Quelle Obscénité!!! #MarcosNotAHero

I rarely post political opinions on the blog.  But when I saw this article in the London Evening Standard whilst on the train last night I had to express my feelings.  For those of you still reeling from the disaster that was the US election, spare a thought for the Filipinos who lived through 20 years of the Marcos dictatorship.

Marcos in heroes grave - London ESYesterday, Friday, 18 November 2016, marks the darkest day of Philippine history.  Everything Philippine nationalists and patriots of the 1970s and 1980s fought for, suffered through and even died for, was negated.  All with one stroke of a shovel.  Because yesterday, with the support and approval of the newly elected administration and the irresolute Philippine Supreme Court, Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, dictator extraordinaire was buried on the hallowed grounds of the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery).

How could this administration allow this obscenity to happen?  This individual pillaged and plundered the Philippines, ensuring that generations suffered the consequences of his diabolical greed.  In return, he gets to be buried next to heroes who he isn’t even fit to be in the same atmosphere in, let alone share the same burial ground.

Did I miss something?  When did we start living in some horrible alternative reality?  When did our government side with dictators?  When did Martial Law become acceptable?  When did graft and corruption become admirable?

This isn’t some sort of two-month old, immature boyfriend-girlfriend relationship that fizzles out and everyone gets told to “move on” because it’s “for the best.” It is legitimately 20 years of oppression, where people are murdered, people who challenge the administration just mysteriously disappear, never to be seen or heard from ever again, where everything on TV, in radio and on print is censored and everyone is, essentially, deprived of human rights.  This has left so many people scarred.  And to those downplaying this part of Philippine history because it puts their president in a bad light, this isn’t some political horror story.  This really happened.  Those human rights violations really happened.  Those deaths and murders really happened (while there may not be any evidence, there are families still missing fathers, mothers, sons and daughters.  If this isn’t testament to that, I don’t know what is!).  Everyone in the world knows about it (for goodness’ sake Imelda Marcos and her 3,000 pairs of shoes are synonymous with corruption and greed!  What do you think the musical Here Lies Love was all about?).  I don’t understand how some people can say that it wasn’t that bad.  It was, and for many others, even worse than our worst imaginings!  I don’t understand how anyone can even downplay all the atrocities that happened between the declaration of Martial Law on 21 September 1972 and when, finally, Ferdinand Marcos and his family were forced to flee to Hawaii in exile in 1986.  How can this all just be swept under the rug?

My heart bleeds for you my dearest Philippines!  How is this happening to you?  To quote J.K. Rowling’s Rufus Scrimgeour, in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, “These are dark times, there is no denying.”  No matter how much the president tries to justify his actions, no matter how much the administration supporters deny it, no matter how much the Marcos family ignore it.  The Philippines has been raped, pillaged and plundered all over again.

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Lest we forget

Wearing this for my Lolo Isiong who served his country during World War II. I am also wearing this for Tomas Claudio, the first Filipino casualty during the First World War. He apparently died in a battlefield in France. Did you know that as a then colony of the United States, 25,000 Filipinos volunteered when the US gov't called for volunteers to join the Philippine militia? To Lolo Isiong and all the brave men and women who gave their lives to protect our freedom, peace and sovereignty, for those who serve their countries in the armed forces, we are forever grateful. Because of you, we enjoy the freedoms that we sometimes take for granted. #remember #poppy #poppyappeal #lestweforget #dayofremembrance #soldiers #FilipinosinWWI ##heroinmyfamily #proudgranddaughter

A photo posted by Yael Medina (@yellywelly) on

The US Vote

gray skiesI thought the gray skies this morning was apropos.  I keep hearing the lyrics to Aerosmith’s Livin’ On A Prayer: “There’s something wrong with the world today /  I don’t know what it is / Something’s wrong with our eyes…”

It comes in threes: Brexit, the Marcos burial (in case you missed it, the Philippine Supreme Court have decided that Ferdinand Marcos, known Philippine dictator and thief will be buried in the Heroes’ Cemetery – how can a man who stole from the country, plunging the country into debt, and exiled dictator be buried in a place reserved for people who served the country with HONOUR?!?), and now a reality TV show based in the White House is a real possibility.  I’ve spent the last few months reeling from the results in vote casting in the Philippines and in the UK.

I hope the global community is ready to ride this political tidal wave!  Buckle up everyone because today marks the start of the most challenging few years in human political history.

America votes

Whispered a prayer for the US elections. Because however way you look at it, whatever your political persuasions are, the results will affect all of us. We are no longer individual economies, not really. We are all part of a global community.

I am praying for discernment and intelligent, sensible voting.

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General Florencio A Medina

Ama ng PAEC

Arthur C. Clarke said “I’m sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It’s just been too intelligent to come here.” I beg to differ.

In my opinion, Brigadier General Florencio A Medina had one of the most brilliant minds in the Philippines.  He was a soldier in the armed forces of the Philippines and fought the Japanese in WWII, when he was captured, he endured the Japanese prison camp he was put in and survived it.  He was instrumental in the development of what is now the Department of Science and Technology.  He was a proponent of the Philippine Science High School (which paved the way for excellent and specialist science-centred-education and this gave a lot of Filipino students a chance to study in an excellent learning environment for free) and served as one of the early chairmen of the school board.  He was the first Filipino to be elected chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency.  He was a mathematician and a chemist and a published author.

But most importantly, he was my grandfather.  He was a good father and provider to his 13 children.  To those of us, his grandchildren, who had the opportunity to grow up with memories of him, he was a loving and very present grandfather.  He was very active, larger than life and…just…there.  I will forever cherish the memory of our time sitting together at the square table in the apartment in Mabuhay with the blue and white porcelain mantle clock and you teaching me how to tell time.

You would have been 111 today, Lolo Isiong.  I am so proud to be your granddaughter.

I love you three Lolo!

Waiting…

Terminal 3 NAIAI got to the airport REALLY early I got put on the earlier flight (I ordered an UberX cab for 4AM because I had to be at the airport at 8AM for my 11AM flight.  But there was no traffic!).  I got a chance to use the relatively new Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.  I didn’t get much of a look when I arrived because my main goal was to get through immigration and customs really quickly so that I could get home and see my family.  My brother and I spent about 4 hours being stuck in Manila  traffic so the rushing through was time well rushed!  They told me that traffic was bad but I didn’t really think it was THAT bad.  I’ve been away from Manila too long.  I’ve lost the ability to plan journeys and understand Manila traffic and predict travel times!

Terminal 3 has been reported repeatedly as over budget, over priced and not worth the pesos that were spent on it.  I’ve been looking forward to seeing it and I must admit, it left me a bit underwhelmed.  It needs a bit more zhuzhing.  The terminal was mostly dark and I constantly wanted to ask people to switch the lights on (I didn’t, of course).  For an international/interisland airport it looks just a tiny bit tatty (super shiny floors and wide-screen Samsung tellies notwithstanding).  I shouldn’t really complain because at least it’s being used and Terminal 3 is a lot less shabbier than Terminal 1.   My favourite terminal though is the Centennial Terminal or Terminal 2.  It was the terminal we were in when we flew out of when we flew to Edinburgh in 2007.

I do love the windows though…I just really wished they switched on more lights…and probably courted more food places so that there would be more choice of food places to get food from before the flight.

Leaving…on a jet plane…

In a few hours I will be traveling to the airport to get on a plane to get back to the life I have in a country 6,754 miles away. While my visit was (too) short, it was (very) sweet. I got a chance to see my family, celebrate my father’s 80th birthday with him, laugh and bond with my brother and sister and hug my mum loads. I went to church and saw my church family and met the new additions to our growing spiritual family. I managed to see the dentist, stuff my face silly with food that might not be, for all intents and purposes, exactly ideal for a diabetic, experience Philippine traffic in all its stand still glory, learned to use Uber and Grab, melt in temperatures that I would usually consider a heatwave, see my hair snap into weird unruly waves, and marvel at how much the Philippines has changed (how we are considered a third world country with all these vehicles on the road and all these malls and condominium developments, I will never know).

I will be going back to colder weather and it is with a heavy heart that I leave my loved ones yet again (kung pwede lang magkasya kayong lahat sa maleta ko!). But my heart is full and my spirit is recharged. It’s trips like these that make me realise how much I have in my life and how blessed I have that the people in my life are in my life. For that I will always be thankful to God. I have new memories to tide me over until the next trip.

I’ll see you all again soon!