Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday

Today, Aug. 21st in the Philippines, marks the death anniversary of Senator Benigno 'Ninoy' Aquino, a Philippine national hero. It remains an 'unsolved' murder, thanks to political arm-bendings. My country, as far as my 'adult' mind can remember, has weathered political storm after storm after that. Within two years of his death, his widow (who also just recently passed), became the First Woman President of the country. And among many young idealists born into and caught in the nation's passionate political strife, I was right there, rah-rah-ing, wearing yellow, the color of freedom.

On the very night that the ONLY president I had ever known in all of my 16 years was ousted, and flown outside the country, I was in Iloilo City, a Region you fly to from where I lived, or travelled by ship to reach (as the Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands). I was one of over a thousand high school students competing in a National Writing Competition. I won second place, amidst all the drama outside of that dark auditorium, and the topic we were asked to develop impromptu, my winning piece, was aptly titled 'The Youth of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.' My winning was not extraordinary. Half the kid in my class could have done it, just give them a pen, tell them to read and focus, and be upbeat about the country as much as possible, and you'd have a winner. We were an intense young generation. If I had lost, I would still have been a winner from having competed alone.

Holding my trophy was little compensation for the general reason for the jubilation outside in the streets. I thought of Ninoy that night. He was also a writer when he was young, 17 years old when he was sent to Korea as a war correspondent. He had died when I was 14.

I was not sad when I thought of him. I luxuriated in the company of fellow young writers celebrating the death of 'Yesterday's' youth, which included myself.

Little did I think on that night that I would be saying that my children are 'Tomorrow's' youth. And yet I am. Many, many years later, my husband and I left the country when Matthew was 1. The boy speaks and understands the Pilipino language, and calls himself Filipino. He excels in school and is included in the Advanced Classes program.

I do not want him to have to march on the streets like his father and mother did before him, to clamor for change. But I will respect his decisions, when the time comes, to determine the form of government he wants his country to have, and to choose the country he wants to live in.

For now, I will rest my pen. He sleeps. And I'm sure somewhere, Ninoy is proud.


Deb Murphree/Alabama Politics said...

Cherie, it's always so interesting to me to hear stories about politics in other countries, and how their politics affects their lives. I have a Philipino brother somewhere over biological father, fathered a child there. Would be interesting to find them...wouldn't have the slightest inkling, though, of how to go about that in another country. Loved your post today.

Middle Ditch said...

That was a beautiful read. Wonderful post. Thanks

Icy BC said...

That is truly a "Thoughtful" post! You've honored those that sacrifice their lives for a better world..

Trudy said...

This is a very insightful post Cherie. You are such a beautiful writer and I am not at all surprised that you placed so well in the contest!

Gods bless you!

cherie said...

oh ms. deb, a filipino brither! very interesting! i am sure he is just as eager to trace his roots as you are! politics is not everybody's cup of tea, and that's understandable. but it's part of life...thank you!!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Cherie, I love reading your 'story'... We here in America don't appreciate our lives, do we???? There's alot of politics going on here in our country now---but nothing like other countries. I'm glad you are HERE. Your son can make his own decisions when he grows up.

Thanks for a GREAT post.

Stephanie Faris said...

Thank you for enlightening us on this...very well written. I am so lost when it comes to the politics of other countries so stories like this one are always welcome. It's important for those of us in the U.S. to hear these things and realize there's a world outside of our little one!

Whitemist said...

You brought tears to my eyes. Wow!
Very beautiful and well done. I wish the best for your family.

cherie said...

i'm glad you enjoyed this, ms. betsy. i have so much more, sad and happy but i guess i'll have to take it slow...

it's not my my cup of tea, either, steph, and i'm glad to be able to share what little experience i have of it with you all.

thank you, sir whitemist. it's sad, and it gets sadder still, but i am happy life has bright promises for the future. thank you, and we wish you the same.

rainfield61 said...

What can I say some more, all the comments are so well written, just because of a wonderful post.

Tricks of politics, apply anywhere, throughout the world.

Deanna said...

Hi There!
So glad you stopped by my one blog and said hello.
Hope you'll stop by again, also visit Homehaven. Would be good to hear from you!
God bless,

cherie said...

you're so right about the 'tricks,' rainfield. i'm glad you liked my post! thank you!

i sure will, deanna! thank you for the drop by, yourself!

Have a nice day, everyone! God bless!

Bonnie Bonsai said...

Cherie, this is very touching to me. What a considerate Nanay you are. I was only a plain spectator during the Peaceful Revolution when I worked in Manila at that time while you were busy rah rah ing.. I did not allow myself to get entangled by the stupid politics. That's for my own selfish reason. Selfish, being I did not play the political games of the little immatured children of our government whose main victims are the poor people. So I truly have no sympathy. Sorry to say this.

I am very much patriotic by heart, mind and soul. I did not like the way the government is messing up our beloved country.

Anyway, am glad and like me, you managed to pass through storms after storms in that stormy infested country which is really very sad, because my memory of our country as a child is full of abundance and beauty.

The only President that I would never trade with anybody else is the late President Ramon Magsaysay. After his death, our dear beautiful and abundant country went downhill.

You truly depict the Youth of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

Please keep it up. I am very grateful of your kindness and thoughtfulness shown on this little old lady.

My father was Ilonggo or maybe Karay-a.

cherie said...

dear ate inday1 i am glad i scrolled down! my father is ilonggo and my mother is bikolana, we all grew up in Bicol. i attended two major rallies (maybe i shouldn't be specific anymore) because i strongly felt about them (the succeeding coups were deceptive by nature), and each may have been dangerous, but i was very, very proud to have been there. i am sad at the plight that our countrymen continue to be in, and hope to do more. likewise, i admire the courage and fortitude of those who opt to stay despite their capacity to leave and start anew. you are kind to me, too, ate inday. a filipino to a fellow. hugs, cherie

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