Corruption and Despair

(This piece is based on the speech delivered by Rebecca T. Anonuevo as a reaction to the speech of Dr. Alice Guillermo on the first “National Study Conference on Corruptionary. An Innovative Tool for Good Governance” held at the University Hotel, University of the Philippines, Diliman Quezon City noong Disyembre 8-9 2008. Please click here for the Filipino version of this piece.)

Good morning every one. I am here to share my reflections to you about the worsening problem of our country; it is a problem whose name even street-children who have learned how to speak can pronounce.

I am not here to define the word. I am not also here to give examples because we are very tired of it. As a writer, I have formed the habit of reflection. I believe this is the only thing a writer has, the ability to reflect about the things that happen in the world. Otherwise, how can poets like me write something unique out of the ordinary?

Wherever I set my eyes to, I see traces of this problem. Like you, I am also getting tired. For a change, I thought about thinking the reason why human beings are able to do the things that destroy of corrupt us.

We know the meaning of hope. The newly-elected 44th  US president Barack Obama, said that hope is not blind optimism. It is the courage to face every day trials knowing that we will overcome and accomplish the things we long for and dream of.

In other words, Obama was saying a person who has faith has the ability to look at not only the things that occupies him at the moment, but also the things that are not there yet. He is able to see beyond today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, a week from now, a month, a year, ten years, one generation from now.

Corruption is so widespread in our society I believe we have lost hope in eradicating it. I compare corruption to garbage. All my life I have not littered but the streets are still full of it, so what for? A candy wrapper could no longer aggravate the piles of garbage in the streets. The shortsightedness of this view leads us to despair, and despair pushes us to commit acts not done by people who hope and continues to hope. The mind that thinks this kind of thoughts no longer believes in the saying what we sow we reap. His vision could not extend far enough to the harvest season, so he does not believe in will come, why plant? Hunger and despair are his only motivation; not hope anchored in the belief that tomorrow brings an opportunity to ease the sadness, feed the hunger, and fill the need.

What I really want to say is this: corruption is a symptom of a soul who has lost hope and direction in life. If we really want to eradicate corruption, we need to toil to bring back hope and faith in our lives. Let us believe in the power of good deeds, and let us hope that the integrity we planted will bear abundant fruit so that all may prosper.

Thank you very much, and mabuhay.

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