Saturday, March 04, 2006

Shortly after finishing class at Baliuag Unversity, I quickly grabbed some lunch and decided to head back home. When I arrived at the Baliuag bus terminal, I quite surprised to see an armoured personnel carrier parked right in front of the busses. About 20, heavily armed foot soliders seemed to be marking off the bus area, while others were questioning the nearby passengers at the pessenger waiting area. And still other soliders were walking around inspecting the ticketing office and parking lot area, thoroughly inspecting the terminal for? ... I don't really know what? When I inquired, one of the uniformed men simply said to me "sorry sir, that's confidential." Surprised? yes. Unexpected? No, situations like is not uncommon these past few days.

On Friday 24th of February, Philippino President, Gloria Arroyo put into practice "Proclamation 1017" and declared a state of National Emergency throughout the Philippines. Within minutes, the police raided and shut down "The Daily Tribune". The Publisher was quickly arrested, along with another high ranking military general, a top police chief, and some high profile Congreesman. They were all quickly and effectively rouned up and placed under house arrest, pending further investigations. That was a few days ago, and now I guess things are carming down again.

In the past, events like these had me worried. But after having lived in Asia for well over 10 years, and after experiencing military coups, instability, bomb treats and the like - its certainly nothing worth fretting about. For me, I guess it doesn't really matter who's in power or who's got more guns - my friends, at times like these, you just have to put up and shut up.

I remember in July 1997, during the Coup-detat in Phnom Penh between the forces of Ranariddh and Hun Sen, our eyes and ears was fixed on CNN, BBC Broadcasting and the like. We were fearful and thought that the end was comming, but fortunately the end never came. At least not for me yet. Looking back, it didn't really do much good except to cause you a lot of stress and anxiety. By all means you should try to keep up with the latest news, but sometimes when you're in the thick of things, you instinctively seem to know what you need to be doing anyway.

I guess I disagree with popular beliefs that trouble, war, suffering, famine and hopelesness are bad things that one should avoid. My experience is that they help purify and refine the soul, and ultimately remind us who's in charge. Ultimately, when your soul is silent. When you realize that your flesh will rot and your bones wither; and on that day when your heart acknowledges that your time has come, and you see the light of the sun begining to fade into darkness. On that day you will know Him who is here, and has always being here beside you; and you will nolonger fear:

The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Psalm 23:1-5