My friend left for the States two weeks ago, and last night I got an e-mail from her asking me to explain photos she had seen of recent street protests. She is worried.
She ends saying, “Please cheer me up. Tell me I have nothing to worry about. Just tell me we’re not about to do it again.”
It makes me sad to hear the sounds of anguish and anger. Yes, again!
They say that history repeats itself because no one was listening the first time. True?
What I really want most to do for myself now is lighten this feeling of gloom and silence the voice of doom that keeps me awake at night.
I don’t care whose side you are on, but this is dismal testimony for our country. It is not about being red or blue or yellow. It is about wanting to know where we are headed. What we do today is vital to the next generation.
The present turmoil will not help. It will succeed only in chasing away visitors and investors, and does nothing to correct inflation or stop the steady decline of our peso.
I know people in the front lines and they say, “It is what it is. Someone has to push back.”
It is serious.
Yet some of our officials seem to be in la la land. One senator wants to rewrite the last line of our national anthem. Another one wants to add a ray to the sun in our flag. I hear a resolution was filed to change the name of Naia.
They are excited to hash out these nonsense issues while our country goes to the dogs. Please, guys, just this once, can we keep our eyes on the ball?
There is so much negative news today that a colleague of mine has put us all on notice that she refuses to discuss politics and “similar malodorous subjects” at our gatherings.
“We get together to have a good time, to reconnect with friends,” she argues. “Instead we get all heated up in a stupid debate about who stole more money, who killed more people or who tells the truth. Enough of that! We have better things to talk about.” I agree.
Of late we have had such doozies on television. One-on-one interviews seem to be the latest trend. My homebound friend watched them all and now complains he has an ulcer. This is the reason I stayed away. My stomach is not that strong. Now social media is ablaze with scathing reviews.
Take me back to my Manila
I am a huge fan of Manila Nostalgia on Facebook. I love getting a glimpse and a taste of our fair city in her glory days.
I remember playing piko and patintero on the sidewalk. I’ve seen pictures of the tranvia like the one that rumbled down Calle Legarda in front of our entresuelo; of carromatas and carretelas; of people walking down Escolta, all dressed up and wearing shoes, not flip-flops; of the Metropolitan Theater in all its splendor; the art deco façade of the Jai Alai; and recently, they showed Dewey (Roxas) Boulevard, our beautiful promenade by the bay, peaceful and clean and without the gaudy, ugly lampposts.
After World War II, despite the destruction and bloody massacre, Manila tried to regain her composure. She fought to keep her dignity in the middle of the ruins. But her scars were deep. Alas, she changed.
Today I cannot recognize the Manila where I was born. It is in a state of decay, a blighted victim of neglect and opportunism.
I try to tell my grandchildren what it was like. I show them pictures. I believe they need to know what we have lost and why. But our young people today cannot nearly fathom the gravity of that loss.
A teacher friend tries to explain. “They can’t relate. Your Manila is too far in the past to even make a dent on their imagination. If something were to happen to Makati or BGC or any of their favorite haunts, they would probably rise up in arms. They can associate only with their own landmarks. They howl about the traffic because it affects them directly, but can’t even imagine a time when it was not a problem.”
I hear someone say, “I don’t know anyone who still goes to Manila.” Can anyone blame them?
Dress code changes
I just read an article about several high schools in Oregon that have made changes in their dress codes. Students are now allowed to come to school wearing whatever they want. They are required only “to cover the breast area and cover anywhere underwear goes, with the exception of the waistband.”
Short shorts, miniskirts, plunging necklines and bare midriff are okay. The revision was done to spare teachers from having to police the students and “to end the over-punishment of girls.”
The new rules are no longer gender specific. Apparently the students rebelled against what they called a sexist and racist dress code. As a result, what is good for the girls is now also good for the boys. Oh my!
School authorities worked real hard to make the code more politically correct and more democratic.
And yes, more permissive.
I’m off to Australia tomorrow. My cousin turns 90. It’s time to celebrate. I will talk to you again from Down Under.