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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, February 14, 2020
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OPINIONS

Presidents and generals

Ninfa Leonardia

Today is Valentine’s Day, a day that is known as the day of Lovers, but which even non-lovers love to celebrate. And why not? Love is what makes the world go round, or to be more factual, it is what keeps the world populated. So there are a lot of reasons why Valentine’s Day is celebrated, not only by lovers, but by anyone who believes in love and loving.

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When we were in our elementary grades in school, Valentine’s Day was quite exciting because we were encouraged to create our own Valentine cards to send to our parents, titos and titas who, in turn, would give us candies or money to buy them ourselves. So how will the world be celebrating Valentine’s Day today, when people are even afraid to shake hands, much less, kiss each other? If coronavirus can infect with just being near a sufferer, how much more if they could touch intimately?

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I know I have written about this in previous columns, but there could be readers who have not heard about these cute jingles youngsters used to send each other. The original one ran: “Roses are red/ Violets are blue/ Sugar is sweet/ And so are you!” Then some jokesters came along and revised it into “Roses are red/ Violets are blue/ God made me handsome/ What happened to you?” Or “Roses are red/ Violets are blue/ If I had your face/ I would be in the zoo!”

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Not very “loverly”, are they? But then some people do have funny bones and can make or do something to make others laugh. Of course Valentine’s Day was not originally meant to be a day only for lovers because Valentine was in reality a holy man who became a saint, so he should be referred to as St. Valentine. Anyway, even if you are not a lover, or you don’t have any, what’s wrong with letting people you love or admire know it by greeting them today? But please do not say “Happy Valentine” only, it should be “Happy Valentine’s Day”. And that is what I am greeting all our readers today!

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While we are on the subject of roses, there is also a well-known saying that “a rose by any name would smell as sweet”. Funny, but I thought of it in connection with the dreadful plague called by so many names already since it first appeared. First we only heard of the new health problem caused by the newcomer named “coronavirus”. Later it was reported to be the novel coronavirus, it became the novel CoV, then just nCoV and lately we are reading about it with the name COVID-19.

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It does not really matter what name we call it so long as our scientists and medical people find a sure-cure for it and be able to stop its spread to other countries. The latest report from the Associated Press gives the death toll already at 1,100! The encouraging news, however, is that some victims of the new virus have recovered and dismissed from hospitalization. And it seems even Russia has been affected by the outbreak, although it has reported the full recovery of two patients. That is a sign that the disease is curable, and with the ongoing studies and tests by scientists, it may soon be conquered.

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Another benefit – if we can call it that – of the new virus is that it has managed to stop, albeit temporarily, the protests that have been going on in Hongkong with people afraid to mass in the streets for fear of infection. But late reports said another grouping of crowds lately not made up of protestors against their case with China, but to demand for masks of which there is a shortage now.

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It has been a long time coming, but the appointment is, indeed, very encouraging for the country’s females. I am referring to the promotion of Luzviminda Camacho as commodore, a position that is, I understand, equivalent to general. She is the first woman in the country to get a Star, and about time, too. We already have elected two women as presidents, so having them as generals are just in line.*

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