In the early 1960s, the Philippines was, indeed, the 'Pearl of the Orient'. Korea,still, had rampant poverty; Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia looked up to us.. even sending over not just their students, but their middle-line executives as well for training; and, Vietnam was in the throes of the change-over from French domination to American influence and still to have an even worse fate.. the 'Vietnam War'. It was only Japan that was showing signs of becoming an industrialized power.. although 'Made-in-Japan' was a popular pejorative for anything that was poorly made. The 'Pearl of the Orient' was riding high and handsome, but was showing signs of being stuck in 'neutral' even then, whereas, these others were moving forward.
We talk today of national leaders; the likes of Lee Kwan Yew, Mahatir Mohamed, Thanom Kittikachorn and others within the region. What is strikingly apparent is the seriousness and and the singularity of purpose of these leaders.. leaders whose rationale for leading was to make their country great. They saw their positions as a means to that end. With our own leaders, on the other hand.. Marcos, Ramos, Estrada, Pnoy and Binay, one gets the impression that their positions were, (and still are) an 'end' rather than a 'means' to achieve something great for the country. If, at all there were any such ambition, it was invariably for personal gain and/or for some dubious 'legacy'. These positions were viewed as the achievement itself.. a reason to strut and preen, and take advantage of the privilege and opportunity.. for themselves.
With regard to training and qualifications, Dr. Mahatir Mohamed is a medical doctor; Mr. Lee was a product of Oxford and Cambridge in England, and General Kittikachorn graduated from Thailand's
National Defence College. The UP College of Law and West Point may be comparable to the schools earlier mentioned, but attending High School in LA, (Bong Revilla), or a HIgh School in Pampanga, (Lito Lapid), and even 'night school' at the Lyceum, (JInggoy), is hardly comparable.. not by a mile.
We might talk about the electorate and the electoral system; but I wouldn't like to go there. We know what that's about.
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