Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Philippines is a society where mere INTENTIONS trump real RESULTS any day

Some people presume to judge other people's work on the basis of what motivates them. Usually they will be "inspired" by people who claim to do what they do out of "selfless" sense of "duty" or those who say they find a "higher purpose" in what they do. Well, there's plenty of that going around in Medieval societies such as the Philippines. Perhaps go and attend a plenary session in Congress, or listen to a politician's campaign speech when elections are around the corner, or go listen to a priest's sermon at a Catholic mass. You'll find a lot of that self-righteous and self-important bullshit in those places.

Let's not presume to judge the right of an endeavour to exist on the basis of what motivates whoever effects it. Henry Sy and the other taipans, for example, are motivated mainly by profit. But at the end of the day, the enterprises they built employ thousands of Filipinos. And yet him and other rich folk are demonised by Catholic dogma and the voodoo-laced story lines of Philippine cinema, television, and other cultural artifacts. Why? Because to Filipinos and those who think like Filipinos there is only one principle:

Intent trumps results any day.

This is the reason why election campaigns stir up so much heady interest in the Philippines while the getting-down-to-the-actual-work part hardly attracts the same sort of passionate engagement -- because campaigns are all about expressions of intent and what happens next once the next bozo is elected into office becomes an exercise in monitoring results. To Filipinos, evaluating on the basis of results is boring (or in most cases too hard for their feeble minds to sustain). Filipinos would rather celebrate mere intent.

Indeed, the intent of a politician trumps the results of those who are motivated by "less noble" intentions. That's the Philippines for you. It is why when we ask the million dollar question...

Where are the results?

...all we get is a lot of silly head-scratching and calls to prayer.

Only time will be the judge of where the results will come. And it may come or it may not for one approach or the other. The quality of the approach and the consistency of the effort will be a strong determinant for those results -- not intentions, and certainly not what motivates those intentions.

2 comments:

  1. so, what do propose to do? There's been no shortage of criticism of, and vitriol on, the Philippines. I hope you're aware of that.

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  2. "all we get is a lot of silly head-scratching"

    Haha! I've seen that reaction many times. It seems like the majority simply doesn't want to exert much effort into thinking about anything important.

    To Anonymous: There is no shortage of criticism and you have added to it. What is your solution? For me, the only way out is for Filipinos to learn to think independently, critically and logically. This is something that is rarely taught in schools or at home. One way to change that would be to put pressure on the government to improve the education system. Easier said than done to be sure.

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