January 20, 1942

No news in the Tribune about Bataan. I wonder why. As a matter of fact, there has been nothing on Bataan for the last few days. Are things going bad? Somebody told me that I should not worry, because no news is good news. Man is forever grasping at straws.

Same old office routine. Rice, rice, rice—from morning to evening. I am weary with work. I have lost about forty pounds. My only relief is that rice is the only commodity that has not gone up in price.

I remember one of my last meetings with President Quezon. We were taking breakfast together in Malacañang, at about seven o’clock, and we were talking about what might happen in this country, if war broke out. We agreed that the food situation would be acute, especially if the islands were blockaded. “But Vic,” he said, “as long as the people have rice, they won’t starve. I lived for six months on rice and salt!”

Well, the people still have rice and at a fairly low price. But I’m not over-happy. This is the time to prepare. Each year will be harder. The earlier the government pays attention to the rice problem the better. The trouble is that things are not as they seem until they are right before us. Men learn after they have been burnt. Our high officials are politically minded. I think more importance should be placed on the economic. Rice may yet be our downfall. People should read the story of Nero, who fiddled while Rome burned. I hear that someday Japan might give us independence. I hope that we don’t get to have a fiddling Nero for a President.

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