Why people aren’t excited, or refuse to be excited

By Alex P. Vidal

“The excitement lies in the exploration of the world around us.”—Jim Peebles

LIKE in the previous years, many Filipinos still appear to be unexcited about Christmas 2023–and even New Year 2024.

This could be the reason they didn’t give a damn if television networks or media outfits have been running regular Christmas “countdowns” in their programs.

There is no iota of excitement and exhilaration. They are not enlivened even by the grandiose display of expensive Christmas lights and props in public edifices funded by taxpayers’ money.

They just don’t feel the zeal and animation that go with the “happiest” season of the year. The word happiness has now become a misnomer in the Yuletide season.

Economists recognize that subjective wellbeing, or happiness, is an essential characteristic and sometimes a desirable outcome that can motivate our decision-making.

Holiday Seasons or not, many Filipinos are still living below poverty level; they bellyache amid inflation and the freakish oil price hikes. Many Filipinos are still underemployed if not unemployed. Budgets are low. Regular good on the table is limited.

If their economic well-being is unstable and ill-suited, Christmas carols and other blings don’t matter to them, especially if even the noche buena is no longer a sure thing in the coming midnight of December 25.


US MOURNS THOSE KILLED IN RP BLAST. The United States has condemned “in the strongest terms” the horrific terrorist attack that occurred December 3 during a Catholic service being held at Mindanao State University in Marawi, the Philippines.

“We mourn those killed in the attack, and our thoughts are with the injured.  The United States is in close contact with our Philippine partners and stands with the people of the Philippines in rejecting this act of violence,” announced Matthew Miller, spokesman of the US Department of State.


AT around 5:15 in the afternoon December 3, I bade goodbye to George “Georgie” Bernard Hartman, a famous personality in the American magazine industry.

The 96-year-old former editorial design consultant from 1967-1988 of Glamour, an online women’s magazine published by Conde Nast Publications, breathed his last at past five o’clock in the afternoon Sunday in his high-end Midtown Manhattan residence.

George, born in Illinois, was consultant of Chatellaine magazine, Toronto, Ontario, Canada from 1979 to 1984.

He was also the guest art director of Elle Magazine in Paris in 1963; and the Ingenue magazine’s art director in New York City from 1964—1967.

Glamour was originally called Glamour of Hollywood. From 1939 to 2019, Glamour was a print magazine. After a low number of subscribers Glamour’s last edition was in January 2019.

I was with George for three days before he bade goodbye.

When I sensed he was no longer responding after calling his name, the oximeter couldn’t read his oxygen, and he was no longer breathing, I held his right arm and prayed, “Almighty God, the shadow of death is upon George. Lead him to your peace and give him comfort during his difficult time. He will feel at ease when he knows You care for him and that You love him. Let your love calm the souls of those who are passing.”

I added: “Lord Jesus, holy and compassionate; forgive his sins. By dying you unlocked the gates of life for those whoo believe in you: do not let George be parted from You, but by Your glorious power give him light, joy and peace in heaven where you live and reign forever and ever. Amen.”

George wasn’t in pain when he began his journey to His Creator. I watched him until the end. He went home to the Lord at peace. So long and may you rest in peace, Georgie. Thank you for all the great memories in nearly three years.


PHILANDERING. Thirty percent of men have no problem leaping from one relationship to the next. Only 19 percent of women can handle the quick switch.

SHAVING. For 70 percent of German women between the age of 14 and 29, shaving their private parts is “the most normal thing in the world.” (Source: Gilette)

PEACE OF MIND, good health, a loving and forgiving heart are the greatest wealth. A fat bank account, iPhone X, and a Rolex watch symbolize only our inward social accessibility, not our upward spiritual mobility.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)