Sunday, February 06, 2005

Digital Pinay and the meaning of Power

Like many Internet users, I was surprised when I received the application form for Digital Pinay 2005. Right there and then, I knew this would solicit many reactions and have read some of them in various mailing lists.

After reading the article, I visited the Philippine Computer Society website but no details are posted so far. I think the only way that this project will succeed is for PCS to organize this competition at the school level where JPCS exist and let all winners compete at a nationwide level. At least, all participants were pre-selected.

I don't really have anything against the contest. Well, I was a product of a contest too, Miss STI Kalookan 1988. It was one of the Foundation Day activities and each class send a representative. I was asked to represent our class. As I'm not in my high moods at that time, I took the challenge. There were I think 10 of us then during the practice session but only 3 showed up that night. So I guess winning that contest didn't hold any weight.

Did I benefit from it? Yes. When I was looking for work the next year, I decided to go back to school and ask if I can be accepted as a trainee, without pay. I just want to be able to say that I have some trainee experience when I apply for work. They accepted me. If I didn't "won" that contest, the school personnel would hardly remember me and neither give consideration. It is at this time that I met Jun Mendoza, the school's CEO and have taught me a lot as my career blossomed.

A "beauty" contest, in a way, can help you get started. Let people know that you're not just another girl in the class.

What strikes me in the article is when it mentioned that the contest will help produce the next "Most Powerful Women in I.T." My question is, are they ready to mentor them? Will they be mentored to do what is right and not what is popular? In my opinion, most organizations are now behaving according to what is popular especially if the personalities at stake are one of their own.

From one success to another, you gain power. Without warning, power can blind you. Makes you believe that you can do anything even when you fail.

However, the true test of leadership is when you give someone power. There are personalities today who got hold of power, did not get contended, and wanted to have more. What makes them dangerous is they were able to persuade the mob. Some who think otherwise are afraid to speak up and become unpopular.

Principles, sadly, are easily compromised these days. One day, you find organizations fighting with all their heart as one government entity wants to control all ICT related projects. But today, because the proponent is one of their own, they are in an all out support. I don't know what kind of mentors they will make. How will they be remembered? Those who try to twist the law today to their favor (like what is being done by some to the E-Commerce Law) have no moral authority to lobby for new laws. What's the use of asking Congress to fix things if an E.O. can be easily executed, insult the law's intent, thereby humiliating Congress and proponents as well.

Jun Mendoza was betrayed by the people he trusted the most in business. His betrayal story is no different from Alexander the Great and our Philippine heroes. In 1999-2001, I wielded power as the Y2K Law and E-Commerce Law got passed. I tried dispersing the power I had, even to critics. However, like snake, they turn on to you when you don't speak on interest that favors their perspective. It is a law of power that I now don't believe in - giving those who don't like you, whether you know them personally or not, a chance to gain their trust and be trusted.

After experiencing the worst betrayals from friends and allies that I cherished the most, helped, and even fought for, I decided to stepped down in 2001 and vowed not to give in to the mob and neither to what is popular (but unrighteous), protect the E-Commerce Law, and patience in due process.

I re-build my life with my family, who matters the most. As I turned my back from power, I realized who my true friends are.

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