Sunday, May 13, 2012

Making the Philippines Better for All Its Citizens (Happy Mothers Day, Ma.)

The past couple of days weren't an absolute waste of time, even if most of my free time was spent unmasking another act of deception foisted by one misguided soul and being somewhat amused by the childish rants that erupted afterwards.

The thing is, some people believe that the only way for things to improve in this country is for massive and widespread changes to take place because everything about it is so effing wrong.

I still believe that a lot of things are wrong with this country, but unlike when I was in high school or college, I have become increasingly aware that all the wrong things in this country cannot be changed for the better by a change in leadership, government, economic policies, etcetera.

As I've grown somewhat disenchanted with the idea of panaceas for a dysfunctional society, I've also come to appreciate the simple nugget of wisdom that my mother would often tell me whenever I'd get too engrossed in one revolutionary solution or another.

She had a thousand and one ways of saying it, but the best one I remember is this:

"Nasa may katawan ang pagbabago."
-- Linda Farol

Being 80 years old, I think she can probably attest to the fact that sweeping political and economic changes won't do shit for people who expect food to land in mouths.

She also says that an improved economy won't make an unskilled laborer or peon (as she is fond of saying) won't make enough money to have a decent life and it will always take government intervention to give him that.

Moreover, she says that laws guaranteeing worker rights won't guarantee having jobs and they're useless if you're unemployed.  The best way to have security of tenure is to be indispensable to the company and the best way to secure an upward career path is to be the best at what you do.

She also says that a change in political leadership just boils down to some politician getting a promoted and it  won't mean diddly squat to you -- the ordinary citizen -- unless you're either a relative of the politician, crony, or an indispensable member of his staff.

These remarkable insights into the economy, legislation, and politics have been proven true, time and again.

Especially, if you consider that my mom is an ordinary housewife who devoted the best years of her life to taking care of her children.  

She didn't study political science, philosophy, or any of the "sciences".  If her family hadn't suffered a major reversal during World War II, I think she would have finished a college degree in nursing or education and perhaps, we (her children) wouldn't have been born.

She chose to get married in her twenties and raise a family instead.

Still wanting to be mentally active in a practical way, she taught herself how to fix car engines, embroidery, crocheting, dress making, pig and chicken raising, dog training, baking, cooking, basic carpentry, basic masonry, electrical installation, vegetable raising, how to run a business, and a whole other range of skills that helped add income or spare expenses.

Come to think of it, I don't think there is any kind of practical skill that my mother doesn't have some level of proficiency in.  (Oh, well, she can't hard code HTML or even work a keyboard, for that matter.  But she's my mother and its mother's day, so I'll look that over -- just this once.)

To her, the accumulation of knowledge and skills that has practical use and can either earn money or save money is the best way to improve one's station in life.

I've often over-looked her formula for improving her life and the lives of people who have come into her life because it seemed corny.

But, corny as it seemed to me when I was an angst driven young man, I now look back at her corny formula for improving people's lives and I have to say, she's right.

Her formula for self improvement is simple:

1. Learn.
2. Earn.
3. Save.
4. Invest.

Nope. Not Econ lib, federalism, or parliamentary shift.

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