‘Merry Christmas (I don’t want to fight tonight)’

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    ‘And in 2020 the unrepentant Scrooge is the criminally-negligent bureaucrat who failed to protect the citizenry from the rampaging SARS-CoV-2.’

    IF they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” [A Christmas Carol In Prose Being A Ghost Story Of Christmas By Charles Dickens]

    And in 2020 the unrepentant Scrooge is the criminally-negligent bureaucrat who failed to protect the citizenry from the rampaging SARS-CoV-2. Meanwhile, the real Grinch who stole Christmas lives here: 30°22′35″N 114°15′45″E. Their combined effect:

    “Unemployment and impoverishment rates are rising in the region as a result of COVID-19. Preliminary projections indicate an additional 8 million and 3 million individuals will either be unemployed or impoverished in Indonesia and the Philippines, respectively, due to the pandemic (World Bank 2020b)… Unemployment in the Philippines is expected to rise to 6.2 percent in 2020, up from 5.1 percent in 2019: implying an additional 1 million projected to be unemployed. In addition, declining economic growth is projected to push an additional 5 million below the poverty line in Indonesia, and 2 million in the Philippines.” [https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/34572]

    As Earthlings hunker down in this dystopia, the godless Grinch is busy addressing the Climate Ambition Summit and the kallikantzaroi are active in the Malay world: “Jemaah Islamiah has also been making moves to court various political parties in Indonesia and the Philippines as part of its strategy to achieve an Islamic caliphate encompassing Indonesia and Mindanao island in southern Philippines. Mindanao is home to several militant groups, including the notorious Abu Sayyaf group, which is known for beheading its kidnapped hostages.” [https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3113648/us-still-target-indonesias-arrest-jemaah-islamiah-terrorist]

    Then there is Álfablót (Elf Sacrifice): “More than 1 billion students in almost every country have been impacted by school closures; and 1 in 6 young people worldwide have lost their jobs during the pandemic.” [https://www.who.int/director-general/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19—14-december-2020]

    Or is it Dísablót (sacrifice to the dísir)? “The difference between people in rich countries getting vaccinated and the lack of any vaccines for the developing world will become quite stark,” said Anna Marriott, health policy manager at Oxfam. “And it will only prolong the pandemic.” [https://apnews.com/article/poorer-countries-coronavirus-vaccine-0980fa905b6e1ce2f14a149cd2c438cd]

    Be that as it may, keep Knecht Ruprecht to the side, welcome the Christ Child and hope that every kid gets a gift. How about a children’s activity book? Entitled “What Can You Do About COVID-19?” it can help parents and younglings understand this pandemic using simple explanations and engaging activities, according to Regina Layug-Rosero, Communications Officer at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). You can download it here: https://msf-seasia.org/Childrens-Activity-Book.

    It is the Season of Ruklaus (Rough Claus) and Aschenklaus (Ashy Claus). Please go ahead and clobber the profiteers, the corrupt and the narcissists (particularly the jutul who infest UP Manila).

    Yes! “Keep the Christ in Christmas.” The One in Revelation 19:11-16: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war…And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God…And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on [his] vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.”

    Yes! Welcome the Arrival: Rare ‘Christmas Star’ To Light Up Night Sky For First Time In Hundreds Of Years. “Just after sunset on the evening of Dec. 21, Jupiter and Saturn will appear closer together in Earth’s night sky than they have been since the Middle Ages, offering people the world over a celestial treat to ring in the winter solstice.”

    [http://news.rice.edu/2020/11/19/christmas-week-worlds-will-align-for-spectacular-heavenly-sight-2/] “This event is called a “great conjunction.” These occur every 20 years this century as the orbits of Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn periodically align making these two outer planets appear close together in our nighttime sky…The 21st is also the date of the December solstice, which is the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. On the December solstice, the Sun reaches its southernmost position in the sky, no matter where on Earth you happen to be.”

    [https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/resources/2567/whats-up-december-2020-video/]
    Keep watching the skies and stay in cyberspace. Visit the Virtual Art Gallery: https://www.artsteps.com/view/5f871e2de02a6316b7e5d243. This is an art exhibition for a cause by the International Honor Society Phi Kappa Phi (Chapter 045 Philippines) and Balangay Artists Association, featuring (among others) Malaya Roxanne Santos and her “Nakalipas” (Acrylic on Canvas, 24 x 18 inches, 2020): “The busy world as we know it stopped for a while at the onset of the pandemic. As most people where caught in a lockdown, there seemed to be a sense of timelessness. Without modern technology like cars on the road, commercial establishments and other modern comforts we take for granted, Philippine society in particular (symbolized by the woman wearing colors of the Philippine flag) seemed like a blast from the past as one walks on the empty streets. Surreal.”

    [https://www.facebook.com/BalangayArtistsAssociationPH/photos/pcb.119243503337683/119243166671050/?type=3&theater]

    The International Honor Society Phi Kappa Phi and the Balangay Artists Association hope for your kind support as a portion of this exhibit will be shared to aid the victims of Typhoon Ulysses and to provide art materials and financial support for the scholars of the UP College of Fine Arts.

    “I love you and you love me, And that’s the way it’s got to be, Why have we been torn apart, Cause Christmas ain’t the time for breaking each other’s hearts” – The Ramones