The overwhelming reception that Pope Francis received from Filipinos during his very successful visit to the Philippines was as everyone knows marred by only one sour note: That “I, me, my” speech of President BS Aquino where he was quite literally rushing over the words. Like the party pooper that he is, he just had to pour cold water over the euphoria of the people and make them squirm in abject embarrassment.
What he did was rude, to put it bluntly, and displayed the arrogance that he is now known for. So now we know which part of the phrase “courtesy call” this president did not understand at all. Not surprisingly, his rah-rah boys and girls put a spin again, praising BS Aquino for being “frank” and candid.” Well, what can you do—it’s their job to sing praises to their boss.
It was, as many of our buddies observed, a study in contrasts. One was a blessing, the other an embarrassment. One was inspiring; the other was a letdown. The visitor brought encouragement, but the host caused mortification. One showed grace in bearing and demeanor, the other was totally appalling.
The pope’s visit showed why he is loved by the Catholic faithful, and why people from other religious denominations also admire him. Pope Francis has the kind of charisma that grows on you, his smile sort of infectious. And when his eyes cloud over in sadness and a hint of tears show, the image hits you in the gut. Like many, we believe his humility and kindness are not put on—not for show, no, certainly not lip service. No wonder people could not get enough of him and if it were possible, want the visit to be much longer than five days (less, actually if we count the actual hours he spent on Philippine soil).
In contrast, people could not wait for this administration’s last day in office, and even those who voted for the president are expressing regret, repentance and remorse. Because for President BS Aquino, it’s really all about him. Reminds us of this spoiled kid who wants all the attention for himself and could not take it if adults express disapproval or if he gets censured, he throws a tantrum and lashes back, out of spite or envy or both, wishing to hurt because he is himself feeling hurt. Oh well. Some boys mature more slowly than others.
Lower birth rate for Chinese in 2015
A lot of newborns are being named Francis, Frances or Francesca in honor of Pope Francis whose parting shot to Filipinos was to be responsible parents, and not to be like rabbits —animals known for being prolific breeders (rabbits can give birth to as many as 14 in a litter with the average being six, and can go on giving birth every month since the gestation period is about 30 days).
Now that’s the kind of bluntness that is not offensive, one of our buddies commented, adding that the Chinese will not have a hard time following the Pope’s message because couples are holding off being having babies this 2015, the Year of the Sheep (or Ram) according to the Chinese zodiac.
Companies that facilitate travel to the US for pregnant Chinese and help them give birth in select American cities are anticipating a drop in their business because no one wants to have babies after the onset of the Chinese New Year this Feb. 19. A lot of Chinese couples figure it’s useless to go to great lengths for their baby to acquire citizenship if he or she is born a Sheep—believing that the baby will have the characteristic of the animal known for being timid, meek and passive, a slow thinker, and one who will not be a leader of the flock but a follower.
On the other hand, Sheep are known for being loyal, creative and artistic as well as charming and sweet. Among the more famous are Jane Austen, Barbara Walters, Bruce Willis, Orville Wright, Mark Twain, Nicole Kidman, Gene Hackman, Mikhail Gorbachev, Michelangelo.
Sheep or no, it would do everyone a lot of good to remember what Voltaire said: “Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her. But once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.” In short, when we find ourselves with a lemon, let’s try to make lemonade.
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