Get Real Philippines (GRP) is first and foremost a media operation. So its mission is very simple: to develop and articulate groundbreaking and insightful ideas and disseminate these to as big an audience as possible. The approach to developing these ideas — critical thinking — is what unites the men and women who run the various blogs and media channels that make up the GRP Network. The dissemination of these ideas is done through a number of media forms (blogs, videos, and engaging in social media chatter) and through a number of communication techniques (literary and composition styles, icons and symbols, and illustration).
In short, GRP is in the business of talk.
Is talk cheap?
Obviously it isn’t. Otherwise every man and his dog would be running successful and widely-read blogs, e-zines, and other websites, or writing bestselling or seminal books, or running top tier consulting firms. We do what we do, not because it is an end in it self, but because it is our contribution to the effort. Not everyone can be doers (in the sense of how politicians see themselves as “doers”) in the same way that not everyone can be writers — or, for that matter, lawyers, or engineers, or physicists, or teachers, or singers, or chefs, or politicians, or great parents.
The main weakness of Philippine society lies in an imbalance in the expectations we levy upon its different sectors. This imbalance is best encapsulated in this statement:
We expect the low product of the majority to be subsidised by the exceptional output of the minority.
Back in 2003, this statement was qualified further in a whole article expounding on the Filipino’s ethic of self-reliance with its key message encapsulated in the following excerpt:
Our prospects for prosperity, however, lie within ourselves — not in a messianic bunch of leaders and exceptional few who are yet to come and not in the altruism of the more fortunate. What we need is the courage and open-mindedness to understand clearly what we need to do to re-tool our culture, mindsets and thought processes, and approach to doing things so that a nation-building machine that is truly able to compete could emerge out of the collective and quiet achievement of the majority.
Let’s change these medieval beliefs in salvation through heroic deeds and focus more on the more mundane aspects of nation-building.
Let’s allow everyone to do their jobs properly without being burdened by expectations that accompany heroic labels.
Let’s change our self-righteous penchant for calling one another to heroic and extraordinary deeds and instead find value in the collective effect of each individual doing their ordinary jobs properly and quietly.
Recognising achievement is different from lionising personalities. It takes well-thought out efforts (that requires serious evaluation of fundamental truths about ourselves) to realise sustainable development. When one recognises achievement, one expresses admiration and seeks to emulate said achievement. When one lionises personalities, one places said personality on a pedestal to worship and pin their hopes on. The earlier focuses on acquiring traits that support excellence. The latter focuses on expectations to live by and has come to acquire the stink of Erap-ism.
Pity then the person who lives by the glib dismissal of those who work towards building the intellectual foundations of a society: Puro kayo dakdak (you are “all talk”). This is an affirmation of the reality of what the Philippines has become — a nation that is the result of lots of action underpinned by very little thinking.
So talk — good talk — is, indeed, not cheap. The fact is, it is very difficult to find people who possess exceptional command over the two key core competencies that the people who form the GRP Network are gifted with in abundance — (1) developing insightful ideas, and (2) communicating these ideas to a mass audience. Perhaps a third is being able to do both rapidly.
The third competency proposed — being able to produce and disseminate rapidly — is not quite a competency of GRP — yet. And that is where the next big challenge lies. The job of GRP does not end with talk, but the part of the mission statement, “…to as big an audience as possible” is a capability that is still a work in progress. But we are getting there. What started as an obscure website design practice site back in 2000 is now honoured by a network of the most insightful, creative, and original men and women of the Philippine blogosphere who have opted to identify themselves with the GRP name.
Perhaps we will update our Mission Statement someday (mission statements are not meant to be set in stone). But that’s a next step in what is really a long one-step-at-a-time journey. We still have a long way to go. But we continue to appreciate the contribution of every member of the GRP community and the conscious effort it takes to maintain a clarity of purpose in our minds to ensure that we do not get lost along the way.