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Listen to Biden

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

A very shocking piece of news from TV Monday was about the surging cases of attacks on Asian-Americans. Now that includes Filipinos now living or working in the United States, where this report came from. It was not, however, clarified whether the attackers were white Americans or colored ones. In any case, our kababayans are Asians and it is very likely that they are among those being “attacked”.  I have not yet heard any report on what steps are being taken to stop such abuse.

***

I would suppose, however, that those endangered are those in menial jobs because most of those Filipinos I know, including those from Bacolod and Negros, of course, are not the type who would tolerate being “abused” or maltreated by their employers. In fact, most of them are holding executive positions with both white and black Americans on their staff. The daughter of my brother Pros, Peachy, a cute morena, is a bank executive and other relatives and friends there are also in very well paying and respectful employment. And they are not the type who would tolerate maltreatment!

***

They have found a term for it, “domestic terrorism”. And I would be ashamed if any Filipina who would allow herself to undergo abuse in any form. But perhaps that is because the ones I know are mostly college graduates or even master’s degree holders, so they are the type who would not tolerate any bad treatment because they can very easily find another job. But recently, I saw a report on TV about a Pinay domestic helper who was maltreated and when her case was reported to the police, and her employer apologized, she forgave her and returned to her job. If she gets beaten again, she deserves it.

***

Oh, why am I seeing so many reports involving women lately. In a place called Jalalabad, which I don’t even know the continent  itis to be  found, three  female media workers were reportedly killed. By whom, it was not mentioned. Wherever that is, it must be a dangerous place for females, and especially for supposedly fearless ones involved in the media. Our colleagues here in the Philippines should rejoice that we are not only considered at par with the males, but even enjoy (I think) more privileges.

***

It was therefore no surprise to see placards being waved or posted on walls in the United States with the messages “STOP ASIAN HATE” and “END RACISM NOW”. I suspect, though that those waving them are targeting white people who envy the better educated and better paid Asians there, even if they have already acquired American citizenship. I think I am lucky not to have experienced any racial biases in any of the countries I have been to. An incident I remember was one in Russia when I was with Teresita Villanueva, a reporter of a Manila daily, when we shopped at a night market, and sheltered under the awning of a restaurant when it rained.

***

The resto manager saw us and, maybe thinking we were gypsy beggars, came out and shooed us away. But we stood our ground and told him we were journalists from the Philippines, and his tone changed. So they have some respect for the Philippines, we told each other! Our companions laughed at us later when we told them our story, but certainly it was not as bad as what happened to another companion, a cute pretty girl from a Manila newspaper who was in an elevator with a big husky guy who touched her head and told her “Come to my room, little girl, I will make you happy and give you money”. As soon as the elevator door opened, she ran out crying, and could hardly tell us what happened.

***

How can we stop talking, thinking, or writing about the COVID? It is now a year since it first surfaced and cases are still being reported as surging. Are the vaccines administered in other countries really working, and how much of it has our own country got by now? Will every town, city and province be able to acquire them, whichever is available for us, or will it will run free to infect more of our people? Is it true that we will have it available in May?  And how many will be infected in the intervening days?

***

In the meantime, let us listen to U.S. President Joe Biden’s advice, even if he is not our leader. Unlike his predecessor, Donald Trump who had nothing to say about the pandemic even if he had been a victim, Biden is stressing to his people, and it will do good to listen, as well: “It is not yet time to let our guard down.” Let’s listen to him and observe every protocol being suggested for its avoidance to save ourselves and others, too.*

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