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Please go, Harvey Keh

APPREHENSIVE about certain louts winning the May 14 vote, eh? Sure they will win.

As sure as that ransom note of sorts of yours that somebody from my high school e-group dumped in my e-mail. Those aren’t a terrorist’s demands. More of a terror-struck aghast at how things are shaping up in the country and woeful at the possibilities that will soon come to pass. That’ll prompt you to pack your bags and leave the country, maybe for good. Please do. Follow your heart.

Never fear for these accursed islands with its accursed denizens. Most of us can bear whatever onus rapine providence or sagging confidence has to dump some more on our backs, why, we can hardly stand erect like manhood out to inflict another mouth to feed on dwindling income and scant resources.

Any whit of wariness that crackpots would crack can hardly be appreciated by crackpots. Why, I would have voted for you had you taken the desperation to make a bid in the senatorial derby. You didn’t. You weren’t that desperate enough. But you’re desperate.

Most of us don’t even despair. We just cope. And still hope while we mope. We subsist without stoking embers of rage and fires of abomination for the louts and butchers leading us to the slaughter. They’re leaders. The led deserve them.

Just between you and me, I have not acknowledged nor countenanced any of ‘em blokes ensconced in those elective posts as my leaders. Two of the leaders I’ve held in high esteem somehow look at me from the mirror. Uh, at my age—am 52-- I’m still quite spry at high-impact kicking. My feet look at me. Look after me. I go where they lead me. They carry my bearing.

And I stand for that which they stand on. Just any patch of loam or dirt I can lay my hands on to work over, render fertile with corruption and the moribund, coax into nurturing every bit of seed and plant stock I entrust to its care.

Such habitual activity leaves me little choice but look down; never to look up to stalwarts, standard-bearers and leaders whose stink often lead the servile by the nose like a tethered beast of burden.

Pardon me but I also can’t look at most of some 51 million registered voters straight in the eye, knowing that every senatorial aspirant is allowed to spend P3 for each while their parties can blow P5 per. Any wannabe lawmaker may plunk down P153 million, any political party can ply out P255 million to reach out, clutch at each vote, say howdy.

The numbers just tell me of a confession of failure to trot out resources for something better than saying howdy to voters via an execrable tune, say Sasakyan Kita which, in my book, telegraphs either as “You’re in for a screwing” or “I’m taking you for a ride.”

As is, we’ve got enough laws to keep us leashed to their pertinent sections, implementing rules and regulations for the rest of our lives. Yet, more wrongs are righted by education than legislation. Education which begins at home and shapes a child’s destiny, including in the long run, the nation’s.

Not one of ‘em candidates is spending monies for give-away seed packets to rural households. Or medicines, the everyday kind in blister packs printed with ‘em candidates’ toilet bowl-smooth profiles. Maybe give-away books, we won’t mind if a candidate’s mug is on the front cover, say primers on healthcare, manuals on survival, nutrition and household safety, or textbooks for public school pupils. Sometime this week, a public school teacher from one of Metro Manila’s cities told me offhand there’s one book for every four pupils in his school.

For 67 minutes of media exposure, a Villar had shelled P30.29 million. For 47 minutes, a Recto coughed out P22.79 million. And a Pichay blew P33.4 million. We hardly got to know any of them.

Hey, I got acquainted with a lover-character from Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Someone called Tomas, an opinionated brain surgeon. Tinkered with gray matters and groin matters. He wrote a scathing article about his country’s leaders before he went with his missus for better pastures abroad. For one reason or another, they went back to their land—no, the brain surgeon didn’t go into nursing. Their passports were seized.

The surgeon who wouldn’t back out on his written word was stripped of his medical license. Hubby had to make do cleaning windows, the missus worked as household help. The political persecution didn’t let up. The couple ended up grubbing as farmhands in the countryside.

Moments before the couple died in an accident, missus asked hubby what he was thinking after all the harrowing ordeal they went through. Replied Tomas: “I’m thinking how happy I am!”

Way to go! That’s stupendous attitude.

I hold the same fondest thoughts for our current crop of leaders. I mean, I’d like them to think how happy they are before their death by every ghastly accident or wonderful incident.


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