Marites Dañguilan VitugCome to think of it. Probably the word I’ve used most this year is like. I’ve clicked it perhaps a thousand times and often used it to tell friends to “like” a post on Facebook.
Others have equally overused this word—as in the ads of restaurants, shops, and products which urge us to “like” them on Facebook. “Like,” the verb, has become a command!
This thought occurred to me as I look back at the past 300-plus days, reviewing the year, remembering its images and their accompanying emotions. It’s incredible that 2012 seemed to zip by so fast and, today, we’re on the eve of a new year, a new timeline in our lives.
Here’s an assorted list of stories I liked this year, in no particular order. But “like” can be nuanced. It can mean empathy, approval, applause, cheers, support, agreement. So “like” takes on a number of meanings and the one common thread is: I was able to connect to something, with each one tugging at my heart in a different way.
- Kabang, the hero street dog, who jumped in front of a speeding motorcycle to save the lives of 2 girls (her daughter’s owner and niece) but, as a result, lost her upper jaw. Hers is an uplifting story of love and loyalty. Awaiting her full treatment in the University of California in Davis.
- Like a virus, Gangnam Style caught up with everyone—from heads of states (Obama, Aquino) to CEOs (Ernest Cu of Globe) to soldiers (British troops in Afghanistan). It’s an amazing phenomenon that has propelled Korean pop star Psy to global fame. A great equalizer, it makes all of us dance and jump with verve and energy.
- The fall of Lance Armstrong is the ultimate cautionary tale for all. His sensational cycling championships were based an enterprise of deceit and fraud. The story of his unravelling is gripping and memorable.
- The saga of the RH and sin tax bills—which took more than a decade before they became laws—shows that our country is changing. Our leaders are listening to the voice of the people rather than to a few vested interests. The next chapter, the implementation of these laws, will be the stuff to watch in 2013.
- When Jesse Robredo died, the outpouring of emotions spoke volumes about the need for role models, the deep aspiration for clean and honest governance. This sad moment sent a message to our public officials and politicians which, I hope, will still reverberate in next year’s elections.
- The impeachment and conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona tested our institutions, which were able to withstand the tremors of this historic process. Some reforms have taken place in the judiciary after this momentous event. But are they irreversible? Let’s keep watching.
- The abrupt end of Gen. David Petraeus’s career—he resigned as CIA chief after his affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, was exposed—is not the kind of story to happen in the Philippines or France. But it shows how, in the US, public office is seriously vested with public trust that any disgrace is unacceptable. The only option is to step down.
- The champion NGO that helped a big number of victims of human trafficking in the country, the Visayan Forum (VF), was found to have misused funds—over P210 million—given by the US Agency for International Development. The darling of donors, VF head Cecilia Oebanda was once the globe-trotting showcase of success. This tale turned tragic with the discovery of fraud. Another cautionary tale.
- Pablo wrought so much damage to parts many of us have never been to, to a town like New Bataan which lost hundreds of its residents, several still unburied, now open targets for vultures. How does one write obituaries for all those who perished, hapless victims of nature’s force? I can never know the grief felt by those they left behind. But, surely, there must be some way to reduce the tragic scale of this disaster, through needed infrastructure and early attempts to mitigate it.
- Malala Yousafzai is the 15-year old Pakistani who the Taliban tried to murder because she spoke up against them, insisting on her right to go to school despite their prohibition of girls in the classroom. She is recuperating from the gunshot wounds in her head and neck in a hospital in the UK and is “walking, writing, and reading again.” Her courage is awesome; she inspires us all.
As the last day of 2012 gives way to a brand-new year, I’ll file these in my folder of memories and make space for more. What stories will 2013 bring? I wait with bated breath. - Rappler.com