Good governance mocked!

One of the saddest realities that confronted me while serving the government for sixteen solid years is seeing with my two naked eyes, supposedly government “servants” turn abusive, arrogant, high-handed, and totally unprofessional individuals mocking good governance.

Look around you. Look around your work place. They are lurking there. Plain-looking people pretending to be important to cover up for deep-rooted insecurities and utterly lack of skills. Pathetic. Why are they in government in the first place? Your guess is as good as mine. What a disservice to the government.

You can be sure their favorite past time is sowing and peddling intrigues poisoning the environment of the work place. I totally pity the office they are in. What a rotten office atmosphere they would create and inhabit. Woe to the rest of mankind.

Not only that, they congregate in small groups to form a power base. Ah, people and their insatiable love for power. These small-minded mediocre supposedly government servants think that by creating a power base through a group of like-minded scoundrels, they have become a powerful clique and a force to reckon with. Such insipid thoughts.

With their lack of brilliance (will they ever have one?), they will never know that power comes from within. But what do they really know apart from name-dropping, passing second-hand information, and exploiting government resources? Small wonder the younger employees – those who are supposed to be guided and mentored – get totally disillusioned about good turned “bad” governance. Poor kids.

What a sad reality in government. Public servants turned rotten eggs. Good governance mangled, mocked, and ridiculed by the very people working in it. And how do they do this? Simple. By conveniently leaving the office during office hours, in groups served by a government vehicle to do their personal errands including a visit to the parlor! Not only that. They have themselves driven to their homes in the guise of official trips. And mind you, a one-way trip to their hometown consists of a two-hour land trip from Gen. Santos City. Calculate the fuel consumed for these so-called official trips to serve the whim and caprice of abusive government personnel (to transport them to their hometown), multiplied by the number of days a government vehicle is used for a year, and you will see how much they have corrupted government funds.

On top of that, these erring government servants also use government vehicles after office hours and during weekends for their “other” activities. And they stay in government facilities as well, in the guise of being itinerant workers for years! Give me a break. Seven years of government aid because you can’t find your own boarding house? Pathetic. Always at the mercy of government? They are probably our modern day nomads.

Oh well, that is good governance mocked. Rotten government workers paying lip service to good governance. What a shame. You should be ashamed of yourselves! In fact, you should resign from government. The government sector does not deserve you.

You are a mockery to good governance.

Note: This article was originally written as a newspaper column in February, 2007.

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Gossip, anyone?

downloadAt one time or another, we could become the subject of the nastiest gossip around. These mean talk could come from either a work colleague, an immediate relation, friend, a person who is neither friend nor foe, more so, from someone who perceives us as THE enemy, be it in the sphere of politics, career or profession.

People can be really cruel. They can be malicious. They can spread rumors about us that either leaves us angry or downhearted.

But first, let us examine why others resort to this bad habit. There must be a reason. Otherwise, why bother? It would only increase the popularity or the market value of the person you are gossiping about, without you knowing it. Imagine, she (for purposes of discussion, our subject is a woman) is so important to you that you have to spend time talking about her.

I can identify three motives. The first motive could be insecurity. The “subject” of the nasty attack, could have possibly stimulated the pangs of insecurity that the gossiper has tried so hard to conceal, but unsuccessful to resolve through time. Being with her reminds the gossiper of his or her own feelings of inadequacies and unimportance. By the way, gossiping is not the exclusive domain of women. There are plenty of men-gossipers.

imagesNaturally, it is easier to character assassinate the person causing you discomfort rather than going through the process of resolving your own issues (which if you only care to explore further, is better in the long run since you get rid of the root cause of your insecurity. But that’s another topic for another column). People have the uncanny ability to pass blame on others. They will not accept fault.

Moreover, most people are always in denial. While reading this column, how many of you could possibly declare that you have processed all the issues haunting you from yesteryear?

Second, envy. You see the person as your bitter competition. Why bitter? Because the person has the talents and gifts that you don’t have. You are discontented. You are resentful. How many times has the gossiper become upset with the thought that this woman is better than him/her?

At our ages, most of us have not reached self-actualization yet. We are still struggling to create a name, or perhaps make a mark, or even get rich. Because we can’t hack it – not yet anyway, we become envious of others who have. What a sad story.

It is a sad commentary that even with the encouragement of our pastors and priests, and even our close friends to accept our present realities, and be content with what we have, we still continue on the path of denial. So many inspirational books have taught us to be content with our present situation. Time and again, we are reminded that God made each one of us unique – with distinct talents and abilities. But others have more – perhaps because they are called for a higher purpose. We should be contented with what we have – enjoy our uniqueness – and count our blessings.

Third, you are simply a ”gossiper to the core”. Gossiping is a disease. It has infected you. It has contaminated you. It has overtaken your sensible and rational mind. It simply itches not to talk about people especially their idiosyncrasies. People have become your pastime. How pathetic. You have really sunk so low in the hierarchy of civility and good manners.

People are easy prey to gossips either as the subject thereof, or being the gossip-propagator himself. People may not know that the tag “gossiper” is negative and does not speak well of the person concerned.

Unfortunately, in any work environment, there are so many who engage in this unprofessional, unhealthy and indecent lifestyle. You find them everywhere clad in so-called professional clothes, fashionable garb, uniform, or even the most ordinary day-to-day wear.

The practice of gossiping does not respect gender, profession, position, status, wealth, faith, intelligence or age. It can strike anyone.

So what are the sensible to do given the gossipers who thrive in work environments? That’s a tough question.

download (1)Let me venture a recommendation. First, identify a gossiper. It’s not difficult to spot them. They could be in front of you right now. Stay away from the gossiper for your own good – the gossiper’s spirit is so full of vile; it will contaminate you.

If you find yourself in his/her company assuming that you work together, or belong to the same club or organization, immediately extricate yourself from his/her company. In short, excuse yourself.

When you are trapped, meaning there is no exit in sight, and they start the vicious attack on a person, NEVER, ever, join them and drag yourself down to their lowly position. Do yourself a favor, save your honor and keep your dignity intact by keeping your mouth shut. Do not involve yourself in the mudslinging.

Now, when you find yourself the subject of the gossip, take the high road and totally ignore it.

images (1)Naturally, the gossip will offend your sensibilities – you are only human after all – but stooping down the gossiper’s level is the worst that could happen to you. Let their tongues rot in their own venom while you surround yourself with friends and allies. Visit your friends and allies; have dinner with them; share your momentary pain with them. Derive encouragement and inspiration from people who share the same passion, values and interests while drawing strength and shield from your God. Comfort yourself with the thought that like anything else, the gossip on you will be fleeting. It will soon pass. But through it all, you have proven yourself cut above the rest. You have managed to show them from what stuff you are made of – educated, cultured and well brought-up.

So, cheer up! You have overcome.