Friday, 25 May 2012

John Mangun

An interesting discussion took place on Twitter yesterday. You should have a Twitter account.

Most of the people I follow on Twitter have recently been discussing the impeachment and American Idol along with the stock market and the China crisis.

The stock-market conversations reveal investor sentiment and some of the trading action. There are many professional stockbrokers on Twitter as well as personal traders and some “little guys.” You can gain some real insight just listening to the interactions about individual issues as well as broad market trends.

But it is not all business. Being told by someone you follow, along with a hundred other people that they are “eating glazed walnuts” or someone tweeting a picture of their lunch of “shrimp pomelo salad” is fun.

However, when you wander outside of noncontroversial topics, Twitter becomes like walking through a deep forest of either dark shadows or pathways of bright light. There is little in between the two.

Jessica Sanchez has the same vocal quality as the heavenly choir that sings as Saint Peter greets souls when they enter gates made of gold into heaven. End of story.

Ms. Sanchez’s not winning American Idol means the judges are tone deaf or biased against Mexicans or biased against women or biased against Filipinos or just plain stupid. That is all.

The impeachment-trial issues are absolutely and unwaveringly clear; as clear as a Blue Eagles-Green Archers game. Any foul called against your team clearly means that the referee is deaf, blind, mentally challenged or just does not understand the rules of the game.

When discussing the impeachment proceedings on Twitter, anyone who disagrees with your thoughts is in favor of someone being corrupt, against the Philippine Constitution, or deaf, blind, mentally challenged or just does not understand the rules of the game. “Since I won this argument some time ago, let’s move on.”

But of course, no one would condone or support corruption. However, there does seem to be a problem defining what corruption is.

American Idol is an American television program produced for American viewers. That is why they call it “American” Idol and not “Global Idol” or something else. Viewers who are in America are welcome to vote for the winner. You can vote on an American telephone number or from a computer using an American Internet address. Even the contestants have to be American citizens to join.

But Filipinos in the Philippines can call the voting phone line by using an Internet service that makes it seem as the call is coming from inside America. Many on Twitter were passing along this information to get more votes for Jessica as there was no way to get caught calling from PHL. Many others pointed out that this was wrong.

But what does it matter, this little, not a breaking, but a bending of the rules? I mean it’s not like Jessica’s losing opponent is going to become a drunken, drug-crazed male prostitute who will kill his family and commit suicide if he loses? Jessica needs PHL votes to win.

It is not like that if I import and under-declare the value of this one shipping container of pork or computers, the Philippine government is going to go broke or somebody is going to go out of business. I have kids to feed, too.

Being corrupt means you are lacking integrity, not doing what is right, not playing by the rules.

It is an either/or proposition. An individual act is either corrupt or not. There is no gray. It is like being pregnant; you are or you are not.

We make the choice to perform or not perform a corrupt act perhaps even several times a day.

No one wants corruption in the government. No one wants to have his/her country considered by others as corrupt. Ultimately though, a corrupt or noncorrupt society is the result of one action by one person multiplied millions of times.

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