New Poll

What do you want Sen. Aquino to run for in 2010?

As President? Vice President? Or you don't want him to run at all? Not sure? Let us see how our compatriots feel and think about the only son of former President Cory Aquino. This is a new online public poll. Go to the polling station (scroll down, left side) and register your votes. There are also other polling survey questions; you might also want to participate if you have not yet registered your votes. Invite your friends, colleagues, family members and relatives, teachers, students and your other networks.



It's awesome! Majestic. Spectacular. Powerful. Blissful. Lovely. The Niagara Falls on one good Saturday on August 22. No words can fully capture the enormity and immensity of this natural resource. An enduring creation! No wonder the first French, Swedish and Belgian explorers in as early as 1600s were all enchanted in their memoirs and chronicles of the Falls located very intimately between Canada and New York. On why they are referred to as Niagara is mostly allegorical, most probably coming from the 17th century inhabitants known as the Niagagaregans. Tourism and hydro-power industry began to boom in Niagara in 1800s, while a series of preservation programs from both countries were implemented in the mid-1800s to early 1900s. Niagara Falls has since become a huge tourist attraction and favorite spot for wedding ceremonies and among honeymooners. I glimpsed on two wedding ceremonies held against the backdrop of the Falls and raging river flows! Very romantic! A popular 19th century romantic story claims that Napoleon Bonaparte's brother Jérôme and his bride came to the Niagara Falls for their honeymoon.

Click on my album here to see more photos of my Niagara experience with my in-laws and family friends. The wallpaper-quality photos are courtesy of Bong Asuelo.

Lovers, honeymooners, poets, painters, photographers, chroniclers, geologists, and plain sightseers from all over the world come to Niagara Falls to experience its awe and magic. Like this poem written by J.S. Buckingham in 1837, it's indeed a gift from the Great Creator!


Thy diadem's an emerald, of the clearest, purest hue,
Set round with waves of snow-white foam,
and spray of feathery dew;

While tresses of the brightest pearls float
o'er thine ample sheet,

And the rainbow lays its gorgeous gems
in tribute at thy feet!

And from that hour to this,
in which I gaze upon thy stream,

From age to age, in Winter's frost
or Summer's sultry beam,

By day, by night, without a pause,
thy waves, with loud acclaim,

In ceaseless sounds have still proclaim'd
the Great Eternal's name!


The Fellows

The proud international Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows (2009-2010) of the Fulbright Exchange Program in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in Syracuse University, New York. First row: Anita Sarmah (India), Simpson Snoh (Liberia), Addys Then Marte (Dominican Republic), Emma Silva (Ecuador). Second row: Jamel M’Hedhbi (Tunisia), Alexei Ionasco (Moldova), Ronald Amorado (Philippines). Third row: Dong Seok Lee (South Korea), Nimrod Goren (Israel), Joseph Bangura (Sierra Leone), Shouvik Mitra (India).

The Fellows are chosen through a globally competitive screening and qualification system through the auspices of their respective Fulbright country commissions. Each Fellow is expected to make good use of their professional expertise, experiences and dexterity through an exchange program with fellow counterparts from various participating countries. As Fellows, they will be attending special seminars, academic courses, site visits, agency visits and dialogs, professional development activities and professional affiliation activities that are all geared towards attaining their individual program plans for their country re-entry application.

Click here for the bio-sketches of the Fellows and their respective country representation and areas of specialization.

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of the Syracuse University in New York is also the premiere public affairs and public administration school in the United States. Maxwell School is the first and oldest public administration program in the country and prides itself of a long-standing tradition of academic excellence in the areas of citizenship, public affairs and public administration. For many years already, the Maxwell School of the Syracuse University has been ranked by the US News and World Report as the No. 1 Graduate School for Public Affairs in the US (and most probably in the world). Top public affairs and public administration practitioners from around the globe come to the Maxwell School for academic degree or professional development.

For 2008-2009, the top 24 Graduate Schools for Public Affairs ranked by the US News and World Report are:

1. Maxwell School, Syracuse
2. Harvard (tied with another school)
2. IU Bloomington
4. Princeton (tied with another school)
4. U of Georgia
6. UC Berkeley
7. U of Kansas (tied with two others)
7. UMichigan
7. USC
10. Carnegie Mellon (tied with 3 others)
10. Duke
10. NYU
10. UChicago
14. American University (tied with 11 others)
14. Columbia
14. Georgetown
14. GWU
14. SUNY Albany
14. UCLA
14. U of Minnesota - Twin Cities
14. UNC Chapel Hill
14. UT Austin
14. U of Washington
14. U of Wisconsin Madison

Click here and here for the reports on the graduate school ranking in the US.

Go forth Fellows! Go forth towards a better world order! Make your country proud of you!


The Athenian Oath

I have always been fascinated and drawn into oaths and what they dearly hold and represent. An oath is more than just a promise or a commitment. It has some sacredness involved in it. A person making an oath unleashes all his or her honor and dignity. A person who violates his or her oath is a shameful dishonor and a disgrace, unworthy of his or her person (or degree or profession, or accomplishment, or family and religion, or name and reputation). So it really struck me immediately when I encountered the Athenian Oath -- the philosophic oath of all free governments and public bureaucracies, of all visionaries, leaders, managers, planners and administrators from around the globe.

In a nutshell, the Athenian Oath swears to "leave this community better than when we found it!"

The Athenian Oath has become a very inspiring philosophical foundation of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of the Syracuse University in New York. Being the first and oldest public administration program in the world, and ranked as the No. 1 graduate school of public affairs and public administration in the United States, Maxwell School prides itself of shaping the evolution of public administration theory and practice in democratic societies worldwide. At the crux of this pride lies a very strong influence from the Athenian philosophers in the ancient Greeks from over 2,000 years ago.

The Athenian Oath of the City-State is thus proudly inscribed right at the giant wall by the entrance foyer of the Maxwell Hall just beneath the statue of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), political philosopher and one of the most influential American Founding Fathers (also the 3rd President of the United States) and who wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776:

"We will never bring disgrace on this our City
by an act of dishonesty or cowardice.
We will fight for the ideals and Sacred Things
of the City both alone and with many.
We will revere and obey the City's laws,
and will do our best to incite a like reverence
and respect in those above us who are prone
to annul them or set them at naught.
We will strive increasingly to quicken
the public's sense of civic duty.
Thus in all these ways we will transmit this City,
not only not less, but greater and more beautiful
than it was transmitted to us!"

In the ancient Greece, Athenian men were obliged to make this oath when they reach the age of seventeen. A derivative of this oath -- known as the Oath of the Young Men of Athens and inscribed on a bronze plaque in the Thacher School in California -- also reads:

"I will not disgrace these sacred arms,
nor ever desert a comrade in the ranks.
I will guard the Temples and
the Centers of Civic Life,
and uphold the ideals of my Country,
both alone and in concert with others.
I will at all times obey the Magistrates
and observe the Laws
as well those at present in force
as those the Majority may hereafter enact.
Should any one seek to subvert those laws
or set them aside,
Him I will oppose
either in common with others or alone.
In these ways it shall be my constant aim
not only to preserve the things of worth
in my Native Land,
but to make them of still greater worth."

An earlier version of this oath, known as the Athenian Ephebic Oath (because they made the oath in the Ephebic College in Athens) reads more in elaboration:

"I will not disgrace my sacred arms
Nor desert my comrade, wherever I am stationed.
I will fight for things sacred
And things profane.
And both alone and with all to help me.
I will transmit my fatherland not diminished
But greater and better than before.
I will obey the ruling magistrates
Who rule reasonably
And I will observe the established laws
And whatever laws in the future
May be reasonably established.
If any person seek to overturn the laws,
Both alone and with all to help me,
I will oppose him.
I will honor the religion of my fathers.
I call to witness the Gods …
The borders of my fatherland,
The wheat, the barley, the vines,
And the trees of the olive and the fig."

Long live the Athenian Oath!



Suos cultores scientia coronat!
Knowledge crowns those who seek her!

Time Zones

Greetings from the University of Syracuse in the upstate New York. I just arrived here recently (August 11), and have began adjusting my psyche to the new environment. It really feels weird to cross several time zones. I flew out of Narita at about 3 PM, and witnessed dusk and darkness at 6 PM high up thousands of altitudes. When I was just about to sleep at 10 PM (supposedly), it suddenly became 11 AM as we cruised the Pacific and landed Detroit at 2 PM. It was like I was robbed of my night and felt more weird to have skipped morning. I arrived Syracuse at 6 PM like I never moved dates (left Manila on August 11 and arrived on the same day). Time zones are amazing. When the first-ever world time zone conference or the so-called International Prime Meridian Conference was held in 1884 in Washington DC, the aim was to harmonize the different local times of all countries which were just using the sun as the basis for setting the time (solar time). And since then, longitudes and latitudes, as well as the Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT), International Date Lines (IDL) and the Universal Time Coordination (UTC) have been used. Thanks to the transcontinental trains, especially those crossing the US and Canadian borders in the 1800s. With the trains crossing several countries, the mass confusion of what the exact local time was (since there were different local times) led to the need of coming up with a standard time for all. And so the trains became the mother of invention for time zones, and the Canadian railway engineer Sir Sandford Fleming (1827-1915) became the acknowledged Father of Standardized Time because he developed the system of worldwide time zones that have been used until now.

Its summer time now in Syracuse, sunny but its cold (already for me). And sunset is at 9 PM, whew! This is my first experience of a semblance white night! I also need to get myself familiar with US cents. They all look the same. And the giant pizzas and burgers here are not good for our health; I need to start jogging.

I'm attending my Hubert Humphrey - Fulbright Fellowship at the Maxwell School at the Syracuse University, touted as the No. 1 graduate school of public affairs and public administration in the whole of US for many years now (Harvard is only 2nd in rank). It's also nice to know that Maxwell School is the first to open the public administration program in the US in the late 1920s (it has the oldest and longest-running public affairs and public policy program blended with social science curriculum in the country). I'll be working on global corruption and integrity initiatives for a year, as part of my work with the Ehem Anticorruption Group. As a research university, Syracuse has a lot of interesting historical and pioneering accomplishments since its foundation in 1870 .

Welcome to the Orange City (and the orange carpet, not red carpet), the land of the great Orange Basketball Team (NCAA Divison), the Orange Football Team and the Orange Lacrosse Team. CUSE (Syracuse nick) is also home to the touching memorial of the 35 students who were among the fatalities in the terrorist bombing of Flight Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

I'll be staying around to live the Orange life until next year, and adhere to its wonderful philosophy: Suos cultores scientia coronat! Knowledge crowns those who seek her!


The Broken Window Fallacy

The Broken Window Fallacy
and the Law of Unintended Consequences

The Broken Window Fallacy, also known as the Parable of the Broken Window, was created by the French political economist Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) in his essay
Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas
(That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen) to reveal the undesirable hidden costs associated with the seeming benefits as a result of destroying the properties of others. This concept was also further developed by the Austrian economist Henry Hazlitt (1894–1993) in his book, Economics in One Lesson (1946).

While the labeling similarity of the concepts cannot easily escape the inquisitive minds, Bastiat's Broken Window Fallacy must not be confused with the Broken Window Theory developed by James Wilson and George Kelling as popularized in Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point (2007).

How does this fallacy work?

A man throws a stone into the window of a house, breaking the glass and destroying some properties. Furious, the owner runs after the man but he is long gone. The neighbors gather in sympathy to look into the incident of vandalism and after a while offer some consolation by saying that glaziers (glass cutters or glass makers) are there to solve the owner's problem. Without the man breaking the window, glaziers would be out of business. Breaking windows, or any vandalism for that matter, serves some good purpose of creating employment for repairs and reconstruction. The emerging justification somehow overlooks the hidden costs that the owner has to incur (the owner could have used his money to buy food, rather than to spend for window repair). This is the Broken Window Fallacy based on Hazlitt's original essay in his book.

The Broken Window Fallacy is also related to the Law of Unintended Consequences since both expose the wrong notion of privileging the beneficial outcomes by hiding unintended costs. Both concepts involve the incomplete accounting for the consequences of an action. If the hidden costs are accounted for, the claim for the beneficial outcomes will be effectively challenged.

Unintended consequences are latent outcomes. They may or may not be limited to the results originally intended in a particular situation. The unintended results may be foreseen or unforeseen, or planned or unplanned, but they should be the logical or likely results of the action. There are three types of unintended consequences: (1) the positive unexpected benefit, usually referred to as serendipity or a windfall; (2) the negative or perverse effect, that may be contrary to what was originally intended; and (3) the potential source of problems, such as described by Murphy's Law. Generally, the Broken Window Fallacy intimately binds with the negative or perverse unintended consequences.

Applying the Broken Window Fallacy, some arguments may be raised:
  1. Waging war that makes good business in the mass production of weapons and equipment, not to mention the men who are conscripted as soldiers. But what happens to the cost of war imposed upon humans?
  2. Is there such a thing as waging war in the name of peace? Or religion? Or sovereignty? Or territory? Especially the all-out war? Similarly, the concept of a just war should be thought out several times.
  3. And we need to really demystify the so called collateral damage in every human undertaking! Collateral damage disregards the cost to justify some acts; it is a form of hidden cost.
  4. Putting up a profiting business, despite the cost of dislocation among the residents. This includes the cost of environmental destruction and mitigation, as well as the cost of human displacement.
  5. Greasing the money to lubricate the bureaucratic engine in order to speed up the transactions. But what happens to the long-term distortion and destruction of the bureaucracy? And undermining the common good must have some cost.
  6. Allowing political accommodation and compromise as quid pro quo tactics. But where do we assert our principles and standards?
  7. Stocking on goods because they sell on big discounts, but even if we do not need them?
  8. Acquisition of credit cards and even club membership perks without knowing the hidden financial charges.
INSIGHTS: The Broken Window Fallacy is a strong argument against trivializing hidden costs thus, yielding to some artificial or fleeting beneficial outcomes. Broken Window Fallacy simply calls us towards a kind of benefit-cost analysis that is more honest and realistic in accounting for the hidden costs.


Parable of the Broken Window Fallacy at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window

The Broken Window at http://freedomkeys.com/window.htm

The Law of Unintended Consequences at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unintended_consequences

That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen at http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html


The Epidemic Theory of Integrity

The Epidemic Theory of Integrity

The Epidemic Theory of Integrity is a reverse application of the Broken Window Theory of Corruption, also known as the Epidemic Theory of Corruption, which is based from the Broken Window Theory developed by James Wilson and George Kelling and popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his bestselling book Tipping Point (2007).

If corruption, just like crimes and other deviant behavior, has the capacity to be contagious, the reverse is also true. Thus, integrity can have a contagious effect to people who can consciously and deliberately become the instruments
(or epidemics carriers) to spread the same. This theory reinforces the positive effects of role models, who are effectively emulated by many others. By simple emulation, people create positive influence and spread integrity. Single acts of integrity pulsate and radiate as positive energies, and together they cumulate to influence others and create stirring movements in the environment, just like ripples in the oceans. As poetically described by the activist Cal Montgomery, "ripples move out from the center, meeting other ripples that build into waves."

The writers Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman are more elaborate: "In the vastness of the ocean, is any drop of water greater than another? No single drop has the ability to cause a tidal wave. But, I argue, if a single drop falls into the ocean, it creates ripples. And these ripples spread. And perhaps - who knows - these ripples may grow and swell and eventually break foaming upon the shore. Like a drop in the vast ocean, each of us causes ripples as we move through our lives. The effects of whatever we do - insignificant as it may seem - spread out beyond us. We may never know what far-reaching impact even the simplest action might have on our fellow mortals. Thus, we need to be conscious, all of the time, of our place in the ocean, of our place in the world, of our place among our fellow creatures. For, if enough of us join forces, we can swell the tide of events - for good or evil."

The rippling, foaming and waving processes are the building blocks that make epidemics possible. These are positive epidemics happening through spreading and increasing people's acts of integrity. And by so doing, the epidemic of corruption is challenged, tempered, reduced and effectively altered. The widespread scourge of anomalies and irregularities are reversed by a groundswell of honorable and just acts.

Robert Kennedy was very provocative when he said during his time: "Each time a man stands up for an idea, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

INSIGHTS: How do we spread the epidemic of integrity? It is important, before anything else, to declare a personal code of honor and conduct, and decide to live a just and honest life, as much as possible. Pronounce to resist corruption, and try not to be involved in whatever anomalies. Always espouse reform, and even err on its side. Try to be hopeful and inspiring amidst skepticism and sarcasm. Heed the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. Exercise self-restraint. Be drawn towards fidelity and faithfulness. And be in the company of good and honorable men and women. Inspire people to do something! And so it is likewise important to nurture an inspired life in the service of integrity, for what cultivates integrity nurtures human dignity. Thus, make single acts of integrity every day, and become the person worth emulating. This sets the epidemic in motion!


Gladwell, Malcolm. 2000. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference. USA: Little Brown.

The Tipping Point at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tipping_Point

Broken Window Theory at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixing_Broken_Windows


Broken Window Theory of Corruption

We all cringe and denounce big time graft and corruption in the Philippines, and wallow in outrage in every unresolved scandal in high government places. And as always, we get ourselves caught in dead ends, finding ourselves paralyzed by our inability to do something about these issues. The logical conclusion is it is always beyond our control. And it is becoming a discomforting refuge to justify our collective inability and paralysis.

So we always look at the forest and ignore the trees. We always denounce big-time corruption high up, but forget the small-scale irregularities within our reach -- in our offices, organizations and groups. But there can be no forest without the trees! Thus, we can never help in resolving corruption in the country if we continue to ignore the irregularities and anomalies in our reach.

This is what is called as the Broken Window of Corruption, and can also be known as an Epidemic Theory of Corruption. This is based on Malcolm Gladwell's Broken Window Theory in his best-selling book The Tipping Point (2007).

The Broken Window Theory was developed by James Wilson and George Kelling, both are criminologists and law enforcers. Gladwell disclosed that both Wilson and Kelling "argued that crime is the inevitable result of disorder -- which is symbolized by a broken window. If a window is broken and left unrepaired, people walking by will conclude that no one cares and no one is in charge. Soon, more windows will be broken, and the impression of anarchy will spread from the buildings to the streets and to the entire neighborhood environment, sending a signal that anything goes."

In Broken Window Theory, relatively minor problems like graffiti and vandalism, public disorder, littering, heavy traffic, vagrancy, gangsterism and other aggressive deviant behavior are all the equivalent of broken windows, which actually invite more serious crimes. This is the epidemic crime -- a crime that is contagious (like a fashion or a virus), that it can start with a broken window and spread to an entire community.

The Broken Window Theory of Corruption or the Epidemic Theory of Corruption applies the same. There are broken windows that when left unrepaired, they perpetuate corruption. What are some of these broken windows? What are some of the conditions where broken windows perpetuate corruption?
  1. Many organizations promote efficiency and effectiveness, but do not address red tapes in their own transactions. Especially the delayed transactions in most of financial and accounting units.
  2. Many now implement the Anti-Red Tape Act (RA 9485) and come up with citizen's charters on transactional flowcharts. But they do not touch the delays in their own administrative and financial transactions.
  3. Almost all proclaim punctuality, but look at their daily time cards and attendance in meetings.
  4. Many government agencies implement integrity development programs but they do not want to antagonize the anomalies and irregularities of their own officials.
  5. Many abhor cheating in government, but they bring home supplies for their children's personal use.
  6. Investigators swiftly go after anomalous officials and employees, but are slow to move when who is involved is one of theirs.
  7. Many government offices pronounce integrity as a virtue in public service, but ignore infidelity and promiscuity of their officials and employees.
  8. Many are angered by the lavishness of others, but tolerate their own excesses.
  9. Even funding agencies espouse transparency and accountability in many programs, but turn a blind eye on their own malpractices. They are not even transparent. And people can hardly make them to account.
Why is there so much corruption in the country? And why are people so powerless to do something? This is because of the broken windows -- which symbolize our ineptness, fears, inadequacy, double-standards, and hypocrisy! And to hide our own broken windows, we take refuge to the much-abused excuse - that it is just simply beyond our control! This is the reason why many people do not anymore believe in integrity programs and anticorruption reforms.

Shame on us!

If we really want to do something about the scourge of corruption in the country, we can start by fixing the broken windows in our own backyard. Fix the broken windows that symbolize disorder, anomaly, irregularity, incompetence and inadequacy. They all create the impression that we are powerless, or worse - we ourselves abet corruption.

In the long term, our collective inability and paralysis also make us perpetuators of the very scourge that we abhor. As my favorite philosopher Edmund Burke will always say: "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing!"



The impression of disorder makes disorder real and worse! - CyberRon

Broken Window Theory

Broken Window Theory

The Broken Window Theory, which is also known as the Epidemic Theory of Crime, is one of the foundations of the bestseller book Tipping Point (2000) by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell defines tipping points as "the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable; these are the moments of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point." Tipping points are made possible through epidemics.

Gladwell came up with the three rules or principles of epidemics, based on learnings from worldwide stories of epidemics: (1) contagiousness (or how to be contagious and infect others); (2) little things have big effects; and (3) changes happen in dramatic moments. He further scrutinized what makes dramatic moments and identified three more: (1) law of the few; (2) power of context; and the (3) stickiness factor (or retainability, the impression that really marks and lasts). The law of the few are epidemics facilitators and there are three types: (1) the connectors (networkers); (2) the mavens (technical people; technocrats); and the (3) salesmen (persuaders). Without them knowing, these three types of people make it possible for epidemics to occur through their connections, technical skills and persuasive skills.

In the power of context, Gladwell underscores the environment and its power to shape people's behavior. Here is the crux of explaining and changing people's behavior by understanding and controlling the environment. Gladwell makes use of the Broken Window Theory as the main lever in understanding the power of context.

The Broken Window Theory was developed by James Wilson and George Kelling, both are criminologists and law enforcers. Gladwell disclosed that both Wilson and Kelling "argued that crime is the inevitable result of disorder -- which is symbolized by a broken window. If a window is broken and left unrepaired, people walking by will conclude that no one cares and no one is in charge. Soon, more windows will be broken, and the impression of anarchy will spread from the buildings to the streets and to the entire neighborhood environment, sending a signal that anything goes."

In Broken Window Theory, relatively minor problems like graffiti and vandalism, public disorder, littering, heavy traffic, vagrancy, gangsterism and other aggressive deviant behavior are all the equivalent of broken windows, which actually invite more serious crimes. This is the epidemic crime -- a crime that is contagious (like a fashion or a virus), that it can start with a broken window and spread to an entire community.

In the Tipping Point, an experiment was made to reduce criminality in the New York subways where graffitis normally scattered all over and the neighborhood buildings all had broken windows. Everytime the local officials built and re-built the dilapidated subway facilities, people kept on destroying and vandalizing these facilities and threw out litters and filth everywhere. When Kelling was brought in to help find the solution, he focused on cleaning the graffitis and vandals and ordered the massive repair of all broken windows.

Kelling asserted that the graffitis, vandals and the broken windows all symbolized disorder and inability of law enforcers to govern and projected the total collapse of the system. He pressed that all improvements in the subway facilities would be useless if they did not address the symbol of disorder. The local officials were surprised, but they found that Kelling's Broken Window Theory worked. People began to respect rule and order, and helped in taking care of the subway facilities and maintaining public cleanliness. The impression of order and cleanliness was very effectively contagious, creating a positive epidemic.

INSIGHTS: How is contagiousness made possible? The power of context can also be considered as the power of creating impression, which is actually the principle of the stickiness factor. Gladwell explains this as a process of motor mimickry, a process of emotional contagion that triggers epidemics. This contagion process is made possible through a very deep sense of emotional stirrings. This is the kind of emotion that moves people, the emotion that yields to some gradual effects bringing about long-term effects. If undesirable epidemics have tipping points, the opposite also powerfully create tipping points. Simply by starting on little things instead of grand acts, of small effects rather on large-scale interventions. Never belittle the capacity of small things. Do not disregard small details. Do not trivialize the value of minor contribution. Learn to appreciate the power of ripples. Gladwell's tipping points explain how little things can make a big difference indeed.


Gladwell, Malcolm. 2000. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference. USA: Little Brown.

The Tipping Point at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tipping_Point

Broken Window Theory at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixing_Broken_Windows

Malcom Gladwell at http://www.gladwell.com/1996/1996_06_03_a_tipping.htm



Selflessness = Greatness!
- Ogunlela Olu

Post-mortem propositions

After the stirring burial of President Cory, what now? How do we sustain the reinvigorated patriotic emotions? How do we turn the sympathetic outpourings into streams of positive acts?

The hard-hitting Inquirer columnist Conrado de Quiros warns that the explosion of love for Cory might turn into an explosion of fury against the opposite of Cory. And the opposite is not just the former President Ferdinance Marcos. Neither the former Presidents Fidel Ramos nor Joseph Estrada. It is intended for the incumbent President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. If GMA will not heed the people's craving of the virtues symbolized and personified by former President Cory Aquino, she just might be igniting the explosion of fury towards her administration.

I would like to strike a middle ground. We can spark an explosion of collective purification that should be led by no less than President Arroyo and all her Cabinet members.

This can be achieved by heeding the simple formula of Ogunlela Olu: selflessness = greatness!

This is why President Cory won the hearts and minds of the Filipino people. This is why, from the very beginning till her death and even for a lifetime, President Cory will always be esteemed with greatness because of her selflessness that manifests in her virtues of spirituality, integrity, sincerity and humility -- all ingredients for a great leadership!

For President GMA, the purification process should begin with undertaking the following concrete steps of selflessness, which I believe would really leave a significant mark towards her greatness:
  1. Finish your term and swear by your ancestors not to run again for the next election, in whatever form and mode. Speak in categorical and sincere terms that you will step down peacefully and honorably in 2010; no teasing, no ambiguities, no obscurities! If you are sincere and categorical, all your people, especially in Congress, will heed your wish!
  2. Ensure that there will be no cheating in the 2010 elections. Please do not allow another Hello Garci and another 12-0! They really divided the country; they really caused miscalculated damage to your administration.
  3. Convene a governance transition team, which will plot a proper and orderly system of turn-over to the next elected president. No political talk, just be professional. Be transparent in your modest gains and be honest of what you have not achieved. The next president should be able to address this lacuna.
  4. Make Constitutional change a priority for the next administration, and you can explore the process for including the election of the members for a ConCon during the 2010 elections. ConAss is really not popular, since Congress does not enjoy popular people's trust. Surveys speak!
  5. Take more proactive measures to solve at least the major corruption issues that scandalized your administration. You can use all the powers of the presidency to solve at least the NBN-ZTE broadband overpricing and bribery scam as well as the fertilizer fund scam. I believe you have all the powers to help in these scams because the parties involved are your own officials. And they take cues from you!
  6. Stop all political appointments. The 2009 Philippine Human Development Report revealed that you have already exceeded the allowable presidential appointments for Cabinet USec and ASec positions (and many of them are not even qualified). If you decide to take back their appointments, you win the votes of meritocracy!
  7. Do not appoint people not nominated by the Judicial and Bar Council for the Supreme Court position. Do not bestow the National Artist Awards for people who are involved in any of the preparation and selection processes.
We Filipinos have a soft heart for conciliation and healing. As the president endeavors to end her term properly and to leave a significant mark to be great, she can reach out to her ardent critics and detractors -- even those who hurt her -- and make good peace and reconcile. This is the greatest mark of humility!

These are my unsolicited propositions, which I believe will regain or win greatness for the incumbent leadership. We have 10 months before the next elections; President GMA has 10 months to make history for the Filipino people and be great as well!


Live and die

On how you lived your life
will greatly shape how
your death
will be regarded!

- CyberRon


Craving for a Cory

The outpouring of collective grief and sympathetic emotions for the death of the former president reveals a very important and poignant message for the country. Yes, we will be deeply missing the moving presence and inspiring influence of the former president -- especially more because she is the only Philippine president that has really demonstrated a very strong ethical leadership.

Yes, there were many issues hurled against her administration (all presidents will always have contending issues). Yes, she could have done this and that. Yes, she worked on some but missed on many others. Yes, she stood her ground for many actions, while giving in to some political pressures. As a president, she did what she did! And many times, she came out politically firm and morally strong, and that gained her more of the people's admiration and popular support. She even earned the respect of her worst detractors for her incredible sincerity and humility.

President Cory holds the venerable position in the country's history as the one who ousted the conjugal dictatorship of the Marcoses, brought back democracy and fundamental freedoms, re-established the democratic institutions, as well as survived successfully seven coup attempts in her government. As the first woman Philippine president and with her bloodless people power revolutions, she became a venerated model worldwide -- a stature unequaled by her successors.

But the most important message of the president's death is her irrefutable integrity, strong morals and public ethics and humility -- the kind of virtues that we find wanting in almost all elected politicians who came after her. Cory's administration may be fraught with many controversies, but she hardly had a major issue of corruption in her own person and presidency -- the kind of corruption issues that keep on persisting and hounding all the Philippine presidents since the Martial Law period.

At the font of her virtues is the most important manifestation of leadership -- President Aquino did not cling on to power! And she made it clear from the very start till the end of her term. And so she had no hidden agenda, and so she was focused on her goals, and so she was determined for a peaceful and orderly transition of governance, and so she only aspired to really serve the people as the Philippine president who even had no plans to become one. She was only bent on pursuing the case of Ninoy! Her election into office was really providential! And it served the purpose; Ninoy should be very pleased and approving of her. President Cory did not waste what Ninoy stood and even died for the country!

Yes, the public outpouring for President Cory is all about people's craving for integrity, ethical leadership, strong morals, public ethics and humility in governance. It is all about using power for the people, and never for self-perpetuation! President Cory did not hang on to power, despite all the revolutionary temptations (she had all the revolutionary powers and influence then). President Cory will always be a benchmark of restraint in Philippine politics and governance.

But as almost all politicians have wanted to perpetually indulge and stay in power, President Cory's virtues have become scarce and scarcer in Philippine politics! I pray that our politicians will have the wisdom and courage to read and adhere to what the people have long craved for, as lived, symbolized and personified by President Aquino. The people will always crave for a Cory in our political midst!

This is the great lesson on the death of President Cory --
on how you lived your life will greatly shape how your death will be regarded!

Farewell Madam President, farewell!
May God bless this country!