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t of many, one “I am only one but I am still one. I cannot do everything but still I can do something. And because I can’t do everything, I will not refuse that something which I can do.” Yesterday, I received 50 pieces of yellow ribtrip. As I stood on that bus, I noticed that some bons – which is actually made of rubber -- from people are smiling at me. Maybe they just think Miss Bea Azcuna of the Supreme Court of the that I am that good-looking, I thought. =) Oh, Philippines and it’s free of charge. Each ribbon is come on. I really wondered why. tagged at 50 pesos each and would have left our Until someone who is fat smiled at me (I forpockets empty and tattered. =) Me and my friends got her name) and said: (I WILL TRANSLATE expected this for about a month and yesterday, we IT NA LANG TO ENGLISH.. HEHE) “Wow… were happy to receive it. Thanks to Ma’am Bea. I love your yellow ribbon and I love Noynoy! Ooops, Bea. She is insisting to drop the “ma’am.” Where are you from? You know what, I really =) am voting for Noynoy because I feel that he This morning, I was accidentally tasked to go alone can bring the change that we really need to Nabunturan, capital town of the Province of today. He is my president and he must win!” Compostela Valley, and is 35 kilometers away from She told me about her dismay over the inabilTagum City. Of course, I wore the yellow ribbon. ity of the present administration and the probWhile on my way, the bus conductor told me “ lems that we are facing today but she said that Ganahan ko sa imong yellow ribbon. Asa ka nag- she is hopeful that Noynoy can bring the change palit?” (I like your yellow ribbon. Where did you that she wants to see in our country. bought it?) After she talked, her child – maybe eight year I answered with a smile “ Diha ka? Gipadala old -- flashed the “Laban” sign which made me ra man ni sa ako… pero promise, balikan taka sa smile. Some people on her back agreed on what terminal next weekend para matagaan taka.” (Re- she said and it seems that they are really hungry ally? Someone sent this to me but don’t you worry, for change. I will see you at the terminal to give you one next This happened without me talking and initiatweekend!” ing. That yellow ribbon prompted them to do so. His reply: “Salamat bay! Kabalo ka, sa amo-ang For me, a yellow ribbon is more than just a ribpamilya, kay Noynoy jud mi! Hulaton taka next bon. It is a silent campaign material and it symweek ha!” (Thank you! You know, my family is all- bolizes the people’s thirst for genuine change in out for Noynoy! I will wait for you next week, ok!” the government and the people’s audacious hope Without a word, my yellow ribbon made a state- that with Noynoy, we will be on the right track ment. Its impact is really great. again. On my way home, I boarded a jam-packed bus and I had no choice but to stand all throughout the

Adieu, IF GREATNESS was thrust upon Corazon Aquino, and for a while it was, she did her best to parry it. The decisive moment came after eight hours of prayer at St Joseph’s Convent of Perpetual Adoration in Quezon City, the former capital of the Philippines. There the self-proclaimed “plain housewife” resolved that she would, after all, accede to the request of 1m petitioners and run for president in the election that the wicked President Ferdinand Marcos had just called. Days of humming, hawing and after-youing were at an end, and the people had a champion. She was the lady in the yellow dress, simple, bespectacled, plain not just in her housewifery but also in her demeanour, a contrast in every way to the stylish Imelda, who was still stuffing the boudoirs of the presidential palace with frocks and furs and shoes, shoes, shoes. The power, however, was with the people, and the people were with Cory. It was a tumultuous time for the Philippines, a country that has never been easy to take seriously. Its Spanish-American colonial experience, invigorated by Malay, Chinese and indigenous influences, has produced an Asian variant of the rum-and-Coca-Cola culture. In the 1980s this meant visitors could be forgiven for thinking they had arrived on the set of a wacky sitcom, perhaps made for the Central American market, in which the actors, all speaking American with a Latin twang, were masquerading as the nation’s public figures. Strangely, though, they had nicknames that evoked either the Broadway characters of Damon Runyon or, more bizarrely, the upper classes of Wodehousian England: Bongbong, Teddyboy, Ting Ting and Ballsy, for example.


But the aristocrats, pallid th Philippine standards, were les than mestizos of Spanish-ind Chinese blood, whose landh attitudes were reminiscent o as time-warped Pakistan. A admixture were such minor nal Sin, whose inspired name in the Vatican must have had and the ouija tables introdu ñang Palace during the Marco yanked the mind back toward

Against such a backdrop vout, shy and apparently de was on the face of it an impro Filip stanc Augu Beni as N pone had three

ry Adieu!

hough they were by ss Edwardian buffers digenous or Spanishholdings and feudal of nowhere so much Adding to the exotic curiosities as Cardie suggested someone d a sense of humour, uced to the Malacaos presidency, which ds the Chinese occult.

p, Mrs Aquino—deevoid of ambition— obable tribune of the pinos. But circumces propelled her. In ust 1983 her husband igno, better known Ninoy, a leading opent of the president, returned home from e years’ exile in the

United States. He was at once shot dead. Over 2m people attended his funeral, which turned out to be, in effect, the first of a series of mass demonstrations against the regime, many of them prominently attended by the woman in the yellow dress. These culminated, after Marcos had tried to steal the election and some soldiers had mutinied, in an outpouring of protesters onto Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, known as EDSA, the huge arterial highway that loops round the capital, Manila. Three days later, on February 25th 1986, Marcos was on his way to Hawaii and Mrs Aquino was president (see article).

The guts but not the nous Cory had not been passive. She had seen off the charges of crypto-communism, faced down the efforts at intimidation and rejected the ill-judged attempt by Ronald Reagan’s envoy to make her share power with Marcos. But her greatness was already at an end. As president, she introduced a democratic constitution and set the judiciary free. Her land reform, however, failed to break the grip of the aristocrats, and her promises to end the long communist insurrection were soon set aside. Worse, she failed to control the army. Her greatest achievement was to survive seven attempted coups and hand over peacefully at the end of her six-year term.

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