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Not on ice-cold stone

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

Are things getting back to normal already? Is fear of the COVID no longer paralyzing people? These questions came to mind upon seeing or watching and hearing news that the famous thriller of Madrid, bullfighting, has resumed, and I am sure they do not take place without thousands watching. In Greece, people now feel free to “dine out”, and they really mean “out” because restaurants and other types of eateries now serve their customer “literally” outside, meaning, in the open and not within their establishments.

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But let us not be complacent. There has been no signal yet from Health authorities that we are already “over the hill” as far as this pandemic goes. Some countries are still suffering greatly, especially India where the cases seem to rise by the day. The term journalists use for what is happening there is “spiralling”, which makes one imagine a tornado that is building up. I hope the vaccines that our country has acquired will be sufficient to cover all our citizens, even if only to the point of “herd immunity”.

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The United States  has generously sent aid and medical supplies to India, but I understand the country is now into some political turmoil with the people apparently blaming  their Prime Minister NrandaModi for their predicament. Sounds unreasonable, for how could P.M. Modi address what so many other bigger and wealthier countries could not even suppress. I guess this COVID mania is making people unreasonable, but let’s blame it on the fears and concern for their loved ones and themselves.

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But trust it to the Filipino to make something light to ease the fears of his people. I was watching TV the other day and caught R.J. ( Jacinto) singing a song I am sure he composed himself, about the COVID. Of course I could not catch up with the lyrics, but I am sure it will be promoted by media outlets, so that people will get to know it and literally “sing their troubles away”. Trust it to the Pinoy to do something like that. I hope he continues to promote it so that, instead of moaning and griping about the bad COVID, we will “sing our troubles away”.

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I heard before this pandemic that Vietnam had announced plans to hold a World Exposition this year. Is it still on? I will not be surprised if they have put it on hold with the state the world is in now. Oh, an EXPO would have brought a lot of tourists and business to their local producers, but with the prevailing COVID season, it is doubtful that they will get the attendance they are hoping for. I have attended some expos long ago, and they were not only interesting, amusing and representative of the country’s products, but also educational.

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What is happening to the world, especially its people lately? While we hear of some generous moves from some countries, there are also incidents reported about killings or unreasonable deaths, not due to the COVID, but, in the case of Israel, it was a meaningless stampede that ended up with 45 killed and hundreds injured. The report did not mention what instigated it, but I hope our own people will keep their wits around them and think, not once, not twice, but as many times as they can count to avoid loss of temper and getting into worse trouble!

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World Press Freedom Day was marked worldwide the other day, but I have not seen much in reports about its observance on media. I guess it is because the Press has been enjoying a lot of freedom, but its practitioners have no assurance of freedom from the plagues that have been experienced worldwide lately. We have to admit that, indeed, the Press, or journalists from all over the world, be it in any form of media, has been enjoying more freedom – but also exercising a lot of responsibility nowadays. Those who breach what is responsible  and legal must realize that there are laws that can keep them in line.

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How ironic it is to hear that Israel is planning to hold – or maybe has done to already – a grand memorial service for those killed in that lawless stampede that took place recently. Well, they may hold rituals for the dead, deliver beautiful speeches extolling what they had done in their lifetime, but what do these matter to the dead? A poem I loved when in high school by an anonymous author said it aptly: “Love me now while I am living/ Do not wait till I am gone/ And then chisel it in marble/ Warm love worlds on ice-cold stone”.*

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