Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Streams of Thought

Much has been going on in the past weeks but I could barely juggle my time between obligations, rest, and blogging. Then there's also the Christmas rush to consider. I swear: whoever thought of commercializing Christmas should be shot.

Okayyyy....enough bah humbug-ging. Let's just go through several issues in review:

The Ranario Experience. Once again, another overseas Filipino worker in the person of Marilou Ranario almost bit the dust in Kuwait for allegedly killing her employer. Her relatives, as well as the socio-civic group for OFWs, Migrante, were hysterical over the Kuwaiti court's decision to have her executed. In comes the valiant Pres. Gloria Arroyo, fresh from her Europe junket -- er -- state visit, who went straight to Kuwait to personally make an appeal on behalf of Ranario to the Emir of Kuwait. Lo and behold, Pres. Arroyo eventually became successful in convincing the Emir not to execute Ranario and to have her sentence lessened.

All's well that ends well. However, how many other OFWs are currently facing similar fates like that of Ranario but are not being given the same presidential treatment?

Ranario and her relatives should thank their lucky stars that their situation was hyped up by media, or else, Marilou would be destined to be buried six feet underground by now.

Another thought: OFWs are called "mga bagong bayani" (new heroes) because of the risks they take upon going to other countries. Of course, one cannot expect other countries to have the same culture and laws as we do. Thus, it is important for our OFWs to "toe the line," as they say, if they want to have a fruitful and safe working experience abroad.

However, there are some OFWs who continue to bring with them their bad habits abroad and then cry a bucket of tears when the laws of that foreign land catch up on them. Yes, I get the point that they are fellow Filipinos. Boo-hoo-hoo. That doesn't excuse them from facing up to their misdemeanors. Heck, if they truly deserve to be hanged, then by all means, HANG THEM!

Return of the Comeback: the Anti-subversion Law. Once deemed as a legal loophole to justify persecution of alleged enemies of the state, the Arroyo administration is now considering the revival of the Anti-subversion Law. This, according to the presidential spin doctors, could accelerate military efforts to finally quash once and for all the numerous insurgency groups in the Philippines.

Upon deeper analysis, is it really that important to resurrect an outdated and misused law? The way I see it, this is only an effort to justify two things: first, the perpetration of more extra-judicial killings by the police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines; second, the muzzling of several civil society groups and members of media.

Even people with half a mind will be thinking that Martial Law is back -- under an assumed name.

Holiday Bells Toll in UP Diliman. This time, let's look at the brighter side of life and rejoice at the return of the Carillon bells in UP Diliman.

After a long, looooong time (Sorry, I can't be as precise), people of the UP Diliman community and surrounding areas will once again hear the chiming of the bells in the Carillon Tower starting this December. Through the efforts of UP Diliman alumni, enough money was collected to buy a new set of bells to replace the old ones that have since depreciated due to neglect and exposure to the elements. This project is in line with the upcoming activities for the much-anticipated UP Centennial.

During my time in UP, I was never blessed to hear the beautiful melodies being chimed by the Carillon bells. However, that isn't to say that I haven't heard them toll before. And it was a kind of sound that you wouldn't want to hear. That was because the only time I heard the Carillon bells toll was at the height of the intensity-8 earthquake that hit Luzon in 1991. The ground movement was so violent that the Carillon Tower was already swaying left and right, sending that ominous tolling all over the entire UP campus. I was almost certain that at any time, the tower would eventually give way. Thank God, the shaking stopped before it did.

And I think the Carillon Tower and its bells will still stand sturdy and strong for another century, especially now that the entire UP Community has already seen (and heard) its true worth.

Loss and Hope. Many Pasay City residents will be spending the holidays in an evacuation center, especially after a massive fire razed their homes to the ground yesterday.

On one hand, I pity these poor souls who have just lost their homes and material property to the fire -- and with barely a few days left before Christmas. However, based on the news reports, it was said that most if not all of these fire victims were squatting on private property.

In other words, they shouldn't be there at all.

Actually, I no longer want to delve into the details of this squatting issue. I would rather focus on a scene I saw on GMA News (link showing actual video) that underscored the value of life -- human or animal alike.

The scene unfolded like this: a news team focused their camera on a young couple could only stare teary-eyed at the remains of their burned house. Apart from fleeing their burning home without being able to save much of their belongings, the woman related that they had a pet dog with them. They managed to get the frightened canine out, but probably due to its confusion and terror it ran back into the house which was already being engulfed by flames.

This is a common trait among well-cared for pets who have come to believe that their home is their "comfort zone." The moment they encounter a threatening situation, they immediately run back into their home, thinking they will be safe there.

However, this dog's comfort zone was definitely comfortable no more. The couple was fearing the worst for their pet.

After their house was hosed down, the man decided to enter their house to look for their belongings that may have survived the fire. Suddenly, he started pulling at something from under a singed shelf. The news camera continued rolling as he managed to retrieve their pet dog who miraculously survived the fire and intense heat with a few scratches and burns here and there. Overall, the "askal" (asong kalye, or native dog) was very much alive, and its owners hugged their soggy and shaken dog -- relieved that at least one important entity in their life was not taken away from them by the fire.

Attention, PAWS: you guys should be commending this couple because of their unconditional love for their pet. May they serve as models to other Filipinos who still think that pets are only meant as props in their homes -- or worse.

Holiday Wishes and Greetings. This may be my last entry -- for this year, that is. Thus, I would like to make the following wishes for the holidays and for the new year:

* World peace. Yeah, yeah, this is such a tired old Miss Universe line...

* New inspiration -- in my career. What are you guys thinking...?

* Better financial prospects. And I think everyone else is wishing for this, too.

* PAID LOANS! And no more loans to add to my financial account.

* Love for everybody. Another Miss Universe line...

* Lesser people complaining of hunger and poverty in the Philippines.

And finally...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all!

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