Saturday, November 21, 2009

No Wang-Wang


It was a Friday night. Jacqueline Siapno with her 5-year-old son, Hadomi, quietly arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. After a warm embrace with her mother, they took a cab to a Pasay bus terminal. After a five-hour bus trip to Dagupan City, they rode a tricycle to her house in Baranggay Bonuan Gueset. It simply looks like the typical homecoming of a “balikbayan” or a Filipina who returned to the country after working overseas.

Jacqueline Siapno. Image source: Jadaliyya

But then again Siapno is not typical. According to a Phil. Daily Inquirer column, “Pinoy Kasi” (April 17, 2009), “She earned her master’s from the School of Oriental and Asian Studies at the University of London and her Ph.D. from the University of California in Berkeley… Her doctoral research in Indonesia produced a book, ‘Gender, Islam, Nationalism and the State in Aceh.’ She was also associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. She teaches at the Universidade da Paz in Dili [That’s in East Timor].”

To top it all, she is Timor Leste’s first lady! She is the wife of Fernando de Araujo Lasama, head of its National Parliament. (Their love story would really make a good movie.)

Fernando de Araujo Lasama. Image source: Sofia News Agency

What actually caught the media’s attention was the modest manner of her visit. No “wang-wang” at all! “Wang-wang is the siren that ‘very important people’ acquire, whether they ride unescorted or as part of a convoy; the sound is a sign that the usual (traffic) rules do not apply to VIPs. They are, obviously, too important.” (Inquirer Editorial, April 16, 2009) The editorial added, “That she did not consider herself too good for an ordinary bus or…a rickety tricycle tells us more about the dignity of public office than flashing lights and wailing sirens ever can.”

That is a glimpse of what our Lord Jesus Christ did, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8, ESV) Yes, the angels sang before the shepherds on the field. But that was it. That was no wang-wang. Only the shepherds saw that glorious display. No media frenzy. Not even the high and mighty in Israel learned of his birth. They only knew it when the wise men visited about two years later. It was such a humble coming. It tells us more about His glory than any spectacle can.

Brethren, we are following a humble Lord.

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