EXPLAINING Time magazine’s choice of Angela Merkel as Person of the Year, writer Nancy Gibbs describes the German leader’s steadfastness and tenacity amid unpopular issues: “Leaders are tested only when people don’t want to follow.”
That thought struck us as we drown in the political clutter. As we choose who would make a good president, it is interesting to see who among the candidates will pass such test of leadership—when people don’t want to follow.
I don’t want my leader to be poking a gun to my head, literally. Definitely not.
Every time you’re caught in a holiday-season “Carmagedon”—and who isn’t—just tell yourself, let it go.
Let go of the appointment/event/meeting you’re about to miss. There’s no point in bursting a vein over something you can’t change. (It’s the product of no urban planning and paltry infrastructure, sins from eons ago. More than 200,000 new cars and more than 1 million motorcycles last year alone? Where did one expect all those to run? On Mars?)
There will be another day to make up for what you miss today. Never has the art of letting go been handier than now, when you’re frozen in traffic.
Thanks to Filipino artists who are the best in the world, we have a lovely way to kick off the Christmas season.
Martin Nievera held a concert marking his 30th year in the music industry last Dec. 1 at Solaire Theatre. He is one of the few artists who can make me brave the rush-hour traffic going to the other end of town. And that’s because:
First, his show is always incomparably the best and gives us precious memories. I still remember his concert at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Every time you watch his show, be prepared to go through a mélange of emotions—there is romance and poignancy to his songs, and his voice that gets better and better through time (strange but true), laughter from his
ad-libs, wit in his interaction with his audience.
One should always be ready for surprises, for no two Martin shows are ever alike.
The second reason is his mom, Conchita Razon, one of our columnists in “S” section who dispenses wisdom and shares interesting lives without doing a brazen (emotional) striptease—subtlety is an art, something worth learning by today’s writers/bloggers. Conchita reminds us to make time every time Martin has a concert.
I end up watching not only the son but also the mom during his concert. Sometimes her expression as Martin performs is to die for. When everyone else is cracking up in laughter, she has this worried look.
At his Solaire concert, Martin picked out couples in the audience who had been married a long time, and settled on a Chinese-Filipino couple married for 51 years. He wanted to compose a romantic song, on the spot, for the couple.
What followed was a hilarious moment that any scriptwriter would wish for. He interviewed them on their love story: where did you meet? “Jose Abad Santos” (expectedly, the puzzled Martin has never heard of this stretch near Binondo and Divisoria); how did you meet? “Matchmaker…” So much for romance.
There’s no use trying to report on the exchange between Martin and the couple—it was best experienced, not read—but it’s enough to say that the mother was visibly on the edge of her seat as the exchange went on, while everybody was in stitches.
“He just goes up to anyone, much to my dismay sometimes,” Conchita would tell me the day after the show. “And he improvises… Everyone enjoys it and I suffer a thousand deaths, thinking, please don’t get fresh or disrespectful.”
We have yet to see Martin turn disrespectful, but he certainly knows how to push the envelope, as it were. Some in the audience must have asked if that couple had been “planted” in the audience. Apparently they were for real.
The ad-libs are always in character, where Martin is concerned. The music?
He opened with a composition of his sister and producer, Gina Godinez, “No Way to Treat a Heart.”
It was lovely how he tapped his family to perform with him; if it were anybody else, it could have been tacky, but not so, in the case of the Nieveras—for the simple reason that they sing so well.
He had a duet with his twin, Vicki, on “After All.” Then he called on Conchita’s great grandson, the young Franco Tabuena-Lumbad, to perform with his schoolmates from The Bridge School, an innovative elementary institution established and run by Martin’s sister Tere.
Son Robin, who himself is a good performer, strummed and sang his composition, “Stay Strong.”
Martin sang our favorites, from Sinatra standards to Broadway classics, and his compositions (“Christmas Won’t Be the Same Without You,” “You Are My Song”) and hits (“Be My Lady,” “Say That You Love Me”), and the OPM (“Ikaw Lang ang Mamahalin”). There were many more, the result of his enduring collaboration with his good friend, composer and music director Louie Ocampo. The rapport between these two onstage is always enviable; it’s a show in itself.
The show was produced by his sister Gina and FullHouse with executive producer Maricel Ticar.
One goes home from a Martin show feeling good and so full, just what you need to start the Christmas season—with a heartwarming tune in your head.
A day or two after the show, Martin had a ready birthday gift for his mom. A good son—no mother can resist such a lifelong performance.