A Christmas Message to Trump
      The Lechon Kid * The Holocaust Maiden
eastwind journals
By Bernie V. Lopez
A Christmas Message to Trump
If you leave a deadly snake alone, it won’t bite.
Everybody is ganging up on North Korea for creating ICBMs now capable of reaching continental USA, causing panic worldwide. But did anyone, for a moment, ask if we are all wrong in the approach to deal with Nokor brinkmanship? Trump should ask himself if he is causing the problem rather than finding a solution.
The million dollar question – would Nokor not have developed ICBMs today if the US pulled out of South Korea a decade ago? You have a gun, I get a gun. You have a bigger gun. I get a bigger gun. It is a never-ending vicious cycle of escalation by the determined bully and the defiant bullied until it explodes on all our faces.
If the US pulls out its South Korean bases with its ‘defense’ missiles, which it will never do, Nokor would think twice to make ICBMs, which are not meant for South Korea or Japan. They are meant for the USA. The US policy since Hiroshima and Nagasaki has always been from a position of superiority because they were successful in ending World War II. Let the small fries cower, OR ELSE. But this time their OR ELSE falls on deaf ears. This time, the US may ironically trigger World War III. That is the Nokor dilemma. The US will never pull out of South Korea. Nokor will never stop the ICBM program, which is in reply to US presence. So let’s all get ready for World War III. Nokor may never concede even if the sanctions are quadrupled, even if it is obliterated, but it will take down with it the entire planet. It is suicidal for both the USA and Nokor.
God can permit World War III to happen the way he permitted World Wars I and II. He sent floods in Noah’s time, fires in Sodom and Gomorrha, the destruction of the twin towers of Babel and 9/11. The Nokor impasse has the imprint of a Biblical cataclysm. All this is related to our becoming arrogant and ignoring Him. The love principle, which speaks of bread as a response to a stone, is somehow the approach to a solution to the Nokor impasse, not threats, intimidations, sanctions. But will it ever happen, or are we doomed? This is the Christmas message to the world and to the USA. Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com


Inspired by a true character in Blumentritt
An excerpt from the book Ten Wisdoms of the Lord’s Prayer

By Bernie V. Lopez
Lechon (roast pig) is a traditional Filipino Christmas delicacy. Blumentritt is the lechon capital of Metro-Manila. The 50-odd stalls in an eight-block area sell an average of 300 to 400 lechons on a none-Christmas day. That’s about 1.5 million pesos gross a day, not bad for a strange place where affluence and poverty see each other eyeball-to-eyeball. One Christmas season, a spiritual event descends on Blumentritt. Richard is the Lord’s courier to send His Christmas tidings to all, rich and poor, as to the shepherds and kings in Bethlehem.
Richard has no family, no home. He lives alone underneath a small bridge.Wherever you are, Richard, God bless you.
When there is a storm, he quickly gathers his things into a plastic bag before the flood would come. He would run to the priest in a nearby church to take him in. After the storm, he is back to restore his cozy home. The priest offered a tiny space in a storage room. He refused. He treasured his privacy more. The police would come regularly to shoo him away, as living under a bridge is dangerous. But he would be back after a few days with the priest. The police finally got tired of shooing him away.

The priest gives him a plate of hot steaming rice for breakfast daily. At break of day, Richard roams the lechon stalls, clutching his plastic plate of steaming rice. By that time, the pigs which are being roasted since 3 to 4 a.m. are hot and ready for the first buyers. At Mang Kiko’s stall, five lechons are standing vertically on bamboo poles, leaning against the wall, deep red-brown, glistening like sports cars.
Richard places his plate of rice underneath the biggest and lets the oil from the lechon drip to his plate. Mang Kiko knows Richard and ignores him. After 15 minutes and 20 drips, he takes his plate, puts some patis (liquid fish salt) from the table, goes out, and starts to eat with bare dirty hands on the sidewalk, standing. When he finishes, he goes to Mang Kiko, wipes his hand clean, places it on his forehead, saying, “God bless you, Mang Kiko”. Mang Kiko would shoo him away. It is Richard’s way of thanking people.
At mid-day, he has a plan on how to get lunch. He spots a new egg vendor. So he pretends to limp exaggeratedly towards the woman vendor and just stands there in front of her, hoping to get some sympathy. The woman vendor stares at him. He does not even put his palm out. He just stands there and smiles, irresistible to any decent soul, and he knows it. Finally, the woman gives her two salted eggs. He jumps with joy and hugs her, who quickly pries herself loose from his dirty grasp.
Richard – My name’s Richard. What’s yours?
Aling Fely – Fely. Okay, just go.
Richard – God bless you, Aling Fely.
Aling Fely – I know you’re not lame. Stop pretending.
Richard – I know you know. I was trying to be funny.
Aling Fely – Get out of here.
He puts his hand on her forehead, giving her a God-bless-you, and she yanks it away. Next, he goes over to a sidewalk mini-eatery. A mother and son are just standing up after eating. Richard quickly grabs the left over rice from their two plates and puts it in a plastic bag from his pocket. Nobody notices. He goes over to the eatery owner and gives her a God-bless-you before she shoos him away. Outside a dirty barbershop, he sits on a bench. He peels the two salted eggs, puts them in the plastic bag together with the rice, and pounds the bag against the wall – a feast with bare unwashed hands.
After resting a bit, he goes over to the coconut juice vendor, and drinks left over juice from two plastic cups before they are thrown into the garbage. He puts the empty cups on like slippers, and hangs on the rear railing of a passenger jeepney, and as it moves away, he slides on the pavement, using the cups as his ‘skis’ – ingenious but noisy. He ignores people shouting at him to get off. The burly coconut juice vendor picks him up with one hand. Before he leaves, he gives the coconut vendor his God-bless-you.
In the evening, Richard stalks another lechon stall, the biggest in the area, which displays as many as a dozen lechons at any given time. Hiding within the forest of lechons, he takes a pair of mini-scissors from his pocket and cuts off two 6-inch pig tails of lechon. Aling Donna, the owner, sees him at the corner of her eye but pretends she does not. Richard goes over to her and gives her a God-bless-you hug, for which he is rewarded a plate of rice. That is one sumptuous dinner, two 6-inch pig tails on rice. The next day, after his breakfast of lechon fat on rice, Mang Kiko confronts him.
Mang Kiko – Hey Richard. Do you know I sold ten lechons yesterday? That’s a record. As soon as you left, a lady bought all five lechons. So, I ordered five more which were all sold before noon.
Richard – That’s because I told God to bless you. You give to me, He gives to you. Haha.
Mang Kiko -I give you twenty drips of lechon fat and He gives me P12,000 income in one day? That’s a bit lopsided.
Richard – You don’t know Him. He didn’t take up Accounting. He’s poor in Math. As long as you give, He gives back more than you give. You better believe it, (proudly) God gave to you because I asked him.
Mang Kiko – Maybe so. (Richard begins to leave.) Hey, hey, bless me first.
Richard puts a hand on Mang Kiko’s forehead and blesses him. Onlookers begin to laugh. Next day, Mang Kiko sells 14 lechons. Richard’s God-bless-you image yielding big income spreads like wildfire. He is giving God-bless-you’s to vendors left and right. The mini-eatery quadruples its income. The juice vendor sells a record 44 coconuts instead of the usual 15. Aling Fely quintuples her egg sales and is now diversifying into balut (fertilized duck’s egg). Aling Donna, the lechon tycoon, sells a staggering 46 in one day. Mysteriously, buyers are coming from nowhere. Richard is getting fat, eating all the lechon he can, no longer drips or tails, but the real McCoy.
The Lord moves in strange ways to inspire, to sanctify, to bless. Especially during Christmas, you may bump into Him in the nooks and crevices of everyday life, among poor street kids and rich street vendors. He blesses the poor to sanctify the rich. Such was the role of Richard, the gentle-hearted, the God-bless-you kid, The Lechon Kid of Blumentritt. Bernie V. Lopez eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
An excerpt from the book Ten Wisdoms of the Lord’s Prayer
Send this book as a Christmas give to friends anywhare in the Philippines at the click of a mouse.
A collection of 50 mostly true-to-life stories. For only 400 pesos, includes shipping cost. No muss, no fuss, no shopping. For the US/EU, US$30. To order, simply send an email to eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com. Another book by the same author, Wings and Wanderlust, his adventure hitchhiking in Europe for 3 years, also 400 pesos. Both books 750 pesos, or $55.


A True Story
At a tender age, Ruth and her parents, together with thousands of other Jews, were rounded up into the Warsaw Ghetto, living like pigs in a giant sty with very little food. The SS planned them to be ransomed by the world Jewry to raise $2 million dollars to finance the invasion of Russia. A Christian family smuggled Ruth out of the Ghetto by simply putting her in a coffin, which was thrown into a cart full of corpses headed for the cemetery. There, she was smuggled out in the dead of night.
Ruth was an attractive blonde who eventually became a Broadway actress in New York. But the memory of Warsaw lingered and haunted her time and again, until one day, it took its toll. She withdrew totally from the world, not speaking, staring at the wall. Silent tears would suddenly flow. No one could draw her out of her darkness.
This was her dire emotional state when she was brought to the Bet Tzedek (Hall of Justice in Hebrew) Legal Services in a Jewish community in Fairfax, Los Angeles, USA, which offered free legal services for low-income residents. Bet Tzedek was a prestigious international Robin Hood of a law firm known as far as Tel Aviv and Washington DC. The firm wanted the German government to pay Ruth war reparations as a holocaust survivor. For days, the lawyers tried hard to pry her open, but she was like an ice-berg, cold, unmoved, opaque, unreachable. When the lawyers gave up, they passed her on to Lisa, the only Filipino woman in the group, hoping she could thaw the ice-berg.
Lisa, trained in the art of listening, even as a young child, by her father back in the Philippines, did not think twice about how to break-in Ruth. She knew what to do from the onset. She sat beside Ruth and held her hand without saying a word. She caressed her hair and touched her face. Ruth stared at her, and for the first time, gave a faint smile. Lisa knew the magic of touch. Touch was better than a thousand words. Later on, after Lisa left, Ruth spoke her very first four words in three-odd years, asking “What is her name?”
Lisa came back prepared. She had a dreidel (a Jewish toy), and Lisa, in her late twenties, and Ruth, in her late thirties, played together like little children. In English, Lisa said she lived in Germany before. Ruth said, “Spreken sie Deutch?” (Do you speak German?) Lisa answered, “Nein” (no). Gradually, the ice-berg melted under the intense heat of a dialogue of children. Ruth said she was originally from Poland. Slowly, from a trickle of words, there was a flood of unspoken darkness deep inside her soul.
She recalled her harrowing experience. The lawyers got the information they needed to file a case against the German government. Finally, she won her case. She was awarded about US$3,000 a month for the rest of her life, a small fortune which insured her future. Today, she lives in the Los Angeles area.
The Jewish community lauded the team of litigators. Lisa was head-lined in a local Jewish paper. The story of her expertise in the art of listening was featured in the front page. She became known far and wide, and her good karma, the story of the maiden of Warsaw, would spread like wildfire and catapult Lisa to high places, until she had her own modest business in cultural exchange, that would bring her to every nook of Western Europe, from Casablanca to Paris, Munich to Madrid, Rome to Copenhagen, Istanbul to Cairo, and to Asia and Latin Countries. Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
A Christmas Message from Pope Francis

Christmas is usually a noisy party: we could use a bit of silence, to hear the voice of Love.

Christmas is you, when you decide to be born again each day and let God into your soul.

The Christmas pine is you, when you resist vigorous winds and difficulties of life.

The Christmas decorations are you, when your virtues are colors that adorn your life.

The Christmas bell is you, when you call, gather and seek to unite.

You are also a Christmas light, when you illuminate with your life the pat of others with kindness, patience, joy, and generosity.

The Christmas angels are you, when you sing to the world a message of peace, justice and love.

The Christmas star is you, when you lead someone to meet the Lord.

You are also the wise men, when you give the best you have no matter who will receive.

Christmas music is you when you conquer the harmony within you.

The Christmas gift is you, when you are truly friend and brother of every human being.

The Christmas card is you, when kindness is written in your hands.

The Christmas greeting is you, when you forgive and reestablish peace, even when you suffer.

The Christmas dinner is you, when you sated bread and hope to the poor man who is by your side.

You are, yes, Christmas night, when humble and curious, you receive in the silence of the night the Savior of the world without noise or great celebrations.

You are a smile of trust and tenderness, in the inner peace of a perennial Christmas that establishes the Kingdom within you.

A very Merry Christmas for all those who look like Christmas. Pope Francis.