Lack of Policies or Lack of Execution?

Courtesy of Google Images

Another corruption and graft related issue has surfaced in the Philippines.  According to Inquirer.net, there are officials who allegedly directed their pork barrel funds to bogus NGOs so as to pocket their assets.

This is a bit frustrating, especially since this gives NGOs more negative publicity.  Yes, perhaps there may be some organizations who are merely tax shields or are indeed “ghosts” that suck the funds out of the tax-funded pork barrels for the personal gain of those in power.  But the true NGOs suffer from this as well; those who pursue social good with integrity and sacrifice.  Perhaps social enterprises may suffer from these kinds of things as well as this may destroy reputations of organizations that pursue the common good.

On to the topic of this blog post, is it about the lack of policies or the lack of execution?

According to my professors in DLSU, the Philippines have good laws related to preventing corruption.  However, there is indeed a lack of implementation – a lack of execution.

I think it is time that the public be the one to execute the law through public demand, or public pressure.  If we can find a way to utilize, harness, organize or even systematize the People Power phenomenon, then we can be the watchdogs of corruption.  The dawn of this digital era amplified with smartphones capable of using social media, cameras and digital recorders can serve as the country’s CCTV in looking out for undesirable actions from those in power.

Perhaps there should be pressure for every organization to be transparent.  If we can harness the all-seeing eye of this becoming increasingly digital world, then we can demand transparency from all kinds of organizations.  This will make covering the tracks of corruption harder.  This will put pressure to those in power to really invest in projects that contribute to the common good.

Let the mass media news always show a regular update on transparency reports from officials.  Let social media news websites raise discussions and fora related to these kinds of issues.

For far too long we have been searching for the medium by which we can amplify our eyes.  We have wished for Superman-like x-ray vision to determine proofs of corruption looming behind those promises of those in power.  Let us use the power of our digital era and be the ones to execute our policies.

Leap of Faith

Status quo
Strangling one’s neck
Preventing destiny cards to be drawn from one’s deck

Leap of faith
May be all that it takes
To greet the dawn of a new life waiting

No, it’s not safe
No, some things one must forsake

The road of kings is a road of thorns
To traverse the latter, not everyone was borne
Would you rather regrets be the cause of mourn
When fate is knocking excitedly at your door?

Take the leap of faith
Take plunge and fail
Then rise up and define your fate
Awaiting is the most yearned holy grail

For the Sake of It

 

For The Sake of It

 

It seems that we find ourselves always searching for reasons.  Searching for meanings, for answers, for deeper purpose.  We judge and get judged based on the rationale behind what we do and what we say.

As the world keeps on evolving, somehow we place arbitrary measures on what’s supposed to be the reasons behind anything, even everything.  We yearn for logical explanations, and perhaps rightfully so.  If not logical, we yearn for the understandable… perhaps fathomable reasons that are easier to believe.

When a child dreams, “Gusto kong maging pintor!  I want to be a painter,” mom and dad struggle to find words that are easier to digest, but nonetheless means, “Anak walang pera diyan! Child, there’s no money there!”  As if doing something that just cannot earn money is a mortal sin on its own.  Yes, Child may not be as great as Picasso nor Juan Luna.  Yes, Child may not even a certain hint of talent for the arts, for the painting.

But what if he just wants to do it? For the sake of doing it?  What if the benefit of doing something is not governed by monetary or other measurable rewards?

When one is robbed the right to do something for the sake of just doing, it’s as if something essential is taken away as well.  The pureness of the action – the essence of every single little thing done.  When one does something not because he is bored, yet not also because he is required and he just wants to do it, say hello to magic.

Doing something for the sake of it means the action and the doer somehow becomes one.

When one wants to study a graduate degree not because he wants to open more career opportunities, but because he just wants to do so, then the act of learning and being the student becomes pure.  They seem to become one.

When one doodles for the sake of doodling, the art and the artist become one.  Nevermind the judgement of beauty or anything related with aesthetics.  That’s supposed to come after everything.

Fortunate is someone who is driven to do for the sake of doing, yet finds deeper meaning behind it.  Even luckier is when this judging world clamors for the doer to do it.

Somehow, drive, passion, and the world’s expectations serve as the fire that sets aflame the pureness of the fuel – something done for the sake of doing.  When the fuel is as pure as it gets, it is easier to set ablaze.

 

 

From the Youth of the Land

Courtesy of Google Images

 

This was the oration piece of Theodore Ablaza back in our high school days.  He was the lead author, while I provided some insights.  We hope you enjoy!


From the Youth of the Land

I speak from the youth of the land; of the youth which Jose Rizal said to be the hope of this nation and as the voice of the youth speaks, a query – a query so fundamental yet direct to the heart – is asked: How does one define the value of honesty? Is it through the actions that we think can change the world or just through the petty dictionary that secludes and boxes our ideal minds? We are the masterpieces of God’s infinite wisdom and we don’t have the right to do less than what He expects of us.

Honesty begins with the letter H, which stands for humans and ends with Y, for you and me. Isn’t it a coincidence that this happened? Maybe the One above knows why. This is commonly known as a virtue so easy to say, yet, so hard to follow. This is what drives you to be the best man the world has known. This is what pushes you to give back what is not yours or even to say even the smallest of truths. This is what defines your character made in the image and likeness of God.

In the desert there are so many traps. All the roads look the same that sometimes the wrong roads look real because of realistic illusions in this world. There are always two roads to choose from: the road of the kings, which is the path of thorns, but give you the glorifying success and the normal road, which gives you comfort, but leaves you just that, a mediocre person able to find the treasure and the fulfillment of your purpose in life.

Our culture is rich. Yes, very enriched with influences coming from both the east and west. But sadly, the road our culture adapted is more of the easy one, in short, a dishonest one. Maybe, we took the one more traveled by. The one that contained false truths and glittering objects that are not really gold.

Weak. Our country before surely began as a nation pure and clean and fresh. Sick. As the years go and time travels, we become worse and our lives are like patients on the hospital bed waiting for medicines. There are times when we tire ourselves of doing good and it seems that we can’t do anything good already. Are we so injured that we can’t stand on the grounds of truth? We are on the verge of becoming dead people. Death and destruction are not far away. Will we wait for our lungs to be burned with those smokes of dirty works? The road which we started will continue moving if we don’t do some u-turning as soon as possible.

Sometimes, we say some things best, when we say nothing at all. Ironic it may seem but action truly does work more effectively than the words we play with and those that exit the dirty mouth of men. Again, we go back to the point, honesty is what drives us…to not cheat during examinations; to give back the right change to the person manning the sari-sari store;

Honesty is telling where you are when your mom or dad calls to ask where you are at that moment; admitting that you’ve committed small, much more, larger misdeeds; Picking-up a lost item and returning it to the owner; Being as transparent to everyone as possible; Standing up for what is true and never for the wrong. Always keep in mind to be honest even if others are not; even if others will not; even if others cannot.

Right now, we are already doing something to improve the country’s status on dishonesty somehow. We are addressing the issue and making it our advocacy. The earth where we live in, is such a small world. We can make our voices heard, I’m pretty sure. News and important advocacies spread out easily to all people except for those who really intend not to hear it. On the other hand, we should remember that to become the ideal nation we all dream to have requires a team effort. We can’t change the country using I. We can only improve if we use…us.

Honesty is the key to our success as a nation for progress. Those who are not enlightened by the limitless possibilities of this world end up being puppets of their own fears but those who become their very own alchemist in their sense. One somehow finds a way to transmute lead to gold and find the essence of his life. That is what it means to choose the road of the kings – to go against your own fears and mediocrities and be the best you can to find the philosopher’s stone within your disposal and somehow, just somehow, turn yourself into the greatest creature God had ever created.

But in the end, it doesn’t matter if you choose the wrong road which is full of traps and dishonesty because if you fail, the Consuming Fire from the Almighty God will envelop your entire being and as you fall to the ashes and then rise again, and all of your flames of passion burning again for a phoenix is destined to be greater than before without words and thoughts, just plain actions. And after you’re reborn, you’ll somehow find the way the way of the kings for it is stated that as long as you knock the doors will be opened for you and all of the universe will conspire to grant you that one wish – to be the best individual and the best nation which is once again new, and fresh and enlightened.

And Finally the Phoenix Rises

Courtesy of Google Images
Courtesy of Google Images

 

This post was originally made by Ms. Joyce Andaya at http://wisdomusings.blogspot.com.  I am reposting this so that everyone may be able to read this wonderful and inspiring piece by the former Lourdes School Quezon City Principal.  Much respect, ma’am.

 


And finally the phoenix rises…is reborn…

A thousand times beautiful, majestic, awesome…

Just when the painful stab of defeat is in the offing, the fat lady sings…destroying the sweet song of the siren.

Dragons slain, nemesis felled, rivals humbled.

And the sweetest victory of all?

Going the distance, proving others wrong, relying on one’s wit and strength,

and yes,

possessing purple hearts to fight a good fight, finish the race, keep the faith.

That’s called regaining one’s footing.

That’s called slaying your demons.

That’s called defying the gods.

That’s simply called conquering oneself.

Isn’t this what they call the sweet psalm of victory?

Only those who risk going too far can find out how far they can go.

 


A Marketing Chicken-and-Egg Question

Which comes first: the target market, or the product?

 

Target market comes first

Business and economic schools have taught that a product satisfies an unmet need, demand, or want in a particular target market.   Based from this, perhaps one can presuppose that the target market (which must be small enough to conquer but big enough to profit) exists first and that a product that can profitably satisfy the unmet demand comes second.

So I ask, is it possible for the product to exist first before the target market is identified?  A scenario I can think of is when a product is able to awaken a “dormant demand”.

 

Product comes first

I think that tablets are the personification of “dormant demands”.  At surface level, it seems that laptops and cell/smartphones are enough to consume media.  I remember reading an internet article questioning the existence and release of the first iPad.  Back then, I agreed – what’s gonna be the use of a tablet, when laptops are more powerful and smartphones are more portable?

Fast forward today, tablets are a category of their own. Though laptops and smartphones seemingly addressed existing demands of power and portability already, the emergence of tablets seemed to awaken the dormant demand for the perfect hybrid or middle ground of the two demands.  In fact, Samsung is even pioneering the “phablet” category.  If tablets are middle grounds of laptops and phones, then tablets are more astounding – they are the middle grounds of phones and tablets!

Did the people expressly clamor for such hybrids or middle grounds to exist?  Did the existence of tablets create the demand, or did people demand tablets?

 

So, what now?

This is when we can see how business and marketing cannot be solely described as “sciences”.  There are art, intuition, and powerful gut feelings involved.  A product can be perhaps created without a particular target segment in mind.  The basis of creating such a product may be an uncanny knowledge of how consumers, or even humans in general think and feel.  Such a product is based on a general insight, a general yet penetrating understanding of people’s demands before they even expressly and consciously know it.

In such cases when products seemingly come first, what I can think of is a product utilizing a market-driving strategy – awakening a “dormant demand” through addressing an overlooked need.  Perhaps the new product is a rejuvenated old product that inspires people to use it in a new and refreshing way (new usage).  Perhaps it is indeed a new product born out of finding the middle ground between two existing products, such as laptops and smartphones.

I do not know and cannot conclusively tell whether target market identification comes first before creating a product or vice versa.  I acknowledge my limitations as still a young student of business and marketing eager to test theories and knowledge in real life.

 

 

Living in the Moment – In This Life

 

“Sa buhay na ito, tayo’y manatili. Huminga ng malalim, huminga ng malalim.”

Sometimes, in life, we feel the need to force ourselves into entering a different zone, a different plane.

From men to machines.

To accomplish goals, to accomplish tasks, to prove that the ideal can happen.

But sometimes, we forget the essential.  We forget that there are times, the ideal things are not necessarily the most essential.  We forget to live in the moment.

Sometimes, the bottomline, the results, the expectations – these things are not everything that matters.

Sometimes, living in the moment is all that matters.

Living in this life is all that matters, even for a moment’s time.

Isn’t it extremely painful to be “present” in a once-in-a-lifetime moment, when one’s spirit, one’s soul, is wandering towards a completion of tasks that just pursue the “good results”?

Just as we have the self-discipline to turn ourselves to machines that efficiently and effectively produce the results that conquer the sky-high expectations, let us too have that self-discipline to return back to being mere mortals that need the warmth, the spontaneous spark, that urge to live in the moment.

“Sa buhay na ito, tayo’y manatili. Huminga ng malalim, huminga ng malalim.”

=====

Thank you Bamboo, for this wonderful music that somehow lifts the spirit.

Just an Excuse

20130203-144451.jpg

We all have been littered by motivational, inspirational messages on continuing forward amidst obstacles.

And, I do mean “littered”. Or is “cluttered” a better term to use?

As society continues to celebrate the underdog stories, I challenge:

When and how do we determine whether an incapability to perform is not an excuse, but rather, a symptom of something greater, or something worse?

When one attempts to let his light shine and fails, is it entirely his fault? Is success entirely a choice, or is it an amalgamation of things other than just “choosing” and “willing” to succeed?

And lastly, I ask what is the correct choice between these: accepting things that can be changed/unchanged and learning how to know what can indeed be changed (as the prayer for serenity advocates); or having the fortitude “to will things”, no matter the obstacle?

Thank You for Hurting Me

Thank you for hurting me.

When during my frosh years, I did not take the risk to be active in organizations because of my premature “burnout excuse”. This was one of my biggest regrets of my college life.

Thank you for hurting me.

When during my sophomore years I did not get something I thought I deserved – I felt so entitled and I thought then the world was mine.

Thank you for hurting me.

When during my junior years I tried to carry myself and do something that was something I did not really like nor love. I thought it was unfair being stuck, when I think there must have been better things I felt I deserved.

Thank you for hurting me.

When in my senior year, I learned my lessons. To fully know myself first, and never to feel entitled. That self awareness is about knowing what I can and cannot handle. And that one learns best when outside the comfort zone. That humility is a choice, and it will always be tested. That attitude comes first before skill or talent.

Thank you for hurting me.

Because in pain I found the most valuable lessons of my college life. In pain I found the strength to reflect everyday. In pain, I learned that life is about winning personal battles rather than competing in the rat race.

Thank you, Lord, for hurting me.

Because then you fulfilled Your promise, that through the baptism by fire I can be again that mythical phoenix who rises up from the ashes, ever majestic, but self-aware that I’m destined to be consumed and be reduced to humble dust.

Only to rise up again.

A Glimpse of the Superstars

Perhaps I have been blessed to be given a rare opportunity – a glimpse of how superstars do work they are the best at.

Industry leaders. Industry shakers. And even industry creators.

What separates them from the rest is not just their immense talents and resources, but rather the drive to achieve their crystal clear goals.

They possess the no-excuse attitude – either you deliver or you don’t. But the superstars I met emphasize the importance of giving back to the world, to the Philippines. They have their own advocacies.

The reason behind their riches is their unrelentless drive – 24/7.

And the question is: if we want to be superstars ourselves, do we have the resolve to sacrifice and be ad disciplined as them?