To Kiss Or Not To Kiss

I like kissing a lot. I like kissing all my relatives hello and goodbye at various parties. Never even thought twice about it after the SARS pandemic started hogging headlines. But after Paulo Ordoveza wrote about relatives who no longer kiss nor shake hands, I dunno....

Even at church when we sing the Ama Namin, you'll notice some folks nervously keeping their upturned palms to themselves lest their seatmate clutch their hand. In the past, you might simply brand them as shy. But nowadays, I dunno....

Peace be with you's used to be delivered with a kiss or a handshake. That turned into the more popular muttering of pispispispispis. Now it's turning into a silent nod, eyes staring at the spaces between people's heads, neither really seeing nor truly being seen.

I guess SARS has already infected quite a number of Filipinos. If not in body, then in spirit. Thankfully, there are Pinoys who are strong.

This afternoon over AM radio, I heard this young man express his frustration over how our health officials are more concerned with pogi points than with solving the problems brought by SARS. He sounded quite alarmist.

On the other hand, there was this older-sounding gentleman who said that the Philippines has seen its share of patients sick with atypical pneumonia as far back as the 1970s, and shared how his two kids survived. It's nothing really new, he added.

And what about the fact that no effective vaccine can be developed in time given the mutations of the SARS virus, plus the woeful news about the N95 mask shortage? Tatang simply said: Pray.

No more kissing, plus more praying. I hope my relatives won't miss my warm presence too much. Hehehe...

(Okay, okay... make that less kissing. Mwah, mwah, mmmmwahhhh!)

[ First posted on 04/23/2003 by Manuel Viloria ]



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