Gloria’s Fate/ Self’s Fate

Dear blog readers, do you believe in fate?

Self does.

She believes it was fate that brought her here, after all these years in California.  Fate is what guided her.  Yes, some invisible hand drew her here and lifted the scales from her eyes and also put people in her path who were able to help her.

It all began almost two years ago, when self was invited by Karina Bolasco of Anvil to be on a panel of the International PEN conference in Cebu, December 2010.  It was fate that led her to pass by Bacolod instead of heading straight home to Manila.  It was fate, or perhaps all those years in America, and/or all the books she’d written, that nurtured her independence.  Without that independence, she would never have developed the strength and resourcefulness to be where she is now, that gave her the will to fight.

And even during this, her seventh visit to Bacolod in a little less than two years, fate leads her to Daku Balay, and tells her, Woman, the answers are here.  Here in this grand old house that your grandfather, the most ambitious man in the island of Negros, built from nothing.  You, American granddaughter of Lolo Gener, you will fight anyone who says you don’t have a right to be here.  You’ve come full circle now.  Fate brought you to the house of your father’s youth.  Fate chose you.

Self still has a stack of local papers to read through.

On p. 3 of the Oct. 30, 2012 issue of The Visayan Daily Star, there is an article on poor, sick, old ex-President of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  Gloria used to be self’s economics teacher in high school.  She was very erudite, but not particularly interesting:  So it was quite a shock when self discovered that her economics teacher had become president of the country.

When Gloria was self’s teacher, she looked like a 12-year-old.  She had a round face and short hair.  She was very small.  But, she was also very direct, one of the most direct teachers self ever had, growing up.  Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Former president Gloria Arroyo refused to enter a plea yesterday on a graft charge that could see her jailed for life, as she appeared in court wheelchair-bound and wearing a neck brace.

Arroyo sat quietly as Judge Efren de la Cruz read the charge that she had plundered 366 million pesos (approx. nine million dollars) in state lottery funds during her time as president from 2001-2010.

*     *     *

Arroyo ended her time in power as one of the country’s most unpopular presidents, amid allegations she had cheated to win elections, embraced feared warlords as allies, and was involved in widespread corruption.

Her successor, Benigno Aquino, won a landslide election after vowing to fight corruption and prosecute Arroyo.

*     *     *

Court resolutions to these cases are expected to drag on for years in the country’s slow justice system.

In pictures, self barely recognizes her.  Why did this vibrant woman turn overnight into this almost unrecognizable invalid?  What happened to her?

Self will finish up with yet another quote from Dreams of My Father, by Barack Obama.  In the passage below, Barack’s aunt Zeituni takes him to seem some relatives who are so destitute that Obama is ashamed for not being able to give more money:

My aunt turned away and, forcing a smile, waved to Auma.  And as we began to walk forward, she added, “I will tell you this so you will know the pressure your father was under in this place.  So you don’t judge him too harshly.  And you must learn from his life.  If you have something, then everyone will want a piece of it.  So you have to draw the line somewhere.  If everyone is a family, no one is a family.  Your father, he never understood this, I think.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Stay tuned.

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