Pink talk and lanterns

Last Saturday I was sitting waiting for someone when I heard two men talking. “The election results are a nightmare,” one said to his friend. “Made me wonder — if this happened in Germany and the son of Hitler won their leadership, what would the Germans feel? What would they do?”

I almost laughed out loud. What an excellent metaphor! Hitler was the cruelest leader and the greatest shame of Germany. What if he had a son who, 36 years later, ran for the leadership position and won? Would the people whose lives he disrespected be so calm about his winning? Like we are? This thought made me hold back my laughter. True, we have an outstanding sense of humor, but how can we laugh at a time like this?

After a few days I received a video from — I think it’s a man — someone who occasionally sends me text on my cellphone but I don’t know him personally. He doesn’t have a profile picture either; instead, his photo is a comic book character. He sent me footage of people collecting money from the headquarters of Sara Duterte in Quezon City. Hundreds of voters were being paid off for having voted for their party, the video said. “P2,500 each,” the voiceover said. “This is proof that they were really paid to vote,” the voice said.

It made me think of my cook who came in late because she stood in line to collect her payment for being a poll watcher for her mayor who lost the election. She said she had stood in line since nine that morning. The people who waited with her said they were going to be paid P300 each for poll watching. She waited until 11. Nobody who would pay showed up. She said she did it because she needed more money to buy medicines for her husband who had a stroke,.

“What does that teach you?” I asked. “You should never believe politicians. They make promises and offer you all sorts of things to win an election but after the election, especially if they lose, where are they? More importantly where did the money they promised you go? Not to you. I hope this teaches you a lesson. To make money, depend on yourself, not on other people and definitely not politicians.”

I open my Facebook and see a post that says “Time Zones Are Amazing.” It gives the time in the United States, the time in Japan — and in the Philippines, we’re back to 1972.

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I really don’t know where we are right now or where we will be next year. I think we are trying to maintain a precarious balance at a point in the beginning of a Period of Uncertainty. We don’t know what will happen next. There are so many rumors. So much information zooming around like flies to trash. We don’t know what’s truth and what’s not. Many of us are still puzzled. What is this that just happened? Is it the truth?

That is the single question that prevails: Is it the truth?

Many people have begun to probe more closely into that statement. I don’t know what they will find but I feel one day it will reveal itself. We will finally see the truth. I hope we are strong enough for it. Until then — what do we do?

I concentrate on my small life. I have to make rosaries. The prices have gone up together with the price of gasoline, and beads, and everything that goes into the making of rosaries, or the making of anything. I have to take care of my home, to fix it so we have more room for my husband who is not well and who seems to be getting better, but differently.

Our single household helper had to take a month’s leave because her mother was dying, then died; but her wake and funeral lasted for nine days, which I was told was the custom in the provinces. She came back with a fractured foot so she had to take another month off. In the meantime I got my old cleaning lady back. She cleans marvelously well. I asked her if she knew of a cook who could come in part-time. She did. This lady cooks deliciously well and they both work part-time. We have found a laundry in our area that does our clothes very well, too. Now what do I need the house helper for?

I don’t know. Life will tell me what to do. All I know now is I have four pink lanterns for Leni and I’m not bringing them down. They will stay up as my undying declaration of support for Leni Robredo and Kiko Pangilinan, the most honorable of the candidates. These lanterns will stay up until they are totally destroyed, which is hard to do, because I live in a condo. I think my four pink lanterns might outlive me.

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