It is said that those born in February, the shortest month in the calendar, are kulang-kulang—that is, lacking in something to make one’s faculty functioning normally.
Well, I may not count among the exceptions, but I don’t mind being in the company of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Edison, Galileo and Charles Darwin, to name a very few. To be fair, I did come across at least two serial killers. Anyway, I don’t have to search further to be assured that all the other months have their share of fully and not fully normal.
The Februarian stigma seems to me lived down by a self-depreciating humor. This is exactly the case in my circle of friends and family, and it works as a sort of special bond for us—my mom, my husband, my oldest son, a sister-in-law, a niece, a nephew, a cousin and a college mate, among others. As Aquarians, we are, indeed, rather eccentric, independent and original, although not necessarily in any particularly notable way, and also easy-going and humanitarian. As proclaimed in the zodiac, those born close to the Piscean month of March prove generous, amiable, positive and highly tuned to others.
Again, I’m sure you’ll also find those traits in those born in other months. So, what’s so special about February?
There are four memorable February days in our nation’s recent history: 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th—that’s when we fought our now famous Edsa People Power revolution, that peaceful million-plus-strong street protest that deposed the dictator.
Whenever I pass that stretch of highway on which we converged for the fight, I think, especially around this time, that I’ve sat, prayed, and kept vigil here with fellow rebels with a cause. Fighting normal fear, we were prepared to hold our ground against the oncoming troops and tanks and the hovering helicopters, and when it was all over, with no blood spilled and Marcos gone, we congratulated one another with an exuberance I haven’t felt again since.
A few months after Cory Aquino took over I flew to the United States for my daughter’s graduation at Boston University with a master’s in education. I was never so proud to be a Filipino; Boston and the United States were particularly cognizant. I brought with me revolution paraphernalia and other souvenirs to give away.
As fate would have it, Feb. 23 also marks the third year of Sen. Leila de Lima’s incarceration. One cannot but feel for this brave woman who has been maligned and persecuted like no one else by this regime—Imelda who, as the other half of the conjugal dictatorship that we precisely rose up against, surely deserves a shaming like no one else, has been not only spared but in certain sick circles even embraced.
Leila is on trial for conspiracy in drug trafficking, and denied bail. The charge has been concocted around the word of life-term convicts evidently herded for a deal in order to exact revenge for President Duterte, whom she has hounded for death squad murders since he was still mayor of Davao City.
So many other potential tipping points have happened since, and it seems our people cannot work up a fever that even approximates Edsa. Edsa, to be sure, made for the perfect revolutionary mix of Church and faithful, of youth and parents and teachers, of business leaders and workers, of just about everybody who has had it with the Marcos madness.
If any Edsa happens again, there are elders who can be counted to be there. But, you might ask us, Where are the children?
They are where they’ve been told to be, safe and busy concentrating on careers or studies or nurturing their growing families. For some reason we have told them not to worry, to stay safe; we’ve told them that we’ve got this—marching, rallying and protesting for them—and that they will have their turn to do it for their own children. And deep down we were glad to do it for them, as they will be for their own children. It may well be our fault that we have failed to ignite the flame of patriotism in them. It is in fact a critical default on our part that leave them unprepared for, unpracticed in, the fight for the larger cause—for rights and freedom, for country, for God.
It is said that soldiers fight their fiercest when all seems lost. But do we really have to wait until we get there?