A mask as fashion statement?

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Who else thinks it is a “moral duty” to reopen schools despite the unabating surge of this pandemic? Well, the pronouncement came from the Prime Minister of Great Britain, who obviously believes that learning is more important than lives. I admit I don’t know much about the statistics as far as the coronavirus attack is concerned in Great Britain, but for sure they are not a number to sniff at. What about the parents and school officials, will they agree that it is also their “moral duty”?

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Who else thinks it is a “moral duty” to reopen schools despite the unabating surge of this pandemic? Well, the pronouncement came from the Prime Minister of Great Britain, who obviously believes that learning is more important than lives. I admit I don’t know much about the statistics as far as the coronavirus attack is concerned in Great Britain, but for sure they are not a number to sniff at. What about the parents and school officials, will they agree that it is also their “moral duty”?

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Having been a teacher for some time in my life, I know how important education is, especially for the young, but these are no ordinary times. And if those urging the reopening of schools can assure us that they have a magic formula for keeping the virus away from the classroom, and even the school grounds, then, by all means, open those schools and let education continue to take place. Since there does not seem to be any such assurance, let the education officials, the parents and the teachers come to a consensus on whether they believe the times are now safe enough to risk infections.

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May I just remind everyone that yesterday’s news from CNN said that there have already more than 20 million victims of the virus worldwide? The United States known for its advances in medicine and medical technology, reported only yesterday that “tens of thousands of cases are noted daily.” As for the issue on reopening schools, CNN has also reported that there has been a 90 percent increase in coronavirus infections among kids since July 1 to the present. Knowing all that, are you still eager to send your children to school, if they do reopen? I understand the proposed date for opening is August 24, or about two weeks from now. Well, it’s the parents’ choice that is, if the Education Department and the government go for that idea.

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But we’ve got bad news as far as the media is concerned lately. I am referring to Hongkong where, as a commentator said ironically, “Freedom is no longer free”. This was after the much publicized arrest of media mogul Jimmy Lai who, if precedents on others arrested are going to take place , may not even be granted bail. And since elections are due there now, reports also said that candidates who are pro-democracy will be disqualified! So why hold an election at all? And if you are considered a threat to the government, even by your opinions, you may find yourself divested of your cellphone, computer, and other means of communication!

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It is shocking to learn from media reports that the United States is one, if not the most hard hit by this pandemic. I note, though, that their media does not refer to it as Covid-19, as we do, but by the name of its source, “coronavirus”. Well, as the famous quote goes, “A rose by any name would smell as sweet”, so whatever its name, its malignancy still cannot be belittled. That is why, it is very, very important for all of us to listen to requirements and restrictions by authorities, because this is no ordinary ailment we are threatened with.

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I thought at first that the people of Lebanon would not have the guts to demand their freedom from an oppressive and – well, maybe inutile is not quite the word? – government, but finally the people were able to drive out their leader, but, unfortunately, not the EDSA way. Molotov bombs were thrown and responded to with tear gas, but they managed to make their leader give up and leave. Now they have also managed to dissolve their parliament that they must have regarded as a rubber stamp of their leader, or dictator. Let us all hope that this will solve their problems as far a government is concerned, or they may find themselves “out of the frying pan, into the fire”!

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How shameful it is to hear that some 50 barangay officials all over the country are now facing charges for their handling of the Social Amelioration Program, or SAP funds entrusted to them for the poorest of the poor in their community. Seems those 50 – or more – have gotten the ire of the President who has ordered their identification and prosecution. Some of them filled their own pockets and those of their relatives first, before sharing the remains with the real beneficiaries. The President has announced that there are no more funds forthcoming for the same purpose, only big trouble for the barangay officials who helped themselves first to the funds.

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How would you like to wear a bejeweled face mask? If I had the money, of course, I would go for one. The ordinary one does not even show your nose – your make-up if you are a vain female – but one adorned with diamonds or pearls will surely catch attention and be a nice conversation piece. A sample was shown on TV, and, if you feel like owning one, but cannot afford real diamonds, I think rhinestones will do. The problem is you might get robbed by someone who cannot tell the fake from the real gems. So you can give it away without protest.

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Good news! Russia has just announced that it has developed a vaccine against the coronavirus and this should be very welcome to the entire world. And to prove that he truly believes in it, its President, Vladimir Putin, has confirmed that the vaccine had already been administered to his daughter. So what are we waiting for? I recall that President Duterte had been asking where and how such a vaccine could be procured. I hope there is still government money left after the SAP distribution, to purchase the vaccine. Let us all pray that we can procure it and please, Dear Lord, let it work!*

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