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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, January 28, 2017
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

A loss in translation?

Ninfa Leonardia “Something there is that doesn't love a wall…” So runs the first lines of an old poem whose author I cannot remember at the moment. It was a quaint piece, and I used to memorize portions of it, but not anymore. Anyway, it came to mind again when I saw on TV yesterday footages that showed the new American president demanding that Mexico should pay for the wall he wants to build along the borders of their two countries in order to stop illegal immigrants from coming in.

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Naturally, the president of Mexico, the goodlooking Enrique Pena Nieto, who was among the most popular with teenagers during the ASEAN meet held in this country, has refused to have anything to do with that, much less shell out the billions of pesos it would cost. And this has not exactly sweetened the relations between the two heads of state. Now Nieto is reported to be considering cancelling his scheduled visit to the U.S. to meet with Donald, I mean, President Trump. Some Mexicans, especially the business men, are worried, as this could affect their trade relations. But I bet the majority of them are backing their president.

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Isn't it sad to think that America, that was built or developed by people from England who were themselves immigrants, should now be so harsh with people who want to also enter the country? As Trump has claimed during the campaign days, those who illegally enter from Mexico were undesirable people. But the United States has all the sophisticated equipment for monitoring such entrants, and can easily isolate them. Will the wall be the only answer?

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More on the execution of Pinay overseas worker Jakatia Pawa. Her parents and other kin insist that she could not have done that dastardly deed of stabbing her employer's daughter 28 times because she wouldn't even take up nursing as her father had advised her because she could not stand the sight of blood. Could such a person then, manage t stab another and have blood spurting all over her? And the poor woman said she was in the kitchen cooking when the stabbing took place. And yet she was held guilty, and executed for it.

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But I was shocked at the attitude of Labor Secretary Silvestro Bello as shown in his response during a TV interview about the case of Jakatia Pawa. When he was asked if we should stop the fielding of Filipino workers to Kuwait where several more are now on death row, he said we cannot do that because it would look as if we are retaliating, or something like that. And so we will go on sending out our workers, who, I suspect, are not properly briefed or oriented on what to look out for, or how to behave while working in countries with different cultures and religious from ours.

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That was quite a shocker that Senator Ping Lacson revealed when he presented footages taken during an alleged “Tok-hang” operation of the police. The footages showed how the cops themselves planted illegal substances in the offices or homes they were about to raid, and then “discover” the drugs and threaten the supposed owners. Neat, no? Now that their game is up, what other tricks will they think up? And will another incident like what happened to the poor Korean guy, take place? And how ironic it is that the suspect in that case was someone named Sta. Isabel. He must have ignored the warnings of his family's namesake saint.

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What's the matter with the English of our Miss Universe bet, Maxine Medina? Several people, including, I hear, former Miss U Gloria Diaz, are advising her to ask for an interpreter during the question and answer portion of the Miss Universe contest. There is talk that she can speak English, but her grammar is not something to be proud of. Isn't it a pride of Pinoys who go abroad that they speak even better and more grammatical English than some Americans?

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If we recall past candidates, especially the winners, they all stood out for being articulate, eloquent and smart in their responses. I remember Gloria Diaz, who was asked how she would treat the hero of that time, Neil Amstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon if he would ask her for a date. And Gloria, bless her, casually answered, “Why, I will treat him just like any other man who asks me”. I still believe that made it for her. And then there were Margie Moran and, lately, Pia Wurtzbach who both answered sensibly, smartly, and confidently. Well, we are not even sure that our bet now will reach that final stage for the question and answer, but, like all Pinoys, I still hope she will.*

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