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Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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Sanchez: Everlasting Words

Nature Speaks

I REMEMBER the lyrics of the Bee Gees song “Words.” And it goes this way:

Talk in everlasting words

And dedicate them all to me

And I will give you all my life

I’m here if you should call to me

I daresay the Bee Gees are right: “Talk in everlasting words, and dedicate them all to me.” Whenever I’m abroad and introduce myself as a Filipino, foreign colleagues will try to find a connection and the words they can manage to remember about the Philippines is Imelda Marcos’s 1,000 shoes.

And now they have words that I predict will go viral in the coming decade.

Nope, it will not be José Rizal’s words, “The youth is the hope of the nation.”

Nor will it be Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon’s words, “I would rather have a government run like hell by Filipinos than a government run like heaven by Americans.” Or Ferdinand Marcos’s “This Nation will be great again,” or Cory Aquino’s “Unsheathe the sword of war.”

No, this time the world will remember words of a different kind: The UK’s Daily Mail blared an embarrassing headline: “Philippine President Duterte boasts about the size of his penis and claims he is ‘highly-equipped’ thanks to his father in latest bizarre speech.”

The Brainy Quote website has this caveat about his words. “I need to control my mouth.” Rodrigo Duterte. Or how about this? “Sometimes, my mouth can get the better of me.”

These words sent 16 million Filipinos who voted for him: “I will ask the Navy to bring me to the nearest point in South China Sea that is tolerable to them and I will ride a jet ski. I will carry a flag and when I reach Spratlys, I will erect the Filipino flag. I will tell them (Chinese), Suntukan o barilan?”

Then we can Google his sexist remarks that riled feminists: “Tingin ako sa langit, sabi ko, ‘Lord sana ‘yung mga pangit lang ang namatay na. Ang magaganda huwag sana. Sabi ni Lord, ‘Okay lang.’”

Or that quip about an Australian missionary who was raped and killed. “She was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a waste.”

And then his words on human rights. Noting that Hitler had murdered millions of Jews, Duterte said, “There are 3 million drug addicts (in the Philippines). I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

Christians will always remember him: “Who is this stupid God?,” Duterte criticized the Biblical story of creation and Adam and Eve being thrown out of the Garden of Eden after they ate the “forbidden fruit.”

How about this presidential joke which got the goat of Filipino nationalists on Filipino-Chinese relations: “Kung gusto ‘nyo, gawin ‘nyo na lang kaming province, parang Fujian (If you want, just make us a province, like Fujian).”


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