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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, January 29, 2018
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Will Trump be told
“Me, too”?

Ninfa Leonardia What was it that the group called Human Rights Watch called us? Did it really refer to our country as the “Wild, Wild West of Asia”? And what led them to that conclusion, did they also check on other Asian countries before condemning us? I guess it must have been because of the notoriety we gained after the much-publicized EJKs, or extra-judicial killings, that peaked shortly after the new administration took over. Then hardly a day passed without reports of drug suspects, whether pushers, users or traders, being gunned down in the streets.

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Will it be better in China? I hear the President has offered our workers for hiring in China, instead of Middle East countries where a lot of them encountered abuse or deprivation from their employers. The jobs he mentioned are for teachers and domestic workers. I wonder though, about the teachers. How will they be able to teach Chinese-speaking children? They would have to go through language studies for some time before they can be hired to work there. But then, perhaps a six-month study of the language could enable them to teach there. If they have an inclination for languages, that is.

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As for domestic workers, what an irony it should be that we will be sending them to China to be hired as househelp, cooks, and all-purpose maids or servants. Time was when Filipinos, the well-off ones, that is, used to be hire Chinese “yayas” for their babies, and even for grown-up children. It was then a status symbol for a family to have a “yaya” or two, hired directly from China. I think they referred to themselves as “amahs” then. But the world has turned around, now we may be the ones sending “yayas” to China, if the President's plan goes through. Will having Pinay maids be status symbol for the Chinese?

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A shocking report from Mexico was about the seizure by the police of 45.5 kilos in a shipment of the opioid fentanyl drug near Baja, California. The item noted that a dose of just a few milligrams of this drug can be fatal. In fact, a previous seizure of this drug in 2017 was said to be enough to kill the entire population of Columbus, Ohio, where it was discovered! Wait a minute now. Isn't that the same drug that our President was reported to have been taking early on in his presidency? Is he still taking it? Shouldn't it be a crime to take such a dangerous substance?

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E tu, Bulusan? The volcano found in Sorsogon is also starting to growl and give signs that it may follow the tantrums of Mayon and Kanlaon, with the latter already seeming to calm down. It is really terrifying to think about the behavior of Nature these days, where several countries are experiencing earthquakes, floods, eruptions, landslides, and even mudslides. Then we also hear about the famous river of France, the Seine with its swelling, and rains continuing to add more to its rising edges, threatening several areas where people have already started evacuating.

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Even its most attractive tourist spot, the Louvre, is being threatened by floods. There may now be plans to remove the artworks exhibited there and “evacuate” them to safer places. It would be the greatest pity if dirty floodwaters get to soak the priceless paintings and other artworks collected through centuries. What a disappointment it must be to tourists who have just arrived in Paris, only to miss going into the Louvre!

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Meanwhile, a bit of White House gossip – President Trump and his model wife Melania are reported to be not on speaking terms because a porn star had claimed that she had an affair with Donald Trump shortly after he and Melania got married. It was also reported that a lawyer for Trump gave the woman, Stormy Daniels, $130,000 to shut her up before the election. Well, that revelation was a bit different from those of the other Hollywood personalities and even ordinary women, who had been talking about having been harassed or assaulted by famous Hollywood personalities. Will Madame Daniels join the “Me, too” camp?

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I can hardly wait for the reaction of women to the statements of President Duterte in India where he taunted the IS for their belief that those who die as martyrs for them will be rewarded with the company of 72 virgins in the afterlife. He probably has forgotten the to-do his statement once about a French (or was she American?) woman who was raped and killed that he should have been given the privilege of being first, had earned him a lot of criticism, not only from Filipino women, but I guess he can't stop himself from talking that way about women, especially if facing an audience composed mostly of men. I think, though, that Filipinos have already learned to ignore that, which may not please him.*

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