Rey,” is from San Jose del Monte Bulacan. Being the breadwinner of the family, he recalled that his neighbor had told him about the job at NLEX. Kuya Rey has been assigned in NLEX for almost 11 years.
As he walks along the corridors and navigates the stairs of the building he is assigned to, you’d assume that Kuya Rey is just like any other utility personnel in the company. But when you look at him closely, you will know that he is unique from the others. You can easily pinpoint what makes him stand out when you see the blue-and-orange ear pod-like device inserted in his sensitive and delicate ears.
According to Kuya Rey, he bought the battery-operated item in Shopee for only one thousand six hundred pesos (Php 1,600) as he can no longer afford an expensive one. Why does he need the device? It’s for him to be able to clearly hear vibrant sounds and the instructions given to him at work. Kuya Rey has hearing impairment.
Ironically, despite his condition, Kuya Rey enjoys the rhythm of his favorite Tagalog songs from Filipino artists like Martin Nievera, Regine Velasquez, and Morisette Amon. Though he suffers from a vibrating sound he sometimes felt inside his ears, this has never been a hindrance to his responsibilities. He lives a normal life.
At 43, Kuya Rey remains a hopeless romantic. He said he is still searching for love. He wants someone who will grow old with him. Or, as he puts it, someone who will stay with him until his batteries wear off.
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