Man in the Mirror
FROM THE STANDS By Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) Updated August 19,
Ten days from now, Michael Jackson — the often misunderstood, yet ultimately revered King of Pop — would have turned 52 years old. While I am nowhere near being a die-hard MJ fanatic, I admit that I always found his music unique and awe-inspiring. Add his talented songwriting to his otherworldly dance moves, singular vocals, and the most technically-magnificent stage productions ever made, and one can easily argue that Jackson was the most influential entertainer of the 20th century.
Personally, I am more inclined towards (and familiar with) his classic Motown work with the Jackson Five, as well as earlier albums like “Got to Be There” (1972) and “Off the Wall” (1979). One truly interesting Michael Jackson song, however (and many sources claim that it was the artist’s best-loved work as well), is the relatively recent hit “Man in the Mirror”. Straying from his usual dance-inducing funk, this poignant song was first released as a single in early 1988, off his seventh solo album “Bad”. Owing largely to its powerful message, it has become one of Jackson’s most critically acclaimed songs. Whether in times of difficulty or transition — as our country is undergoing right now — Man in the Mirror’s refrain offers a stirring perspective on how we can best move forward, individually and as a nation:
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer:
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make the change
Undoubtedly, we are experiencing a renewed air of hope brought about by P-Noy’s uncontested victory and the seamless turnover of power. Many of those who were around to witness the EDSA People Power Revolution have drawn positive comparisons between the sentiments then and the sentiments now. Our social consciousness — apathetic at best, thanks to a lifetime of being desensitized by acts of daily corruption — now banks on the promise that this corruption can finally be eradicated.
Given this overwhelmingly positive outlook, the challenge for every Juan dela Cruz is to avoid turning into Juan Tamad, passively waiting for the guava to fall into his mouth. If the promises delivered during the most recent Presidential inauguration and State of the Nation Address have inspired us, we must remember that we each have a role in fulfilling them. While it is true that vision, leadership, and implementation begins from the top, accomplishing all of these ideals is a collective responsibility. If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make the change.
Consider a taxi driver from Tagbilaran City named Iluminado Boc, who returned $17,000 (more than four years worth of his earnings) that was left behind by a passenger. The irony of this situation is that if he had been corrupt, he would no longer be mahirap. But most likely, he looked at his rearview mirror, saw his reflection, and decided that his integrity did not have a dollar equivalent.
Then there is the case of DTI Legal Director Benjamin Subido, who drew the ire of a large multinational corporation engaged in food manufacturing and distribution, for apparently doing his job too efficiently. In line with P-Noy and DTI Secretary Greg Domingo’s mandate to streamline bureaucratic procedures, eliminate red tape, and expedite paperwork, Director Subido acted swiftly on a complaint filed against the MNC. Allegedly, the company had already made arrangements to ensure that this complaint would never see the light of day, so it filed a Motion to Inhibit Subido from the case. Undaunted, Subido pressed on and the company’s Motion was eventually denied.
While these may be exceptional examples of honesty and courage, our daily lives give us enough opportunities to create a ripple effect of optimism. Indeed, the so-called little things — obeying traffic rules, refusing to buy pirated DVDs or illegally downloading content, being on time for all appointments — amount to a lot. As the King of Pop himself says: no message could have been any clearer.