6 November 2005
I received a letter last week that carried many disturbing insights. In it, the writer said that I could worry about morality because I’m materially blessed; he needs to survive. The writer told the sad tale of his lavandera who has to sell shabu on the side to make ends meet. No one in his neighborhood has the heart to squeal on her.
I wrote back and told him about the farmer who came to one of Pag-Asa’s gatherings and shared how close he came to crime because the government funds due him never made it. His family was starving, but he realized a life of crime would make things worse for everyone. He knew it was not the answer. I continue to hear his voice today.
30 October 2005
Last week, GMA called on the Filipino people to sacrifice for the EVAT. HUH? GMA cannot ask anyone to sacrifice when her government spends billions on phone calls and she spends even more to keep herself in power. Nope, not when she’s bringing this country to ruin. Ignacio Bunye, adding his usual imaginary cherry topping said, "the government is also going after tax cheats, smugglers and other economic saboteurs". Earlier that week he said that anyone who broke the law must be held liable. Perhaps he should convince his boss to take the first hit and then bare his chest for the second. After all, the best way to lead is by example.
16 October 2005
In a recent talk show, a guest said that the call for inner change as the basis for societal change is too abstract. That reaction, echoed by many, speaks of a very real dissonance between our inner and outer life. That we cannot make the connection between our inner condition and its material manifestations explains a lot about the state of the nation. This is exactly how we can do things at work we teach our children not to do at home. It's how we can justify corruption and say it's part of doing business in the Philippines, as if our work-related decisions and deeds don't affect our children in a deep, if unconscious, manner. This is how bishops can accept tainted money and say no big deal. Too many still think the way this television guest does: inner change is another tree-hugging activity only aging hippies and their brainwashed offspring espouse. Real people don't need that. Hearing mass regularly, taking the family to build homes for the poor, plus supporting a charitable institution here and there more than compensates for any transgression.
9 October 2005
A friend and I were talking about parenting, observing that we are so much more involved in our children’s school life than our parents were with ours. Today, we take our kids to school and pick them up daily. That’s minimum. We know teachers by name and a good number of parents, too. Classmates are not just faces; we know them. We are also involved in many of the school activities. Some of us have even found our life’s work in sister initiatives; others are training to be teachers.
1 October 2005
I saw "The Constant Gardener" last weekend. One scene was particularly poignant for me. On the way home from the hospital after losing her baby, the activist wife asked her diplomat husband to stop and give a family (a mother, her son and newly born grandson whose mother had just died) a ride home. This poor African family had just suffered a loss and was walking barefoot in the heat with an infant. They had many more miles to go. The husband refused and gently reminded his wife that there were so many people in need; it was impossible to help them all. She said, "Yes, but these are three we can help now." This was something he echoed passionately later, after he finally left his comfort zone to investigate the death of his wife.