Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's Almost Five in the Afternoon

It's almost five in the afternoon, and my digital calendar is blinking. It's telling me that I have a meeting coming up in less than fifteen minutes, which involves a final round of discussion over our IT setup in Asia. The resulting service contract and definitions will dictate the pace of our operations in the hemisphere for the next two years, and will most likely be a deciding factor between success and inconsistency for the largest market in the world.

But the meeting doesn't exist anymore, because somebody decided to walk out of a judicial hearing and break into the hotel down the street.

It's almost five in the afternoon, and my fingers are dancing across the keyboard. I have a search process running across two different applications in the background, because a contact in Europe asked me for some critical information two days ago. I've had to scan and scour my databases to answer her request; it turned out to be a high-level search, so I've been running processes each day in order to try and get her the data before our weekend deadline.

But my efforts are useless now, because somebody decided to arm a small cadre of supporters, whine about the state of the country, and take matters into their own hands.

It's almost five in the afternoon, and I'm preparing my reports for tomorrow. We have two meetings at the end of each month in order to go over our tasklists; we spend a grand total of four hours arguing over which items are important enough to get priority and which ones can be shunted aside for another month at possible expense to their managers. Projects live and die by meetings like these, and every time we have them, we realize that we make a difference in exactly how well the business functions.

But I won't be able to defend my projects tomorrow, because somebody decided that the public shared his exact same sentiments, and figured that he was to lead them like some modern messiah.

It's almost five in the afternoon, and I'm still in the office. Along with a bunch of other like-minded individuals, I'm trying to hold together a business that threatens to fall apart because somebody decided that planned instability was a whole lot better than seething impatience.

They can hold as many uprisings as they want, oh yes, but they don't know anything about holding things together. They don't care about international observers. They don't care about multinational investors. They don't care about the people who have to work and plead and convince that this country is a good place to do business in, that this is a safe and quiet environment where things can get done.

Of course, they'll never admit this. They'll say that they did it to 'liberate" us from a tyrant. They'll rant that the proper channels were too slow for their needs. They'll assume that their idealism is the most important thing in the world.

It's almost five in the afternoon, and somebody decided that people like me were not important enough to be considered at all.


Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

"somebody decided that people like me were not important enough to be considered at all."

Call me an idealistic fool, but I'd like to think that that somebody actually had me in mind when he decided to grab the opportunity to "whine". Well, not me specifically, but the Filipino people in general, which includes me. The timing and the planning may have been poor, but I do think his heart was in the right place. Does he have a messianic complex? Maybe. But as one blogger notes, "At least he loves his country. And it's got to be love. I mean, it was too stupid to be anything else." :)

Sean said...

Ailee: I won't deny that our instigator had "all" Filipinos in mind when he pulled his little stunt. But I presume that that should also include people like me, who will rant at his decision, rage at his lack of consideration, and realize that he's not doing anything good for the country at all.

Did he have what is akin to a messianic complex? I think so. How else could a man suddenly walk out of his trial, pull people off the witness stand, invade a busy hotel, expect people to join him just because they voted for him in the last election, and put up a website to advertise his revolt? Was he expecting the whole country to suddenly fall in place behind him? Was he expecting the military and the international community to ignore the existing government and side with him? The whole thing strikes me as so foolishly optimistic that I would be laughing right now if the situation hadn't caused so much damage to everything.

Trillanes is the kid who walks out of class to protest a failing grade and expects the other students to join him. He's the employee who resigns from a company to protest working conditions and expects the union to follow suit. The difference is that Trillanes broke into a hotel, needlessly scared the international community, and produced yet another half-baked attempt at "people power" that gave the government a better chance to learn and prepare. Yesterday's coup attempt only made it easier for the government, and much more difficult for the public that Trillanes had in mind.

Was his heart in the right place? Yes it was. But having your heart in the right place means nothing if your brain happens to be on vacation at the time.

Anonymous said...

Sean, I agree with you. My first event, as a corporate events organizer, happened a day after Trillanes' so-called "revolt" and it was hell on my end with logistics with the 12mn-5am curfew on everybody's head. *sigh* It was, really, my baptism by fire.

Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

"having your heart in the right place means nothing if your brain happens to be on vacation at the time."

Touche. :)

Sean said...

Reiji: I lost three important meetings that day, and got at least two calls from clients halfway around the world who had seen it on the news somehow. The fact that we actually had guests staying in the Peninsula (and that it's the place where we usually put them up) did not help one bit.

Ailee: I feel that good leadership involves both the "heart" requirement and a "mind" requirement. It's funny how many people think that they can make do with one and completely ignore the other.

Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

And then there are those who think that they don't need either one. Or those who actually have neither. :)

Sean said...

I admit that I sometimes I feel as though I'm one of those people. But I do try to be otherwise. (Without taking over the nearest hotel, that is.)