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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, November 9, 2019
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

O Christmas Tree!

Ninfa Leonardia

Have you noticed something I have about Christmas Trees? Even this early the media is already full of pictures of the Christmas symbol, but alas, some of them no longer look like trees! Some are shaped like cones, some like boxes, parasols, and very recent ones published in a national daily look like overturned fans. But we should probably not complain, because, unlike the stable and the manger that are the real symbols of the site where Jesus Christ was born, no mention was made during that first day, of Christmas trees.

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In fact, I think Jesus Christ Himself would not have wanted to be born in a place surrounded by Christmas trees! Alas, I no longer recall an item I once read about the origin of Christmas trees, but it surely did not connect with the Birth in Bethlehem. And I appreciate it very much when I visit a home or a place where the emphasis is on the “Belen”, or “Nativity Scene”, than those with “estrambotic” Christmas trees.

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Now, what is the world to think about this name-calling among world leaders? A Reuters report said North Korea has called the Prime Minister of Japan an “idiot and a villain”. Seems this was after PM Shinzo Abe of Japan criticized the NoKor’s weapons tests. Now, these are things that could start wars, you know. Some other country should mediate, before this escalates into something worse than a mere exchange of words, even expletives.

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Words are also what have been creating tension among media groups and former media man and among them, columnist Teodoro Locsin Jr., who is now Foreign Affairs Secretary of the Duterte administration. Locsin, who apparently forgets that he is now supposed to be a diplomat and no longer a “hard-hitting” journalist, reportedly cursed at a female journalist for something she wrote on his appearance at the ASEAN meet. This earned him a reminder from the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines “to speak with civility and within the bounds of basic human dignity” while the National Union of Journalists denounced him for what it called “execrable arrogance and boorishness” for cursing the reporter. Has the position gone to his head? Too bad.

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So they are serious about it, I mean, the move to impeach American President Donald Trump. The Democrats are reported to be ready to start the public impeachment hearing after last week’s meeting, that resulted in the production of a list of presidential misconducts by the incumbent. Naturally, President Trump has denied all their charges and his fellow Republicans slammed the impeachment move as a sham. Well, the public hearings next week will find out what the American people think about the plan to impeach the president they elected.

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In the Philippines attention is now focused on the designation of the Vice President as drug czar, I mean, czarina, to deal with the problem none of the males handling it before had succeeded in. Well, the nation is betting on her, and with the support she is expected to get from a lot of officials, among them Senator Ping Lacson, there seems a very good chance that she will do better than her predecessors. Anyway, I don’t think there is anyone who wants her to fail, because this is a problem that involves us all.

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A news item that caught my eye yesterday was about the drug called fentanyl that supposedly caused the sentencing of nine traffickers to as much as 10 years and even to life imprisonment or death in China. Fentanyl? No wonder it sounded familiar – wasn’t it mentioned before as one of the medicines the President has been taking for pain? And it is a prohibited drug in China, but not in the Philippines? Just curious: Is our President still using it?

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On the lighter side, I was very excited to hear that Engelbert Humperdinck is coming to Manila for a performance at the Frontier Theatre. How I wish I could go and listen to him – in person. That is because I used to play his records over and over in his heyday. I am sure many other still like to listen to his “Cuando, Cuando, Cuando”, “Crazy”, “Release Me”, “Am I That Easy to Forget” and so many others. He may have a funny sounding name, but gosh! the guy has got a mesmerizing voice. I envy those who will be listening to him in Manila on Tuesday, November 12. If only…!*

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