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Monday, August 20, 2007

What We Must Carry

Last Saturday, I returned to Manila.  On our way to my cousins' apartment just a stone's throw away from the University of Santo Tomas, we passed through a street that was parallel to Espana. There were small markets along that road.  In fact, the flooded parts mostly had those markets where the sellers and the buyers were ankle deep in black water, with all the garbage floating around them.  Neither buyer nor seller cared that the water was filthy.

Isolated in ivory towers, it is often difficult to remember how other people live.  Seeing this image reminded me of several recent TEDTalks. In fact, if you listen closely to those talks, you could draw some interesting similarities with what is happening in Africa, and what is happening in the Philippines.

George Ayittey talked about the Cheetahs and the Hippos in Africa. Where are our Cheetahs? We've too many Hippos.  (high resolution download for you people who don't want to stream can be found here.)

Another interesting video is this talk that Novelist and Poet, Chris Abani gave.  He spoke of his own political awakening and the many stories of Africa. It's interesting how he questioned the righteousness of asking people to revolt against Government and how your humanity can be stripped from you as a price of war. [high resolution video here.]

Lastly, Jacqueline Novogratz, gave this talk about fighting poverty with Patient Capital. Her talk highlighted three important things, first: Dignity is more important to the human spirit than wealth; second, Traditional Chairty and aid alone will not solve the problems of poverty, and third: the markets alone will not solve the problems of poverty. [high resolution video here.]

There are many faults that we can lay at the foot of the Government--- any of our past and future governments. Heck just recently that debacle on the luxury cars come to mind and of course our need to beef up our weather service (the latter, if i remember correctly had hearings in the senate years ago).  And yet there are many things We the People are to blame like the recent floods that filled the streets of Manila; that was all us. After all, wasn't it our garbage being taken out of the pumping stations?  

Need I say that the luxury cars was an unjustifiable waste and the lack of proper weather predicting capability and the whole hoopla on our garbage problem are prime examples of how our people tend to forget we lose millions of pesos because of lost productivity? 

These stories are all about Africa. However, we can draw some inspiration, some insight from their stories and apply it to our context.  Our society is deeply divided and many faults can be laid at the foot of our leaders, no doubt about that.  It is also not to say that as a People, we too have many shortcomings and that the goal of achieving the prosperity our People dream of, rests not on the shoulders of Government but every Filipino around the world. We must carry that cross. 


sparks said...

Uy, serendipity na naman ba ito? I've seen that South African's talk on TED. Siguro kasi na nakuha ko ang link ng Marginal Revolutions sayo...and they wrote about TED a few weeks back. Hemingway, I thought the exact same thing!! Great minds....hehe.

Cocoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cocoy said...

LOL. must be great minds...