Help someone in trouble. Act in kindness. Pay it forward.
Had lunch with a sweet couple the other day. Chris is Pinoy and Nancy from Korea. They live in Valencia, California, and are here for much needed R and R.
This is the first time he comes home as a tourist. Every time he has returned it was to be with friends, visit old haunts and nonstop eating. But this time he is taking in the sights with his wife. This is her first visit, and she is thrilled. With her, he is learning more about his country of birth.
His first lesson was in Intramuros, in what they both agreed was an “awesome experience.” He described it as “the best history class I ever had,” and it was courtesy of the colorful and flamboyant Carlos Celdran, who eloquently and passionately brings back the past in all its glory, telling the stories as if he had been there himself, rubbing elbows with the Castilas. Who knows, maybe even with Padre Damaso.
I remember as a little girl, sitting at table “de sobremesa” listening to my spinster grandaunt and her contemporaries tell tales about “el tiempo de España.” Those were their growing-up years. They were into Señoras wearing peinetas and mantones, and gentlemen in chaquetillas.
It now occurs to me that this, too, is how my generation talks about our adventures “during Japanese time, or “the Occupation.”
I wonder if my grandchildren feel as awed hearing me tell stories about air raids and dogfights as I did when my elders sighed about paseos and tertulias.
It was interesting to talk about the deeply etched scars and remnants of a war. Nancy recounted how her mother, being a war child herself (World War II and the Korean conflict) and having suffered need and lack, today cannot bear to see rice thrown away.
I keep count of my notebooks. My sister in Atlanta hoards paper towels and napkins, bathroom and facial tissue. When she is down to the last bag of Charmin, she hyperventilates, and in any kind of weather hightails it to Costco where she lines up for several more economy-size packs. And imagine this, she lives alone.
We laugh about it, but it’s something she feels very strongly about. The fear of running out is real. She splurges on paper stuff, but is frugal about everything else and will not throw anything away.
We had a pleasant and delicious lunch at Abe. They talked about their trip to Corregidor and how they were a bit turned off by the sight of garbage in the water, although they were told it was in the process of a serious cleanup. What a shame it is to have to apologize for something so inexcusable. But they were impressed by the phenomenal change and uptrend in the business climate of our country. I felt proud.
We skipped dessert so they could beat the traffic to Greenhills for a visit to the tiangge. She couldn’t wait! I sent them off with a reminder to haggle.
In the news
Last week there was a big to-do at the University of California Irvine (UCI) campus. For some reason, a political minority of the Associated Students of UCI passed legislation to remove all flags, including the stars and stripes, from the lobby and all common areas because, they explained: “It may trigger hurt feelings in an illegal citizen or someone with citizenship issues.”
Have you ever heard such utter nonsense?
Of course their “misguided decision” was immediately booed and hooted down by the student body, the general public and the media. It was vehemently vetoed by the Student Cabinet and is therefore no longer a law at UCI.
I must confess that this is not the first piece of legislation here or abroad that has made me wonder about the author’s intelligence (or lack of it).
Matthew Guevara, a member of the UCI Student Board, was its author. What was he thinking? The school is in America, isn’t it?
One of the few pro-ban students was heard to say that the flag “could be used as a weapon of nationalism.” Wait a minute. Let’s look at that again. Last I checked, nationalism meant “a feeling that people have of being loyal to and proud of their country.” Is that a bad thing today?
My tired friend says, “Well, they kicked God out of classrooms and public offices, so why not the flag?”
This push for political correctness has gotten way out of hand. It is downright stupid.
Give it up for Lent?
I remember how in convent school the nuns pushed us to give up something we couldn’t do without as a sacrifice for Lent. It was hard even then for me to say no to chocolate. Some of my friends stayed away from the movies. As we grew older, we thought it saintly to stop smoking.
For Lent, why not leave our cozy comfort zones and do something to make a difference?
kindness. Pay it forward. Pick up someone’s grocery bill. If you are an online addict, quit bashing. Encourage someone instead. Make someone’s day.
Lent is the season to reflect on what Jesus did on the Cross. He suffered and died for you and me. We can’t ever come close to his kind of sacrifice. That was once, and for all!
But we can ask ourselves: “What would Jesus do?” And then get out there and do it!