Tuesday, December 14, 2004

A Tale of Two Leaders: Gloria and Chris

* from a point of view of a Filipina Hong Kong Resident

I gave up my teaching job in Tuen Mun, New Territories, HK, to manage a Chinese antique gift shop in the Peak as it offered me a better salary. Though, it was a tiring job, I enjoyed it a lot as I was able to meet friends and people from all walks of life and of different nationalities. The Peak in Hong Kong, is a tourist destination with class and as expected it is just common for well known people to be seen there especially during the night hours. Way back in 1997 before the handover, I happenned to meet Gloria and Chris. Let me narrate to you my encounters with them, Gloria, the then VP of the Philippines and Chris Patten, the then Governor of Hong Kong.

It was 9:30 in the evening when 2 men wearing black suits entered the shop. They stopped and talked about the antique chinese sword displayed on the wall. "Ang mahal naman twenty thousand dollars!" They tried to calculate how much it will be in pesos. Then I said: "pwede hong tumawad." They both turned their heads and with amazement said:"Filipina ka?" (obvious ba?) "kala namin Chinese ka!" They then introduced themselves and highlighted that they were there with the Philippine Delegation that included the VP. "Andon sya sa tapat with Mr. A..., tawagin namin, sabihin namin may Filipina dito." As all our shops are glass walled, I looked in front and saw that woman as she was approached by the men in black. God knows, how her reaction was. And to think that she was the VP. In a few minutes, the men came back profusely saying "pasensya na!"
Now, whenever I see her in the newspaper and television, I cringe. How can she manage to shake the hands of the poor? Am I hallucinating?
I don't know, maybe she really is a good leader for her to be elected for the highest position. I cannot say reelected.
But upon contemplation, I can say Gloria, the leader is remarkable. Hurray!

It was 5:00 in the afternoon, when two Chinese men entered the shop. They inspected every corners of the shop, picked up some items, returned them in place, smiled at me, waved goodbye and then left. Puzzled, I just nodded my head in approval. I thought maybe something will happen. After an hour, a parade of men and women in formal clothes passed by. I went to the door in time for me to see the two men who inspected the shop with a beaming Chris Patten. As I smiled too, he stopped and shook my hands, and said: "how are you today?", then continued walking with the rest of the entourage. Oh my God! I felt I was dreaming that time.
Chris Patten, the last Governor of Hong Kong, now a very distinguished person in Europe, stopped just to shake hands with an ordinary woman. I could not believe it!

How do we measure the greatness of a leader? Is it because of personal encounters that we make our own judgement of them? Is it on the way they treat ordinary people?
Or is it in the way she/he makes her/his country be respected in the international community?

I am not so sureof my own answers. Help me with my conclusions.

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