Post for Jul 31-Aug 6 2016

TaN: Sunday’s article in The Philippine STAR, titled “Rody wants party-list system abolished“, is a bit too drastic.  It is like cutting off an arm just because there is a scar on the hand.  The party-list system is a good idea because it gives marginalized or otherwise under- or unrepresented sectors of society an opportunity to participate in the proposal and enactment of laws.

In the article, it says the reason is that the concept is being made a mockery, that the wealthy and powerful use it as a way to skirt the limitations and restrictions and get into elected positions.  One of the instances cited was that of a group that supposedly represents security guards and pedicab or tricycle drivers but the representative is a multimillionaire who, not even a single moment in his life has every been or experienced what it is like to be a security guard or pedicab driver.  In fact, he belongs to a political clan that has lorded it over their province for the longest time.

In this regard, I agree that that particular party-list group should have been disqualified.  However, the fact remains that the party-list was able to win a seat in Congress does not mean that the party-list system is unworthy but just that the provisions of the law was shoddily and haphazardly crafted to let such travesties through by circumventing the good intention of the party-list system.  And the solution is not to totally discard the party-list system but, now that the flaw has been identified, to polish the law properly to prevent such and other future atrocities from happening (again).

One unsolicited recommendation is to mandate the party-list representative/s be either from their ranks (with a minimum number of years of being a “practicing” member or residency) or — as in the case of unqualified members because they do not satisfy the prerequisites to be a member — be in the “employ” of the party-list for a minimum number of years (as in legal counsels and such).  In addition, the party-list group should have been existing as an organization for a minimum number of years before being qualified to become a party-list group.

Finally, these recommendations are by no means the only precautions that can be put in place to forestall attempts to go around the law.  Just because a system has been deemed to be easily circumvented does not mean that it is no good.  It just needs a lot of careful scrutiny and thought before enactment.

TaN: Product endorsement, especially for a public figure or renowned personality, is so pitiful, so shameless, and so tacky.  Regardless of whether the endorsement involved monetary or financial gain or not, endorsing a product is tantamount to prostituting one’s dignity, one’s integrity, one’s reputation, one’s self-respect unless you are doing it for a living, as in a sales or marketing agent.

But to endorse a product where you actually have a different occupation/career/job/profession is bad taste and pitiful — i.e., assuming endorsement is not your “day job”.  It is as if you are prostituting or pimping yourself — your dignity, your self-esteem, your reputation, your very being.  Moreover, many a times you come across as begging the public to patronize the product (or service) you are endorsing.  It is pitiful indeed.

Product (or service) endorsement should be done by professional marketing or sales personnel, if endorsed at all.  Ideally, the product (or service) should be able to sell itself.  All it takes is to inform the public of the existence of such a product or service and leave it up to the consumer to decide whether s/he would patronize it.

Endorsement implies that the product (or service) is incapable of selling itself and that it is a non-essential, that people can live without it, that it is probably just a ploy to make the consumer spends and all in the name of economic activity and growth.  In truth, economic growth, as we know and practice it today, is but a means to enrich the already wealthy.

In addition, endorsing as it is done today is irresponsibly unethical.  A large majority of today’s products and services are full of artificial and harmful chemicals that when it is determined that a particular product or service is bad for the consumer and has to be pulled from the market, frequently there is no civil damages that are filed and the manufacturer/producer/seller is not held liable, much less the endorser — who most often gets away unaccountable and makes a large profitable sum on the side.

In conclusion, I feel so embarrassed for the public figures or well-known personalities whenever I see them make endorsements.  I often wonder how they feel when they see themselves endorsing such-and-such a product or service.  It is so cheap and they have sunk so low.

TaN: Compensation — i.e., salary, wage, or any form of remuneration — should be based on the essentiality of a job with respect to the success of the whole project, endeavor, or enterprise and not on whether the person is replaceable or how high in the management hierarchy or how prestigious or well-known or intelligent is the person or whatever else.

If a job is vital, it should pay higher, especially if there are few qualified and/or willing people to do it — like hazardous or just simple (smelly) waste disposal or handling and stunt work (especially if they are dangerous).  Jobs that only require one to sit in an air-conditioned room collecting payments should not pay much, especially if there is no other responsibility aside from simple collection and day’s-end accounting.

In line with this, jobs that involve producing food, especially nutritious produce, should be among the top paying jobs — precisely because it is food that keeps us alive and healthy.  Other jobs pale in comparison — simply because we can live without them.

Unfortunately, the situation is completely upside down — where the most useless and worthless jobs pay the most while the most essential ones barely even keep people alive.  Very appropriate examples are: sports and athletic players and fashion and entertainment versus farmers and fisherfolk and garbage disposal people (like those in hospital janitorial crews, which are extremely hazardous) and handlers of animal waste (in commercial feedlots), respectively.

Compensation should be based pro rata with respect to the importance or essentiality of the work in terms of sustaining life (the most important — such as the producers of basic or prime food commodities as in grain, vegetables, fruits, and animal products), then to other lesser but still essentials in life (like basic simple clothing and not the elaborate whimsically bizarre and non-functional designs of many in the modern fashion industry, simple shelters and tenement housing, and other vital services such as tailors/seamstresses and footwear makers/cobblers, carpenters and masons, healers, engineers and scientists and innovators).

Compensation usually involves money and man should never be a slave to money, as is the case in most of the world today (where people spend on things regularly that are not essential and unsustainable instead of on things that are necessary for simple and comfortable living).  When man gives in to spending more and more on non-essentials — even if they do not neglect their basics — this becomes a vice.  [The traditional definition of “vice” no longer applies, rather a vice is an activity brought on by indulging in behavior that does not benefit the common good but only the self and it does not necessarily involve money.]

TaN: What is stress?  Stress is neutral and can either be good or bad.

First of all, stress is the result of any activity — be it physical, mental, emotional, or whatever — where the heart rate increases significantly.  As to whether it is good or bad all depends on whether the stress is desired or not.  Moreover, there are two principal kinds of (bad) stress according to its necessity — voluntary and compulsory.

Bad stress is any activity that causes the body to deplete its resources and essential nutrients and falls into a state of discomfort, distress, and disease.  Bad stress is compulsory when the stress arises from activities that we have no choice but to engage in it, like in a fight or during a dilemma.  Bad stress is voluntary when it comes from activities that we like or want to do, like exercising or (yes, believe it or not) over-eating, especially when consuming comfort foods.  [Note: Eating is stressful to the body in the sense that the body has to use resources, like enzymes and hormones, to digest and assimilate the food.]

Good stress is any activity that causes beneficial returns or results, like the feeling whan seeing your newborn baby for the first time or falling in love.  These are considered stress because they increase cardiac palpitations, but they are good because they improve well-being.

Just as everything else, all of creation (as I have kept reiterating) — with the exception of man — are neutral or amoral and there will always be two sides to it.  Stress is no different.  It can improve health and wellness or create negative impacts (and leaves one drained instead of invigorated).

Finally, there is also the subjective side where the benefit or harm of something is relative to how the recipient will take or receive it — i.e., for example, a punch would normally be considered harmful or injurious but what if the person is a masochist, then it would be considered beneficial.

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