POSTSCRIPT / September 24, 2017 / Sunday


Opinion Columnist

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Avanceña was right going to New York

THIS taxpayer is glad that President Duterte’s partner, Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña, attended the spouses’ luncheon Wednesday coincident with the United Nations General Assembly session in New York on invitation of US first lady Melania Trump.

Ms Avanceña’s accepting Mrs. Trump’s invitation was socially proper and politically necessary. Such personal interaction contributes to improving relations with the leaders of other nations, notably in this case the world’s greatest power.

Considering how President Duterte had badmouthed the United States and some of its officials during the Obama administration, we should welcome every opportunity to normalize dealings with Washington even as we maintain our equidistance from Beijing.

And, tutal nandoon na rin siya, we think it was practical of Ms Avanceña to have taken the chance during her visit to see “Miss Saigon” on Broadway. In fact, she should have brought along her daughter Kitty to the show and some sight-seeing.

Malacañang has clarified that she has the “personal financial capacity” to make the trip. But even if it were on government expense, the benefits would more than justify the cost. We recall in contrast the Imeldific shopping sprees of a former first lady.

On Twitter yesterday, btw, when the matter of expenses was brought up by netizens, we interposed: “The propriety of (Ms Avanceña’s) watching a Broadway show is not a matter of whether or not she can afford it. In this her case, to me it was OK lang.”

• It helps to admit having feet of clay

WHILE viewing my Twitter notifications, I chanced upon a striking post that a follower had carried over from the Facebook wall of Mocha Unson, fellow Star columnist and assistant secretary at the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

I have long stopped using Facebook, mainly on privacy and verbosity issues, and this FB item of Mocha struck me enough to pass it on:

“MY LIFE STORY — Marami po tayong pinagsisihan dati. Mga bagay na sana hindi nalang ginawa tulad na sobra sobrang pag papasexy ngunit salamat nalang po sa ating Panginoon na ang kanyang pag-ibig ay higit pa sa ating nagawang kasalanan. At ngayoon nga po alam ko po ay napatawad na tayo ng Panginoon kaya akin pong ginagawa ang lahat ng aking makakaya upang makatulong sa ating kapwa. Hindi po ako perpekto hanggang ngayon po ay nagkakamali tayo ngunit isa lang po ang aking masasabi hindi pa po tapos sa akin ang Panginoon (Philippians 1:6 ‘…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’)

“Marami din po nagsasabi na I don’t deserve daw this position (Assistant Secretary) I should resign daw po, TAMA PO KAYO. I don’t deserve this position. I consider this position as a gift from GOD. Kaya gagawin ko po ang lahat ng aking magagawa upang mapagsilbihan ang taumbayan at maihatid sa mga Pilpino ang mga katotohanan na hindi binabalita ng mga MEDIA. Hindi man po ako kasing husay ng mga Journalist, Media, o ibang Government Officials ngunit isa lamang po ang aking maipagmamalaki at yan ay tapat na serbisyo sa bayan.

“At kung ito man ay kunin sa atin ng Panginoon akin po itong tatanggapin ng malugod. Hindi po ako kapit tuko dahil naniniwala ako na ang ating kinabukasan ay hawak ng Diyos. Salamat din po sa mga patuloy na naniniwala. Tuloy ang laban para sa bayan!”

With Mocha also in New York on assignment, her FB post fits into our forbearing attitude toward Ms Avanceña’s visit. While the trip of one is personal and that of the other official, I look at both with the same tolerant eye.

As I’ve said, OK lang. Let them enjoy their New York sojourn. May they grow with the exposure and may their growth improve the quality of their avowed service to the people.

• ‘Let a thousand flowers bloom’

THIS tolerant attitude may have come with my mellowing with time, a more pleasant way of referring to one’s having grown in years, or having wizened enough to feel secure listening to contrary opinion.

At some point, a senior becomes more willing to listen to dissent, to allow the youngsters to try and live life to the fullest. As the Mao slogan says, “Let a thousand flowers bloom.”

In the summer of 1957 when the Chinese intelligentsia were invited to Peking (Beijing) to criticize the political system then obtaining in Communist China, Chairman Mao Zedong said in a speech:

“Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and the sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in our land.” (His remark has since then been reworded to “Let a thousand flowers bloom” in turnover.)

This slogan comes to mind whenever I feel the furious winds of thought about the unsteady state of the nation. However turbulent and troubling be the perceived situation, I fall back on the belief that we are just going through a process – and that the good and the true will eventually triumph.

Our unsolicited advice to Mocha and the younger ones in the trade: Huwag magpagamit. Write in good faith. No name-calling. We all make mistakes, but correct errors as soon as you spot them. It’s best to have an editor. Most of the respected editors I know still pass their copy to sub-editors for processing.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of September 24, 2017)

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