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The times are a-changing

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

It’s only about 10 days more before what is supposed to be the start of the Olympic Games, scheduled in Tokyo, Japan this year. Will the games go on? Are all the participating teams ready? Have all the players, officials and promoters been vaccinated? This must be the first time ever in the history of the famous competitions that the biggest concern of everyone involved is not the preparation of the players for the jousts, but for their being vaccinated against the raging pandemic before they sally into the sports arenas.

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What about our country? Is the Philippine team ready to fly to Tokyo next week and pit their abilities with those from other parts of the world? Aside from intensive practice and training, have they been fully inoculated against the COVID 19, the biggest killjoy of the century? There does not seem much in the current reports about the preparations for the Olympics, or of our chances of doing better than we have done in previous ones. Oh, and have all the willing players and officials been properly prepared through inoculations?

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This must be the first in the history of the Olympics that the games have encountered a problem like the COVID. I have no doubt that our athletes are raring to go, but this time intensive practice is not the only thing that could assure them of a successful participation. And I don’t doubt that other countries are also preparing their teams as rigidly. And when the Olympic Games finally start, as scheduled on July 23, let’s back our contingent with the prayers and best wishes for them to be able to put out their best and do better than they have ever done in the past. At least the games will be a diversion to a worrying world that is grappling with a new virus at the same time.

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I saw on TV some groups in various places where people are carrying placards and posters calling out “SAVE THE OLYMPICS”. But to whom are they sending the message? I am sure the organizers are just as anxious to save it, but it is doubtful that they are in a position to tell the participants to go on, despite COVID threats. I am sure the people of Japan are as anxious and frustrated, especially if it is officially announced that the games will be cancelled! I wonder how the people in China  feel when the rest of the world is looking at them as the source of the killjoy COVID?

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I have always thought of Haiti as an exotic country where people are friendly, and tourists are treated like VIPs, but this had changed with the report yesterday that it is now coping with notorious kidnapping for ransom gangs who prey on women and children. Since June, the report noted,  more than 15,000 women and children have been snatched and their families threatened unless they pay ransom. The scoundrels must be doing good business, because, with this pandemic going on, how frightened the parents would be to be contacted by kidnappers threatening to harm their kids if they don’t pay up!

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Of course I don’t know what percentage of our people – in the Philippines, I mean – have been vaccinated against the raging virus, but we are, at least, in a better situation than South Africa that has only about six percent of its population vaccinated! I am sure Bacolod and Negros Occidental have higher percentages than that, and we should be thankful that our officials are diligent in procuring the stuff that could protect our people from infection. I heard, though, that there are still many who resist, and refuse  to be vaccinated, so our medical teams must devise ideas on how to convince them, if not for their own lives’ sake, then for those of others, including their families.

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At least we should be thankful that our city and province are doing their best to procure enough vaccines for our people, some of whom are still reported to be afraid of them, even at this time. I guess we need some psychologists to psyche them up so they will accept it, but I cannot understand their hesitation, in this day and age! Maybe  they are the types who would rather go to a “babaylan” or “siruhano” – okay, I am not calling them witch doctors , but in our  set-up, I believe barangay officials should be instrumental in convincing their constituents. How are they doing, by the way? Should we ask the residents, or the City Health people?

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Oh, and what about the Olympics now? Seems the chances of its being held are dimming, because, I understand, it is still under a state of emergency this month, which is when the Big Games are about to be held. I doubt, too, if any participating country is ready to go on with it, with a do-or-die attitude. Well, the games can wait for better times, it will probably mean better prepared players, but maybe disappointed watchers. Well, as the old folks in literature once liked to say, “The times they are a-changing”. Maybe this is one of those times!*

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