Wenceslao: The year that was

Bong O. Wenceslao
·2 min read

WHEN I retired from full-time journalism work in 2019, I already mapped out the path I would take with my loss of regular income. I am old, but that does not mean I could not be productive. So on the first few months after I retired, I supported a candidate of my choosing, and was glad that he won.

Politics is not really my cup of tea. Public service is. “Serve the people” is a motto I am not about to let go of even if I am no longer with the progressive movement. But politics and governance are important functions. So I prepared myself to join the bureaucracy this year. I just don’t know how to play the game of politics.

But while I dabble in Marxism, I grew up embracing the tenets of the idealist philosophy. Belief in fate, for one, is something I could not dispense with. I was frustrated, true, that I could not get a position in the government bureaucracy. But when the Covid-19 pandemic happened, I thought that failure could actually be a blessing in disguise. The setup allowed me to spend a big chunk of my time home where it was safer.

But staying home means you still have to look for a source of income to be able to survive, especially if you have a wife and two children. Good that I was able to set up a sari-sari store but that surely wasn’t enough. Soon, our savings dwindled. Most of my time this year was spent looking for ways to augment our dwindling finances.

And this even as you are concerned with the family’s safety. This is one balancing act that I thought I would no longer be dealing with after going back to the mainstream of society. This is a balancing act I was familiar with when I was still in the underground.

So the year that was was about those lockdowns and protocols and the effort spent to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. Everything throughout the world was focused on that. it was about continuing to lead lives as normal as possible while being concerned with your safety. It was therefore a year like no other.