From under this hat: Typhoon Helen, and the freedom to choose


By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO

Peter Parker noticed that under the fast winds and heavy rain that Typhoon Helen carried with her through our City, Benguet Electric Cooperative’s (Beneco) electric service did not falter. He wondered aloud if it was because Baguio Electric Cooperative (Baelco) threatens to take over.

We may think it amusing but nowadays it seems to be a pattern among competing business entities. It is a serious note that service in the name of the public only becomes truly a service when there is a competing or an upcoming new entity that says they can do better.

Can business not be truthful anymore? Must they portray themselves only as the best marketing strategists, top public relations, best sellers, wheeler-dealers, chiselers, etc? Today they even charge the customer for every degree their product is made to improve. Why can they not just make it the best and simply offer the best? Of course, like it is that simple.

***

Congratulations to the new Council and officers of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, Baguio-Benguet chapter. In these times of the deepening economic and political crises it takes courage to stand-up and speak-up not only for their sole-selves but for their colleagues and for society.

We know that the local journalists of the city have difficulty trying to make a worker’s union for journalists work for themselves as good citizens. Especially, over and above the crises, in an atmosphere where a-state created bogeyman dominates their psyche or expansive imagination. So much that at many times scares themselves away from the opportunity to make a difference in their profession. Yet, only they as a group of professionals who care to be the Fourth Estate can decide to be a real Fourth Estate or just one of those. NUJP-BB, matago-tago tako.

***

If you are not at the Pride March today, you should go out and at least have a glimpse of it. This march, is the first of its kind in our city. It is not the usual closed-door march-on-the-ramp Miss Gay beauty contest – though more colorful, liberating and exciting. This march is guaranteed to tickle everyone PINK and more!

The conservative but a tad more open-minded City of Baguio will be happy to learn and finally openly celebrate with pride and with this group of people, who were usually hiding or were hidden in the skirts or under the hair of society. The Baguio people who like normal human beings are usually afraid of what they do not know, or afraid of anything new or strange to their so popularity-set or simple, tradition-defined normal ways. To simply see and realize that our gay and lesbian population are standing up for their rights to be recognized and respected, is in itself liberating for the thought-to-be extremely homophobic Baguio society.

I am sure without doubt, my brood of ten boys (sons, nephews and grandnephews) and four girls will roll on their bellies in laughter and tears to see their aunties, uncles and several close friends coming-out on the march. Not because they are different or weird or alien but because these kids will be so proud to see them marching proud and high as normal part of society, a society they thought discriminated against these aunts, uncles and friends. Oh, they will really roll on their bellies with the overwhelming release of all that mixture of emotions and false ideas crammed down in the hiding places of their young minds and hearts, for so long!

It is not only their freedom to come out but it also is liberating for straights not having to say they are straights and be able to be with them, work and walk with them without fear of discrimination, alienation or being jeered at. I tip my hat.#(NorDis)

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