Post for Aug 10-16 2014

TaN: Rejoinder to previous blog regarding the controversial issue of mandating motorcycle riding in tandem to be limited only to family members, aside from being impractical, it puts the burden of proof — of guilt or innocence — squarely on the motorcycle riders.

Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”?  Indeed, the world has been turned upside down.  Many signs give testament to this — body and cavity searches and frisking at ports of entry/departure, malls, and others (assuming people are “terrorists” without probable or just cause and submitting to such degrading and undignifying procedures just to show and prove your innocence), LEOs (law enforcement officers) trained for crowd control to be used against protesters exercising their right to free expression and speech and to free assembly, and the latest proposal that riding in tandem on a motorcycle is restricted to family members only and one can be stopped and made to prove they are not killers (because all riding in tandem will automatically be regarded as guilty of being criminals).

In addition, what if the second rider is a child or a woman your are trying to rush to the hospital or even if it is a male adult?  What if you are just giving a lift to a friend on his way home, to an appointment, to an occasion, or to an emergency (say, because the second rider’s wife is giving birth unexpectedly)?

And what if the ordinance is only enforced in a specific locality (along a route)?  WIll this mean that the second rider must get off the motorcycle, somehow get to the point along the route where the ordinance is no longer in effect, get back on the motorcycle and continue the trip or take the longer “scenic” route and go around it?

What is the whole point of purchasing a motorcycle if one cannot use it without arousing suspicion from authorities?  And why are our tax money being spent to pay the salaries of public servants who are clearly incompetent?

If the authorities are having difficulty in curbing crime — with respect to riders in tandem on motorcycles — why does it have to become the burden of the innocent riding or commuting public to prove their innocence?  If they are incapable of doing their job, it is better to replace them with people who can and not pass the burden to others.

In conclusion, since it is a mere ordinance (local) and not a law (national), this complicates matters because: what if other localities pass their own version of the ordinance and you now have isolated non-homogenous or pockets of localities with and without the ordinance.  Imagine people getting off every time they enter a locality that has the ordinance and on again after passing through it or snaking your way aroound localities to avoid those with the ordinance.  What a big inconvenience and not to mention making a mockery of the privilege to own and ride your motorcycle.

TaN: Traffic congestion in densely-populated urban areas is a multi-facted problem.  Among the major reasons behind the congestion are: vehicular volume and labor volume.  These two are among the significant contributors to congestion of urban streets.

The road network in an urban area is more or less set and no longer subject to further expansion.  Should there be demolition of structures to widen the streets, the increase in vehicular accommodation capacity is at best minimal.  The only increase that can be made is at the outskirts or fringes where urban sprawl expansion is still available.

Because of the tendency to concentrate in urban centers, the constant addition of vehicles on the road will eventually lead to congestion.  All urban centers will go in this direction.  The only way out is to decongestion by moving some of the urban activities away from the center — like relocating factories and manufacturing facilities to the outer perimeter of urban centers.

As for labor volume, because of the high concentration of jobs in urban centers and combine that with the higher minumum wage and average pay scale, the tendency is for people to flock to urban centers.  This results in congestion of job-seekers (on top of the vehicular traffic, mostly from mass transport due to the increased volume of commuters).

To make matters worse, there is the reduction in the prices of low-end private vehicles and making them affordable (or rather “irresistiblle”) with installment plans designed to “hook and reel them in”.  And this is not to mention the ingenious marketing campaign to shape the consumers’ minds regarding the created “need” to keep up with the trend otherwise be branded as not being modern and backward or “old school”.

All these factors make a very significant impact on the ever-increasing congestion of both man and machine in urban centers.  But the greatest factor is the inability or incompetence of our technocrats and public officials in identifying the true cause of congestion.  Before a problem can be solved, it must first be identified.

TaN: The United States of America may be the land of opportunity but the Philppines is the land of enjoying life — and this is why, unless and until the work ethic changes in the Philippines to something similar to that of the average individual in a First World country, Third World countries will never improve for the great majority of their population and poverty will never be mitigated much less eradicated.

It is not wrong to enjoy life because what is the world for if not for our enjoyment.  However, our enjoyment should never be at the expense of others — and this includes the environment.  All humanity depends on the environment for our very existence.  To damage the environment — i.e., to exploit nature unsustainably — is to harm others because, just as we, they likewise draw from the environment their existence.

It is written that, if one does not work, one should not eat.  This means we must have our priorities straight.  To enjoy before we labor is a perversion, for enjoyment is the fruit of labor.  To enjoy the fruit without the labor is to be a parasite.

In First World countries, people with practically nothing can rise to great heights because of (good) work ethic.  In the case of Third World and poor countries, poverty is not so much a sign of poor work ethic — for most are honest and hardworking — but more due to injustice and a perverted “informal” system (read: politics).  “Informal” because the system in place, if done responsibly and sincerely, should work fine for everyone.  It is the erroneous implementation — the politics — that is the culprit.

For instance, “trickle down” economics is intended to stimulate the economy.  The concept is: Capital is introduced at the top — i.e., in the form of investment or loan to Big Business — with the objective or purpose (in the hope or expectation) that the infused capital will be used to create jobs and opportunities.  However, what (actually) happened was that the GREED of Big Business — and Big Banks had a significant and prominent role in the greed — went into overdrive and, instead of creating jobs and opportunities (for labor and those at the bottom and near the bottom), but rather much of the money was “siphoned” off to invest in (ethereal) non-commodity producing activities like stocks and bonds and other non-job generating interests.

It is this propensity for mis-prioritizing — of putting the horse before the carriage — that is a significant reason behind the sorry state of the masses.  The process is three-step.

First, the people — and I am not referring to the wealthy few — must get their priority straight, which is not to look upon work as some sort of a punishment but as a means to achieve fulfillment and flourishing.  One must BELIEVE that work is good.  Of course, the work I am referring to are those that makes full use of our talents and those that we are passionate about, those that we can boast of and not what a machine can do.  And even if a machine is capable of doing what we do, we do not engage the machine to do it for us — like weaving cloth, making clothes, producing furniture, and building houses.  The machines we employ serve only as tools to enhance our skills and talents but do not replace man — that man is not only integral but indispensable in the process of creating.  This work bring satisfaction and honor because it provides dignity of labor.

And so, with this kind of a change in work ethic, any people will become progressive and rise above their “poverty”.  And the concerted effort of all will lift everyone.  This is the essence of “inclusive” growth — truly, no one will be left behind.

Second, as mentioned above, man must have passion in anything and everything he does.  He must put his heart and soul into his work — his blood, sweat and tears.  One must love one’s work.  As Confucius is credited to have said, If you love your work, you will never work a day in your life.

Third and last, pleasure and enjoyment should be products (or results) of the labor that we do.  At the end of a work day, we must not feel tired or relieved that the day is over.  The work we engage in must make us look forward to repeating or continuing it tomorrow.  As they say, the opportunity to do something good for others is and should be its own reward.  Moreover, the feeling of accomplishment should be regardless of whether others appreciate or acknowledge it or not, otherwise it would be defeat the purpose of the work.

TaN: It is not necessary to deprive and inflict pain on oneself to show we are sincerely sorry for the wrong we have done.  I doubt if God, like any father, wants to see us hurt ourselves just to show how much we regret our wrongdoings.

Self-flagellation not only does no one any good but harms oneself.  It is a lot better and much preferred to atone for our sins by asking for forgiveness and extending assistance — in any form necessary — to whomever we have wronged.  This is a better way of expressing our sincerest sorrow for our wrongful acts.

In the case of the self-flagellants who replicate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, it is even a mockery for we are showing everyone that what Christ did was nothing special because we can also do it — short of being speared at the side.

This is a case of man, instead of obeying the commandments and teachings of Lord Jesus and doing what we want.  Christ instructed us to first love God above all — by obeying Him — and second (and last) love one another (as He has loved us).  Jesus never mentioned anything about inflicting pain on ourselves.

And Jesus did everything FOR FREE!  He never asked for compensation.  If the people He helped gave anything — money, clothes, food, etc — these are voluntary of their part because they want to show how much they appreciate and are grateful and not as some sort of payment.

For it is written, what ye hath received freely, give freely.  Everything we see (and not see) have been given to us — not just to certain individuals — to share among ourselves.  It is not right that we profit from others — even for the justification of our labor — for others profit from us too.

For it is likewise written, no man is an island.  We have our unique talents and skills and weaknesses and strengths.  We need each other because we complement each other’s weaknesses.  Together, man is unbeatable.  All humanity should be one, as the Father and the Son are one.

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