Bizarre that this row is the outcome of one fisherman row-rowing his boat and, perhaps, as the song goes, gently too. But how come such gentle rowing was met with ferocious fire?
Was it a couple of years ago? I’m not sure when it was exactly. But a former colleague and close friend called to ask what’s best to wear to a brief meeting and dinner with President Ma of Taiwan. I was stunned. Did I hear correctly? I processed the information in my head. My god, meeting a President of a foreign shore? I glanced at the registered name on the phone screen. Yes, I know this person. When I finally found my voice, I gushed. You’d think I was the one going.
Anyway. On his return, I quizzed him dry for everything about the meeting. The impression was President Ma was a gracious and kind host. A highly-educated person. This friend is a non-diplomat but accordingly the reception accorded them was exceptional. Noting that my friend is Filipino, the President briefly mentioned the Filipino community there. He was appreciative of their presence and contribution.
So when President Ma went 360 degrees against this country and seemingly closed to the peace offerings of its highest leader and representatives, I was confused. I thought he looked favorably at Filipinos and the Philippines, did he? What happened between then and now? What changed his attitude?
I guess when your countryman, one senior citizen at that, is mercilessly shot by the very people you consider as friends, you are shocked. Bewildered. You feel betrayed. Those of us who have been betrayed by friends and loved ones know how it is. What follows is a natural volition toward anger, wrath even, because how could a friend not have shown mercy? Why did they have to shoot and kill? Besides this is one old fisherman who probably has no inkling if he’s crossing a country’s border or not. How?
I guess the Philippines in this instance has overdone itself. You don’t shoot to kill one senior citizen armed with fishing gear and paddles, regardless of whose waters he is in. Was the coastguard drunk that he saw a navy instead of one old person? Was he taking out his frustration at the bigger frenemy (China) on this small fish-laden boat? What would we feel if Filipino fishermen were summarily fired at and killed trespassing – probably unintentionally – into Malaysia and other nearby territories? What did we feel when domestic workers were abused to their death on foreign shores? Yes, the general rule is ‘trespassers beware’ but common sense and prudence will guide the property owner on the best action to make given the circumstances.
Why didn’t this coastguard just warned the fisherman and when unheeded take him in alive perhaps for deportation? But shooting him dead? At a time when this country is not seeing eye to eye with China? It’s so stupid! Irresponsible! Like detonating a bomb right under our noses! Twisting the knife into the wound. Dragging as a result 100M Filipinos to the edge of a cliff, probably war! Or economic fall out! F**k!
This coastguard in the words of Grey and to satisfy twitchy palms should be fettered and spanked without room for safe words!