Sunday Lifestyle

Turning Kakampink

FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez Ventura - The Philippine Star

I know I earlier said, “Manny Pacquiao for President!” I meant it. I heard him speak at Oxford University. I watched one of his TV interviews. This man is impressive, I thought. Remembering now that I knew very little about the other politicians running for office — except for the Marcos name that made my blood curdle — I think I can be forgiven for changing my mind as we move closer to elections. I am not betraying Manny but maybe he needs more political training. I heard that opinion expressed by one of my readers. I tend to agree now. Maybe I didn’t know enough about Leni Robredo. Maybe... maybe... maybe... Prove what a genius I am politically!

These days I’m preoccupied with mundane things. So many rosaries to finish before Christmas. In addition, I sell StemEnhance Ultra, which made me live again after I had a stroke in 2003 that literally turned me stupid. I remained more or less in that stupor until a friend introduced me to StemEnhance six years later. Suddenly, one afternoon, my original loud laughter came back. I have been selling it since then because I know it’s good for stroke victims. It worked on me. But selling it is also a major task.

My most major task these days is taking closer and better care of my husband and my home. Really, where will I find the time needed for involvement in politics?

This brings me to the wonder of cellphones. I don’t know how many times my cellphone rings in a day but inevitably there is some political comment and tons of political propaganda. All the material I’ve received has turned me Kakampink. I wish elections here would be simpler, like the US elections. First, a lot of candidates, many debates, but in the end there are finally only two candidates for president — Trump and Biden. All the others bowed out. That way voters don’t get too confused.

But this is a different country. We are The Philippines, more that 7,000 islands, 120-187 dialects spoken, a constantly growing population, most of the growth coming from the very poor who believe that at least one of their children will pull them out of poverty. We were colonized very discreetly by China, more overtly by Spain, England, America, Japan. We have enough cultural material to scramble our brains. I have long maintained that we are global citizens judging from our cultural influences, but of course no one believes me. We are simply Filipinos; that’s what they say.

Anyway I am converted. Leni Robredo strikes me as an intelligent, humble woman who works according to her vision, goals and principles regardless of what the bigger political world says. She worked as our Vice President even if the President did not want to acknowledge what she was doing. She defined it anyway and traveled the country, talked to our women and men, slept in the most unlikely places, and did her best. When I see what she has done quietly, when I hear the way she answers questions, when I listen to her talk to the kasambahays, I genuinely admire her. She is different from our past two women presidents. I believe she is simpler but more intelligent and she decidedly has good manners. Furthermore, she has a heart. She knows and understands how people feel. That is very important to me. I want a president who understands how people feel. I want a president who has excellent manners and most of all is polite. Excellent manners and being polite? Aren’t those traits basic in a president?

All these things we miss in our current president, whose presence on TV often leaves us aghast. How could he say that? Why did he say that? But strangely enough he has...beautiful hands. I noticed it in the early days while I watched his first State of the Nation. I thought: his hands don’t match his face. They are beautiful.

I pray every night that God spares us from a return of the Marcos dynasty. What kind of people are we? Sure, some like to remember the early years of martial law when we were all too scared to move and our country appeared to be a quiet place with curfew hours, where a man who was supposed to be a drug pusher was shot at 5 a.m. on TV. I got up to watch that. It filled people with fear and, for a while, yes, the country was peaceful. Then it turned Imeldific. That’s when the Marcos wealth scale went uphill and the rest of us slid quickly downhill. Don’t you remember how bad it was? Do you want it back again?

I guess that’s why I am now Kakampink. I will do everything to bring change to our country. Change means something new. It never, never means the return of the old.

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