Anger and Choices

It continues to be a rough time for me…emotions swinging every which way.  Sometimes things happen that will do that to you.  That’s called Life.  And in the middle of living, stuff happens. In the last week, two icons passed away, and their deaths gave me pause: Jamaican journalist Wilmot ‘Motty’ Perkins and World Super Singer, Whitney Houston.  

Wilmot ‘Motty’ Perkins

Motty had an incredible mind.  He never went to University, but I’ve never known a topic that he couldn’t speak about with some amount of authority.  But on top of his incredible knowledge, Motty possessed an 
extremely analytical mind.  Knowledge plus powers of reasoning an deduction make for a very interesting individual and an asset to any society.  I used to listen to Motty religiously up until about 3 years ago.  So if he was so phenomenal, why did I stop?  Simple.  Motty appeared to me to be an angry person.  He was most times correct in his analysis, but I could sense venom and bitterness whenever certain topics were broached.  Three years ago I separated from my then husband.  There was enough anger and bitterness to go around in my life at the time and I became extremely selective about what I allowed to enter my mind and my space.  So I simply turned off Motty.  I hate nonconstructive anger…you know…that kind of anger that just goes on and on without creating any kind of change.  Listen, I am sure that when you check it out, most anger that we feel or that others around us feel can be justified.  But when we stop at simply feeling anger and never move on, and when we make decisions borne out of that anger then it gets dangerous.  Unchecked anger will most certainly result in physical illnesses, alienation of those we hold near and dear, compromised decision making and a very unhappy existence.  I still struggle with personal anger.  I can justify why I feel angry.  But I make every effort to be honest with myself in analysing the root cause of my anger, managing my thoughts and in so doing, controlling my emotions.  I have had to learn to forgive and I also acknowledge that this is a process, so change is not often overnight.  As long as we are honest and aware of unproductive emotions and doing the right things (managing thought especially!) in dealing with the so-called negatives in out lives, let it go.  The feelings will eventually fall into place. 

Then Whitney died.  So very sad.  She had such a tremendous talent. Every single time that I look at the video of her singing the American National Anthem at an NFL match in 1991, I am blown away.  Hers is the face of a Champion who knows that she is kicking butt.  She is totally in control, totally enjoying the moment doing exactly what she was born on this earth to do and she knows that she is in that zone where a better performance is impossible.  It does not get much better than that for us Humans!

There was a time when I felt that a little heartbreak would have added dimension to an already fantastic range. Alas..we speak so casually of heartbreak…as if recovery is automatic. Bobby Brown was, well…Bobby Brown. I don’t think he forced Whitney to love him. I don’t think he forced her to do any of the things she got up to with him. Yes, we can speak about “undue influence”, but at the end of the day, the choice is always ours. She was a humongous talent whose humanity was all too evident for us to see. Whitney Houston remains undiminished in my eyes.

Let’s be cognizant of the choices we make and the possible repercussions, especially as it relates to those near and dear to us.  Let’s also consciously manage our thoughts and eschew anger.  It makes for happier living. 

“Yes, Minister!”

Yesterday they were part of motorcades and parades and mass fetes…fists pumping, hands waving, gyrating to the tunes selected by the talented DJs presiding over the proceedings at the various political rallies all over the island.  They lauded their leaders.  They lambasted their opponents.  They promised the world.  Oftentimes, their tone and language was geared to the masses.  These rallies where we saw them shine were in the main long on emotion and short on substance. 

Then V Day (voting day) came and went.  A week or so after V Day, the party which won most of the island’s 63 seats had their own party leader “crowned” Prime Minister.  She then looked to those of her membership who had been victorious, contributing therefore to her own ascendancy, and selected her management team.  In this instance, she selected 20 senior managers, if you will.  She “restructured” the government…and I say “restructured” tongue in cheek, because what we’ve seen so far is to my mind, a re-naming of portfolios.  I have to wait and see the functions and outworkings of the governments are actually aligned to these new names before I hug up this “restructuring”.  Even in my own professional experience I’ve seen critical functions undergo grand renaming exercises under the guise of “restructuring” and the key performance indicators show little improvement.  What’s the point!

Some people had issue with the size of her management team.  To be truthful, that did not bother me. I am more interested in the output than the size. 

I remain wary, however, of the role of the Minister and what qualifies him/her to be there!  The Minister, I believe, is supposed to be responsible for crafting policy, articulating a vision for the function and managing the resources of the state such that sustainable development is the end product of their efforts.  Can these people actually do that?  Do they even know where to begin?  Where did they learn their craft?  Yesterday they were pandering to the lowest common denominator and today they are senior visionaries and administrators?  I suppose that’s why God created Permanent Secretaries.  They’re supposed to be the technically sound experienced administrators…But in every relationship it makes sense to identify the power balance early on.  So let’s see: Permanent Secretary and Minister…hmmm…where does the power actually lie?  So who will therefore influence outcome?

I think I will call my brethren Lee Kwan Yew later this morning.  He seems to have gotten it right somehow.  Yes, yes, yes…he made us a tad bit uncomfortable in the way he seemed to embrace a sort of bureaucratic elitism and kind of played roughshod with our ingrained notions of the (grand) “rights of the individual” (we sometimes ignore the (grander?) rights of the society!).  Ideologies and philosophical debates aside, Singapore has a pretty good track record and I think just maybe, we can learn a little something about public policy, public administration and working effectively from my pal Lee.  We should be so lucky.

Let us track performance against what they promised (refer to the Manifesto and the Progressive Agenda).  If it’s too onerous to track all 20, choose 3 key ones and follow up. Write, speak out and question when their own KPIs are off track.

People Power indeed.

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