opinion

LEAVE ME ALONE!

October 10, 2020

LEAVE me alone! Give me a break! I can be a reluctant socialiser. Or should I better say I could. Nowadays, with Covid-19,  everything becomes different. In the past,  sometimes I was secretly pleased when social plans were called off. I got restless a few hours into a hangout. Maybe, I would not be invited any more. Or not such often... . I even once went on a free 10-day silent meditation retreat – not for the meditation, but for the silence. No matter if staying in the Philippines, in Germany or somewhere else.     So I can relate to author Anneli Rufus, who recounted in Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto: “When parents on TV shows punished their kids by ordering them to go to their rooms, I was confused. I loved my room. Being there behind a locked door was a treat. To me a punishment was being ordered to play Yahtzee with my cousin Louis.” Being a little boy, "my room" was really my castle.     Several years ago in one of my write-ups, I wrote about loneliness or in other words: splendid isolation. My last week's write-up at this corner was entitled "The Only Lonely".     Wanting to be alone: social tendencies like these are often far from ideal. Abundant research shows the harms of social isolation, considered a serious public health problem in countries that have rapidly ageing populations (though talk of a ‘loneliness epidemic’ may be overblown). In the UK, the Royal College of General Practitioners says that loneliness has the same risk level for premature death as diabetes. Strong social connections are important for cognitive functioning, motor function and a smoothly running immune system.     This is especially clear from cases of extreme social isolation. Examples of people kept in captivity, children kept isolated in abusive orphanages, and prisoners kept in solitary confinement all show how prolonged solitude can lead to hallucinations and other forms of mental instability.     But these are severe and involuntary cases of aloneness. For those of us who just prefer plenty of alone time, emerging research suggests some good news: there are upsides to being reclusive – for both our work lives and our emotional well-being.     Social anxiety (please check out my previous columns here!) is the single most common psychological problem according to innumerable survey results worldwide. The magnificent, gorgeous and excellent isolation, resulting from being nervous when meeting people is really the opposite. The state of being isolated reminds me of being in a hospital with an infectious disease. Easy to say nowadays ... .     A recent vindication of these ideas came from University at Buffalo psychologist Julie Bowker, who researches social withdrawal. Social withdrawal usually is categorised into three types: shyness caused by fear or anxiety; avoidance, from a dislike of socialising; and unsociability, from a preference for solitude.     There is gender and cultural variation, of course. For instance, some research suggests that unsociable children in China have more interpersonal and academic problems than unsociable kids in the West. Bowker says that these differences are narrowing as the world becomes more globalized.     Still, it turns out that solitude is important for more than creativity. Since ancient times, meanwhile, people have been aware of a link between isolation and mental focus. After all, cultures with traditions of religious hermits believe that solitude is important for enlightenment.     Recent research has given us a better understanding of why. One benefit of unsociability is the brain’s state of active mental rest, which goes hand-in-hand with the stillness of being alone. When another person is present, your brain can’t help but pay some attention. This can be a positive distraction. But it’s still a distraction.     Daydreaming in the absence of such distractions activates the brain’s default-mode network. Among other functions, this network helps to consolidate memory and understand others’ emotions. Giving free rein to a wandering mind not only helps with focus in the long term but strengthens your sense of both yourself and others. Paradoxically, therefore, periods of solitude actually help when it comes time to socialise once more. And the occasional absence of focus ultimately helps concentration in the long run.     I learned, if your personality tends toward un-sociability, you shouldn’t feel the need to change. Of course, that comes with caveats. But as long as you have regular social contact, you are choosing solitude rather than being forced into it, you have at least a few good friends and your solitude is good for your well-being or productivity, there’s no point agonizing over how to fit a square personality into a round hole.     So feel free to de-clutter your social calendar. Even in times of Covid-19. It’s psychologist-approved.     +++     Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or wwww.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com .  

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Be global minded and humanistic

October 7, 2020

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus (Martin Luther King Jr.: 1929-1968) THE quote above was stated by Martin Luther King Jr. He was assassinated after he struggled for civil human rights through nonviolence. In that story of his life, it implies that world peace based on human rights is very expensive “to pay.” Therefore, we can now struggle for the same purpose but with another mode. An intellectual is part of this effort. So, don’t be too egoistic, just for searching of your own best achievement. Contemplate something beyond that endeavor, my dear friends: the world intellectuals! Please build a mutual collaboration among us! Don’t think only one purpose: just to get an accredited status of a university faculty. Truly, humbly, and honestly, that purpose is a tiny thing of the world nations’ wisdom. Being global-minded is required today. It is entirely true for—very specifically—the intellectuals. The Silicon Valley Project Management in Japan, for example, defines a person being global-minded. A global minded person is someone who behaves as if they are a citizen of the world as well as a citizen of their home country. Based on that definition, being a global-minded person has several benefits. When they are intellectuals they will become broad-minded. They don’t think that they are the smartest. They won’t think that they are the best. Having recognized the world view, they become humble. It is being humble not only in their own position but also their way to react to other people. Why do we have to enhance our nation to be global-minded? Even we can start fostering global-mindedness from the children. By building the nation to be global-minded, we can lead them into more activities. Children, youths, and even adults can collaborate. They can compete. But, above all, they can contribute to the nations’ collective future. One of the examples of doing things globally is collaborating. My college, for example, STIE Perbanas Surabaya, has collaborated with the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC), Bontoc, the Philippines. We have student exchange and faculty exchange. The first one was held on April 4-12, 2019. In the program of student exchange, we had sent our students to MPSPC Bontoc, the Philippines. We had seen the students exchanging their ideas. They discussed the topics not only about sciences but also about cultures. They learned a lot each other about their own and others’ cultures. By doing this, they could build warm relationship. Now, they are still having a good relationship, chatting by the social media. Besides collaboration, students can also compete in research dissemination. We held a seminar session with them. They presented their results of research and discussed all the topics. They were evaluated to get the winners. This is really a good opportunity. We teach them to compete in a positive way: enhancing the exchange of ideas on science they learn. The broader impact of collaboration is building the collective future of the nation. So far, the students have still communicated each other after the post collaboration. Therefore, besides wisdom, we can instill humanistic attitude. Building a networking among the world nations like that is one of the examples. It is good for making the collective future of the nations. The utmost goal of this is for the world peace. Dr. Djuwari is an Associate Professor and the Director of Language Laboratory at STIE Perbanas Surabaya, the editor of some research journals in the Philippines and Indonesia. He is also a journalist in some newspapers in Indonesia; the President of International Association of Scholarly Publishers, Editors, and Reviewers (IASPER).

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THE 'ONLY LONELY'

October 3, 2020

IT'S five o'clock on a Friday afternoon. Maybe you have an ordinary office job. Your office mates are gone for the weekend already earlier. You haven't had a date for years, on family is waiting at home for you. Your best friend has an out-of-town meeting. Are you lonely? You betcha. That's one kind of loneliness. The temporary kind that makes you feel a bit uneasy but not totally down. But, there's another kind of loneliness that lurks especially in the lives of today's generation. And it's far more threatening than this Friday afternoon five o'clock one-timer. It's the painful loneliness that sets in when broken relationships cut you off from people you actually value very much. When you know the former warm spot in your heart will remain cold. It happens many times, when life goes on while death, separation, breakup, or alienation cuts you off from these people who could eliminate your loneliness. Yes, a variety of things could happen when this kind of loneliness turns a world into an island. We are on the way to isolationism, figuring that if we can't find someone significant to share life with, we might as well wrap ourselves up in pity. Or how about this? We can turn to God. His presence can take away the loneliness. His care can neutralize our concerns. His love can warm that cold spot in your heart. What do you think? You're the 'only lonely' on this globe? Talk to God! Listen to Him! Read Psalm 23 ('The Lord is my shepherd') and realize that He is talking to you. Let Him take away your loneliness. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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I FEEL PARALYZED

September 26, 2020

SOMETIMES, I feel paralyzed with anger. Strong words. Yes, sometimes there is no sense in crying or being mad, but we feel paralyzed. A good friend of mine told me that a couple of days ago. Words cannot describe it and words fail me, but I wouldn't be a writer, if I couldn't express the right words at the right moment. After the long talk with my friend, I must confess that, many times, I also felt speechless and paralyzed. In difficult times like right now,  follow ups seem to become the new national and international character. Indifferent people in our surroundings let us feel like that every day. Indifference seems to become one of the varagies in today's new society. We try to get an appointment, but the other side seems to be very busy - every day of the week! Of course, we don't want to encroach in other people's time. Let's try again tomorrow! How do you feel, if you observe certain employees, who should be in service of the people, instead of reading a magazine, doing private telephone calls, doing (important!) text messages and getting down-right cheeky, if we started uncounted follow ups. Then, suddenly, we have to learn that "the boss is out of town" or so... . Grabe. Yes, I might fall out of favor with some readers with today's column, but guys, what's the difference between being busy, making a good deal of money out of something and just being indifferent or "not in the mood" to entertain people. I can tell you frankly: Many people feel paralyzed and experience a terrible loss of power of movement or sensation while dealing with uselessness, if indifference, arrogance and ignorance determine the different situations in our daily life. If the promise has been given to help or support someone, it shouldn't be broken by endless excuses and terrible stalling tactics. A "YES" is a "YES" and a "NO" should be a "NO" and not "MAYBE", if a promise can't be held understandable and comprehensive. I don't like to let somebody wait for an answer or during an appointment. I try to look after it or take care of it. If I have been informed that somebody tried to contact me, but missed me, I really do everything to find him or her. What's bad about it? Sorry, I really don't like being late or "remain silent"... . How many good ideas and highly appreciated business deals had gone with the wind because of uncomprehending, unsympathetic and unappreciated everyday deals between fellow creatures? Can you get the hang of it? Especially in times of "new normality" we should try our very best to stay in contact with our environment people. Yes, sometimes I also feel uncomfortable while observing lost chances. The present is bad enough! Remember: we don't get anything for nothing in the whole word - sure! But first, we should learn how to keep promises, to help each other, to be honest and to be one of the leaders of national stabilization and consolidation. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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Congress reviews ‘Ombuds’ plaints

September 25, 2020

OMBUDSMAN Samuel Martirez proposal to keep the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) of public officials from the prying eyes of the public is inconsistent with the Ombudsman’s mandate. Martirez also opined that the lifestyle check of public officials perceived to amass ill-gotten wealth is an encroachment on a person’s “priorities.” In a nutshell, Martirez wants the Ombudsman, a government graft court, to be abolished noting that the anti-graft court is useless. Martirez might be right because until now, since the creation of the Office of the Ombudsman as a “constitutional body” in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the graft court has not convicted even the meanest elected public official facing dozens of charges with violations of the anti-graft laws. Without doubt, Martirez is aware of the mandate of the Ombudsman as the “court of the common Filipino” who feels the excesses of public officials, especially the elected public officials who amassed wealth, power and influence while in power. The CYNOSURE joins the voices of protest by the civil society against the Ombudsman’s detestation toward “transparency,” a policy that the incumbent administration espouses to counter “red tape” and “coverup” of shady government transactions and uncouth characters. Perhaps, Martirez is frustrated that hundreds of graft charges filed against elected public officials could not move forward because of the loopholes inherent in the Ombudsman’s mandate. The Ombudsman’s apparent resignation, as a graft buster, is worth looking for. In aid of legislation, Congress should review the mandate of the Ombudsman to be able to discern about Martirez concern. As a constitutional body, the Ombudsman was created in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, as part of President Cory Aquino’s weapon purportedly to fight the unabated corruption that grew by leaps and bound during her term. Looking at Martirez contention, the Ombudsman was a failure. Thus, the Congress must step in to rectify the mission of the Ombudsman as an effective and efficient anti-graft body. Martirez was right, with the Sandiganbayan as the ultimate anti-graft court, the Ombudsman is a nuisance. Consider this, a corrupt wealthy and unscrupulous elected public official could get away with an Ombudsman’s final and executory order. Simply, file a Motion for Reconsideration arguing that the charges were “politically motivated.” Presto! The conviction is reversed. Ha-ha-ha! For those who believed that the corrupt public official was guilty as accused, the reversal of the Ombudsman’s conviction is a travesty of justice. In fact, the Ombudsman is powerless because it only hears administrative cases against a perceived corrupt public servant. For the criminal aspect of the charges, the Ombudsman endorses the case to the Sandigan. It appears that the Ombudsman and the Sandigan overlapped functions as an anti-graft court body. Martirez who served as Associate Justice of the Sandigan Bayan prior to his appointment as Ombudsman should know the stingy mandate of the two anti-graft courts. Congress must rectify this malady.

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The indicators of the true leaders

September 25, 2020

If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself. Something to repair tears in your community, something to make a life a little better than you. That’s what I think meaningful life—Not for oneself, but for one’s community (Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 1933-2020) RUTH Bader Ginsberg (RBG) died last week, exactly on September 18, 2020. She was born on March 15, 1933, and died just last week on September 18, 2020.  I was amazed when her great statement was posted by a friend of my Facebook friends, by the time she died. RBG had served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the USA until her death (see Wikipedia).  The above statement is really stunning for all of us. In general, the law and the practice in the real-life tend to be deviating from the true norms. It is as the laymen have observed and so have we so far. When reading the quotation above, it can be very true that the real leader “we have chosen” can be either a professional leader or the other way around. Yet, it is very easy to identify the leaders we have observed around the world. It can be obviously seen whether they are true leaders or not. Look around the people surrounding him or her! Then, learn about their surrounding people’s previous condition and the present one. It is not for oneself but it is something to repair—to make his or her surrounding people live better. Their people should have been dragged into more opportunities and prosperity. If he or she is the only prosperous, it can be the indicator of being not professional.  More importantly, the community should be more prosperous. So, the more the people getting better the more clearly highlighted the professional leader is. If not—such as only his or her fame getting its highest peak—it shows his or her real indicators. It is clearly observable. In other words, it is not difficult to categorize what kind of leader he or she is. The surrounding people must be even better than him or her. Even, it should have a bigger impact on the entire community—global communities. Something to make a life better than you is the key indicator.  The true leaders are happy but their people of course happier. It is not on the contrary. The surrounding people's tears accumulated while his or her condition is getting better and better.    On the contrary, it is not a professional leader when he or she has only his or her concern: prosperity and opportunities. Sallas-Vallina, A., and Fermandes-Guerrero, R (2020) have just done research on leadership. It shows that real leaders always inspire their people. Results showed that inspirational leadership exerts a more positive influence on followers' happiness at work. Of course, it is supported by the followers’ positive characteristics. To make the followers have a positive attitude, the leaders should also highlight his or her positive attitude to make his or her people much happier. “It is something to make a life a little better than you as a leader” (RBG, 2020). It can be observed by looking around at the people surrounding the leader. It can even be seen by observing the wider community: locally, nationally, and globally. It depends on what level of leadership he or she has acted. Are they more prosperous? Or, is the leader the only prosperous one? The death of RBG recently left us with a model of a moderate leader and her efforts to struggle for the community’s happiness. She is had and is even now still inspiring. Even though she is from the USA, people around the world should be aware of such leadership types. RBG had acted such leadership till her death. In practice, the indicators of such a professional leader can be understood. It can be identified who our leader is. How has he or she done so far? Is the impact for the entire people or for himself or herself?  If so, it can be easily identified that he or she is not the category of RBG’s “dream” of leading the people. However, with a professional leader, people surrounding him or her must also support him or her forever. Dr. Djuwari is an Associate Professor and the Director of Language Laboratory at STIE Perbanas Surabaya, the editor of some research journals in the Philippines and Indonesia. He is also a journalist in some newspapers in Indonesia; the President of International Association of Scholarly Publishers, Editors, and Reviewers (IASPER).

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