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Eradicate Poverty? Correct the Victim Mindset First

***Something I wrote a long, long time ago.  Just wanted to share this, considering that we’re in the “season of giving” nowadays.


Should I feel guilty because I bought and consumed this drink, which is worth P150, when I could have just given a part of that amount to the poor kid asking for alms on the street? Should I feel guilty that I have the time to spare to drink such expensive drinks when those who’re not so fortunate, have to work to the bone to find something to eat?

I think ads for charity are all too good eliciting that guilt feelings from us, so that we would donate to their foundations or fund-raising events. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with giving to the needy, but if we’re going to eradicate poverty, we should begin with eradicating the mentality of dependence.

And for such a reason, I prefer to give alms to street kids who’re selling flowers, or candies, buying their merchandise and giving an extra tip if they’re courteous than to those who beat at the car window asking for some coins. I prefer that those who’re asking for loans from me to do something reasonable for me in exchange of the money instead. That’s why I don’t want to write out a medical certificate letting an employee have a sick leave more than what should be so that he could have more pay for less work.

As a matter of fact, I’ve never believed in equal distribution of wealth. I find it a devolution of our value of giving rewards based on merit, shifting to a value of giving rewards based on need. I think what we should be propagating is a mindset that one should not get more because he needs more or that he has less than others, but rather, he will get what is due to him because of what work he had done.

But what about the poor? How can they get out of poverty if we will not help? I think in this part, we would all be better off we’re to concentrate on generating more jobs that are parallel to one’s available skills and how one is willing to work to achieve something, instead of using up resources for short-term solutions.

I remembered two guys I had as patients for preemployment medical evaluation. Both of them did not pass the first medical evaluation because of hypertension. The company who wanted to hire them requires that they first have a stable BP before being employed. I informed them about this and the two had different reactions. Patient A was mad that he isn’t qualified for employment. At first, he asked me to write him a favorable medical record so that the company will hire him at the soonest possible time. When I said I will not do that and suggested that he first undergo the treatment regimen that I will give him, he got angrier, did not even bother to listen to the treatment regimen, and told me how he could undergo such treatment if he doesn’t have a salary, that if perhaps I should give him the treatment free for 2 weeks, he might just be able to do it. He even said that perhaps I might be wrong with my diagnosis because BP readings taken by someone who has a stall at the mall reports that his BP is normal. I got frustrated by this but I still remained firm that he has to undergo treatment. He did not come back to the clinic, saying he’ll look for another clinic who’ll make him pass a medical exam.

Patient B showed disappointment at first that he wouldn’t be hired soon. But when I explained to him what he needs to do (lifestyle modifications, medical treatment), he willingly accepted, and listened patiently to what I instructed him to do.I monitored his BP for 2 1/2 weeks, after which the monitoring record showed a stabilization of BP at acceptable level enough for the company to hire him. I haven’t heard from Patient A again.

For me, people who’re like Patient B, who’re willing to do what is necessary to accomplish his goals are those worth helping out. He did not demand for that job simply because he is jobless, but rather, he did what is needed to get that job. Both Patient A and B have the skills, but it’s the attitude that spelled the difference.

And I hope most people would be more like Patient B. These are the people who will not demand things just because they have less, but rather, will work to make themselves worthy of what it is that they ask. This is the kind of attitude that all of us should have and it is the attitude that will get us out of being one of the impoverished nations in the world.

Posted in PersonalComments (53)

I wrote this with my uterus

iwrotethiswithmyuterus1If there’s one thing I like about my industry is that the issue of gender hardly comes up. Sure, there was this disastrous “IT pageant” some people tried to organize a few years ago, but then the outraged reactions to it only serve to reinforce my point. I’ve never been referred to as a “lady programmer” or “lady IT consultant”. If anyone were ever called that, our first reaction would probably be “Weird, I’ve never heard of the Lady programming language”.

So what’s with the “lady dentists”? And “lady doctors”? The odd thing is that it’s what they seem to be calling themselves. They’re on the signs at clinics and offices, meaning these doctors and dentists had them put up themselves. Then there was this news item about how during one of the recent typhoons, a gentleman security guard saved a woman from a parking lot which was flooding, and the news item kept referring to her as a “lady doctor”. Oh, no, wait, it was just a security guard — apparently we don’t attach “gentleman” to occupational titles.

Maybe I’m just an ignorant techie here. Maybe the idea of women in the medical profession is something so rare and special that it’s important to note that these people got their degrees and practiced their profession despite — gasp! — not having a penis. Maybe it’s important to let potential patients know that these are “lady dentists”, in case they need to have a dental procedure that can only be done with boobs.

Or maybe we still just haven’t gotten over the fact that women can do the same things that men can. That our biological plumbing doesn’t have anything to do with our jobs. Sure, I can understand that when it comes to medical care, some people do have a gender preference. For instance, some women would prefer female OBGYNs. But when we label doctors as either female or not, we are basically making a person’s sex a qualification, like a PhD or a diploma from a certain university. And it’s not. A person’s sex is something that’s pretty much determined before that person is born. It’s not something he or she studied for, or spent hours practicing and perfecting.

And while we’re at it, enough with those “preferably male” descriptions in job ads. Unless it’s an ad for a dildo model, you’re just discriminating against qualified women. You might as well include in the job ad “Our company is run by misogynistic pricks.”

A while back, I came across a job ad for a web programmer, “preferably gay”. I’m not kidding. The theory a friend of mine came up with was that it was for a gay porn website. But that’s another story for another blog post.

Tania writes about stuff over at The Entropy Blog.

Posted in SocietyComments (21)