Adonis Asuncion

 by jun asuncion (written Dec. 3, 2007 to the reader prodebate4 in sorsogonnews’s weblog)

Prodebate4, yes I am one of Adonis’ grandsons, and I am very proud of him for as a mayor he placed the people of Bulan first before himsef. That was wartime so the people of Bulan were deprived of many basic things in life but they were not deprived of a leader who loved them during those difficult times. Even in his last years, suffering from dementia, he used to make his late afternoon-rondas with his baston and flashlight in the streets of Canipaan “to make sure that everything is ok in his town”, so to speak. His memory failed him, but not his memory about his duty and reponsibilty to his people. People in Bulan knew him and they would usually help him back home. You see this honesty in his heart that’s why he was also loved by the people of Bulan.
It is important that we look back to our past,- to those leaders who put the interest of the people first, who sacrificed many things in their lives, even in some cases their very own families for the sake of Bulan,- to ground our political views at present. Our town stands on a solid foundation laid down by many noble and dignified leaders of the past. Now it’s your turn to give tribute to them by being guided by their very own ideals as you go on with your daily political affairs in Bulan. In this way there is this spirit of continuity, thus protecting the town from some people who are there just driven by their selfish intentions. Such people are not rooted in Bulan’s history, dissipated and vicious people, and therefore do not deserve to lead a beautiful town like Bulan. Bulan deserves a bright future.
Jun A. /Zürich

Swiss Democracy- or the small difference

by jun asuncion, zürich (written last Dec.12,2007)Today the Swiss parliament elected their seven federal councillors. A woman politician won a seat unexpectedly in favor of a much  controversial candidate from her own political party- the Schweizerische Volkspartei ( Swiss People’s Party) SVP . She was  at this very moment not in Bundeshaus, Federal Building, but on a train heading to Bern, the country’s capital and seat of the federal government. The other six councillors were in the meantime already sworn-in into office. Arriving at the parliament she asked for an 18-hour-break for her to decide tomorrow if she would accept or not accept the office vested upon her! This is what the German-speaking fondly says der kleine Unterschied, the small difference. In other parts of the world, including America and the Philippines, politicians assume office even if not elected at all by resorting to all kinds of cheats and tricks -and worse, they continue  declaring their government democratic. Any other politician outside Switzerland would gladly trade places with her, or would pay huge amount, or even kill, just to have this position. Irrespective of the circumstances that made her decide this way, it is for outside observers like you and me clear enough to see that Swiss democracy is functioning. The magic word is  concordance, consensus, among the major political parties to share power. It’s considered unschweizerisch, a derogatory term meaning not typical Swiss to aim to concentrate power in ones person and office. Here rules Primus Inter Pares, first among equals. This is the reason that led to not-reelection of the prime candidate of the Schweizerische Volkspartei SVP. He became untragbar, not tolerable anymore, in the federal council. So it’s not so much who you are  but it’s your attitude that counts in the end. Here the system is still above any person, unlike in other places, and attitude above intelligence. For what is intelligence if it can not control your impulses? What are academic degrees worth for if your conduct has remained primitive? What is intelligence and experience if you have no knowledge about respect? The swiss logic is plain and simple.This tells us that if you have intelligence and refined manners then you are fit for the swiss federal government. And if you respect the unwritten law of Kollegialität, collegiality, a political instrument already practiced by the Romans over 2000 years ago, which the Swiss adopted and is viewed as the foundation of the Swiss federalism, then you are one among them. These unwritten democratic rules are sacred, whether you like it or not.To trespass them is like to hang your own self, selber schuld, your own fault. This was the mistake of Mr. Blocher, this SVP man,-he hanged himself and divided his SVP. He tried to break this sacred rule believing that his good performance and popularity would justify his actions and that people would tolerate him for that and expected to receive eine Sonderbehandlung, a special treatment. But he erred. Farmers and construction workers are treated with respect in Switzerland but once in the government you better leave your tractors and hammers behind and begin to polish your language and gestures and observe the rules. Otherwise you’ll suffer the same fate as this SVP man. No special treatment. Selber  schuld.

You are the Town

  The idea is not to make a 1:1 comparison between past and present leaders of Bulan, nor overrate the past for there were also corrupt leaders before, but rather to remind us always (Remember, “Those who do not remember… are condemned to repeat it” Santayana. ) and for us to focus on the legacy of the good ones for Bulan to move forward. Moving forward requires in the first place a functioning government and leadership embedded in democratic principles.The system of governance and the sovereignty of the people is above any elected leader ( not the other way around ) and the people are conscious of their rights and take seriously their responsibilities. It takes these two elements- Good Government and the People’s constructive participation to achieve the Foundation for that progress that we have been dreaming since ages for Bulan.

 The way to Progress itself is long and requires time, sacrifices, attitudinal change in every one, creativity, tenacity and endurance, loyalty, industry, the will to change for the better, seriousness and courage. This is a Software-pack we don’t need to import from China , it’s in us- and for free! If each one of us realizes this and begins to direct his/her daily life according to it then we may start talking about progress.

Progress begins in the mind. If the collective mind of Bulan has arrived in this level of strength and consciousness, material progress will follow. Real progress can not be measured in some cemented roads and bridges built but in the strength of the society to pursue its visions and to define and maintain its identity at all costs. All other things will follow.

Easier said than done? Pure rhetoric? No.We need each other to build up the foundation first. The way that we exchange ideas now, give and receive critics, encourage one another, etc. is already doing something for that foundation we want to strengthen, each in his own way and experience.Something positive is going on among us, something positive is happening in our town- for we are the town.

jun asuncion
Bulan Observer