I provoked sufficient comment (and maybe more thought) last year about setting an annual plan that some readers might feel cheated if I didn’t let them know how it turned out. Besides, it might also prove therapeutic for me to reassess the progress of the year 2022.
Travels with Myself
A Journal of Discovery and Transition
Doug Jordan, Author
in Northern Europe, a new rival for the affections of the people began to creep into the collective consciousness. Alongside the messiah of hope we now had the generous Saint Nicholas, he espousing the virtue of giving. But this wonderful virtue gave rise to an all-new kind of angst – what to give! And spawned another perturbation – debt.
Even before we left Canada we knew the original model of living together six months in Canada and six months in The Philippines had to change. Our model now has to be the Filipino Balikbayan concept – working off-shore for ten months, home for a couple – Doug attending to his consulting business in Canada to earn extra funds to support his pamilya in the Philippines and join Carmen from time to time in Trece, or Kanata.
Carmen came to Canada at the end of April 2019 and after six months we returned to The Philippines, October 12, to continue to explore our relationship. While there, I discovered, somewhat to my surprise, that as a Canadian, my unrestricted entry was good for only 59 days; after that I had to apply for an ‘Alien Certificate of Registration’, which was mildly disturbing to me, naively believing I had unrestricted liberty. An alien! I felt a bit like ET.
Rainy days severely limit commerce and economic activity in The Philippines. With Super Typhoons, everything comes to a halt, government and schools suspended. This is a chronic problem for the Philippines economy but acute for the millions of Filipinos who operate micro-enterprises, called tindahans, out of their tiny houses.
Science now explains thunder and lightning, and even how life began, but the fundamental questions remained. But because the mind abhors uncertainly it prefers magical thinking to the horror of the abyss. Religion gives people comfort, and who can blame them for that.
As much as it irritates me, many Canadians seem to love the eponymous national holiday, or have never thought about it. But it is awkward sounding and uninspiring to my mind. Scroll through google and see how many other countries name their national holiday after itself: I can only find two others: Australia and Russia! And the way broadcasters mindless chirp ‘Happy Birthday Canada!’ is enough to make one nauseous. Talk about an unserious country.
Even though only a 15-year-old self-absorbed teenager, I had become politically interested and got caught up in this national debate. My instinctive preference was the Red Ensign, mostly because, as Canadian of anglo heritage, indoctrinated with British history and pageantry, I liked the Union Jack and its inclusion in the Ensign. In any event, I liked this new Pearson Pennant and I urged my mother to make my/our preferred variant of the blue borders flag so we could fly it and thus show our preference.
Jeffrey Mason, whose book ‘Dad, I Want to Know Your Story’ which has inspired the writing of my auto-biography, invites the journalist to list the critical events of the year of one’s birth, in my case 1947, but I think this is a bit empty because in 1947 I was pretty much oblivious to what was going on at the time. It may have been a significant year to my parents but are just entries in a history book for me. More significant I think would be my formative teen years, 1962 perhaps. I would have turned 15 that year.
May 9th was Election Day in The Philippines, and Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos was elected in a tremendous landslide over his closest rival, Leni Robredo. Since then the alarmist reports out of the Western press, and echoing comments to me, now an apparent expert on Pilipinas affairs, have been distressing, and to my mind, insulting to Filipinos.
[Dad] used to watch the ponies running at Fort Erie Racetrack of a sunny summer afternoon in the early 1960s when we lived in Welland Ontario. A few times he took me with him. No doubt for him an afternoon at the track represented a business expense entertaining a customer, but to me it was pure excitement, especially to stand by the rail and see those thoroughbreds thunder by.
I was born on August 27, 1947; at 5:00 pm, I was told, just in time for dinner. The source, of course, was my mom – I’m not sure my dad ever told me anything about my birthday, nor much else about my life, as we shall soon see.
The most compelling difference [between Canada and the Philippines wrt covid consequences] is how significantly more damaged the Philippines economy is and the adverse affects on the people. … For all of this, Filipinos in general are not complaining
When I arrived in Philippines March 4 (and survived the bureaucratic storm of documents – both print and electronic) and was driven to our modest resort hotel in Dasmariñas, I was struck by the heavy traffic and claustrophobic congestion, even though only 6 o’clock in the morning. It was just like the last time I was here, pre-pandemic, in 2020. But somehow different. The country is tired.
What has been the response to covid-19 protocols on Philippine society is something I hope to uncover during my visit to The Philippines over the next few weeks, and see if there may be similar disruption to social cohesion as there appears to be in Canada. Stay tuned.
Even though we’re not quite out of the pseudo-apocalyptic fear period, one can see a light that looks like freedom. And I’m not talking about transport trucks, just a small beacon pointing the way to a time of more choice, more options, and hopefully, more tolerance – more like the ‘olden times’ normal.
I can return to The Philippines and bring my asawa back to Canada. I should be happy.