Secretary Soliman wears her moods in her hair like curious yellow, red and blueBy Cynthia D. Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
There are different reasons why people sport streaks in their hair. But for Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, it is to remind her of the reason why she joined the government.
“I kept the streaks to remind myself that transparency and accountability should be the norm in government,” Soliman told the Inquirer early this week. “I think I will continue wearing it unless I decide to go bald.”
“Every time I feel like having some change in my life, I do something with my hair or I do something with myself like this,” she said, showing off her earrings.
Her clipped-on synthetic streak started as a political statement in 2000 during a campaign to make then President Joseph Estrada accountable to the people during his impeachment trial, Soliman said.
At that time, she and her friends in the civil society were disappointed about how the Estrada trial was running, with some senators remaining unsympathetic to their cause.
“At that time, we were very, very depressed. That was in December, before bank executive Clarissa Ocampo testified,” Soliman recalled. “I wanted to lift up my depressed spirit so I went to a mall and saw this blue clip-on streaks. I bought many. That’s how it all started.”
Depending on mood
When she became secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, her choice of colors became liberal.
In July 2005, Soliman turned to red and blue streaks when she joined the so-called Hyatt 10, a group of seven Cabinet officials and three bureau chiefs who resigned from the Arroyo administration and demanded the former President’s resignation for allegedly cheating in the 2004 presidential elections.
During the May 2010 elections, Soliman could no longer find synthetic streaks in the mall so she decided to dye her streaks yellow, the color of the campaign of then presidential candidate Benigno Aquino III.
“It’s red now because that’s the color of the DSWD,” she said, adding that the streaks now are her real hair, dyed, and maintained with a dose of virgin coconut oil to keep it soft.
For how long she would continue to wear the streak, Soliman could not say.
“I intend to wear it for as long as I see that there is a need for continuing change—for more transparency and more accountability in government,” she said.
Every time she goes out, Soliman said people would come to her and look for her streak. When they could not find it, they would ask her where it was hidden and what its color was.
Even her own children thought it was awesome.
“They understood my coping mechanism. Perhaps next time, I’ll wear a tattoo. I do something with myself to change, to reinvent myself,” she said with a laugh.