2020-10-31

Only in Oz by JAIME K. PIMENTEL

It could only happen in Australia: A lowly aspiring ”barangay-level” Filipin-Oz politician literally bumping into the Australian Prime Minister for a quick chat. I cannot imagine that happening in the Philippines.

Neil Galang, a small business owner from the city of Blacktown in Sydney’s west, was on a family holiday in the resort town of Cradle Mountain, in the isle of Tasmania just south of Melbourne, when he spotted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd walking by.

Mr. Galang casually walked up to the PM and introduced himself: ”G’day, Mr. Rudd; my name is Neil Galang from Blacktown. How are you?”

Mr. Rudd shook his hand: ”I’m fine, thank you.” And, at Mr. Galang’s request, the PM put a prime ministerial arm around his shoulder for a snap-shot. If there were any bodyguards around, no one noticed.

”Actually, it was not the first time I had met Mr. Rudd,” Mr. Galang said. ”In the 2007 national elections when he was campaigning, I served at the Labor Party branch in Blacktown and he paid us a visit. But I was with other Party members when I met our would-be-prime minister.

”I reminded Mr. Rudd about that, but I know he did not remember. I understand. We had a brief chat anyway.”

This time, however, Mr. Galang’s family ~ wife Vicky, sons Patrick and Francis ~ shared the experience of a face-to-face meeting with and greeting the Australian Prime Minister.

Incidentally, Neil is the brother of Calasiao Pangasinan Vice Mayor Ferdinand Galang who is running for mayor next election.