Thoughts for My People

Selection criteria

When you wake up in the morning and think about which clothes to put on, how do you decide? And when you go to the kitchen to think about what food to eat for breakfast, how do you choose?


Maybe you take into consideration what you will be doing during the day and pick the clothes and food that will serve you well… like pinstripe suit and oatmeal with nuts added to sharpen you up for a business proposal.

Or maybe you try to remember which clothes and food have a record of bringing about a good day to you… like knitted sweater and an assortment of berries your loved one likes.

But, maybe your mood has the casting vote and you go with your gut feeling after all… like pastel-coloured frilly shirt and peach yoghurt muffin, because spring is near.


Your selection criteria probably varies day to day. And that is perfectly okay. You are making decisions about yourself alone and you only make or break yourself. You are accountable solely to yourself and if you can talk yourself into accepting the choices you have made, no one else will care. (Unless you dress really ugly and relieve yourself in public, then you’re wreaking havoc and you must be stopped!)


But what about when you make decisions with others? Like when you choose a head of an assembly and which policies to approve. Or a president of an organization and which causes to support. Or a representative to send off to the most prestigious event in your field and which achievements to value the most.


Then, I think you need selection criteria that are clear and rationally explicable, objective and fair, and definitive and unwavering. To everyone, and I mean everyone – not just to the people with whom you make the decision, but to those watching you make the decision. And boy are we watching these days… eyes staring in from all around the world, you should know!


I want to make this point strongly to my people, and especially to the young minds of my homeland. As I have mentioned before, we tend to shy away from clear, objective, and definitive talks. Yes, we are able to build a consensus even with ambiguous words. But that does not always bring about the best outcome, and often times we are faced to make additional decisions because things remain inexplicable, unfair, and wavering.


I would hate for those looking in on us to think of us as being an indecisive and unproductive group of people. Ambiguity may be a virtue in our culture, but I truly feel it is time we teach ourselves how to be accountable for the choices we make. It is not as contradicting as it is believed – we can be forthcoming without being outspoken, be straightforward without being scandalous, be up-front without being rude.


We really ought to try it.


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