HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) Updated June 27, 2010 12:00 AM
I can feel it. It’s in the air. People are optimistic about the incoming government. There is something about the entire campaign, the conduct of the elections and the results, that has given people a sense of hope for the future. The fact that most of GMA’s deputies and surrogates who ran for office lost big time tells us that our people are not up to the same old business as usual.
Everything suggests freshness. Apart from the unusual and the very dramatic circumstances that made him president, Noynoy Aquino is not entirely cast from the usual template. He is young, single and not keen on living in Malacañang. He also talks about effecting change and, from all indications, he seems to sincerely want to lead the nation to a new path of transparency, accountability and progress.
Like everyone else, I am hopeful, even if I know that in the world of politics, there are no straight lines between intention and execution. Who knows? Perhaps we are poised to soar on new wings and a prayer. For sure there will be disappointments, but I hope there will be more successes.
Just the same, I have made my wish list of what I would like to see happen in this country in the next six years. I won’t mention the things that are already on everyone’s list, such as the elimination of graft and corruption. My list is more esoteric; some are actually small things that I am asking for. If they can’t be fully achieved, I hope some of them can at least get started.
1. I would like to see the spirit of reform permeate every sector of our society. I wish that institutions in such diverse sectors as media, business, religious, transport, industry, agriculture, and even cultural groups take it upon themselves to imbibe new values like efficiency in service following world-class standards that will lead us to become a better nation. Specifically, I wish that they would take more modern approaches to solving problems. We have all seen recently how an institution with such a low credibility rating like the Comelec could deliver its mandate well when it adopted newer, more modern ways of doing what they are supposed to do. I believe that we can hasten our progress by applying modernization in our lives.
2. I would like to see art and culture grow and flourish. By this, I mean, more substantive presentations, shows, works done by artists and performers of all sorts that are not only progressive and cutting edge, but also identifiably “tatak Pilipino.” A people who are free and proud sing and dance to their own songs, and enjoy plays, TV shows and cultural presentations that portray their values in their most elevated form and essence.
In music, I would like to see original Filipino music undergo a renaissance. For television, it would be great to see less Korean dramas and, in their place, more homegrown TV programs that are less obsessed with young love, and more concerned with substance, intelligently conceptualized and executed.
3. I would like to see new motifs when we celebrate our fiestas and holidays other than the usual Ati-atihan, Lenten crucifixions and the Hala-Bira of Cebu. We are a rich country with a great, varied heritage of fiestas and communal expressions from different regions. We should expose more of these to national prominence so we have a wider repertoire of celebratory expressions to enjoy and even share with foreign visitors.
4. As a young boy many moons ago, I used to enjoy watching balagtasan on TV. This great oral tradition and art form is truly ours. Partly theater, elocution and logic, it is quite engaging. I remember how I marveled at the elegance of speech, the soaring delivery done with flair and intelligence. I would not mind seeing this tradition revived before it is gone forever. I hear there are very few people left who can still debate with such elegance.
5. We should have more songwriting contests but this time with participants coming from all over the world. I once watched something similar in Japan and it was great. It was quite a thrill to watch locals versus foreign singers and songwriters vying for the prize.
6. I want us to have an honest-to-goodness ID system that will make it so much easier to do business and other financial and social transactions. In Australia, different levels of IDs are required of anyone who may wish to rent a house, open a bank account or cash a check. For house rental, a “100-points” ID (consisting of a driver’s license and perhaps a passport, for example) is needed. For other transactions, a driver’s license will do. This simple matter of IDs can make transactions traceable and will keep a lot of people more honest.
7. It would be great to hear more OPM songs in varied genres on radio. Our radio stations should sound like they are broadcasting from here for us, and not from LA for an American audience. It would be wonderful to hear local talents doing rock, pop, jazz, reggae, classical, kundiman, etc. without the straitjacket of American Top 40 dictating how we should sound. It would be cool to hear more songs in the vernacular.
8. There should be more mandated initiatives that will involve citizens and communities in tree-planting and the greening of the environment, cleaning the city and beautifying it. I don’t know what the costs are but we can require all houses, institutions and businesses that are along main avenues and thoroughfares to keep their facades clean and painted and remove all signs that are aesthetically unappealing.
9. It would be good to think of initiatives in education or health along the lines and goals of Gawad Kalinga for housing and community building. What if, say, government required all doctors to work in health centers for at least one day a year? And to make it palatable, government could make the service tax deductible. How many poor Filipinos would be able to see a doctor at least once a year? So many treatable and simple illnesses and discomforts that poor people suffer can be alleviated or cured. More thinking and planning should go into this; there might be something to it.
As in 1986, we are poised once again to fulfill a great renewal, a promise to aspire and be better versions of what we are, if not the best we can ever be. Let us, each one of us, take full responsibility for the change we wish for our country. President Noynoy alone will not save us. Only we, moving as one, can. Let us not fail ourselves this time.
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