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Dear Santa

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One of the greatest things about Christmas, if you are a kid, is it is a holiday that brings so much hope and joy. It is one of those rare times in a year when they can make wishes that actually have a chance of coming true. And even if it doesn’t, they still get something else which is totally better than nothing.

I don’t know how tough this Christmas is going to be on parents, maninoys, maninays, and good old Santa Claus himself these days, but hopefully everyone with an obligation to a kid can make their kid happy in the next few days, ideally without breaking the bank or resorting to credit card debt. This year has been pretty tough on a lot of us, especially the less privileged, so the best we can do is send our thoughts and prayers to those whose struggles in life, instead of being relieved, are compounded by the obligations of the holidays.

Aside from dealing with the gift-giving and party-planning, Christmas for adults has also been a time for us to take stock of the year that has been and start looking forward to what could be in store for us just beyond the horizon. It is also a time when we can drop our guards and make a few wishes for ourselves, hoping that the extra-powerful but rarely-seen Santa for adults is listening and ready to sprinkle some blessings our way.

For this year, my Christmas wish list, aside from the selfishly obvious one of winning the lottery, includes hoping for an end to the raging wars in Ukraine and Gaza, where war crimes, casualties, and humanitarian crises are piling up with every passing day. I’m also hoping that inflation will slow down, especially in this poor country where the rising prices of everything is making life extremely difficult for the majority of its people. And finally, I’m still wishing for more concrete climate action so my kids can have a chance of growing old in a world that is still livable for humans.

If there is one world issue that needs the intervention of some superhuman force from a mythical place where magic is possible, it would be the current wars in Ukraine and Gaza. These are wars that don’t look like they will stop any time soon because the aggressors are led by bloodthirsty and unreasonable men who see total annihilation as the only solution to their imagined problems.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who has already overseen the deaths of more than 300,000 of his people that he has sent to be cannon fodder in the fields of Ukraine, doesn’t look like he is going to stop his war anytime soon, so all we can do at this point is wish it away.

In Gaza, the leadership of Israel and Hamas seem to be content with committing war crime after war crime against each other and thousands of innocents as they try their best to genocide each other. Nobody is heeding the appeals of the international community that is asking for a ceasefire, so the bombing and violence is set to continue indefinitely. What makes this war deadlier than Putin’s is that the number of people that have been killed in Gaza over the past 2-something months is way much more than the number of Russians and Ukrainians killed over any two-month period of the war that will be going on its third year soon.

In the Philippines, where we have been dealing with the devastating effects of runaway inflation for most of the past year, we can only hope and pray that our government can finally rein it in because if it cannot, then we will be in truly deep crap. As the buyer of rice in the family, the way the price of the staple has been shooting up is terrifying. As for the sugar farmers who have been pleading with the national government to step in and make the industry more profitable so they can survive, this would also be a good time to plead with Santa for a break, because so far, the supposedly sugar-friendly government they supported doesn’t seem to be very supportive in return.

Of course there is also the bonus wish that all the Chinese ships and artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea will magically disappear, because there also nothing our government can do for us at this point, after practically allowing China to run roughshod over that area for years. So, Santa, if you’re listening, maybe you can give us Pinoys a break.

And finally, there is wishing for humanity to take more climate action to slow down global warming and the devastating effects of climate change. I don’t think I’ll get to see the worst of it, but I fear for my kids and grandkids (if any), because the world they will end up with will be a pretty sucky one if we don’t get our acts together right now. Of course it’s bad form to just wish this problem away, but given all the treaties and COPs that our world leaders have gone through, and the lack of positive movement toward their goal, it looks like we will need a lot of Santa magic for this one, aside from the many other issues facing our planet and humanity as well.*

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