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Christmas Leftovers

I’m still eating leftovers from the noche Buena dinner. Wait, was not that technically morning? So, does that make it a noche Buena breakfast? Oh well… I’m not complaining. The leftovers are still so good. We ate it for lunch. We had it for snack. Then, we took a break from it on dinner. Then, we ate it again for lunch on the following day. Don’t you just love Christmas?

It’s nice that some people who are not members of some charitable organization or religious group would shell out their personal cash to give gifts to children. Kids get gifts. They’re happy. Most of the time, the gifts come with some food, usually, some spaghetti and fried chicken. They go home happy, then they unwrap their gifts which they would enjoy, maybe for the first two weeks of the new year. Maybe, they would dislike what’s inside the wrapping as soon as they tear off the wrapper. But, I suppose to some extent, they still enjoyed. Joy and generosity were planted in some young children’s minds. How little it may be, some amount of appreciation and gratitude sprouted in their spirits. That gesture would somehow serve as a model, hopefully initiating the willingness or the ideal to share in some capacity at some point in time, maybe in the far future. One gift becomes the spark that starts a chain of generous giving of gifts, in some manner, at some point in time, somewhere.

But a few thousands can only give so many children. At some point, some child’s next-door neighbor would not receive some gift due to the law of supply. That child and the other children beyond that zone would hear of the kids who received gifts, and be aware of how they themselves did not receive any. Then, they would ask and ponder why. They would start to see that kids at the other side of the railroad tracks have it better than they do. Resentment against injustice could burn in their hearts. One day, they could rise up in revolt in an attempt to instigate social equalities. One day, they could strive hard from that inspiration towards success tagging along whole communities with them upward.

So, what do we say, then? Shall we give or not give at all? Give still. Give still and as long as you have something to give. That giving will go a long way.

Why is there talk of protest on a Christmas Day? I expected something more positive to hear from the news while I chew on refrigerated cake. I guess, Christmas Day is a day like any day after all. Why do they need to force jeepney operators and drivers into cooperatives or corporations to be issued franchises to ply single routes? Last week, I overheard a balikbayan across the next table in a restaurant that he plans to settle back here and thinks three jeepneys would be enough for him to make a decent living. Someone should tell him that it won’t be the same way that it had traditionally been for decades. Well, yes, it really is favorable for the ordinary operator and driver to help them afford to acquire units of the modern jeepney. This brings us down the rabbit hole in asking, why do we need to have modern jeepneys anyway. Yes, they look good running down the roads. They are convenient and probably more efficient. Young children watch for the aircon jeepney and now refuse to ride the jeep with a community of cramped passengers herded in heat and humidity. I guess, modernization has to be the path of progress now. How could you connect to the Internet with those Nokia keypad phones? That laptop has to run on Windows 11 because other operating systems would be less efficient. You have to drive the latest model of SUV because… just because.

Sarcasm aside, yes, society has to modernize. We don’t have to enumerate understandable reasons. But, does it have to include everyone? Japan has Tokyo and still has Kyoto. The US has Los Angeles and New York City and still has the South. We have Makati and still have Vigan. They complement each other. The traditional doesn’t have to go away because the modern has come. Modern jeepneys could operate in urban areas and traditional jeepneys could operate in rural or semi-urban areas. In that way, operators who opt for the modern could have their operations in the cities. Similarly, those who would want to tread the traditional could operate in the provinces. If the government agencies insist and the operators and drivers resist, passengers stand to be left with few available transport on the road. Then, we’ll be forced to hang on rails while standing on the sides of tricycles. Now, that’s so modern.

Deuteronomy 15:11: “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.”

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