Farewells are always both sad and bright like sunshine after the rain.
The town hall meeting with our US Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. last Monday, April 18, was just like that. At what might be his last visit in Los Angeles before he finishes his tour of duty on June 30, the meeting was more like a little convergence of the relatively tame media and the Fil-Am community who are bounded by strength in numbers and locked with dedication to their respected endeavors.
The Fil-Am Community represents, if not, affect collective thoughts and ideas, in order to ensure the victory of any undertaking. It takes a conscious effort to unite, and every opinion be given the courtesy it deserves. It was an evening of great fellowship with the ambassador.
Like as I said, media participation was relatively tame. As soon as the first three questions rang out, they started vibrating like tuning forks. The centerpiece of the evening was the Q and A but gathering news can be funny, lonesome and arduous — people blame you for the bad news. Truth can get you into a lot of trouble, the Greeks used to kill the messenger that brought bad news.
But how can a notepad and a pen capture a frame of mind, a disposition, a temperament, human or body language, which was the collective effort among us?
Attempting to synopsize all the things Ambassador Cuisia has done will entangle any reporter in a paradox of distance and involvement, and could blur a journalist’s objectivity. We could only try recalling definitive moments, from his time with the Central Bank of the Philippines, and times he visited the 365 Club of the Inter Con, that provided light consultations with grassroots organization and as guest speaker every so often besieged with requests and grievances always answer in kind manner, bridged difference with wisdom shared.
At the Town Hall meeting, he gave us his comprehensive views on the incoming election and beyond, also his overall reflections on his five-year stint as ambassador.
The nebulous nature of a diplomatic calling has its share of peculiar overtones, and with shift in leadership by the end of June, the Fil-Am community will be asking what they have lost and gained.
When an issue of substance demands a total cleavage between the accidental and the absolute, the just and the expedient even in our mundane tribulation on his diplomatic career the ambassador captures us — or have we captured him?
Good luck and God speed Ambassador Cuisia, ’til we meet again!