NO droplet of rain had ever felt responsible for consequent killer floods that wreck fragile structures, touch off mudslides, displace thousands of families, decimate crops, and snuff out lives.
No voter would ever own up to being responsible for whatever dire catastrophe that their chosen leader would inflict upon a nation. All the voters want is to be on the side of the winner—they are not voting for their country. As a popularity contest goes, most votes are plunked down on whoever grabs the attention of the masses, and I’m afraid even human attention span which translates to capacity for focus, contemplation, and razor keen abstraction has suffered through all these decades—that span has been whittled down to a pitiable seven seconds. Seven lousy seconds that needs to be fed with maxed up logorrhea, the filthier and trashier the sound bites, the more it gets gobbled into that too-short span for attention. And the more it gets to home, where people come home to, the more familial it becomes, if only to affirm the Muslim mystic Hafiz, he who has committed the Qur’an to heart, “the words you speak become the house you live in.” Pero ang pamilya ko po sampu ng aking mga apo ay hindi nakatira sa pu–.
As mystics would have it, it takes 68 seconds of focused thought for such to be nudged into the material realm—the principle behind the Benedictine aphorism which was adopted by some Freemasons, laborare est orare, orare est laborare; work is prayer, prayer is work.
My third child, a black belt taekwondo jin and highly paid software engineer opted not to participate in the May 9 electoral exercise—just like I did. Six years ago, my family voted for a Gilberto Teodoro, who lost.
Thus, we have learned our lesson, maybe from the Hang Seng bourse founder who explained it wryly in terms that can only resonate to headhunters scouting for CEO material for high-earning outfits. “Election is a matter of counting noses in a democracy. And there are more stupid noses that overwhelm by the enormity of their numbers the more sensible noses.”
If you have the time, Madam Grace Poe, please join my family when our grandson Oyayi gets into this year’s Palarong Pambansa—he’ll likely be the youngest competitor in the taekwondo events in the national competitions. Oyayi is barely six years old, a bookworm, quite accomplished in scholastic work. He’s also a blue belt and whips out a mean ax kick that topples taller, bigger and, usually, older opponents. But he has remained gentle, soft-spoken; so docile, like the cats that he tends to as pets—and, despite the growing repertoire of physical skills, he can muster, he isn’t a bully.
You don’t know me from Adam, but certain people got to me, barking the usual marching orders I had been used to pay heed to during the 1970s Mindanao Campaign, this time to rise to your defense as a columnist in this paper; it looks like they’re stuck with me despite my aversion to politics. I am a farmer like the goju-ryu karatedo grandmaster Chojun Miyagi and warrior-statesmen Zhuge Liang and Cincinnatus—they worked on the ground; had an intimate affinity with thrum and throb of clime and time, earth and crops. Agriculture remains our nation’s sphere of economic activity that generates the most number of jobs—and your advocacy and priority for agriculture as linchpin of authentic development bespeaks of an insightful mind.
For ages, the Filipino citizenry had been clamoring for reforms, for meaningful change in their lives. A pioneer in agriculture science, botanist, and plant breeder who developed over 800 strains and varieties of plants—including the high-yielding Idaho potato and thorn-less roses in a 55-year career won’t be heeded hereabouts. Change in today’s fair hope of the land, as Luther Burbank pointed out, begins in their grandfathers, “begin with the grandfather when he is a child.” It is one occasion to look back in fondness to one’s lolo and whatever changes he wrought upon himself, whatever he went through that is now bequeathed, hardwired innately to the beloved apo, ay, that sage-warrior-king had it down pat in the Scriptures: “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.”
It was my old man who introduced me to quaint playthings—cicadas, scarab beetles, fireflies, dragonflies, guppies, frogs and such in a bygone carefree romp throughout childhood. In turn, I have shared the same. In all likelihood, they’d also be sharing such serene joys to their children, paying heed to Burbank’s counsel: “Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water-bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud-turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb, brooks to wade in, water-lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hay fields, pine cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets; and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education.”
Our national hero didn’t have that solid grounding in genetics when he framed that assertion, “kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan.” Burbank had that edge, so that we may affirm, “mga nuno sa kanilang kamusmusan ang susi sa pagsulong ng bayan.”
Dry season reminder
“In the Philippines, there will be a 10-15 % drop in agricultural production for every 1°C of warming,” according to a report from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the state weather bureau, PAGASA.
That simply means greater threats to the nation’s food security and more agriculture sector workers pushed to poverty.
Recent findings claim that 100 trees in the immediate environs can touch off a 1°C drop in the ambient temperature. One of the pet measures that lawmaker Grace Poe is pushing for—an out-and-out rehab of the nation’s watershed areas that provide irrigation and potable water supply to croplands and urban centers throughout the nation. She can return to her Senate seat and craft more no-nonsense measures for the agricultural sector, which remains the biggest provider of jobs, albeit low-paying, to Filipinos.