Sunday, August 2, 2009

a yellow tribute

For the people of the Philippines, the song "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Old Oak Tree" (composed by Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown) is a meaningful one.

"Tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree,
It's been three long years, do you still want me?"

It was the theme song that marked the return of Filipino national hero Ninoy Aquino (Ferdinand Marcos's political opponent) to the Philippines in 1983, after three years of exile in the US. As a welcome sign, yellow ribbons were scattered along the streets of Manila by his supporters. But upon his arrival – just as he was stepping off the plane – he was brutally murdered. For a long time, we Filipinos endured the shocking image of Ninoy, our hero, slumped and bloodied on the airport tarmac, in our minds. (While the soldiers who assassinated him were sentenced to jail in 1990 after the ouster of Marcos, the mastermind remains unnamed and unpunished to this day.)

His wife, Cory (below), empowered by the Filipinos who were clamoring for change, continued her husband's fight against the tyranny of the Marcos dictatorship. The yellow ribbon, as well as the yellow color, became the symbols of her campaign. After leading the first non-violent revolution in 1986 (called the People Power Revolution), she became the first female president of the Philippines and served the country up to 1992.

Yesterday, August 1, 2009, our beloved Cory Aquino succumbed to colon cancer. Like millions of Filipinos, I am deeply saddened. Under her leadership, we Filipinos learned the real meaning of democracy, and how it felt to be free from military rule, free from fear. We will forever be grateful for this most priceless legacy.

Maraming Salamat, Cory!

(Top) The yellow-colored Bearbrick with a medal was created by Medicom Toys to commemorate the 100th year of the Teddy Bear (1902-2002). Did you know that this stuffed toy was named after former American president Theodore Roosevelt? Read about it here.

Bearbrick pic by yours truly. Cory pic from the blog, Stray Cat in the City