Monday, November 14, 2011

To romanticize is not to problem-solve

To problem-solve demands execution which is hardnosed: Who will do, what, why, when, where and how? Indeed we must promote tourism, being a strategic industry. But we have to in short order learn to raise our expectations – we’re in a downward spiral, which if not yet obvious is glaring if we simply look outward? But it is heartening that we are addressing the need for a word-class airport and the infrastructure network to support tourism and, as importantly, our broader industrialization needs?

But the real question is: how hardnosed are we? Poverty will keep staring us in the eye until we learn to stare reality in the eye? To romanticize is not to problem-solve? Thus, we must be able to pose the question to ourselves: Does our economy need fixing? If it does, who will do what, why, when, where and how? That demands loads of leadership! Unfortunately, we instinctively lead with our heart and thus get quite romantic? There is nothing wrong with romanticism – passion is synonymous to great achievements! Yet, problem-solving is fundamentally hardnosed?

Of course we value a high minimum wage? Of course we value our OFWs? Of course we value patrimony? They are great examples of how we romanticize instead of problem-solve? We should have valued skilled work, industrialization, and investments and competitiveness? And it is one of the reasons why we’re not comfortable with foreign investments especially from the West – they’re too hardnosed, not romanticists? But that’s how higher education in the New World was founded by the Christians from the Old World, via the select-few Ivy League institutions – i.e., imbued with academic rigor? And so many of us put our children behind those ivied walls? And when they return home, we look up to them too? But that’s because they occupy some higher tier in our social hierarchy (not unlike in the US.) And given our hierarchical culture, we romanticize them too?

Yet, problem-solving is hardnosed? Two Nobel laureates were behind the implosion of the once sterling hedge fund, LTCM? To be hardnosed is to ask the tough questions no matter who the players are and how high they are in the hierarchy? The Catholic hierarchy in the US is paying a heavy price for taking it for granted!

Does our economy need fixing? If it does, who will do what, why, when, where and how? And we can’t be half-hearted, we must leapfrog! Who will leapfrog the what – i.e., our anemic investment levels, antiquated technology, outdated innovation, plummeting education and talent development, outmoded product and market development pursuits? Why? We can’t even put body and soul together for Juan de la Cruz! When? Like yesterday! Where? Prioritize, e.g., critical basic infrastructure and vital few industries! (To prioritize goes against our grain of inclusion and compassion?) How? Don’t shut the rest of the world out – and nurture oligarchy, which is why we’re still in the dark ages! Peter the Great at least invited the best Europe had to offer to modernize his country? And CSR can’t be our best shot; it is simply insulting and at best condescending! The indios are good in livelihood projects – only?

Our 10-million strong OFWs bring $20+/- billion to our economy. Now we expect them to bring 10 million tourists too? We have a problem with our tourism program like we have a problem with our economy? We are an underdeveloped economy driven by OFW remittances – thus a natural haven for oligarchy, i.e., free money is coming without the imperative of competing in the global arena! We call it ’Filipino abilidad’ when it’s unmistakably cacique in character, confining us to the dark ages! What athlete will skip global competition and expect to be and win in the Olympics? In the meantime, we defer to hierarchy and celebrate oligarchy, wickedly trapping us in a vicious cycle! Unsurprisingly, we have become an object of charity, i.e., international financial institutions see us as CCT-dependent!

It is the 21st century and even countries that were once pariahs are zooming past us? Our response ought to be strong enough for the rest of the world to view us as an investment destination, beyond tourism! That we can build a world-class airport and critical basic infrastructure – and as importantly, that we can pursue the vital few industries (i.e., overcome ‘crab mentality’) that will put us on the road to industrialization! We don’t live in trees anymore!

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