Before I begin my main discussion, I pose a question to all of us. As a father of children would you desert the children when they are sick or crying out for help? Would you ignore their pleas for guidance? Frankly speaking, isn't this what has happened to us with our present governor? Where is he when we need him most? How can the father of our country be so callous and indifferent to our needs? That is why I repeat:
“Cry, my beloved country, for our father has abandoned us!”
If my father had not shown an interest in me when I needed him I would have been a total failure. I thank God my father guided me and that has made all the difference in my life. Think why I am relating this at this time.
Daily we are deluged with negative and depressing reports about our CNMI. The one solution I see in overcoming all this negativism is my favorite theme song:
“Developing our human resources must become a national priority regardless of costs and effort if we are to become economically strong and independent.”
Here is a quote from Lee Kuan Yew, the former prime minister of Singapore, that tells its secret to success:
“Singapore's success is due to the ability and industry of our young people, willing and eager to learn, prepared to work hard and pay their way in the world, finding pride and pleasure in constructive endeavor. There is no law in nature which provides that life will get better next year. We have to work to make it better.”
Consider that in 1959, Singapore was separated from England and became an independent state without any development and poor human resources. Today its people enjoy the third highest per capita income in the world. Spend a few minutes learning about the development of Singapore and see how it struggled to become one of the world's leading richest nations. It is a true success story of people overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles.
The one point that pops up whenever we read or discuss the rise of successful countries is the high development of its human capital. Each successful country devotes tremendous energy to creating an intelligent workforce. It creates all kinds of incentives for its youth to study and become professionals needed to work in the industries that propel a nation into economic stability.
The opposite can be said when a country neglects its people and relies on outside labor. Its citizens become lazy, unmotivated and dependent on outside assistance. Does this sound familiar in our beloved CNMI? Why doesn't our “great father” motivate us?
Recently I heard that the CNMI has a total of 9,699 food stamp recipients. This means that 19 percent of Saipan residents, 13 percent of Tinian residents, and 12 percent of Rota citizens collect food stamps monthly. And the line is getting longer monthly. But does anyone care and is trying to change this?
Here is another quote from Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore in which he correctly states the solution to the above sad situation:
“Given the human attributes of a given population and the training skills, knowledge, education, and discipline of a people, it is left to the one or two percent of the population who are in positions of leadership to make the population gives its best.”
Where are our administrators and other leaders in the community on this matter of motivating our citizens to become skilled workers and professionals? Do we accept the fact that only our citizens can build a sustainable strong country? Will our youth ever become entrepreneurs in our own land?
Has the federal food stamp annual subsidy brought prosperity to us? It seems that only the lucky few employed by the government are able to enjoy a semblance of income through their payrolls. They are being subsidized through grants.
I love it when someone in the government tries to justify a junket by saying: “Most of the trip was paid by Federal funds.” The insult gets bigger when the individual returns and has nothing to share with his fellow workers about what he learned on the trip except what he or she bought in the shopping malls.
The first step to overcoming the above dilemma is to begin developing our human resources. We must become concerned with the lack of “human capital” that we should have developed a long time ago, but did not.
Consider when we need a plumber, a carpenter, a painter, or a mason, whom do we call? Are there any qualified resident workers to do any of these jobs regardless of the salary rate? We just don't have the necessary skilled trades people. How can we become economically prosperous without a developed “human capital?”
One of the major problems that the Northern Marianas Trades Institute has is finding qualified local instructors. As a result many courses cannot be offered. What a sad situation.
Being in business in Saipan for over 28 years, I have noticed the lack of motivation in our people to work seriously and a lack of desire to learn a skill or profession. But I really don't blame them. No one has ever tried to motivate them, especially not parents and not our leaders. The few of us who are fairly successful are so because we were motivated by someone. Otherwise we too would be in the food stamp line.
We have created a socialist class without realizing it. When our local government spends over 75 percent of its budget for its employees, how can it be a government “of the people and for the people?” It caters to about 5,000 citizens and acts as a sycophant (good word-look it up). Why? Because it wants our votes every few years to stay in power. Plainly put, our government is distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done. It has forgotten that its proper function is to govern, not to operate industries.
No one seems to care if any work is done or if it is done no one checks the quality of it. The plan is to get on the payroll for the next twenty years or so and don't make waves. This can be seen by the negligence of all the government's physical plants and transportation vehicles. No one seems to care or have pride otherwise they would maintain them and keep the equipment in good condition so that it would last a long time. Instead we squander our resources and then ask for another subsidy.
Forgive me for preaching the same thing again and again. But we must start improving our situation by ourselves immediately. Outside help is not the answer. We must do it ourselves. Our father has abandoned us.
Please let's begin to examine ourselves. Let's begin to have pride in our abilities. We can and must succeed. The late Earl Nightingale defined “success” as “the progressive realization of a worthy goal.” He meant that success is never ending and takes time and effort. Let's set the goals and move progressively towards them.
In closing let me relate a little story that shows life is all about people and what they do with what God has given us. One day a preacher was driving along the various farms of his district. He spotted one farm that was unusually well tended and laid out. The trees were heavy with fruit and the fields sprouted an abundance of crops. The fences were neatly painted and the livestock appeared fat and healthy.
The preacher stopped his car and walked over to the farmer hard at work in his field. After greeting him, the preacher remarked: “God has been good to you to give you such a beautiful and bountiful farm. You have been blessed.”
The farmer smiled as he wiped his sweating brow and replied: “Preacher, you are correct that God gave me this farm to tend. But you should have seen what it looked like when he gave it to me.”
In conclusion, if we don't start immediately on improving our “human resources” we can expect to lose our identity sooner than we realize. Think about my meaning during the week.
Remember to keep SMILING! It is the only true link between people. Have a great week.