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The best time

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

Let’s be grateful for small favors. Despite the fears and apprehensions that the COVID has been foisting on us, we can, at least be thankful for the news that there will be oil price rollbacks in the coming days. Perhaps, it has already been implemented? There has been little enough to be thankful for lately, so let us appreciate what may come our way. And the rollback, as announced, is quite generous, for instance, gasoline will cost P1.20 less, while diesel users will enjoy a P1.30 discount. So, take advantage before the next hike, and go fill ‘er up!

***

I referred to that as a “small favor”, because some parts of the world are going through major problems they never had before. Imagine, the famous and most important passage in Europe, the Suez Canal, has been blocked for several days by a vessel that reportedly was too big to go through. Now, the same reports said that more than 50 vessels pass through the canal daily, and one can imagine the “pila” or line waiting behind the stuck one! So far, I haven’t yet gotten news if the problem has already been solved.

***

A bothering problem, not only for Filipinos, but also for other nationalities, now living in the United States is that the issue of racism seems to be coming back.  And this time, it is not only the black community that is affected, but it seems there is also a growing bias against “Asian Americans”. I guess that refers to Asians who adopted American citizenship, or acquired it by being born to Asian parents there. Having quite a lot of relatives and close friends now living and working – successfully at that  – there, I am sure I am not the only one bothered by such news.

***

But it is understandable – why such a bias should, or has started to exist. Thousands of Asians who have acquired citizenship, or were entitled to it by birth there, are now occupying important and lucrative jobs that could have gone to the “natives” instead. But it is not surprising, because our Pinoys who have gone there and acquired citizenship, are mostly degree holders and capable of holding even executive positions. I have the feeling that, percentage wise, we may have more college-educated citizens than they have. I think college education is more accessible to our people, too. And our workers are not clock-watchers, which is why they are often favored, as employees.

***

I am sorry I was not able to take down the author of the statement that the United States needs a “911 for Democracy”. Why, is it endangered now? I might have expected that, had Donald Trump won the election, but not with Joe Biden. But how can one, viewing them from this distance, tell? Well, that is their problem, we have more than  enough of our own, but what concerns us is this racism thing that could affect a lot of our fellow Filipinos there. Even if they, unlike other immigrants, are, on the whole, mostly better educated and reliable workers.

***

What is happening in Belarus? I admit I know next to nothing about that country, but my attention, as well as my sympathies were aroused when I saw on TV reports of unrest there. People are reportedly fleeing by walking away, and even by swimming to get  out, and those captured by the police and detained are subjected to cold quarters, as well as beatings, and sexual assaults on the women! One would think such things are not possible in this day and age anymore!

***

Now what? A recent report said that about 16,000 of those vaccinated against COVID had suffered “adverse reactions”. Well, vaccines are not supposed to be cures, but well, should we say “deterrents”, but it is strange when one hears that, instead of preventing the transmission of the virus, it creates a problem of its own! Now, there is news about the possibility of studying the use of local plants “lagundi” and “tawa-tawa” for COVID treatment. If our readers will remember, this column had advocated for them more than a year ago but nobody listened. Now what?

***

This Holy Week will be sure to be a solemn one, indeed. Church gatherings are supposed to be limited, and I hear that the much-awaited Holy Thursday and Good Friday processions will not take place. But let us not be dismayed, isn’t it that God  is everywhere, and we can pray and talk to Him wherever we are? This Holy Week should be the best occasion to do that because we have more time to be alone and contemplate, as well as pray for the deliverance, not only of our people, but of the entire world, from this raging virus that surely has a lesson for us all. Let us take this Holy Week as the best time to communicate with our Maker and plead for pardon and protection.*

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