Monday, May 10, 2010

A Day of Change: The 1st Philippine Automated Elections

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
- Mahatma Gandhi

I joined the millions of Filipinos today who despite the heat, long lines and jejemons (joking!), cast their votes in the hopes of a better tomorrow, a better Philippines. 

My family and I went to Pasay West High School at 7 in the morning to beat the crowd.  We searched for our respective voting areas, patiently fell in line and waited for our turns to make a difference. 

Ours was not a quest without its perils.  For one thing, "Lucille Ball" (which I have nicknamed as such since she incredibly reminded me of the famed actress of "I Love Lucy" fame - heavy make up and open-mouthed gum chewing well-represented) kept on cutting in line.  At one point even insisting that she'd rather not vote than fall into such a long queue.

She was  not the only one who tried to cut in line.  Our precinct had lots of them who disregarded other people's feelings for their own comfort and ease.  Good thing we had a very effective and efficient poll watcher who took all the jeers and criticisms in stride, doing the best he can to maintain order amidst the ever maddening crowd. 

At exactly 9:00 a.m., I was able to cast my vote.  I was grinning, knowing in my heart that I had made a decision I felt was right for my country.  Ever hungry for ballots, the PCOS machine readily devoured my paper and after a few minutes informed me that my ballot was counted.  I was the 88th person to vote in my precinct.

I arrived home to a good late breakfast and a cup of hot chocolate.  It felt good to be counted.

Later in the morning as I was watching the news, a lot of voters were interviewed who decided to go home and not vote because of the long lines.  I am reminded of a former work colleague of mine who wrote in his Facebook account:

Patience everyone. We cannot do anything about it right now, no matter how much we say that everything is inefficient. Yes, it's hot. Yes, we are tired. But this is just not for us. It is for our children and our children's children. Keep the faith. (Vince)

If only each and every Filipino was thinking the same thing.  That it is not for us but for the future.  Long after we are gone, our past decisions will affect those who will survive us.

And so I end with the quote that started my entry:

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
- Mahatma Gandhi


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