Open your eyes!
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR - Singkit (The Philippine Star) - December 2, 2018 - 12:00am

I have to start this column with a big shout-out to the UP Maroons, who last Wednesday pulled off a miracle to march into the finals of the UAAP basketball tournament. Those of us in the newsroom who are citizens of the Diliman Republic were ready to start a bonfire at Anda Circle. We rejoiced when the team made it to the semis, then when we won the first game against the twice-to-beat team…and then, in overtime, by just two points, reversed a 32-year drought to get a shot at the trophy.

I must admit I didn’t think we’d make it this far….oh me of little faith! Here’s waving the Diliman flag high and proud! 

* * *

They’ve obviously never heard of the term singkit and perhaps not seen many, or any at all, singkit people. Going through Hamad International Airport in Doha, State of Qatar recently, I stood as directed before the immigration counter and faced the camera as it was lowered – it is a fancy contraption that slides up and down a glass panel, rather than the more common manually adjusted one – to capture my image and, I suspect, do a retina scan. The immigration officer then said, “We’ll have to do it again, and you’ll have to open your eyes.”

Coming from watching four movies on a 10-hour flight maybe made my eyes blearier and puffier than usual, so as the camera slid down to my height once more I made dilat as best I could. “Open your eyes,” she instructed, and then again, more emphatically, “Open your eyes!” Going as wide-eyed as I could, short of actually stretching them open with my fingers, I had to tell her when she repeated the instruction for the third time, “They’re open!”

The thought that popped into my head at that moment was how the resident racists at our news desk would enjoy what just transpired. Sure enough, when I told them about it upon my return, there was rollicking laughter all around, and “Open your eyes!” has become the catchphrase du jour.

I was in Doha for the 5th Global Public Diplomacy Network General Assembly when Chinese President Xi Jinping came to visit. On the night of the state dinner at Malacañang the roads all the way to our office in Port Area were closed to traffic, resulting in practically everyone having to stay at the office until near midnight, when the roads were reopened. Oh, how the folks at the news desk missed me! 

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