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It used to be the ‘Land of the Morning’

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

A Blessed and Happy New Year to all our readers, kin and friends! May the Good Lord grant all our wishes for a happy and prosperous 2021, both those in our country and those now living abroad or are citizens of other countries. May they never forget their Filipino roots and relations and pray for them, as we do for them, too. And let us all pray together for a truly different year, and wish for the elimination of the COVID that had stricken so many countries, and taken so many lives.

***

Perhaps the absence, or the reduction of all the blasts and firecracker striking our eardrums in previous years was a sign of a more peaceful year. Let us spend a good part of this new year praying for peace and quiet, and that everyone opts for peace and harmony among countries, as well as among families and people of different races. Let peacemakers among nations do their best to calm down those who seem on the verge of conflict. Let the message in Bethlehem of Peace and Goodwill prevail always!

***

But let us continue to pray for the victim of this COVID pandemic that has confounded some of the world’s medical experts. Let us hope that the vaccines that have been produced will be successful in controlling it. I believe that our president has negotiated for them, but they will be available in about three months yet, that is, by March. In the meantime, what we, and everybody worldwide should do, is to take every care to avoid contracting this ailment that has already claimed so many lives.

***

And do not be careless about going out and mingling with other people, no matter how healthy they look. I know of some who complain that they had been very careful and have made the sacrifice of staying home all these months, and yet were found positive of the virus! Yes, they didn’t go out, but what about their helpers who go to the markets and shop for the things they need? Anyway, there is something we in our city should be thankful for, and that is the minimal number of cases we have compared to other cities and provinces. But let us continue praying to be spared, and for the vaccine to come to our aid soon.

***

In less than a week there will be a changing of guards in the White House, and Donald Trump and family must have started packing up already. Or have they? It seems that Trump hasn’t yet accepted the fact that he had been beaten by Good ‘Ole Joe Biden who does not seem as colorful a personality as him. Will he step down, or insist on hanging on with his claims of having been cheated? Well, he is no different from most losing politicians, seldom do we see one who conceded immediately without protesting or seeking a recount. Will they have to drag him out bodily? That would be a hit with the media worldwide!

***

What a killjoy those oil companies are! Instead of gifting their customers with discounts in the New Year, they announce hikes in prices! Well, at least the increases are not so big, but are disappointing, nevertheless. Couldn’t they have waited for a fortnight, at least? Again, I remember that incident during the time of President Cory Aquino when she was presented with samples of what was claimed to be oil from some part of the country. Whatever happened to that?

***

One agency that is very happy after the New Year celebration is the Bureau of Fire Department that claims to have gone through a fire-free New Year’s celebration. This must be because people were more careful about the types of fireworks they displayed. Our own street was among the noisiest in previous years, but this time only small firecrackers could be heard, just enough to keep the tradition going! But, frankly speaking, I missed the carolling before Christmas, and we have to blame the COVID  for that!

***

Meanwhile, feedback I got for last week’s Twinkling, confirmed again how many readers the DAILY STAR has abroad. Among them this time was one from my own cousin Danny Corral in New York, who noted that the version I wrote quoting the hymn “God Bless the Philippines” had the same lyrics as “God Bless America”. Well, he was not yet born when I was in the elementary grades and that version was in our Philippine music books, because we had not yet been granted independence, and we also sang “The Star-Spangled Banner”, too! That, after singing “Land of the morning ….”, now being sung in the Tagalog version that starts with “Bayang Magiliw, Perlas ng Silanganan…”*

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