Recent events have, yet again, highlighted the embarrassing way with which Filipinos and the government they elected to lead them are desperately scrambling to extricate themselves from systemic poverty after decades of misguided “development” approaches and serial promise breaking.
Like many many previous presidents before him, Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III went on a Western European junket begging bowl in hand to drum up interest in the Philippines. His timing was quite unfortunate. Just a day or two into this effort, Typhoon Mario swooped in and turned Manila again into the swamp land it originally was. And as if that weren’t enough, a video produced by business process outsourcing (BPO) firm Aegis Global that, point after confronting point, described why Malaysia is better than the Philippines went viral.
Put quite simply, the Philippines needs to clean its toilet before inviting guests in for a party. Perhaps, to be fair, it is, indeed, “more fun in the Philippines”. But like any fun party, you need to have industrial-strength toilets available and working to ensure your guests have somewhere to pass the chow and booze their bodies had processed through the night.
The floods that hit Metro Manila and its outlying municipalities have leptospirosis written all over it — a nasty bug that inhabits stagnant flood waters. It is often transmitted by animal urine or water containing animal urine coming into contact with breaks in the skin, the eyes, mouth, nose or vagina. In the developing world the disease most commonly occurs in farmers and poor people who live in cities. Not fun — despite all those photos of “resilient” Filipinos dealing with it in their own little ways.
The Philippines’ chronic problems cannot be solved by trumpeting Filipinos’ imagined “resilience”, continuously latching on to the tired old Bayanihan narrative, nor by going on an epic tantrum crying over the “unfairness” of Aegis’s reality videos. Certainly the tradition of upholding our world-renowned pwede na yan mentality will do nothing to get us closer to doing a repeat of Singapore’s triumphant Third World to First World metamorphosis.
Even now as this piece goes to press, Filipinos are engaged in a quaint “debate” over the wisdom of voting Vice President Jejomar Binay president in 2016, on account of allegations of corruption that have magically emerged in recent months. Funny that considering he was elected Vice President in 2010. One can’t help but wonder why, back in 2010, such allegations did not come out. Why now?
Like all of the Philippines’ laughable political convulsions, that will remain a mystery even to future generations of the nation’s foremost political “experts”.
Combine an abject scarcity of good politicians with an electorate that fails to apply an intelligent mind to the important process of choosing them, and you get a country like the Philippines. You don’t really need a strategic vision and a statesman’s skills to become president of this country. You just need a lot of money and tens of millions of needy suckers.
As the common wisdom goes, a good salesman can sell a P100,000 iPhone to a Filipino. So perhaps it is time for a bit of brainstemstorming (we at GRP, to be fair, get criticised a lot for not encouraging more of this sort of thing)…
With these realities hanging over your head, how would you, the predatory salesman, sell the Philippines?
How would we encourage investors, both foreign and domestic, to give the Philippines a serious second look given the reality of…
– its decrepit communications, transport, security, fiscal, and regulatory infrastructure;
– its whimsical form of “democracy” where projects can be arbitrarily initiated — and cancelled — on the basis of the latest feudal vendetta; and,
– its strategic location along the Pacific Ring of Fire and along the flight path of the planet’s most awesome storms.
Time to junk old sloppy traditional thinking habits and do a bit of world-class thinking, folks. The future awaits!
[NB: Parts of this article were lifted from the Wikipedia.org article “Leptospirosis” in a manner compliant to the terms stipulated in the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License that governs usage of content made available in this site. Preview photo courtesy CNN.]
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