Year of death?

By Alex P. Vidal

“I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” — Winston Churchill

SO many deaths and destructions have been recorded in the early part of the Year of the Rat both at the international and national levels.

Political and EJK-related killings, vehicular and sea mishaps, volcanic eruption, earthquake, plane, and helicopter crashes, flash floods, death caused by ordinary sickness and deadly viruses, etcetera.

News of Kobe Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash yesterday (January 26) came while many families lost their loved ones when a Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 crashed shortly after take-off in Iran on January 9, killing all 176 people on board.

And we are only in the month of January.

Is Year of the Rat really a year of death?

We hope and pray that the rest of the year 2020 months won’t be catastrophic and bloody. That there will be security and peace instead of death and mayhem.

Rats are supposed to be quick-thinking, optimistic, and adaptable, which gives them the edge in this year’s rat race.




In Chinese culture, rats are used to symbolize wealth and surplus.

According to Lau Ka-kuen and Joe Lo of the South China Morning Post, married couples traditionally would pray to these rodents hoping some of their reproductive success would rub off on them.

Rats are found all over the world and regarded in the Chinese zodiac as being smart and nimble with plenty of vitality and enterprising spirit, they said.

People born in Rat years are said to share some of these characteristics. Being optimistic and energetic they win over many friends.

They are kind but can be poor communicators, which means they can inadvertently seem brash.

They are not the reticent people they might seem, and although they are very excitable they can control their high spirits but will fight for their beliefs whatever the circumstances.

Financially they like saving and can be stingy. However, their love for hoarding will sometimes cause them to waste money on unnecessary things, they added.




The helicopter crash in Calabasas, California which also killed Kobe’s daughter, Gianna, 13, comes one day after Bryant was passed by Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

As late as 10:39 p.m. on Saturday, Bryant was active on social media, congratulating James on Twitter during the Lakers’ 108-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, it was reported.

James inscribed his sneakers with “Mamba 4 Life” and “8/24 KB” in gold marker before the game, showing respect for Bryant, an 18-time All-Star with the Lakers who is eligible for the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020. All week, in the lead-up to the milestone, he was quick to laud Bryant.

“It’s another guy that I looked up to when I was in grade school and high school,” James said. “Seeing him come straight out of high school, he is someone that I used as inspiration. It was like, wow. Seeing a kid, 17 years old, come into the NBA and trying to make an impact on a franchise, I used it as motivation. He helped me before he even knew of me because of what he was able to do. So, just to be able to, at this point in my career, to share the same jersey that he wore, be with this historical franchise and just represent the purple and gold, it’s very humbling and it’s dope.

“Kobe’s a legend, that’s for damn sure.”

A 6-foot-6 small forward with the ability to swing up front and play point or shooting guard, Bryant entered the NBA straight out of high school. In 1996, he became the youngest player in NBA history.

He won five NBA titles in his time with the Lakers, as well as two Olympic gold medals playing for the United States. Now fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 33,643 points, Bryant won two NBA Finals MVP awards and one NBA regular-season MVP nod in 2008.

Goodbye, Kobe.


(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)