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POETRY

Eric Tinsay Valles

Salute

The Tourism Board video triggers a smile or tear:

a boy in white polo tee, his little sister in red with a thumbs up
gush over their Pinay Mom working “non-stop” at a Kitchener hotel;

a pharmacist’s mom, heavily made-up, says her daughter is “inspired”
to work night and day in Changi hospital despite infection risks:
the daughter’s eyes sparkle above a disposable mask;  

the sister of a marketing executive explains in Cebuano that Singapore is safe; 
a Scoot steward’s mom says her son now distributes masks at some community center;

 

Case 167 was no less a hero when she coughed in her nurse PPE gown,
had nightmares drenched in blood in an Ng Teng Fong ward;

she could not take care of her husband, Case 178, in another room
as she did a relative with pneumonia back home two weeks earlier; 
she received gold-standard health care unlike many patients elsewhere. 

Hotel receptionists, marketing managers, airline stewards in masks
joined queues that snaked around NAIA for buses after they were laid off.

Some heroes are unsung, others fallen; all shine before clicking the camera icon.  

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