Not so wonderful now

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Last Saturday, I was idly playing with the TV remote and came upon the program of Bacoleño host Richard Enriquez, playing the popular old hit “What a Wonderful World” being sung by the late lovable comedian Dolphy. My first thought was, how appropriate indeed! I mean for Dolphy, who made everybody laugh and be happy with his jokes and quips, to be reminding us now of what a wonderful world we have! Mixed with my sadness at missing Dolphy, was the irony of the situation. Can anyone now declare even with tongue in cheek, that we are in a wonderful world?

***

I try my very best not to be pessimistic over what is happening all over this supposedly “wonderful world” but how can one help it? I am sure the media – print, as well as radio and TV – are trying their best to make their audiences feel better, to forget the events that sadden them, but it must take a great deal of self-assurance to ease the concern and anxiety over what is going on in this supposedly wonderful world that we love so much. What if Dolphy were still around these days? Would he still be singing about a wonderful world, or maybe belting out a parody of it?

***

Ah, there I go, after promising myself not to be pessimistic, whatever happens. I am sure that ours is not the only country in dire straits now, others could be worse, because it is not only the coronavirus plague that we have to contend with, there are also dire economic problems staring us all in the face. I hope everyone is praying for the discovery of a cure, if not immediately a vaccine for this malady that has stricken mankind. Is this a penalty for our sins, and how can we earn forgiveness for them and regain God’s favor again?

***

Sorry for starting so somberly, let us greet this day by looking forward to the SONA, or State of the Nation Address that our President is delivering this afternoon at the Batasang Pambansa – that is, if they have not changed the usual venue. What will he tell us about the state of our country today? Will he be hopeful, will he assuage our fears and concerns? Or will he further warn us about problems that may be coming? Dear Lord, we need some optimistic assurance from our leaders now, and we hope our President will give us that in his speech that the whole country will be looking forward to.

***

But a lot of people I have exchanged views with lately have expressed concern over our President’s well-being. Indeed, his latest appearances seem to show a difference from his usual expression. Could it be that he is worrying so much over what is happening to the country now? He must know, and someone should tell him, that his people are concerned over him and praying for him in this very challenging times. Today, rather, this afternoon, let us look forward to his SONA, as I am sure it will be covered live by several channels. Let us hope for some encouraging assurances from him.

***

I wonder how the Batasang Pambansa hall will look with the reported only 50 people, V.I.P.s, of course, allowed to attend. It used to be fully packed with all the members of the Senate, the House of Representatives, the diplomatic corps, local government executives from all over the country, and even the Church represented by its highest officials. Who will compose those 50 selected souls? Will physical distancing be strictly imposed? Will the first ladies of the officials allowed still come in their best “bibs and tuckers” as the saying goes? Ah, I am sure it will be a different SONA from any ever held.

***

Meanwhile, in the United States, trouble has not yet abated with rallies and protests still going on over the killing of the black man George Floyd, by a policeman. I guess the fear of the COVID has not deterred them from gathering and marching up and down to denounce the incident. Well, if protesting and marching takes their minds off the dangers of getting infected by the COVID, let them be. But what a pity if they infect others, especially their own families. In the meantime, a Social Weather Station survey has shown that 86 percent of Filipinos are worried and concerned, over the possibility of getting hit by the COVID. And who can blame them, or belittle their fears?

***

How much has Hongkong changed since China took over? Well, the biggest change, especially for media people like us, is that foreign news agencies based there have started pulling out their people because they can no longer enjoy freedom of the press. But what did they expect after the United Kingdom turned the colony over to China? So we can expect to read or hear only diluted or censored reports from Hongkong now. News like that should make us thankful that, impoverished as we are, we are still rich as far as our freedoms are concerned. And for that, we should continue to give thanks to our Maker and ask Him to continues to bless the Philippines!*

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