pop goes the world: re-solutions

POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 6 January 2011, Thursday


Happy new year! It’s time again to rewrite that list of resolutions that we keep making – and, more often than not, breaking – every year.

The word resolution is defined as being a “course of action determined or decided upon.” In actuality these take the forms of promises-to-self that range from the personal to the professional in connection with life choices – turning over a new leaf, kicking a bad habit, learning something new.

The online Washington Times posted last December 31 their list of ten popular new year’s resolutions: stop smoking, drink less, get more exercise, go on a diet, find a soulmate, spend more time with family and friends, get more organized, find a job, travel more, help others (charity work), relocate, manage stress better, get out of debt, text less, and watch less television.

These resolutions are generic in nature and generally applicable across all cultures; in that respect they are nothing new. We can break down the word into two parts –“re” and “solution” meaning a solution that has been considered before, but not implemented, so it is being considered again. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle, only broken when we actually do whatever we’ve resolved. After that, if it’s a habit or a fresh new way of doing things, we need to sustain the new behavior, something that should be easier once we’ve reaped the benefits.

Let’s say we’ve made our personal resolutions. Onwards now to the fun part – making resolutions for government officials. Let’s hope those concerned take heed:

To cultivate common sense – Remember presidential speechwriter assistant secretary Mai Mislang’s twerpy tweets – “The wine (in Vietnam) sucks”? Her ill-considered use of social media site Twitter resulted in a firestorm of controversy and Malacañang Palace’s temporary suspension of the use of social media, and ended with her being reassigned to another department, which sucks – for her.

To cease plagiarizing and learn to write their own stuff – *cough Supreme Court justices cough*

To have more backbone in standing up for the right – I was very disappointed that the Philippines pandered to China by refusing to send a delegation to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honoring imprisoned Chinese human-rights activist Lu Xiabo. Boo, whoever made that cowardly decision.

To obey the law – Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista’s recent promotion of a strict city traffic enforcer, Sol Botilla, who pulled the mayor over for beating a red light on New Year’s Eve, is impressive for its recognition of a dutiful man. Mayor Bautista honored the law, unlike Ilocos Sur congressman Ronald Singson, who will plead guilty to drug charges in Hong Kong. For shame.

To be considerate of others –Alliance of Volunteer Educators partylist congressman Eulogio Magsaysay reportedly upbraided Philippine Airlines ground attendant Sarah Bonnin Ocampo for not seating him and his sons together on their recent flight to Los Angeles. He allegedly told her to “shut up” and called her a “menopausal bitch”. This is deeply wrong on so many levels. And who doesn’t recall Commission on Human Rights commissioner and former broadcast personality Coco Quisumbing’s arrogant treatment of her fellow ka-industriya? ‘Wag tularan.

To stop plundering the kaban ng bayan – I’m looking at you, officials like disgraced general Carlos Garcia.

To not be such total idiots, please – What’s with the official acronym of the Traffic Transport Management Office of the Metro Manila Development Authority – TTMO? Seriously, no one from those agencies bothered to pronounce that acronym out loud? Here’s another colossal blunder – the Department of Tourism’s “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” campaign, obviously nicked from Poland’s. We were caught copying, like naughty schoolchildren. Nakakahiya. Are there any grown-ups running this country?

I’m sure you can add more to this list, but let’s not make this an outpouring of negative energy, rather a collection of constructive points that will help government in general be aware of their failings, rectify their blunders, and not commit these same mistakes again. (They can always make new ones.)

In addition to exercising more, starting a new diet, and spending more time with family (or whatever we have on our personal resolutions lists), let us add societal vigilance, because the public should care about holding government officials accountable and responsible.

But if you don’t get to keep that and the other resolutions you made, there’s always next year. And the next, and the one after that…  ***

Photos, in order of appearance: Exercise (taken by Jenny Ortuoste at the Santa Ana Park in Makati, 2008);  Lu Xiaobo (image here); Eulogio Magsaysay (image here); TTMO officer (image here).

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