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Apple Fool’s Day

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Due to the solemn observance of Holy Week, this year’s April Fool’s Day has been moved to May 10.

That may be a joke, but the joke’s on us, particularly if you put much stock in politicians’ promises. Sound bites, good grooming, and a reasonable mien may endear one candidate or the other to us, but it’s pretty much catch as catch can. Takes yer pick 'n place yer bet, folks!

When making that choice, it’s important not to be misled by the hype and hoopla. It’s also important to be wary of suggestions such as 'Which candidate would make the best CEO?' After all, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did a very good job economically, particularly in view of the latest economic crisis. As well she should, being an economist. But her 'bad deeds' seem to outweigh the 'good,' as public dissatisfaction and even political instability attest.

This social ennui may be in part due to the fact that, while some may have become richer, many, many more still remain destitute or may have even become poorer.

The need to provide long term improvements and benefits for the country as a whole—that is, each and every Filipino—and not just a few, select stakeholders, isn’t just about being idealistic. It’s also about uplifting the overall standard of living so that even those of us who are better off can also enjoy the improved general welfare and increasing prosperity.

So, who’s your choice?

If you really feel strongly about it, why not get involved and volunteer as a poll watcher for your candidate? Like physical exercise, application of your advocacies strengthens them. There’s the added benefit that poll watching would be far less annoying (than campaigning) to your friends who may prefer other candidates.

If you prefer a more neutral stance, there’s always the option of visiting your local parish office and joining the official watchdog, the PPCRV (www.ppcrv.org).

Beyond casting our vote, the best we can do is help assure clean and honest elections. The alternative to tainted elections and the ensuing political confusion would be bad for everyone, for a number of years.

We’re hoping that none of the candidates will risk destabilization by cheating, even at the possible cost to their ambitions. Meantime, the PPCRV and other watchdogs already have people who are working quietly to review the automated election processes. Voter education programs and several websites are already familiarizing people with HOW to vote.

WHOM people actually vote for is out of our hands. We hope that vox populi, vox dei actually holds true. The underpinnings of a positive electoral exercise are grounded on good judgment. Conventional wisdom may or may not be “good” depending upon the actual circumstances and outcome. Just as an example, let’s take a look at the latest tech gadget.

The launch of the Apple iPad has many gadget aficionados oohing and aahing. At the same time, online critics bash the iPad for its Apple lock-in (you can’t buy stuff for it except from the Apple Store). Not that there are many who can afford the iPad’s US$500 price tag or are willing to pay US$12 or more per title at iBooks, but there will certainly be some who will spend the money on a fruit-logoed gadget if only for bragging rights. Fine, though if you want to show off, an iPhone is far less bulky and a Mac Air, much more functional, and a better value for money.

More to the point, at least one online columnist has pointed out that there are very few people who are such avid readers that you’ll see them poring through a paperback in queues and during slack and break times. They do exist, but there aren’t that many of them.

I do love to read, but do so on an old (Windows Mobile) O2. I get my eBooks free or at much cheaper prices (and in multiple formats) from www.baen.com/library/. That may seem cheap to you, but I think of myself as cost-effective.

I also happen to be more than a bit contrarian. When I see a herd running one way, I have this impulse to run in the exact opposite direction. There’s always a lot of hype surrounding politicians, gadgets, and new tech services. I’m immune, maybe even allergic, to hype. Hopefully, most folks will have the sense NOT to buy an iPad. In a similar vein, we can only hope most voters will pick the right candidate.

Print ed: 04/10


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