Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bloggers Have Flat Foreheads

Bloggers have flat foreheads. It comes from scrapping to put out an article, working it, reworking it. Then posting it. Then re-reading it a couple of days later and second-guessing.

How many times have I gone back and said "this is gibberish"? Or, "whoops, I misspelled athiest". Or "why didn't I make that point when I had the chance?"

And each recrimination comes with a slap on the forehead.

I worked diligently on my last article, trying to come up with a dream for Filipinos that might inspire a "passion of righteousness". But it reads like a recipe. Dry. Passionless. Here's what I came up with:

  • We are dedicated to preserving a rich, diversified heritage while defending and promoting a free, secure, principled and resourceful way of life.

Gadzooks (slap!). Army manuals are more inspiring that than (slap!).

Now the concepts are good, as I explained in the article (link: But the statement lacks the succinct and profound clarity of the American dream: "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".

So let's grab our blue editor's pencil and work on it a bit.

First of all, we need to get it shorter.

  • We are dedicated to preserving a our rich, diversified heritage while defending and promoting a free, secure, principled and resourceful way of life.

Dump "we are" for it is understood. Personalize heritage by swapping "a" for "our". Let "rich" stand alone; it can also mean "diversified". Also, "rich" is a very fine, passionate word. Dump "defending " because we later say "secure", and that implies defense. Dump "free" as the term "principled" covers this. Besides, freedom alone is overstated considering all the laws (restrictions) that are necessary to assure a well-behaved, considerate, fair society. Certainly we would not want to say "reasonably free", or "free with lots of small print attached, like, you MUST sing the National Anthem as a march".

So here is the remodeled dream:

  • Dedicated to preserving our rich heritage while promoting a secure, principled and resourceful way of life.

I don't really like the term "promoting" for it sounds like a marketing ploy. But I wracked my brain searching for a better, more passionate term.


What if we (1) dump the heritage phrase, for the past is the past and preserving it can be one of our principles,  (2) toss "promoting", and (3) convert two adjectives to nouns, which are more authoritative. Then we get:

  • Dedicated to security, principle and a resourceful way of life.

Now I like that better. Crisp. Pithy. I particularly like "resourceful", for it is what the Philippines currently is NOT, and maybe the dream will inspire educators to do a better job of teaching ingenuity and productivity.  Or politicians to stop blowing smoke and get things done. Or businesses voluntarily to adopt a statement of ethics rather than wait for bus massacres to shine some light on their undisciplined ways (TV networks). Or how to stop mud slides from killing people in an era of intensified storms.

"Principle" is understood to mean GOOD behavior, not an upside down value that corruption is right and proper.  I would suggest that "considerate and caring" be one of the dreamy principles, for far too many Filipinos are not. Freedoms, of course. Human rights. Getting churches (any and all of them) out of secular decisions.

"Security" encompasses military defense and police work, and also health care, social security, economic stability and growth, better preparation for global warming and disasters, and eradication of poverty.

So there you go, Philippines.

One dream, right there in 10 easy words. It is not where you are now, for sure. It is where you want to go.

I hope.

As for inspiration . . . as for righteous passion . . .

I can't give you that.


  1. My forehead has an impression of the base of my hand from all the slapping I've been doing all day.

    I like the concise version.

  2. I agree with brianitus I like this version.

    The drafters of American constitution, declaration of independence and their oath of alliance went thru fine tooth comb. And that was like centuries ago and it remains forever the same. Perfected, well crafted.

    Filipinos did it 50 years ago. I guess it was made with haste by one person only with iron fist and rammed it to Filipinos throat.

  3. It’s a little off the topic of this post but connected with the general theme of your blog: the United Nations has just released its 2011 Human Development Report, ranking countries and showing trends of indices such as education, health and income. Take some time out from slapping your forehead and have a read. It’s rather interesting.

  4. The Filipino Dream is to have an iphone, an imac, and nice wheels so that he/she can drive to starbucks and display all these nice things to show that he/she is superior to the other folks who cannot afford them.

  5. Greg, fascinating study. Thanks. I note the overall score of 112 out of 186 is just ahead of the Palestinian Occupied Territory. Share of GDP spent on education is way low. Scores on Health are 127. Education 112. Income 123.

    Anon, in the US it is called "keeping up with the Joneses", duly lodged as a reasonable approach in the "pursuit of happiness". Perhaps it is a global phenomenon.


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