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When silence is not golden

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any name would smell as sweet.” I don’t think any high school student  – of my generation, at least, – missed that very popular line from one of the world’s greatest poets, William Shakespeare. Indeed, it wouldn’t matter to the flowers, but for people, name-calling is not a welcome term. And people guard their names with great care, with some even killing to clear it.

***

But there is something lately that makes this famous quotation no longer relevant. I am referring to the changes in the names of countries that could be confusing. For instance, what we knew before as Ulan Bator is now spelled Ulaan Bataar. I could mention a lot more, but I am glad our leaders, so far, have not attempted to change our name “Philippines” to another one. I know it was named “Filipinas” by the Spaniards who called it thus after their King Felipe, or Philip, but I am sure nobody would like to change that now. Or, are there any proposals? Cease and desist, I say!

***

At last! The huge ship “Evergreen”, named “Evergiven” in other reports, has finally squeezed through the Suez Canal after almost a week of blocking it with a long line of vessels also waiting to pass. I wonder what they did to finally push it through? Did they have  to shave off parts of its sides, or did they need to widen the canal? The incident made me think of women giving birth, who, when the natural way does not work, have to go through what they call (for what reason, I’ve never found out) a “Caesarian section”, or operation, to get the baby out.

***

Well, well! Scientists who came from Wuhan, China, the suspected source of the deadly coronavirus that has claimed thousands, maybe millions now, of lives, have claimed that their findings show that the virus did not come from a laboratory, as some had suspected, but from animals. But which one, it was not specified yet. Some guesses point to bats, of which there are supposed to be many in Wuhan, but that has not been confirmed yet. What has been confirmed is that it had been a deadly one that, so far, has claimed lives, not only in China, but in  many places worldwide.

***

If you, like me, had thought that the number of COVID cases in our country has been going down, think again. Undersecretary of Health Dr. Rosario Vergeire was on TV lately with the report that, for the first time, the number of COVID cases in the country has breached the 10,000 mark. Now, that is not very  reassuring, and means that we have to be more on our guard against it than ever before. What about the vaccines? Are there enough for all our people, and are they as effective as we hope?

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Again, I wonder why it is the Health Undersecretary who is always the one giving us the dope in this pandemic. What’s wrong with her boss, the Secretary himself? Does he get tongue-tied when facing the TV cameras? Or is he himself not well? Anyway, Dr. Vergeire is knowledgeable and articulate, so the department is well represented. But somehow, I feel that our people would have liked to see their Health Secretary himself giving them the latest developments and advices on how to deal with this pandemic. Is he well, by the way?

***

The world is watching the trial of the man who had choked a black person to death in an incident that, unfortunately for the culprit, was fully and clearly recorded on TV. I wonder how many thousands, or millions had seen that coverage which must have been shown thousands of times all over the world to show that, without a doubt, George Floyd was intentionally choked by Derek Chauvin even while he was pleading “I can’t breathe!”. The moral lesson for all, is: Never let your guard down when a TV camera is operating! It can be more damning than 10 people declaring against you under oath.

***

Yesterday, an item on TV said that a certain Dr. Birx had declared that hundreds of thousands of COVID deaths could have been “preventable”. But why had he spoken up only now? Did he know something all the other medical people did not know, and why did he not share it with them? Shouldn’t he be liable for withholding such information? Imagine, he claims that hundreds of thousands would not have died. Isn’t that what they call an “ex post facto” or an “after the fact” statement? Shouldn’t the medical organizations swoop down on him to make him tell HOW, and WHY he didn’t speak up before?*

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