Thursday, September 12, 2013

Food for Thought

Action and Reaction

In order to make life less miserable, one of the basic strategies is to anticipate and predict what would happen and take action prior to or as events unfold. This strategy is known as action-oriented approach. Some people are action-oriented while other are reaction-oriented when it comes to managing their lives and/or public affairs. For those who are in the position of leadership, whether it be of a family or a nation, the ability to anticipate and take actions in response to foreseeable or unfolding events is crucial. It would make all the differences between misery and happiness for those being governed based on just these two approaches to leadership style: action or reaction to problem solving.
Though anyone could be a leader, effective leader needs to know a lot more than just leading. As mentioned above, life would be less miserable if we actively anticipate and take actions prior to or as events unfold. To be able to do this, leader must be proactive and takes initiative according to current events and the prediction of what is going to happen next. For instance, the rises in the costs of consumers goods would contribute to the rises of the costs of living, which, in turn, would affect the livelihood of low incomes people, mainly, laborers such as garment factory workers.
In Cambodia, action-oriented leaders apear to be extremely in short supply. To put it frankly, most of the leaders in Cambodia, from the prime minister down, are not action-oriented. For instance, those who are in the position of managing issues of concern in life usually wait until such issues become problems and ready to explode before they take action to solve them. This reaction-oriented approach to administration has caused endless grief to the populace and public in general. One of the best examples of this reaction-oriented approach to solving problems is the ongoing conflicts between garment manufacturers and laborers. The Cambodian government, especial Ministry of Labor, knows very well what the labor forces want, but it always waited until the factory workers stage protests and close the streets before trying to find solution to the issues. The same is true with the recent election. The government of Prime Minister Hun Sen knew pretty well that the majority of the people were and are discontent with the ways it handle the affairs of the state, be it's land grabbing or abuses by those who have power and money to buy their way through the justice system. But, the government, especially the Prime Minister, turns a blind eye (punt intended) on the issues and pretended that all is well. When the election result was announced which showed a significant losses of the number of seats in parliament, everyone, from the Prime Minister on down appears to be very humble.
Now that the election was over, we saw once again that those who are in control of the situation did not take the initiatives to solve the allegation of election fraud or irregularities. They waited until the acusers brought the cases before them and demanded for actions to be taken. To be fair, we do see some initiatives by authority to respond to the problems such as the movement of troops and weapons to the vacinity of Phnom Penh and the training of riot police to clam down on protesters etc. This kind of action by authority to solving problem is certainly a wrong headed initiative. Election is a peaceful exercise of forming or reforming a government. Therefore, any resolution to election-related issues shall not involve the use of forces. The people who cast their votes to form or reform a government are not the state's enemies. They are merely making their voices heard without uttering a word. What the authority needs to do is to listen to their silent words and rises up to the challenges of transforming those silent words into proper, correct, and timely actions.

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