‘Silver bells and silver linings . . . ’

“Every dark cloud has a silver lining,” says an old adage.  With the challenging political events in the Philippines, in the United States, and around the world, it is just natural to feel overwhelmed, discouraged, and depressed.  I often find myself searching for the brighter side or the silver lining more often these days (compared to past years).

Christmas is just around the corner and pretty soon 2018 will pass.  Like many people, I have this hope that for a change, an “uplifting event” will take place to awaken us and make us realize what has been missing in our lives and what we can do to make things better.

I am not a fan of beauty contests but I was happy to hear the news that Bb. Pilipinas Catriona Gray was crowned Miss Universe 2018 in Thailand last Sunday (Monday in Manila).  Actually, I was happy to hear her responses to the questions that were given to her.

The phrase “silver lining” was affirmed and highlighted in a response she gave in the question and answer portion during the program where candidates were provided the opportunity to express their thoughts on certain matters.

The question to Ms. Gray was: “What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your life and how would you apply it to your time as Miss Universe?”

“I work a lot in the slums of Tondo, Manila, and the life there is very poor and very sad.  I’ve always taught myself to look for the beauty in it, to look for the beauty in the faces of the children, and to be grateful.  I would bring this aspect as a Miss Universe to see situations with a silver lining, and to assess where I could give something, where I could provide something as a spokesperson.  If I could teach also people to be grateful, we could have an amazing world where negativity could not grow and foster, and children would have a smile on their face. . .”

Silver lining implies seeing opportunity to do good in a bad situation or environment.  It’s taking recognition of the enormity of the problems besetting the world today.  Her response reminded us that we could have a world where we can limit negativity and not allow it to foster and grow, and where we can make children happy and see them with a smile on their faces.

What made her victory awe-inspiring is the fact that she is grateful to have that opportunity to work with the poor people of Tondo (Manila)— especially with the poor children.

Her response reminded me of the message of a 1960s song: “Ang kabataan ngayon, bukas ay mga magulang, kaya’t sila ay dapat lingapin at mahalin (The children of today are future parents and this is why we should love and take care of them.)”

It has been two years and we have seen thousands of poor people who have been casualties of the war on drugs in the Philippines, including children who have lost their parents or have died themselves in the hands of the police or in the hands of unknown killers.

Where is the silver lining in these dark clouds?

To paraphrase what Ms. Gray said, what is important is to first see and accept the dire situation and then “assess where we can provide, give, or contribute something.”  She affirmed that it is in giving, sharing, and getting involved in causes that we can change and make the world better.

Her message is applicable to everyone.

Silver bells and silver linings, it’s Christmas time.  It’s time to think about love and compassion for others.  It’s time to think about caring, about making this world a much better place.  Merry Christmas!

Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California.  His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases.  Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio “Jojo” Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.