Don’t miss the forest for the trees

13 May 2019 / 19:11 H.

STORM in a tea cup, that is what it was the last couple of days over a matter which is of little significance to the nation and the people, who are otherwise wound up in pain from far greater impediments.

To tint or not to tint, was the question. Seriously, I could not understand why the tint issue became such a sensation instantly. Why fix something that is not broken? What is wrong with the existing tint policies and regulations ?

If there is a need to blacken the tint more than it is necessary, leave it to the relevant agencies to come up with a policy supported by sound reasoning, not with the primary motive for the government to make money. The demand and supply should be able to manage itself.

The “no-money” tune is overplayed to the extent that it is even witty sometimes and the Transport Ministry decided that it has to do something about it to enrich the government and came up with this ingenious idea. Or is there a more noble intention to this whole exercise?

Here is a humble request to the ministry if you haven’t got enough to do, fix the door-to-door connectivity and work on strategies to get more people to use public transport.

On another matter, hats-off to our very wise prime minister for giving a fair score of 50% for the newbie ministers, or should it be even less ?

The new government has celebrated its first anniversary with more brickbats than commendation, more jeering than cheering with the ground more vexed than pleased.

Politics is indeed a strange animal, isn’t it? Just a year ago, we had politicians who became celebrities but the euphoria has now turned into angst and frustration.

Incidentally, we know that Plato was the first Western philosopher to apply philosophy to politics. His ideas on, for example, the nature and value of justice, and the relationship between justice and politics, have been extraordinarily influential.

Written after the Peloponnesian War, The Republic reflected Plato’s perception of politics as a dirty business that sought mainly to manipulate the unthinking masses. In sum, politics failed to nurture wisdom. How right he was then and how relevant it is even today.

Having said that, Plato believes that conflicting interests of different parts of society can be harmonised.

The best, rational and righteous, political order, which he proposes, leads to a harmonious unity of society and allows each of its parts to flourish, but not at the expense of others. The theoretical design and practical implementation of such order, he argues, are impossible without virtue.

Hence, we can whine all we want but the true nature of politics and politicians will not change, not now, not ever.

What does that leave us with? There was hype with hope when the newly ascended government came down hard on the wrongdoers and the nation clapped, thinking it was for a better tomorrow and indeed it has been, to some extent.

The vindictive spree to punish the wrongs went on for months and it has not ended and having completed a full one year in power, the players don’t seem to know that with big power comes big responsibilities.

We have no time for paper tigers, the newbies will need to toe the line with the people’s aspirations.

Meanwhile, there must be conscious effort to avoid dog-whistle politics which if allowed to fester will tear us apart as a nation.

When politicians from the government of the day start becoming economical with truth, we live in the perils of bad precedence. We did go down that way for decades and it ended in a disaster, we should have learned.

For the past week building up the new government’s first anniversary in office, I was not particularly surprised to see special reports, letters and opinions speaking in unison that the country is in need of urgent and workable economic revivals. Prices of goods and services continue to increase and the government appears blissfully oblivious.

Basic food ingredients, supposedly controlled items, have gone wild with rocketing increase in prices. The lower and middle income group and SMEs are parched with no funds and no opportunities. If this is a period of revolution paving the way for greater things, let us hope it happens soon!



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