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A do-or-die matter

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

How would you like to be a woman in Japan? I had been so ignorant about their conditions until the other day I saw some lines on TV stating that women there can only attend meetings and conferences as “observers”, but may not participate in the discussions! I thought  their civilization was older than ours? I can just imagine our women being suppressed during arguments or discussions. We even have cases when they out-argue the men! My, am I glad I am a Filipina, free to express myself, even to answer back my superiors when I am in the right . By the way, do women there still walk behind men?

***

Well, they have lived with that for centuries, so it must not bother  them, nor are they protesting  against it. Or are they, and we justdidn’t know it? I have just discovered how little I know of that country, having not such interest in it because all I remember is how their soldiers treated our people during World War II. And, yes, I have been to Japan, but that was at a time when they were having a World Fair, and it was a very enjoyable trip, with very convivial company, although  they were all much older than us.

***

I was on the SS Philippine Lines, owned by a Negrense who gave us more privileges than his other passengers. We practically lived on the boat, in our cabins, and when we set out in the mornings for our tours, we were provided with snacks and lunch. Our team leader was Milagros AranetaVillasor whose husband, Justice Gillernor GuillermoVillasor was also with us. Another, and the one closet to my sister Perla and me was Mrs. Lourdes Ciocon, later the owner of L’Fisher Hotel. The group spoiled us because we were  the youngest, but alas, most of them have now gone to the Great Beyond. But all were unforgettable to us, we really grew to love each other like relatives.

***

Ah, mention of Japan brings us more memories. Perla and I became their pets, and we often mediated when arguments arose among them. All were among Bacolod’s well-to-do matrons, so, what could you expect? I recall the name of the boat owner was Loyola, and a native of Hinigaran. He gave me and my sister special privileges because he knew I was going to write about the experience, and I sure did. It was too enjoyable and memorable to cast away in the dust of history! And the Tokyo World Fair was so wonderful, and unforgettable, too. See what mention of Japan brought up in my memory?

***

By this time the “Perseverance” set off by the United States must have landed on Mars already and probably has sent messages back home about what they found there. Alas, we do not have much access to print media now so we cannot read more about the details of the discoveries they have unearthed there. But, if successful, and the place habitable, I have no doubt that it won’t be long before tourists will be booking flights to Mars and other planets, too. Would we be still around then?

***

I felt sad, but at the same time hilarious upon watching the news about the famous Louvre Museum, one of the greatest tourist attractions, not only of Paris, but of the world, that had always been full of visitors, not only Europeans and from all other countries, has been virtually empty lately. I wonder why, because it is only full of art pieces and statues, and those are not COVID carriers, are they? But we can’t blame people for becoming hypochondriacs these days. Did anybody ever suggest that they mask the statues, too?

***

I hate to be a scaremonger, but have you also heard that there is a new variant now that has been named SARS-COVID combination. If I remember right SARS was the “Severe Acquired Respiratory Syndrome”, while COVID came from Coronavirus Disease. Now, what are they going to baptize it? SARS-COV, or COV-SARS? Maybe it should be named not by priority, but by severity and, of course, mortality. God forbid that it spreads as fast and as widely as the latter!

***

Let’s be grateful to President Duterte for cutting corners and allowing the advance payments for vaccines ordered by the country. That is supposed to be a no-no as far as auditing processes are concerned, but no less than the President has permitted it this time. Any other official would have gotten in trouble with auditors, but not him. Since nobody will sell us the vaccine on credit, he realizes that this is an emergency, hence, the okay for advance payment. Our population is at stake, and this is a do or die matter, isn’t it?*

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