Monday, October 08, 2007


The only constant in the universe is change, so the saying goes. The cosmos is undergoing change, expanding, merging, bursting and collapsing. Our planet too is under constant transformation ─ changing weather and climate, geology, topography. Certainly, we humans are by nature changeable creatures. We often change clothes, change money into coins, or the TV channel being watched. Some change hair color with dyes, or whiten skin into a sickly pale hue. We often change our mind, the school we attend or our latest amour. These changes are easy; most being mere reflex (unthinking) action or require only minor decisions. Tougher decisions are involved when switching to another job or a new home. However, people by nature resist change if the change is involuntary, particularly when it affects them personally and negatively.
Progress usually requires change, and change does not take place without resistance. Minimizing this reaction to change is an important function of a manager whether in private business or in public administration.
Take for instance the case of relocating squatters (who are now called the landless or the patronizing term informal settlers), which involves a change in their place of abode. The positive lure of the change is the promise of free or concessionary real estate, even housing, that could improve the lifestyle of beneficiaries. However, there are also negatives that are personally threatening. A primary factor is economics, such as the added cost of shuttling to their place of work or livelihood, to the market, and to the children’s school. Another would probably be a lack of basic water and electric power facilities. The beneficiaries who find that the negatives outweigh the benefits will determine their attitude and ultimately resist the change.
Changes in the routes of public utility vehicles to decongest traffic if done too frequently will eventually be resented and resisted, particularly if dissemination of the plan is poor or inadequate and disrupt commuters’ travel habits.
During an interview in a TV talk show, a government official stated, “the planned change would be implemented, subject to the availability of funds.” Planning a change with uncertain funding is not planning. It should be categorized as dreaming.
A study made on why planned projects fail found that the greatest stumbling block was lack of management decision. Lack of funds or time were less of a retarding factor. This is in opposition to often heard statements about shortage of personnel or funds to support new projects. The implication is quite clear that management itself may be the most serious impediment to innovative progress.
Managers of large business corporations have learned to anticipate the challenges of change and how to manage the change. Here are six tips to minimize the resistance to change:
1) Announce and explain a change as soon as possible. Tell why it is necessary and how it will benefit those affected. People tend to suspect what reaches them only by rumor, and to fear what they do not understand.
2) Bring your subordinates into the act. Ask their advice. Their participation in planning for change commits them to cooperate with it.
3) Make sure the change is profitable. Change without visible improvement will encounter bitter resistance, and will be remembered the next time you want to make a change ─ even if it is a worthwhile one.
4) Make one change at a time. Nothing is more disruptive than a series of changes in quick succession. A good manager tries to space them.
5) Give the change time. Opposition does not vanish overnight. Allow people time to adjust. If opposition persists, find out why.
6) Admit a mistake. If a change will not work, say so ─ and drop it. Whipping a dead horse accomplishes nothing.
There is one significant exception to the reality of universal change ─ the independent mindedness of the youth.
“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders, and they love to chatter instead of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.” ─ Socrates, roughly 400 B.C.
Two millennia and four centuries later, the same lament can still be heard
Even if youthful behavior has not changed much, the youth themselves change ─ they become parents and elders ─ and in their wisdom see the youth of the succeeding generation behave as badly as they once did in their time.
"Change has considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better. Obviously, then, one’s character and frame of mind determine how readily he brings about change and how he reacts to change that is imposed on him." - King Whitney Jr.

(Bumper sticker): Change is inevitable. Progress is optional

Of Civility, Word of Honor, Ethics and Honesty

As a young pupil in grade school, one lesson was deeply etched into my young brain and remains vivid to this day of my twilight years. The teacher was explaining the anecdote of the boy (shepherd) who cried wolf. To emphasize the lesson, she asked each pupil to draw the boy watching a flock of sheep and the menacing wolf. My drawing was incomprehensible; I interpreted the sheep as “ship” as pronounced by the teacher. I drew a boy watching a banca (the ship). From that unforgettable embarrassment, I certainly learned from the anecdote the consequences of fibbing, and the values of honesty and word of honor.
It was perhaps serendipity that the teacher’s pronunciation “painted that memory with colors that never fade”(from Perfect Day poem). Other Filipinos may not have been so lucky they have not learned in such a striking manner the value of palabra de honor and delicadeza, word of honor and civility and this nation is suffering from the dearth of this virtue so glaringly lacking in its leadership.
I am of course alluding to the retracted vow of the President not to run for election in 2004. The self-imposed declaration not to run was made in December 2002, for the sake of national unity, she said. A few months later, she declared she will run after all, full speed ahead, national unity be damned. It is a terrible feeling of betrayal and anxiety that one feels when pronouncements of our top executive can not be relied upon, words that will never be transformed into action and will remain in the category of forgettable promises.
During the tense hours of the Oakwood coup when the surrender ultimatum deadline was on its last minutes, the negotiators’ word (primarily Ambassador and former General Cimatu) was accepted as credible by the coup leaders. They consented to be court martialled.
Now Malacanang has been persuaded, or perhaps did the persuading, that the coup leaders will be charged in a civil court reneging Cimatu’s word which has the force and authority of the President of the Philippines. Betrayal of one’s own ambassador plenipotentiary this is statesmanship?
The language of politics is assuming greater heights of incivility. Perhaps this is the new culture that evolved from a series of civil disorders spawned by EDSA I. The first “people power” mob toppled Marcos the prolific producer of Presidential Decrees, the second deposed Erap on suspicions of patent greed and replaced by Gloria who is now accused by detractors with having links to the murky Jose Pidal issue, which raises the question: Have we replaced overt greed with covert greed?
Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr. recently said, "The crying and urgent need is not only national unity and reconciliation but the return of civility among our leaders and a reservoir of goodwill and trust." He added that it was unfortunate that President Arroyo’s offer of a "principled reconciliation" to various political groups — particularly to all those involved in the House of Representatives’ attempt to impeach Chief Justice Davide — have "been met with little enthusiasm, if not distrust and derision.” He added that achieving political reconciliation will need more than an offer from the President. "It cannot be reconciliation for the purpose of election," an apparent dig at GMA’s intention to seek a full six-year term in next May’s presidential elections.
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., for his part, said a "reconciliation between the administration and the opposition is possible but only under the rules of civility and democratic discourse."
The latest instances of incivility of word are from respectable sectors of the community in the wake of President Arroyo’s retraction of her moratorium on death-penalty executions. .The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippine (CBCP) accused Mrs. Arroyo of attempting to appease the Chinese-Filipino community to boost her candidacy in the May 2004 elections and human rights groups led by the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) said Mrs. Arroyo’s decision to lift the moratorium was nothing more than "a display of politics. The reasons for the flip-flop is obvious; she needs to win votes and curry favor." Knowing the penchant of GMA to pursue whatever is in her self-interest after all she is a mere mortal with human frailties these groups could have remained civil with brief statements of regret.

Breaking one’s word is telling a lie, and one who does could be an inveterate liar or a congenital liar. Breaking one’s word does breed mistrust and incivility in future discourse.


What philosophical principles forbid biotechnology from engaging in certain practices such as:
· Transfer of genetic material from one species to another?
· Interference with the life process?
· Physicians in life support methods?
· Controversial medical practice like abortion, euthanasia, surrogate parenthood, sale of human eggs or organs, cloning humans, nanotechnology (building life forms atom by atom)?
· The case of Brenda Winners ─ when she found out that her unborn child lacked most of the brain’s cerebral cortex, she could have decided to abort or give birth then let it die. Instead, she and her husband chose to have the baby, keep it alive, and let its organs be used as transplants.” God brings these babies into the world and they should be able to do some good, even if they can’t live.” said Brenda Winners


When ERAP was deposed as President and GMA installed in his place as de facto President, the event was the culmination of an epic political drama. Starting with an impeachment trial as prescribed in the Constitution, this due process sputtered to a screeching halt when evidence was suppressed at the trial triggering the resignation of the panel of Congressmen-prosecutors. The trial’s sudden demise rekindled the rage of indignant ERAP critics and spelled the end of the ERAP era.
What was the essence of the four articles of impeachment? Dishonesty, pure and simple. A sitting president is deposed just because of simple acts of dishonesty? Surely, people should understand that the bigger the belly, the bigger the hunger, and a hyperactive libido urges randy hedonist activity ─ all demanding basketsful of money. After all, dishonesty is common in society
In sports, there are those that misdeclare their age, disobey training rules, give excuses, find fault or blame others when they lose. In schools, there’s cheating in exams, giving or receiving unearned grades for a fee, violation of copyrights by photocopying books or magazines, purchase ready-made or plagiarize thesis and term papers. In business, there are tampered scales, cheating on taxes, gouging consumers with fake medicines and imitation goods, and pirating intellectual property. In the bureaucracy, graft is commonplace, names of ghosts in the payroll, rosters heavy with kin and crony, and insults the public with surly service. In politics, well, that’s apparently where Imeldific and ERAP honed their sticky-finger skill.
The perception that the bureaucracy, once known as the civil service, are not just lacking civility, but are seemingly ashamed of the idea of serving, demeaned by the word servant. A great many look at the bloated bureaucracy as teeming with corruption, and believe that it needs “a little more pruning and a little less grafting. Now the public must ponder: it takes two to tango; the corrupt bureaucrat does not commit graft on his own, he always has a corruptor ─ the dishonest citizen – or a weak minded victim. This citizen might be a neighbor, a friend, a kin. Finally, look in the mirror if the reflection has a clean conscience. You must have heard the former president blurt often that he has a clear conscience. Well, some wit countered that “a clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.”
People judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold, but so has a hard-boiled egg. Good Reading
Decency It is discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. — Noel Coward

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