Aborning in Pandemic or Ox Year


Readers of Herald Express readers have expressed their nod on Daily Laborer column’s in-depth look on environment and discrimination on our indigenous people. Leastways, they also hinted for the column lest it forgets its humor side which had been its hallmark when it was born, something they miss sometimes, they say.

So, okay, for this edition, here’s to your light, reading delight. Daily Labor will alternate between in-depth coverage and light moments to make it prudently relevant to the times and more importantly, serve Herald Express’s highland and lowland readers.

Is your child born this year? Or, are you expecting a newborn this year?  Or, by fate, were you born in the Year of the Ox?

According to an Oriental calendar, and if you believe it, if you happen to arrive on planet earth by the years, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009 or 2021, then you are an ox.

Ox or oxen (if talking about many) are domesticated forms of large-horned animals that once roamed in herds across North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. But what’s the difference between oxen and cows?

Well, the answer is a bit complicated.  The encompassing term for these animals is cattle (bovine) An ox is a bovine trained as a draft animal and often castrated for easier control. While cows (female) are raised for their milk, the male cows called bulls, for their meat. Or both female and male cows raised for meat production.

If that be the case your baby is born this 2021, or you had been born in the Year of the Ox, our world is most better having you and your baby.

For according to the signs, people born in the Year of the Ox are durable, dependable, fair-minded and diligent- the same traits that characterize the ox or oxen. Unlike your columnist Ah Kong who is irresponsible, undependable, cloudy-minded and thoughtless.

In the meantime, your baby doesn’t know he/she arrived or will be arriving in the Year of the Ox. So, let’s talk about babies first before finishing the Year of the Ox. As we all know, majority of women simply love to talk about their babies. Because as is, when we stand on common ground, we have all been babies before.

If married men will stop and think for minute, and go back to many years of their married life, and re-contemplate their first baby, they will remember the baby amounted to a good deal and even something over.

At home, the baby takes command, entirely; the father, mothers, brothers and sisters merely become servants to a baby’s wishes. A baby is a commander who makes no allowance for time, distance, weather, or what have you.  You have to execute a baby’s order whether it’s possible or not.

And it happens so that there’s only one form of marching in a baby’s manual of tactics. And that to do a baby’s bidding double quick. A very perfect case of a mere minority ruling over the majority. Babies are tyrants.

And babies happen to carry insomnia, a contagious disease that afflicts the mother and the father. Sleeping peacefully becomes not an option.

Babies, when born, become so mad at their parents that they don’t talk to them for two years.

Why, in fact Cordilleran and lowland mothers know that  having babies can be likened to part joy and part guerilla warfare for babies are simply innocent lunatics.

Many of us know that a new-born-baby with an innocent smile can treat a member of the family with insolence and disrespect that even the bravest member in the family don’t dare say a word.

When a baby claws at your hair, pulls your beard, and twists your nose, you take it and laughingly says, “Ayna, ayna, kitan yu ni Baby, o, nagpipigsa dagiti ramay na!” Or, you exclaim, “Ayna, ayna, kitan yu ni Baby, nag-gwapo, kaing-ingas a siak,” even when you know for a fact that you’re not handsome in the first place.

And how many things about what got you educated as you got along, having a baby in the house: sentimental members in your family still took stock of that beautiful saying, “When the baby smiles in sleep, it’s because angels are whispering to the child,” but oho! A doubting Thomas that you are, you think the baby smiling in sleep is conjuring ideas on how to claw your eyes and not just your hair when you try to carry the baby in your arms again.

Many Filipino families of old didn’t buy the idea that one, two or three babies don’t amount to anything. So, they got to have many babies to grow as their children. That notion, however, has changed now, with most families having fewer babies.

Still, one baby can furnish more business than you can attend to household chores.  For one baby can be very enterprising, mind you. Just one crawling baby can be very irrepressible and brimful of lawless activities. What more if you have two crawling twins?

Yes, it’s high time we toast to the importance of babies. And the babies born this 2021 Year of the Ox    take center stage.

In this year of the pandemic, the cradled babies of today will be taken cared of meticulously by their member-families so that when they would have grown up, they can solemnly relate, if somewhat with trepidation, that, “I was born in the time of the pandemic, in the Year of the Ox, a time when my family feared treading unnecessarily outside our home; they feared bringing me out of the house and exposing me to the elements.”

Among the hundreds of cradles now rocking in the thousands of homes in Cordillera and the lowlands will be holding babies born in this pandemic time of the Ox Year who will soon grow up to grapple with problems that have hounded their families and forebears: of keeping the people and the nation safe.

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for these babies now grown into adults to temporarily vacate their family abodes to new homes and start a family, the bonds that connect them with their parents, their sisters and brothers will further become strongest – strongest than steel yet – while they assume among the people of Cordillera and the lowlands, their chosen stations in life.

Equal stations to which the laws of nature and the Maker entitle them, a decent respect for the demands   that impel them to temporarily leave home and find for themselves a place in the sun.

And these babies of the Ox for today will be adults of tomorrow, to discover for themselves that the world where their parents live is a world of order and system and nothing haphazard about it. The sun rises and surely sets according to regular and unchanging law.

So, what is true in the natural world, these adults of tomorrow will find such is also true in the moral and business worlds. These children of the ox will reap what they sow and gain the fruits for what they are willing to exert the price in labor and self-denial.

They will find a divine law controls success and defeat in this life and no amount of trick can take the place of hard work.

Just as the tide comes in and goes out, not by chance or accident, but in accordance with well-defined laws, so does summer and typhoon affect the highlands and the lowlands in well-ordered succession.

Some may want to become nurses, doctors or midwives. Many would want to serve as police officers, or stay with the military. Still, some would try to pass the bar. Others would want that people have enough food and become professional farmers. Other would prefer being builders, service providers, mechanics, drivers, engage in business, news hounds, etc. The list is long.

For they have the constitution of the ox and they will amply be rewarded and never mind that those born in the Year of the Ox are sometimes perceived as not so out-going or less social, to say the least.

These babies – who often love to get their big toes in their mouths – will have accomplished the prophecy that they will succeed someday in their endeavors.

As for us, the parents, when these babies  came to our lives, they made so much noise  we can hardly stand it; as adults, when they depart from home, the house suddenly becomes so eerily  silent you will miss the tyranny of their laughter and talk.