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Standards of success
17 Oct 2005



[Commented on the Sassy Lawyer's blog on the topic of the Anti Terrorism Bill]

(#41) §?§§Y commented on 10-14-05 at 04:42 PM :
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Re #32 & 34. In you comment no. #18, you were talking about “freedom” in the context of the Bill of Rights which is patterned after the western model.

Premature democracy was your term.

“We did not meet democracy halfway.” Does a colony have a choice at the time of grant of independence? Thereafter, does a colony granted “independence” but whose economy is irrevocably tied to that of the former master have a real choice?
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So therefore, you seem to be agreeing that democracy is not something that the Philippines should be practicing today. Because it was a form of government that was shoved down its throat by its former colonial masters.


(#41) §?§§Y commented on 10-14-05 at 04:42 PM :
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In fact, in you comment No. 32, particularly that statement “We did not meet democracy halfway”, it is clear that you meant no other model but.
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We chose democracy THEN and we chose democracy TODAY. But in neither case -- THEN and NOW -- did we RESOLVE to meet its requirements on our part -- which is to embrace the disciplines and consistency of execution to make it work.

Check out the slide show below:

LINK

In slide 8, specifically, I express this concept of how all these disciplines, attitudes and other properties of our culture tie together into a coherent framework in a more intuitive manner so that the words don't get in the way that they do here in all-text discussions.


(#41) §?§§Y commented on 10-14-05 at 04:42 PM :
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“We lament that our downfall is “Always feeling short of everything because we can’t cope with western models and standards.” Well isn’t this a fact staring us in the face? We can’t cope. Therefore we have to figure out the WHY before we think about the HOW. Why are we such dismal failures in the game of COPING with the WORLD ORDER?”

We can’t cope? Then why are we still here? Why hasn’t the economy totally collapsed? Gee, we survive. in fact, we are coping so much even when we’re just clutching at straws. And that’s not a simple thing.
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Isn't it sad that our standards for achievement have degenerated to nothing more than just surviving and "clutching at straws"? If we cannot aspire to nothing less than absolute excellence, then what hope do we have of achieving even MODERATE success?


(#41) §?§§Y commented on 10-14-05 at 04:42 PM :
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And there you go again. Despite saying that neither did I assert that “western models and standards” are “universal”. Cope with what? To be at par with what you call the world order which is currently the western model. You might not want to accept it. But you do think of the western model as a standard we must live up to.

So which is which? You deny something yet your very examples show that the denial is empty.
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It's quite simple really.

We CHOOSE to be successful by Western standards. THAT is evident in the measures we use to evaluate the progress of our nation -- infant mortality rates, literacy, levels of educational achievement, GNP, per capita income, etc. These are all development measures that were "imposed" on us by Western thought. And, the fact of the matter is that we EMBRACE these measures and LAMENT our inability to meet the benchmarks of progress expressed in these terms.

The alternative (the argument which YOU seem to muddle) is to turn our back on these measures.

So I think the question on "which is which" I think should be directed to YOU, Ms. Sassy.

Which is which?

If we CHOOSE to evaluate the progress of our society by those Western measures I cited, THEN don't you think we should STEP UP to that playing field (isntead of be in denial that these "standards" and "models" are indeed as pervasive as they OBVIOUSLY are)?

But if we CHOOSE to take alternative standards of progress (say, come up with our own "mga istandards ng ekselehensiya ni Lola Basyang") for our own purposes, then we should also accept that working towards non-Western standards may yield us different results -- ones that do not conform to what Pinoys have so famously strived to achieve -- income levels that can afford them Western standards of living -- and instead be CONTENTED with the standards of living that our pre-colonial ancestors were


(#41) §?§§Y commented on 10-14-05 at 04:42 PM :
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I wouldn’t draw parallelisms witn Malaysia unless it can be proved that we share a common history and culture. In fact, I wouldn’t draw parallelisms at all.
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On the contray, I WOULD. That's where ambition starts, when you latch on to a role model to emulate. Let's say you are right, that we should "draw parallelisms" (strange considering that we in fact share a common Indo-Malay heritage with the Malaysians). What then? What benchmarks do we use to measure our progress? What state of achievement do we ASPIRE to?


(#41) §?§§Y commented on 10-14-05 at 04:42 PM :
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Note, however, that Malaysia--despite relative progress--is not much different from the Philippines where the poor vastly outnumber the rich. That’s a good model? Note, too, that Malaysia’s relative progress was achieved because it refused to, what was your word, COPE, with the WORLD ORDER.
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That's right, just like Singapore did. Now I'm a bit confused about what your argument is (again I will emphasize that the question of "which is which" should really be directed to you than to me).

Because I use CULTURE as the fundamental framework for my arguments, the question of which "model" or "standards" to use is irrelevant (which I think is the reason your arguments seem to be going around in circles). My assertion is that whatever "standards" or "models" playing field we choose to succeed in (be it Uncle Sam's, LKY's, Mahathir's, Marx's or Lola Basyang's) requires DIFFERENT attitudes, mindsets, and constitutions in the society it is applied to. Whatever we choose, we need to muster the collective RESOLVE to make whatever model we choose WORK FOR US. At the moment, we choose DEMOCRACY, yet we do not have the COLLECTIVE resolve to make DEMOCRACY work for US.

And the ability to achieve such RESOLVE is a function of how robustly a soceity is constituted. Filipinos have so far demonstrated that ours is a weakly-constituted society. And I say, just because IT IS, does not necessarily mean it has to stay that way FOREVER. Culture CAN be changed. But it takes RESOLVE. We don't have a choice really. Even management gurus preach that cultural change is necessary for a community to sustainably achieve.

Check out this slide show on Cultural Change...

LINK

...which was developed by the California State University.


(#41) §?§§Y commented on 10-14-05 at 04:42 PM :
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See, you’re looking at it from the perspective of material wealth. You look up to countries where the average family income is much higher than ours. And that, for you, is the perfect model. Like being poor is failure. But there’s so much more to statehood and nationhood than money.
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But being poor IS a failure. Most poor people would rather be NOT POOR. That is a fact. The impoverishment of the Philippines IS THE SINGLE BIGGEST FACTOR that accounts for the multitude of problems that WEAKEN our society today.

Yes there is more to statehood/nationhood than money. But it is the lack of money that prevents us from achieving those other ephemereal "mores to nationhood" that you cite.


(#41) §?§§Y commented on 10-14-05 at 04:42 PM :
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BOTTOMLINE, the answers cannot be found by comparing us with other countries. Purely and simply, because we are not them. We can learn from them but we can never base our success or failure on theirs. That’s like keeping up with the Joneses. Walang originality. And that is failure.
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A a a, I never said that we be like them. I do agree though that we can LEARN FROM THEM. And it is in the LEARNING part (whether it be from others or from our own mistakes) that we as a people are famously dysfunctional at.


(#41) §?§§Y commented on 10-14-05 at 04:42 PM :
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“SHould have been” and “is” is incompatible. True. But “is” is never immutable, as you make it sound. We can still go to “what should be.”
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That is right. And to achieve the "what should be" requires us to face the really DIFFICULT and more FUNDAMENTAL questions. ;)

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