THE succeeding paragraphs of this column article was written maybe on the first two months of the global spread of the pandemic. I never got to finish it. Countries then were just starting to impose their own lockdowns and travel restrictions. I have to be candid in admitting to my slowly growing followers of this humble column space in this paper, mostly my relatives and close friends that this column ought to have been finished a long time ago. My dear septuagenarian aunt Nanay Ging Margarita Casipe, a retired dressmaker, was bugging me to write and asked why I was not coming out with a new column. Even my amiable editor in chief Amy Cabusao had to remind me often, my deadline is every Wednesday, so it can be printed on the succeeding days.
Column writing is a different craft from the usual staple news article, which you have to write in exigency, without compromising accuracy and facts and strictly following the tenets of journalism principles in reporting. It’s been my professional training for the past two decades, writing what we call breaking news, which has to be written in haste, the long format types like special reports and features can wait for hours or even days, depending on how you polish it to the desired result or output.
But writing an opinion in a column section is a different stroke by itself. Here the columnist presents not only facts, but expresses his or her views on the pressing issues of the times. It is an attempt to make sense of one’s perspective on the prevailing news that could not be expressed in plain news articles. Our brethrens in the radio or television who are designated commentators have the luxury to express their views like a freewheeling discussion in a dinner table or with a circle of friends in a gathering.
So I sat down to compose my thoughts to weave this column, while the onslaught of news coming from different mediums and coming from across the globe inundated your senses. It simply overwhelms the opinion writer how to present his opinion. Not only was there an information overload, I also lost the facility for words or maybe inspiration to write, because perhaps I feel too much on such issues or what others would call a writer’s block. I reckon the past months had been challenging for me for a myriad of reasons. So this is a sort of an explanation why it took me months of hiatus before I jump started again on writing my opinion section. Here’s the unfinished piece that was saved on my computer desktop file.
This is going to be a hard one to write, to write of something that HAD ALREADY CAUSED rivulets of tears in the cheeks TO SO MANY PEOPLE IN MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD OVER A LOSS OF A LOVE ONE, LOSING THE BATTLE IN THE GLOBAL FLU PANDEMIC COVID 19. This is going to take the whole might of one’s soul and go to some unfathomable depths of the heart, which I know will cause me some ache. But I must write like I have never written before. I don’t know how many times and days I revisit the saved page in the hope I can finish it when the inspiration to write comes. But as soon as I am back on the screen, that motivation to write only comes in increments, inundated as I am with so many facts and new developments.
I guess what I really want to express in this column is that somehow the inspiration to write again has come back in small doses. It is to echo the clarion call of many that we all stay positive in our outlook in life, despite these insurmountable challenges we are facing in our personal lives, homes, community and on the global scale. Businesses, livelihoods large or small, economies in small and super power nations came to a grinding halt. We are all affected by it. Vaccine, even if we come out with one in the next few months, won’t be a magic bullet assuring us that we are going to be free from the dangers of this virus that threatens to mutate and come out with a new deadlier strain.
Our world health experts are even at a loss on how to deal with this 21st century dilemma, no matter how we proudly say that we have accomplished technological and scientific advancement that only our great ancestors could think in their wildest dreams. This is one of the greatest mysteries of our nature. Pandemics had come and gone in the past. It had once nearly wiped out human existence on the planet.
There is so much we don’t know about the virus. The best we can do is brace for impact, like riding a boat riddled with holes that you know will soon sink, no matter how you bail out the water, or riding a vehicle which you don’t have the critical seconds to apply the brake, because the collision was just simply inevitable to happen.
Just like our own existence. We are born the first day, wither in time and go when our time comes. This is simply nature. No matter how we try to change it the best way we can, it is bound to happen. All is fleeting in this world, no one lives forever. Nobody wants that either. Lest we forget, there are also far more concerning thoughts of the end of the world scenario we may have to keep in mind.
Remember what our history lesson tells us about a giant meteor that once wiped out 90 percent of life form on earth and ended the dinosaur age, Our modern astrophysicists even theorize that there is likelihood that it will happen again anytime in the far distant future. Millions of giant asteroids and meteors circle our solar system. We have a host of natural and man made disasters that equally have damaging effects and a renewed threat to our very existence. What can really stand the test of time is the memories you spend with your loved ones and friends. And that means right now. Everything else can slide into oblivion like your wealth, accomplishments. While we still have this time, make it worthwhile. Build wonderful memories with them. Make a phone call to your dear loved ones you haven’t kept in touch for a long while. I won’t be able to write this small journal or have it painted in the cave walls to be discovered after several millennia. So I end this article with a simple note. Stay safe, all of us.