Thinking Yolanda

I will not discuss much about Yolanda. I am thinking about the shock she has brought us and how it exposed the weaknesses of our government – including our practice of democracy. They say it will take years to fully recover from the devastation in spite of Filipino resiliency. How do we understand resiliency by the way, if not to justify inaction or the very slow pace of it. Mabubuhay naman yang mga yan, resilient naman ang mga Pilipino eh.

Let us listen to an ancient Chinese sage. The Chinese Philosopher Mo Zi (or Master Mo) who lived more than two thousand years ago, said of governance in his essay Honoring the Worthy,

“In caring for the people, presiding over the altars of the soil and grain, and ordering the state, the rulers and high officials these days strive for stability and seek to avoid any error. But why do they fail to perceive that honoring the worthy is the foundation of government?”

“How do we know that honoring the worthy is the foundation of government? Because when the eminent and wise rule over the stupid and humble, then there will be order; but when the stupid and humble rule over the eminent and wise, there will be chaos. Therefore we know that honoring the worthy is the foundation of government.”

We ought to know that the “stupid and humble” pertained to here means those who are not gentlemanly or righteous. Wise people are people of justice and righteousness. Yung kagalang-galang, may palabra de honor, at tunay na nagsasakripisyo para sa iba. I mean the genuine ones. Not lip service. Mo Zi knew how it is to live under leaders whose competence only lies in warfare and making people poor. Not that his time was lacking in educated leaders, or they had stupid Dukes, but that they lack righteous leaders. Leaders who really care. Like in his time, we only know good leaders by their fruits.

I do not have a problem with “Do not ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” But then again, no matter how we look at it, the Philippine government is still the most powerful body in the country. Hands down. But, then again, our present government is just as good as the people we elect. We do not elect the worthy. We elect the popular.

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