You cannot catch a tiger cub unless you enter the tiger’s den.

(Japanese proverb)

As we commence another confusing year of life’s twisted tricks—chaining millions to hospital beds or their homes, driving liberals to the streets of freedom to protest against government mandates, and obliging citizens of the world to incline themselves to the only seemingly available solution at hand (that is, the vaccine) for the unfathomable virus that no one truly understands—the determined and persistent Ox has relinquished its throne to the fiery and fearless Tiger. Yes, since the “intelligent” Ox failed to fully protect the world from the deadly pandemic last year, the angry Tiger is going to try its luck this year. What could this ferocious animal accomplish so differently this time?

The name “Tiger King” has apparently taken on some interesting meanings after being popularized by the Netflix documentary series about a zookeeper who exploited and abused tigers and other wild animals. Now, it could imply a poly-amorous gay man who seduces a straight man. It also describes an act of feeding someone you detest to the tiger. Further, it indicates an abhorrent form of manipulation and abuse for ulterior motives. You are “tiger kinged” if you are controlled by someone for personal gain.

After two years of continuous sporadic lockdowns across all parts of the globe, and fluctuating rise and fall of Coronavirus infection and death records, whether they be accurate or not, there are still herds of skeptics who rationalize that the entire charade is nothing but an evil conspiracy. They are the unpersuaded non-believers who feel “tiger kinged” by some invisible ploy they theorize corrupts the flow of life. Purely by logic, it was not like God designated a scholar to publish a holy book, that is the Bible, so His believers could obey all the teachings written in it. If the Coronavirus were to be indoctrinated similarly in a book of scriptures, who would we trust as the book’s preacher? WHO (World Health Organization)? Your president? Medical professionals? Statisticians? Journalists? Social media? Your mother who got infected and is still recuperating in the hospital? Your neighbor who never displayed symptoms and was never vaccinated?

It is not so much that an existing or non-existing “conspiracy,” if virus and vaccine non-believers call it that, or the zillions of unanswered questions about this mind-boggling disease have kept people astray, restless, helpless, hopeless, or even heartless and stressed for two whole years, but more so that we deliberately indulge our minds to read, listen, watch, and above all, believe distorted sensationalized media (which has become part of a million-dollar industry of social network algorithms), then further butter up the self-proclaimed “theories” with our unprofessional views. Whoever truly said that the “definition of stupid is knowing the truth, seeing the truth, but still believing the lies” knew what he was talking about.

It goes without saying that the same congregation of fanatics who participated in the so-called insurrection of the U.S. Capitol a year ago and are still invigorating the seditious act to this day have pledged their allegiance to blindness and ignorance for refusal to be dictated by reason beyond their prejudiced scope of understanding. By the same token, the flock of clouded media predators who are metamorphosing the written history of Philippine politics in the coming presidential elections are, likewise, tainted by the very same root of miscomprehension of the essential truth. Both sets of people “tiger king” themselves unconsciously in order to “tiger king” others consciously.

No one certainly wants to be “tiger kinged.” However, as long as this crazy virus perseveres to inhabit our existence, which no longer feels ours to decide, many of us may continue to struggle with the inevitable maneuver of truths and lies unless we initiate to change some important facets of our way of life that begs changing. Then, we step back a bit to cherish what has long been left uncherished.

One clear thing surely does not lie. Have we not seen the surge of typhoons, snowstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and fires in recent years? Take a deep and long look at the seas and skies until you can no longer see them. The answer to our doubts may lie somewhere amid their inconspicuous shadows. It will be a most challenging feat for the Tiger King to see through them.