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

The Fight – for the morning rose

 by jun asuncion (a response to mr. nonong guyala of sorsogonnews’s weblog)
In a democratic place there is an ample room for fighting, for we fight not for our own selves but for the people. Each one must exercise his rights, reclaim and/or reactivate these rights if ever  once forced to believe by some people he didn’t have them , and use them when needed. To fight against injustice and corruption I think is the noblest fight one can engage into. Each  one of us should  use the means in whatever form he has at his disposal. However, the first thing we must try to achieve in any fight is to establish a dialogue with the other party and use all the legal  means available to arrive at a fairly acceptable result. We are not enemies in a democratic system, but players with different tactics and perceptions of the game, so to speak. We try to entertain the people and play as much as possible according to their expectations  and for the good and satisfaction of all- or at least of the majority.Fouls are not tolerable and will be met with  punishment accordingly.What I saying till now is not new. Our problem with our politics is that we emotionalized and personalized everything. It’s clear that emotions are automatically involved in any human transaction. But for a society to really make a big step towards progress is to transcend these personal emotions and for all  political parties involved to be aware of the very reason why we are doing all these things: It’s for the Common Good ( For the Good of Bulan). Again this is not new. To put them now into practice is new. This will involve a big change in attitude of each one of us, an overcoming of old habits ( and it’s known that old habits are not easy to  discard). Politically-motivated killing  in any society indicates that people still personalize politics and therefore not ready yet for the progress they are all talking about. Democratic maturity requires a great deal of sacrifice to every one. Without this maturity, progress in the intellectual and material level is not possible. Throw a glance to countries like Austria, Switzerland, Germany , to name just a few. They already are in this stage. Progressive.No more political killings and intimidation. Without intimidation, and worse, killing, democracy will blossom like a morning rose- fresh and beautiful each day for everyone to behold, and to protect  if he wants to see it the next day again.
 So we must strive first for dialogue. This is the fight I want to engage into, a constructive fight that puts Bulan forward, remind and stop those  who obstruct (therefore hindering maturity) and help put to justice people who enjoy breaking the rules and thereby injuring the Common Good.

Self-Reliance- or go and wash your dishes

by jun asuncion
The problem in Bulan  (and in the Philippines as a whole) is the figureoriented politics. This system  does not guarantee the much needed continuity of development for it’s always dependent on who is seating now in power. Furthermore, the people is  deprived of the chance to develp self-reliance. For centuries, they have been made dependent (reliant) and nailed  to an infantile stage. But not without their own doings ( People of Bulan had always been  a part the totality of events but seemed to have always missed the train).They argue for example, that if he or she had become the mayor and not this or  that person, then maybe Bulan would have been  a progressive town since then. But for how long progressive? For the next 4 or 8 years (assuming re-elected) ? Afterwards back to the same old state of poverty and stagnancy in case the next one elected has other views or priorities and an ”enemy” of the former. People will start complaining again about poverty, snail-pace development, poor basic services, etc., the usual fare. Now their leader is gone and people is left with no orientation, they don’t know anymore what to do to survive, like a small child, helpless, when the mother is away.They blame everything to the circumstances that led to their misery and the list of misfortune  is long. It is not surprising to hear lamentations like “yeah, the town is now dirty since the good mayor is gone”. But, what has the mayor something to do with my house-front that’s  full with litters, when the beaches are swimming in garbage, when my stall in the market is dirty? When you hear such things, the diagnosis is simple: dependency, underdevelopment and absence of self-reliance. In short, immaturity. The collective mind is still in its infancy. Lamenting  about a catastrophe doesn’t help an inch, but if you take up your shovel and start to work then you have done already a big thing to yourself and to you neighbor. We don’t need to fill up our government with Lamas (nothing against Lama, a daughter of his was a dear classmate of mine in the former CIC)  and self-relying Japanese stragglers ( are there still some of them out there in Sta. Remedios?) in order to function. A self-reliant society doesn’t necessarily need these figures to tell them how they should live. In most  do-it-yourself-societies (self-reliant) , people elect their leaders mainly to do the “secretarial” and “representational” works for them and they can practically function without a mayor or a president ( This explains why in some places people don’t even know their own president,  much-less the  whole world.)  Everyone is self-sufficient, disciplined and responsible, skilled and  maximizer. A maximizer turns any situation or function to its highest possibility-or in some cases, to a work of art ; a small balcony becomes a flower and tomato garden, every inch of a small piece of land behind the house is used to produce, an old piece of wood becomes a nice piece of ornament. So things really get going. Self-reliance leads to creativity and deep reflections. A dependent being is weak and crippled, devoid of creativity, helpless. Such is a society which has not learned to do -it-herself. A helpless being is vulnerable to manipulation and slavery. Such is the destiny of a society, it will  perinially  have to do with dictators and corrupt government officials. In most cases, it’s the people who place them in power and the same people can not bring them out again the moment things get wild in the mayor’s office. That’s the destiny the society will always be facing as long it is not yet mature,- or refuses to be responsible. It doesn’t want commitment and hasn’t got the courage to take up the matter in its own hand. I consider somebody already ripe when he begins to  perceive his  responsibility. When  after eating he washes his dishes, then he is ripe, – self reliant, irrespective of age. When a child does his homework without being told, then he is self-reliant ( For this means his parents trained him to be one ). These little things we do (or do not do) in our daily life reflect the nature of the whole  society back to us right between our eyes. One good thing is that maturity is a decision matter, a question of definition. When  I decide I am now responsible then I will begin to pattern my action accordingly. On a personal level, it is  possible to happen just like that- in a wink of an eye. For the whole society to wake up one morning and decide ” now I’m mature and responsible”- this is wishful-thinking. It would require maybe a gigantic bolt of lightning to strike Bulan one night so that when it wakes up the next morning it will decide this way and begins to pattern it’s actions as such. This would mean: Freedom from corruption and corrupt public officials, guaranteed rights, justice,  better living standard, entrepreneurship, adequate basic services, functioning economy, peace,  independence, self-respect and pride. The list of good things would be  long this time. Back to reality, that will not happen that way and it’s far from my wish that this kind of lightning should strike my town Bulan. This is a long process, and if we had missed the course for countless of years, then let’s say we will start right now becoming responsible, at least among us  readers of this blog. Stand up, be strong and responsible, show it to others, but  above all to yourself. It’s only in united action that we can effect a better change in the place we all treasure- our town Bulan. Before you click out, did you wash your dishes today?