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‘No News Is Good News, Good News Is No News’ by Malu E.Gacuma, May 23, 2017 (Tuesday, 10:56 p.m.)

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I had delivered the news on-air over the radio, yesterday and today, and the news centered on nothing but corruption and on lives lost due to bomb explosions or due to illegal drugs’ involvement.

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May 22,2017,Monday – Delivering the 6:00-6:30 pm newscast over DYEZ Aksyon Radyo 684 kHz (AM)-Bacolod under Manila Broadcasting Company .

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“No news is good news”. That’s the unspoken universal rule when we don’t hear a word about something we expect. However,in the ‘dog-eats-dog‘ , competitive world of media, the lines seemed to have evolved to “Good news is no news”.

Perhaps this is the reason behind all the sensational,gory-detailed, controversial, heartbreaking, mind-boggling, nerve-racking news we eat for breakfast, chew for lunch and munch for supper. You think so? I do.

“Good news is no news” actually reads: “If it’s good,it’s over.So let the bad news roll in,so people would feast on the news.Once they do, pour in commercials. see your profit spike ,then laugh your way to the bank.”  (You just read the behind-the-scene thoughts of a successful network or publication owner out there,whoever that may be.)

Dominantly,as it was before and still it is now, headline news always grab your attention, keep you glued, break your heart, and let you resume your life with a changed perspective about this world.

Nonetheless, let me keep my hopes high about this world and about humanity, to persistently keep looking at the good side of everything.Call it optimism Call it obstinacy.

No act of terrorism, greed or manipulated perception can ever beat that!

l choose to live in peace, not to  rest in pieces.

That’s a genuinely off-air,off-cam piece of good news!

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(Credits to photo owner)

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‘OUR NATION IS GRIEVING’ by Malu E. Gacuma , May 4, 2017 (12:10 pm ,Thursday)

This country we love so much is now grieving.

By not confirming yesterday the staunch environmentalist,  Ms. Gina Lopez , as DENR Secretary, the public servants comprising the Commission on Appointments give more importance to their personal agenda and the vested interest of mining firms in the guise of technicalities and legalities. They disregarded the more important aspects of the ecological hazards now endangering our lives as we near the tipping point.

Super Typhoon Haiyan Aftermath

Scene of devastation after the unprecedented ‘super storm ‘ Yolanda that hit Tacloban in Leyte. (credits to photo owner)

Our nation that we love so much is now grieving,

For the humiliation of our women , our struggling and defenseless single , female parents who are perceived as just being ‘knocked up’, seemingly just like those female dogs on the streets. That’s the debasing perception of a Senator who speaks in haughtiness as he prides himself with all the power and authority vested upon him by the people he is supposed to serve with humility, integrity and utmost respect.

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(photo: abs-cbn news /online)

We are not watching the slow death of our national values being corrupted not only by external influences thru social media, but by errant leaders who are devoid of good breeding and manners

We are now witnessing the victory of corruption, greed, apathy, selfishness and deceit..

While we stand in silence , or choose to stay at the backseat, or sit on the fence, we leave our next generation- our children– to confusion.,

There they are, watching us muted in a corner. What do we do next? How do we fight for our right to live decently? How do we save our environment from abuses?

Why are we standing in silence? Are we helpless lambs being discreetly dragged to the slaughterhouse, in subservience, with our consent?

Are we trying to repeat our nation’s history of being lorded over by the corrupt and the abusive?

Our ancestors shed their blood to save our country and bestowed us our freedom . They were and are heroes !

How should our children consider us then? Should we just keep our silence and as the dawn breaks tomorrow, forget these all happened today?

Then, this nation we love has a good  reason for grieving!

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(photo by Malu E.Gacuma, 2016)

 

 

‘SHOTGUN MARRIAGE: A Myth Born Out of Some Men’s Alibi’ ( by Malu E.Gacuma, April 9,2017 Saturday @ 11:00 am)

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I remember having met a couple in Iloilo City before, in the mid-’90s, where the husband was dashing and handsome in his 40s,while the wife was the opposite in physiological terms, not to mention that she was more than 10 years his senior.

Not for anything but the woman showed a very possessive, nagging and inconsiderate attitude towards her good-natured husband. At one point of our meeting, this husband confided that he was only forced to marry his wife when, out of a drunken stupor, he bedded her and became the first man who did.She told her parents and this led to their ‘untimely’ marriage.I heard these lines too often.

Shotgun Marriage. That’s how our culture terms it. In this odd scenario, it is always believed that the woman ends up hugging victory! She got the man she wanted or she is obsessed with! Forget how.Just think she did,at all cost!

By those two words, one’s imagination would play up seeing a trembling man beside his grinning wife as they wed, and behind them is a father-in-law with a double-barrelled shotgun pointed at the guy! One false move and the unwilling groom wouldn’t make it to the door!

During my media days with DYWB Bombo Radyo Bacolod, in a program I had anchored (a 5-hour-program then called ‘Good Morning,Philippines’,) this topic had been raised. During the last 15-minute part of the program’s Interview portion, I struck the question “Nagapati bala kamo nga may Shotgun Marriage okon wala?  (“Do you believe that Shotgun Marriage exists or not?”) It was so amusing how the influx of calls came from men,all amenable and always with a regretful tone! “Ginpilit lang ako!” (“I was just forced into it!“)- the ruing gentlemen lamented on the phone.

Marriage is a choice and a major decision in anyone’s life. When confronted by a question whether he wants to get married or not, a sensible man needs to choose between two answers: yes or no.There  is no gray area compelling him to say ‘Yes,but..” .Remember, it is a choice. We all have freedom of choices.

For a man to profess that he was just forced into the marriage ,well, that’s the lamest alibi that can exist ! (Strike 1.)

Worst, their declaration is always preceded by another common alibi:” I was drunk and accidentally bedded her!” (Strike 2.)

Failure to make the right choice often leads to that need for an alibi, to justify the failure done ( whether wittingly or unwittingly).

Ergo, ‘shotgun marriage‘ was born out of collective alibi of men who refuse to admit they failed to make the right choice of their wives. It paints a picture of a woman as a scheming villainess who is out to build her coven with an unwilling husband as her first prey. It paints another picture of that unwilling husband as a submissive man bound for eternal martyrdom.( Let her be damned? Blessed he be? )

I always have high respect for the moral hierarchy of a man in a family structure that is brick-layed by a sacred and God-centered marriage. I’m talking about a man who is embodied with character values making him worthy to be vested with his ‘Pillar of the Home’ title.

It is the worst alibi of weak men who made a mistake, refused to accept that mistake and choose to live a lie for the rest of their lives, blaming it on their wives rather than repairing themselves.

Personally, I do not believe in ‘shotgun marriage’ or anything close to its definition.With all the aforementioned, I have all the sensible reasons NOT to believe.

Without any shotgun behind you, would you?

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Credits to photo owner

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“PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN AS A MOTHER”

by Malu E. Gacuma

May 11,2013 Saturday (10am)

(A tribute to my Mommy,  the late ANITA ESCAMOS GACUMA)

She was born in 1935 , in a family considered quite privileged during the pre-World War 2 days,  her father being a bemedalled national athlete and a  U.S. Army Major.

Thus, self-discipline was their daily rule as manifested in their household policies and regimen: all must be around the table on scheduled mealtimes, attendance to daily prayers had to be complied, all five siblings must be home on their given  curfew time, a daughter can go out on a date only with a chaperone, each daughter had an assigned chore that must be done before lunchtime, privacy and proprietorship of personal items must be respected including diaries and mails, every nook and corner of their house must be neat and organized before their Father comes home, and the list goes on.

It was a second household law for them to be resourceful and creative. To ask for something wanted ,not needed, meant to earn it and deserve it.Otherwise, she and her sisters had to make the most of what they had during those times when they were growing  up in  the economic remnants  of the 2nd World War.It was how they were trained to help their father who was always assigned elsewhere to serve our country thru the U.S Army.

At a tender age from 7  up to 9 years old, she learned to help her mother sell homemade “maruya” ( a banana delicacy) and ” tapioca“,among other food items by a railroad track in Fort Mckinley , Rizal ,where a train filled with soldiers and locals pass by everyday.What she earned, she would keep in her piggy bank,to use for her school needs  when War would be over.

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A pre-World War 2 photo of my late mother with her mother and sisters.(L-R) my mother , Anita,aged between 3-4 yrs.old; the late Teresita or `Tita Tesing’,Quezon City-based  Emerita or `Ninang` as we call her, and their eldest sister,now US-based Leonida or `Auntie Leonie`

She always told me and my own siblings about how Filipinos starved  and died of hunger and  of  diseases  and malnutrition  during Japanese Occupation  of our country in WW2.

While her three older sisters were among those  youth enlisted by the Japanese troops  to work under ‘forced labor’  in a nearby camp during  daytime , my  mother  was spared by her young age, and stayed at home with her youngest sister to help my grandmother.

They hardly cooked every  ‘small can of rice’ her older sisters earned each day. Instead, they kept it for the worst times, and for their Father’s homecoming. Their daily meals were vegetables and beans. Fruits, fish or meat were scarce. Their daily ration of U.S. corned beef,sausages, flour,butter and milk temporarily stopped at the height of the War.

This was, according to my  mother, how she learned to “ extend the life” of each meal to suffice for every family member . Her  eventual culinary expertise,including her impressive German pot Roast , potato salad  and meat dishes,  stemmed from such trying moments.

Their darkest times as a family  happened when her father was imprisoned  and tortured and among those 80,000 soldiers who were forced by the Japanese  to join the infamous Bataan Death March in 1942.

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My late maternal grandfather,U.S. Army   Major Juan ‘Johnnie’ Tambanillo EScamos

But her family’s  deeply-religious faith, with their resourcefulness  and ” a lot of common sense” , helped them survive. She told me how they never experienced looking shabby despite the poverty brought by the War.

On late nights,they painstakingly shredded her father’s old Army socks, and used the shreds as thread to sew and make their dresses from the yards of cloth that  a  love-struck , young and  good-natured Japanese officer kept giving her older and teenage  sister as a gift each time he visited their house. He left for Japan as their troops retreated, leaving a Japanese-English translation book to my Mommy as token of their friendship. My mother said it was the kind heart of that officer that prevented her from hating all Japanese.

I vividly remember her telling me, with a smile,how she –at age 9–loved to write and read despite the absence of any pencil, paper or books which the  Japanese troops confiscated from schools they had raided. My mother and her young friends used fresh “gabi” and  banana leaves and  sticks or twigs   for writing. They played games about their past lessons to keep these in their memory,at least until war would be over.

This was the experience that has drawn out  her artistic nature which she eventually formalized with a Fine Arts Major from  the University of Santo Tomas, alongside her AB Philosophy degree, which she both finished with Honors.

Students were forcibly made to learn Japanese subjects, including Nihonggo which my mother hated. She said she made sure to bite her tongue and refused to open her lips whenever they were made to sing a Japanese song.

She was too young to realize her own patriotism” burning in her soul,”as she said.

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Mommy,then newly-married,in a stolen  shot taken by  Dad. (early 1960s,Fabrica)

Her suppressed nationalistic inclination was eventually expressed in her piano-playing and her passion to write.

She nurtured her  passion for reading (which became our  family habit,especially on lazy afternoons, or after dinner or before sleeping) and perhaps, a ‘certain degree of addiction’ to English crosswords. Never a day passed without her doing the crossword at any given time.

My grandfather escaped the Death March and made it back to his family. But my mother’s eldest brother, Uncle Eli , died from the  Japanese soldiers’ bullets buried on his chest, for covering his friend, another Filipino soldier-officer, who survived.

This was another bitter life experience that made my mother decide to be a doctor. She eventually finished her second degree, in Dentistry, at the University of the East, as a University  scholar and  was among the Top 3 in the  Dean’s List.

It was in U.E.  when she met my father, Dr.Oscar D. Gacuma, her first and only boyfriend whom she eventually married in 1958.She turned  her back on a promising profession as a Dentist and declined an offer from the International Red Cross abroad, to devote her time as a mother  and wife.

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My mother (extreme right) and her sibings with their parents,U.S.Army Major Juan Tambanillo Escamos and Mrs.Elvira  Alonso Escamos.Her sisters were (L-R) Isabel, Emerita Teresita and Leonida.

In a home managed by her highly-conservative mother, she grew up accustomed to the so-called “old school of thought” where it was a household law to maintain modesty in words and actions ,whether in private or public.These were “household laws” handed down to my own generation and even to the next  (among my 3 girls now).

My mother gently reproached us, as kids, with the Elton Camp poem ,saying  “Elbows on the  table were a crime…and not permitted at any time.” This line evolved as we grew up to a simple reminder of “ Elbows off the table, please.”

As a mother, she had a keen eye on propriety, ethics, etiquettes and manners. It was not in a puritan or obliging manner.It was more of her own way of packaging self-respect and present it to the eye of society.

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Yaya Puping with my late older brother. manong Oggie

She and my father also imposed the  use of English as ”mother tongue” in the household , not even our  then-unschooled nanny named, Puping, could escape! The imperfections in Puping’s grammar and her daily conversations with my Mom and Dad are now among favorite household anecdotes.

However, it was my mother who patiently taught Puping how to read and write, until our nanny finished a basic culinary crash-course that changed her life, when she finally had a family of her own, which Puping raised single-handedly thru  her small baking business in the latter years.

Memories about my mother will always lie deeply buried in my heart and mind. She will always remain a revered person, quiet and shy as she was.

To write about her silent achievements is a tribute to her not of words, but of love. Mommy and I  may had bonded, argued, cried, laughed,shared Crosswords, whispered secrets to each other and shared most chores and decisions in life , but her conservative Tagalog nature of not being physically expressive, unlike my Dad , made us feel subservient to her and got used to it.

Her hugs were rare but meaningful.To us children, it was like a Grand Prize for something good we did.She would always kiss us but  only on our foreheads. I grew up always having that arm’s-length feeling about wanting to embrace her everytime i wanted to, without the funny feeling of like stepping intrusively into someone’s sacred ground. I surmised it must be deep respect for her as a person that gave me that feeling.

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Mommy at about 42 yrs. old, 1977

As a budding teenager, I would not have learned how to deal with the growing pains hadn’t she  guided me with her letters and wise counsel, with never-ending emphasis on strength of character and reverence for God. One would never get tired of repeatedly reading her letters also because of her beautiful,disciplined handwriting that were, most often than  not, devoid of mistakes.

A man can only go as far as a woman would allow him’” Never make the first move if you like a man. A sincere man will always find a way to let you know once he likes you back.”…..“Never let the sun set on a quarrel”…. “A mother’s prayer is the sweetest music to God’s listening ears.”

These, i suppose, were her wisest counsel to me along the years. She loved to quote  poets, philosophers, icons and the Holy Bible in her advice.Before she passed away  last June of 2007, our last meeting was the culmination of all that I wanted to know and feel.She was seated on her wheelchair, which bound her for almost 2 years due to diabetes complications.

I was kneeling in front of her, cutting her toenails, when she suddenly embraced me so tight and with tears streaming down her face, she kept repeating how much she loved me and trusted me so much!

There we were,both crying as I vowed to her that I would live up to what she raised me for.

For the first time, I heard her ask for forgiveness,for her shortcomings as a mother and as a person and I asked her the same. She entrusted to me all that she valued, which I took as a gesture of the trust she professed. It was a beautiful moment  which I will always treasure beyond any biological connection I have with her.

Few days later,my mother fell into coma and passed away.Only her beautiful memory will now remain.

I love you so much,Mommy. I am always proud to be your daughter.