Thursday, May 03, 2007


Ok. So The Philippines made it to the top of the list for Most Corrupt Country in Asia in a perception survey done by Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risks Consultancy (PERC). Big deal.

And before anyone out there starts whinging about how rotten our government and society has become, all I have to say is: Don't get your nipples in a knot. Please read it again and realize that it says that we are merely being PERCEIVED as Asia's Most Corrupt Country. It's quite different from actually BEING PROVEN as Asia's Most Corrupt Country. OK?

As a matter of fact, the release of this article is a really good opportunity for me to highlight the importance of perception versus reality in this country. I am not surprised that we made it to the top of the list. And dare I say we got there through our own doing. And not because our society is truly corrupt, but because we WANT TO BELIEVE THAT OUR SOCIETY IS TRULY CORRUPT. Filipinos are always the last ones to give themselves credit and it's this vocal self-loathing that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for our society. We just love to denigrate own own government, culture, and people. And that, believe me, allows others in the world community to perceive that they can do so as well, therefore continuing the cycle.

Look at the what I found in the India Times regarding this corruption issue. Check out the second sentence:

"The Philippines has the distinction of being perceived in the worst light this year," PERC said after polling 1,476 expatriate business executives in 13 countries and territories across the region in January and February.

"PERC, which provides advice to private firms and governments, said it had not noted a worsening in the actual situation in the Philippines despite its deteriorating score. "

(Please also note that the number of interviewees was wrong in most published articles. The PERC has since corrected that number to only 700. Hmmm. I wonder if that has any effect on the outcome and why the corrections were not as widely published as the original article.)

Not I am letting our government and society off the hook here. Not at all. Corruption is undeniably present in our society. But to accept that we are Asia's MOST corrupt, I cannot.

And so this all boils down to perception. WE THINK WE ARE CORRUPT. HENCE WE WILL BECOME CORRUPT.

So, everyone, let's try a little positive visioning shall we? Let's start highlighting the good in our society. I think it's more productive for us to focus on the positive changes we can create in our country rather than to scream out to the world just how crappy we are. It just becomes defeatist at the end of the day.

Try this for a year, and let's see if we can knock ourselves off the list.