Mrs. Marketman was searching for a yellow ribbon today to tie on the car, the tree in front of our home, the gate, whatever. She (and I am as well) is really rather upset about President Corazon Aquino’s (Cory’s) serious medical condition and what newspapers report as basically being the inevitable last stages of cancer. I won’t go into any discussion about how good or not of a President she was, and how she would compare to anyone who came after her, but I will say she did manage to get rid of a dictator (after her husband was murdered), and if only for that, she will have a special place in both of our hearts.
I vividly recall those days in the mid-1980’s as I was a sophomore in Boston and lived a stone’s throw from the Aquino home in Newton. I didn’t know them personally, but I attended a speech Ninoy gave just shortly before he returned home and was murdered. Mrs. Marketman, on the other hand, worked as part of President Aquino’s staff at the Guest House of the Malacanang Palace beginning in 1986, all pumped up with unbridled enthusiasm and idealism. Hoping to help make a difference.
It upsets me no end that Aquino’s dramatic and historical removal of the Marcos dictatorship, followed by 3 other Presidents and 23 years to effect improvements, does not appear to have improved the life of the average Filipino. We may be free and democratic, but on average we are probably poorer, hungrier and not as well educated as our fathers, grandfathers and ancestors before them.
I just did the numbers, and I was shocked to calculate that a MAJORITY of Filipinos today, some 50 million out of roughly 90 million population, are actually 23 years old or younger. If you throw in all kids up to 5 years of age when Aquino took power in 1986, some 60-65% of the Filipino population today would have NO RECOLLECTION WHATSOEVER of that historic moment in our recent history. That means that a majority would NEVER have seen this pretty darned good speech (written by Teddy Boy Locsin) that Aquino delivered to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in 1986, which we will have the Teen watch in the next day or two so that there is some appreciation for why many older foggies in their forties and beyond are so saddened by Cory’s current condition.
I remember the speech. I remember the hope and idealism of the times. I wish the younger generation at least listens to the speech and acts and votes wisely in the years ahead. Our prayers are with Cory and the entire Aquino family.