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Following the leader…

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

One aspect that has been badly hurt by this COVID pandemic in the Philippines is education. Just when the Department was about to begin face-to-face classes after a seeming reduction in the number of COVID cases, a new variant has come out, which has made such gatherings of students dangerous again. So far, however, I have not read or heard any feedback from both students and teachers on how they have reacted to the starting of classroom teaching. But if it is true that those will be stopped again, all we can say is, think of the saying “Discretion is the better part of valor”.

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So education must wait for safer times that we have no idea when we can have them again. But with a new variant of the disease reported to have appeared in some countries, who can dispute the decision of our Education Department if it calls for a halt to regular classes? Not only will the students be exposed while in the classrooms, who can stop them from playing during their free times? I don’t think I have heard any reports on what substitutions  will be made for subjects that involve physical proximity, such in Physical Education. School administrators, as well as teachers, must be cracking their brains in trying to resolve this.

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The good news is that only 53 people have been recorded to have been hurt due to firecrackers this New Year. Statistics also showed that there were 86 percent less injuries compared to past New Year celebrations! That is a very good record that we hope will be reduced, rather than increased in the coming celebrations. I heard that the hospitals that have braced themselves for fireworks and firecracker victims, were surprised and, very likely, thankful not to be dealing with bloody victims this time!

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Another bit of good news is that while other countries are facing the threat of getting the new COVID variant that is said to have originated in the United  Kingdom, there is no record of infections in our country, so far. So let us keep praying and hoping that nobody from the UK, especially one carrying the new variant unknowingly, comes to our country until this pandemic has been tamed by science and medicine. So many aspects of life are being affected by this new disease that has yet to be conquered.

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Will the death penalty be revived? Our boxing phenomenon, Manny Pacquiao, has taken moves to revive the penalty after he was outraged by the brutal killing of a flight attendant whose body was found in a hotel room. Aside from Manny, I know of a lot of people who were not in favor of abolishing that penalty, justifying themselves by saying that some criminals truly deserve it. Let us see how our lawmakers regard the Pacquiao proposal. Seeing the conditions of our prisons, however, must make even the worst criminals prefer the death penalty.

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A warning to credit card holders. Be very, very careful about using or exposing your credit card. A card owner, I think in Manila, lost his card, and before he could start looking for it, he found out that the person who had taken it had already made a million  pesos worth of purchase on it! Will the culprit ever be caught or identified? The way such cards are so easily and conveniently used, it seems very unlikely that the one who got it will be identified. He or she could be someone not a resident of Manila and may have fled home to his or her province already. But there could be hope – that is, if the store has CCTV, or Close Circuit TV that takes pictures of those entering it

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I don’t remember if I have written about this before but I had an unpleasant experience with credit cards myself. It was in the U.S. and I was in a store picking out shirts as pasalubongs for my brothers. After I had chosen a pile of six shirts, I handed my card to the salesman who started to ring up the sale. After he was through, he hesitated and told me to pay in cash, probably doubting the genuineness of my card. I took out my wallet, deliberately letting him see its contents, then counted out the amount, and he then started to ring  up the sale, after which, I pushed back the pile of shirts and told him I am no longer buying them, and walked away.

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By the way, what is the latest on the introduction of a vaccine against COVID in our country? Up to yesterday, reports on TV still noted that only one in every four Pinoys is willing to undergo it. I don’t mind repeating that some high officials, probably the President himself, should lead by showing on TV his picture while undergoing it. But I suppose he had already gone through it, and it’s a pity if no photos were taken of the procedure. Follow the leader, you know!*

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