I remember a few years back when I was still at my junior year at Silliman, Mr. Menardo “Butch” Jimenez, VP for Smart Communications was the one who gave the commencement address for the graduating class and I believe that until this very day his speech made an impact in my life.  It was so much of an irony but what would we know that DESCENDING TO THE TOP is the best way to go (Read Mr. Jmenez’ speech here http://www.pinoysoundingboard.com/2007/09/butch-jimenezs-speech-at-the-2006-silliman-university-graduation). On the other hand, a few months ago I stumbled with what we can call a not so shocking event anymore, I was in Indonesia when the Singapore was exercising their voting rights and wherein results of that election proved Lee Kuan Yew has to step down to give way to a younger breed of leadership (Read http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13400296).

Lee Kuwan Yew has been in the position for quite a long time, I think longer than Marcos that even after him, Goh Chok Tong, a strong member of their party took over as the Prime Minister. So what is my point with rising to the top and stepping down? Have you ever felt that we do all our best to rise to the top and at the same time when you reach the acme, going down is impossible? I am more than amazed with joint statment issued by Mr. Lee and Mr. Goh which reads explaining their reason for stepping down which reads “The time has come for a younger generation to carry Singapore forward in a more difficult and complex situation.” That made me think if Mr. Lee and Mr. Goh can do it, how hard could stepping down be?

For Filipinos? Hard enough. So hard enough that remaining in power has become a family affair in our country, that even when the last person with that powerful family name runs for office, that even a totally fucked up party list is accepting sons/daughters of the political families just to accommodate their desire to stay in power. I am one of those persons dreaming of a clean slate too in the Philippine government — no dues to pay from previous political family employers, no string attached transactions and absolutely no corruption. When former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced she was running for the House of Representative after her nine corruption ridden years as the country’s chief executive, it made me wish that I was no Filipino.Didn’t she get enough from staying in power for nine years? What else does she want? How about those families ruling certain provinces and cities wherein being politician has become their family business which helped create an empire of stolen lands?

I am even more perplexed when Mr. Lee said that he is proud of what he accomplished to what Singapore is now and is ready to pass the mantle. Rising to the top is now also that easy. Some people boast of what and who they are making it to the top but it take humility to ascend to the top. Humility knowing that you did not step on anybody, humility knowing that you need everybody to reach the country’s common goal and humility to accept the truth. And for Mr. Lee’s case, who would have thought that stepping down and away from power is not a dreadful situation at all but rather a time to look back with pride and accomplishment knowing that he did everything to make Singapore what it is now. For some Filipino politicians, stepping down is a shame. Stepping down is a chance for the government to run after one’s corrupt practices while in power. Who would have thought that stepping down is a nightmare that everyone should be afraid of in our country?

I am hoping and praying that this stigma will still change in this country. That every person will pursue humility on their way to the top that by the time they descend from power, they will only be proud of the accomplishments that they did for our country.

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