Monday, December 19, 2011

Diliman Diary blog: 12.19.2011

"Kim Jong Il, the second-generation North Korean dictator who defied global condemnation to build nuclear weapons while his people starved, has died, state media reported. A government statement called on North Koreans to “loyally follow” his son, Kim Jong Un," according to a Bloomberg report.

Like Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III, who is an untried scion of a wealthy family who did not earn his spurs in the school of hard knocks; but rode the quick and easy path to power and influence on the strength of his forbear's efforts, we can expect Kim Jong Un to reign but not to rule.

 If both rulers were made of sterner stuff, they would be calling the shots and imposing a program of action while persuading the people to support it. But the program should be based on truth and justice; not on greed, egoism and self-serving interests.

In North Korea, the Communist Party is a party of privilege whose members get special treatment while the majority of North Koreans slowly starve to death. In the Philippines, it is not much different. Only 100 families control 90% of our Gross Domestic Product. In both instances, a small minority of people control the scarce resources that should accrue to the majority. In this respect, "democracy" and "socialism" are not so far apart.

We have seen President Aquino's faltering efforts to play the macho Man of the People by bullying a Supreme Court Justice who could have been quietly impeached. With his powers at his disposal, he could have done this quietly instead of rattling so many sabers at the same time.

But I await with bated breath the future performance of Kim Jong Un, who is expected to introduce more market reforms in this totalitarian state. For all we know, he may end up being another Pu Yi, or a puppet emperor, who ended up being a figure head emperor of China, while others ruled the Middle Kingdom.

In the Philippines, I don't see any enlightened leadership beyond mere posturing and grabbing at any spontaneous good news that may arise from efforts of various sectors or particularly capable government officials.

(By Chanda Shahani)

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