Many years ago, I visited the island of Vanua Levu in the Pacific. At that time, someone stepped up to the chief to inform him that a few of his subjects had been found to be HIV-positive. On receiving the news, the chief broke down in tears. This week, I read reports of farmer suicides in South Africa. They could not take the strain of the severe drought. But I didn't find any compassion. Times Live, for instance, reported on the economics of it, infrastructure, production, policy, psychology, and so on, but I could not find definite signs that anybody cared, for them as people. OBSERVATION: Coming as I do from the pastoral angle, this is striking. And it is not only such farmers who could do with compassion, but people who go by many different descriptions. Farm labourers, to begin with.