Children play

In 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised their policy statement on Informed Consent in Decision-making in Pediatric Practice. This third and updated revision was published in Pediatrics, August 2016 Volume 138, Issue 2.

Those interested can refer to this link – It is a good read and reference, especially at a time where the issue of decreasing the age from 15 to 9 years old for criminal liability in the country is being discussed.

This short article is a personal opinion and hopefully sheds light surrounding issues on why lawmakers need to hear the other side of the coin.

So why begin this post with informed permission prior to a medical intervention? The argument is simple. If you need consent from parents and legal guardians over simple medical procedures or interventions for pediatric patients, why make a child as young as 9 years old be held accountable for a criminal activity which he may or may not be a willing participant in? The second question that should be asked is – what is the basis for the cut-off age of 9 (and then shifting to 12) as the “responsible” age for any liability?

The background for securing informed consent in medical practice for children stems from the conceptual difficulties encountered “in trying to apply the framework of informed consent in the pediatric setting”, in which most “patients either lack the ability to act independently or have limited or no capacity for medical decision-making.” If children are unable to decide on what is good or bad for their health, how can we make them criminally liable for a crime they may not even be fully aware of but participate in?

Pediatric patients are unique. I am sure we all can agree on that. Developmental maturation of the child allows for increasing longitudinal inclusion of the child’s opinion in the decision-making process. Encouraging pediatric patients to actively explore options and to take on a greater role in their health care may promote empowerment and compliance with a treatment plan.”

“Adolescent decision-making is dependent on several factors, including cognitive ability, maturity of judgment, and moral authority, which may not all proceed to maturation along the same timeline. Many minors reach the formal operational stage of cognitive development that allows abstract thinking and the ability to handle complex tasks by mid adolescence. Brain remodelling with enhanced connectivity generally proceeds through the third decade of life, with the prefrontal cortex, the site of executive functions and impulse control, among the last to mature. In contrast, the risk-taking and sensation-seeking areas (limbic and paralimbic regions) develop around puberty. This temporal imbalance or “gap” between the 2 systems can lead to the risky behaviour seen in adolescence.”

This alone should make one understand the differences on how the adolescent reacts to various environmental influences for his or her behaviour. A perfect example is on how those who finish college at much earlier age, are socially and mentally immature for their age when they begin to work. Or social responsibility of adolescents who are already parents. How does a 12 year old father give consent for his newborn son who is set to undergo a complicated surgical procedure? Or a 10 year old mother who has to decide on end of life support for her premature baby? “There is clearly a paradox encountered when adolescents are allowed to make complex medical decision for their child but cannot legally direct their own medical care.”

Because parents are generally recognised as the “appropriate ethical and legal surrogate medical decision-makers for their children and adolescents”, the parents AND NOT THE CHILD should be held fully accountable for any legal liability of their children. Punishing the child is not the right frame of thought. The children’s interests should be the onus of the parents and not the other way around.

Children grow up based on the environment of their upbringing. Like sponges, a child’s brain absorbs everything. Raise them in a family of thieves and they have a higher chance of turning to the wrong side of the law. For those who are poor, they learn to survive even if it means they have to make ends meet just to feed their hungry stomachs. Those who have more in life are lucky. Life is kinder to them.

You remember when you were 9 years old? Those were happy memories. It was all about school and play. That was what we were busying ourselves with. I’m sure, most of you reading this post have similar memorable experiences. Those were the best days of our relative joys in life. Other children – those raised in conflict zones, those who are used and abused because of social conditions – their stories will always be a different one.

Parents will always have that responsibility and accountability in the lives of their children. How they mold them will always be their role. And that’s who we need to target – that final liability.

You need to log off

There are just people with nothing better to do OR have so much time in their hands. Period.

Take DFA Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin for example. He’s quick to the draw lately when it comes to posting comments on social media. His last rants and tirades with the netizens on his Twitter account regarding privacy data allegedly being “run off” by previous contractors have resulted in his documented insults and use of foul language to answer back comments and queries regarding issues with the DFA. It seems that within a day after his fast fingers did the twitting, he eventually back pedals with gusto after former DFA Chief Yasay straightened out the facts. With so much time on his hands, it seems there’s a lot of time to Tweet and not a lot of work to do at the DFA.

I guess some (many ?) government officials just have a lot of time with nothing to do.

The US has that same version of a trigger happy president on Twitter who rapidly sends off comments and opinions because the fingers think faster than the brain, resulting in kerfuffle after kerfuffle.

Star endorser Kris Aquino who is embattled with her former assistant Nicko Falcis over accountability for money he allegedly pocketed has taken to social media their cat fight, with the Filipino public apparently glued to the next scene (like a sick telenovela) on their word wars on Facebook and Twitter. It gets interesting because other characters like the has-been social climber Gretchen B. who on her Instagram social media mocks Kris Aquino (a.k.a. essentially siding with Nicko) regarding this tit for tat debacle has joined the fray. Like an unending saga, we won’t know when and how this story ends.

With so much time in their hands, and of course the gullible public and the extolling trolls getting paid to promote either side of any story on social media, it’s a wonder why anyone wants to even side with all these fairytales.

As a general rule, we’re all spectators in the arena of social media, where often times, we’re actually “coerced” to bring out the popcorn and watch how these stories (whether true or false) evolve. There are times where we end up being part of the unruly mob than just being a mere observer.

We are often being misguided and misinformed with these snippets of information. Rants, raves, lies and curses. This is the new arena where we are all judge and jury to every single event in other people’s lives.

All I can say to them – some people need to get a life.

Log off!

Wishful thinking

Each year, most of us begin writing new chapters with the dawn of the new calendar year. For those whose past year was a wreck and tremendously challenging, the new year reminds us of hope and turning a new leaf. For those who had a good year, we can only pray that we stay on a roll and that these blessings continue.

While a fresh start should be at any point in our lives, changing lanes during the start of the year is most symbolic.

Let’s kick off the year with my wishes for 2019. While they may be “wishful thinking”, I’m sure many of us would be happy if some (or all of them) came true.

The end of “Ang Probinsyano” 

I will never probably understand why this series has run for three years. While it started fine, it has gotten to the point of being irritating, irrelevant and insulting. You understand why Lito Lapid is even making a comeback at the Senate despite his lacklustre skills when he was a senator? And that the supposedly poll rating by SWS shows that he’s in the top 12? It’s shows like these where the masses are titillated that provide the avenue to even be remembered! While I get the point that Coco Martin’s show has provided jobs to has-beens and up-coming starlets and stars, you need to look at the bigger picture. It is NOT entertainment that is provided anymore. It is ludicrous to continue this show or to even watch it. It is insulting to the Filipino people that a badly written series has been borne out of this. It propagates doltishness. Yet we wonder why many Filipinos are stoic when it comes to relevant matters of the nation. The irony here is that we forget that we get what we dish out.

Brighter and better lawmakers

2019 is the year for the mid-term election. While it is still being held this coming May, elections provide us with a fresh start at correcting the government system. We can only move on as a nation if we get our acts together. We need to stop voting for those whose personal agenda are on the political page. My colleagues talk a lot about “conflicts of interest” among physicians, they forget that the ones with the greatest conflicts are many of our lawmakers. It’s sad that a lot of them think they are ‘holier than thou’ just because they are in government positions. The laws that they push for should always be for the greater good and not for personal interest of their families or the families of these dynasties. They should be more transparent in their “declaration of conflicts of interest”, which should be posted on every website of the government agency they are affiliated with. After all, the biggest conflict is the one where a government official dips his or her dirty fingers in the kitty of the government’s funds. Those laws they make should not be associated with their family businesses or personal interests.

A breath of fresh air from Duterte

So this wish is probably asking for the impossible, but it is a wish.

I wish that the people around Duterte talk to him about his style of speech. Yes, he’s the president. Yes, he’s entitled to his form of speech. But if I were his adviser, I’d tell him to behave. The world will not adjust for you. Whether you’re the CEO or the janitor, there are just good manners and right conduct that need to be observed. It is a reflection of how we are raised in the home.

These people around him cannot just stand on the sidelines and watch him implode. It isn’t good for everyone’s sanity. The ignoramus and uncouth in the lot, watch and see that he gets away with it. So what’s wrong with them following the leader?

I get the fact that it’s probably in his engram on why he talks and struts the way he does. Some people are just “the way they are”. Whether it is presidentiable or not, he wouldn’t care less. But he is, after all, our president. And that’s what makes caring about the way he is more important. Even if he doesn’t give a sh*t, we do. We all do. He will be our president until 2022. Even old men can learn to behave. Even old men have second chances in life. Because we believe people can be better if there is trust.

Respect is something given to those who deserve it. And it is earned!

Death to the trolls!

If there was one battle that was won, it was against a lot (and I can’t say all) of the trolls on social media. There are the fakers (I’d really prefer to call them f*ckers). And I’m not talking about Philippine politics here alone. We’re looking at the global perspective. This is what social media platforms have become today. This is where digital technology has taken us. A war that was made up. Fake news. Farcical opinions. Twisting the truth and peddling lies. The accountability of all this fiasco must be answered. The trolls must die!

No comments!

There was a time when all news and opinions were regarded as relevant. If you had comments about them, you could write to the editor and they would screen the comments and see whether the comments were valid or not. Valid comments were printed in the page “letter to the editor”.

With the online format for almost every application (Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, etc), the stalker(s) has (have) emerged. Creepy little bitches pounce on your wall or posts. Half of these are not even solicited. The other half are looney bins waiting for a room in an asylum and typing on the keyboard during the wait. You can’t just read the article and move on? Surely, 99% of what you read or share does not need a comment. It’s FYI stupid! Your comment is not needed, wanted or desired. WTF!

My wish? That the comment, like and other emotional section be deleted for these news and opinions. It would be a better reading environment without all the distraction of having an armchair “expert” provide a comment or two.

I’m sure most of the readers just read the headlines, then jump to the comment section and all hell break loose. There’s an unhealthy exchange of comment of a comment and it’s like watching kids squabbling! Often times one can’t help but get irked at the stupid trolls who truly need to get a life!

Better days…

Our lives can have better days if we share better stories. We need to learn to be better people no matter how unfair the world is. We need to care more about others by being more sensitive about their needs. We need to be better people by showing others why integrity matters. Why the truth matters more than the lies. Why we can be better people so that others see better days.

You are wrong! Again!

President Rodrigo Duterte said he is willing to forego the eligibility requirements for government officials as long as they are competent and honest.

– ABS-CBN News, December 12, 2018
There is a reason for eligibility requirements.  As in any professional line of work, eligibility is the primary qualifier before you even hire anyone.  During a speech at the awarding of housing units to Scout Rangers in San Miguel, Bulacan, the president said, “whoever comes to his mind during his term, as long as they are competent and honest, are enough qualifications for him.”

That’s if he actually knows the people he puts into office.  With several appointments at his disposal, it is impossible that he personally vets all these people.  From the lowly government official to the cabinet members. That would require too much time and effort from him. The preference in the selection of the people he can appoint, are after all, his.  The caveat here is – so should the ultimate responsibility and accountability of both success and failure!  

Competence and honesty are relative terms.  On the other hand, eligibility are standards that need to be met before someone can even be considered for a position.  This means that the person needs to satisfy appropriate conditions. Competence is the ability to do something efficiently.  If the person lacks eligibility, how can one be competent? Eligibility, after all, is a mandatory requirement and is an act of due diligence. 

There are only three reasons why there are those who will refuse to acknowledge eligibility requirements when vetting qualified people for work.  

  • They are lazy.  When one is lazy, the preference is to do things quickly.  Never mind having to pore all through the documentary requirements and checklist of the applicant or the appointee.  All that reading material isn’t in the DNA of the appointer. 
  • They prefer to bend rules because they have preferences. In short, whether they are qualified or not, come hell or high water, they will insist on their friends and relatives. Never mind if they are eligible or not. After all, “competence and honesty” is on their side.  One can be honest and competent, but isn’t qualified for the job description.  Hire a nurse to run the Bureau of Customs or a pilot to run the Department of Health.  There are highly technical agencies that will need someone who is at least a licensed professional with managerial skills and experience. How can you even consider hiring someone who is a fresh graduate with the necessary degree but is either not yet licensed or God forbid, has no experience at all for that particular job?
  • The appointing person is incompetent.  Aside from the fact that laziness is in his genes, he’s most likely incompetent for the position of being the big boss as well.  His selection methods are archaic and finding a reason to obscure the rules of appointing ELIGIBLE people who are competent and honest really needs a lot of work.  No one ever said that the job would be easy.  But I guess some people are used to getting their jobs in government through elections.  They get voted into office with minimum eligibility requirements – being a Filipino citizen, fulfilling age limits, and has resided in that area for at least a certain period of time.  

Civil servants are accountable to the citizens of the nation.  The taxes we pay after all should redound to better and efficient service.  But it can only be done if the people are FIRST AND FOREMOST eligible.  Otherwise, ineligible people end up as ON THE JOB TRAINEES for managerial positions who at the whim of the president, should be appointed into office.

Eligibility is about placing guardrails on qualifications for positions that can be potentially abused by appointing authorities and their ilk through benefactors. It may not be perfect, but a checklist of standards for the particular position applied for should be met. Bluntly, it provides quality to any project, business or government. The competence and honesty will always be a bonus when the applicants are head to head in the final choice.

To neglect eligibility is tantamount to abolishing the civil service commission. It is a bad precedent. A recipe for disaster in governance. Conflicts of interest rise out of the ashes. Rationalizing corrupt practices for the benefit of the appointing authority becomes the rule rather than its exception.

For the second time in a row, you are wrong! Again!

Beyond reasonable doubt

I am not a lawyer. And perhaps the intricacies of jurisprudence is more complicated than what I can comprehend. After all, with so many laws, I’m sure that various circumstances intertwine, making decision-making a “challenging” task for those who rule on court cases. These discombobulated laws are technically also the references used by lawyers when trying to secure a client, a “get out of jail” card.

The recent decision regarding the plunder case of Bong Revilla has stirred concern on the judicial system in the country. While I may lack authority and training on the decision of the court, logic is on my side.

Three were charged with misusing the “pork barrel fund” during the time of PNoy (one of those discretionary funds that I despised about the former president). Despite a non-bailable offense, NONE remain in jail.

To say that it’s a travesty of justice is an understatement. I’ve not seen so much blatant disregard for the rule of law as the recent consecutive “decisions” by the judicial bodies today.

Never mind that the obvious facts speak for itself. As long as you’ve got the money to hire a good lawyer who knows the right judges and connections, even if you’re as guilty as hell, you’d be exonerated. (I guess that’s what good lawyering is all about). All that mumbo jumbo of “reasonable doubt” has been “used and abused” to an extent.

Never mind logic and reasoning and the other evidences. Sadly, concentrating on the “benefit of the doubt” erases all the efforts at making public servants accountable for their crimes. It propagates corruption and graft practices. It undermines the rules of law.

Everyone. Including people in the past administrations who have stolen from the coffers of the nation should be held liable for the crimes committed. Absolving them place future court decisions in a precarious position.

This post is not about how the courts decide on cases committed by elected officials who should protect the greater interest of the nation. It’s the why. There are enablers who try to rationalize the wrongs by blaming the prosecution (or the Ombudsman) for throwing away the case because of a flip flopping witness. That the case wasn’t prepared well because it was hurriedly filed (seriously, 4 1/2 years and you call that a hurried preparation?). Heck! Even the uneducated have questioned the logic behind these decisions. San Beda law Dean, Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, even went as far as using the missing wallet as an example.

“If you bring home your officemate’s wallet, thinking in all good faith that it is yours, and your officemate later on charges you with theft, you will, in all probability be acquitted absent any proof that you intended to defraud your colleague, but you will still be ordered to return the wallet and its contents for the simple reason that it is not yours,” he explained.

Seriously? When I open my wallet, I would know “beyond reasonable doubt” that it’s not mine! If I had all intentions of returning it, I would notify my friend of this “mistake” from the get go. Because it was an honest error! That. Is. The. Difference. If I wanted to steal it, it would take time for me to even consider “returning” it. From the years of transactions and evidence, you think there was a plan to even return the money? It wasn’t until these people got caught before they lawyered up. After all, the “wallet” was in the hundreds of millions (based on what could be found).

It’s insulting to our intelligence to even use these pathetic examples.

It was obvious that these politicians and their ilk have found a way to perpetuate staying in power – because it’s run as a business. That is why their relatives and every generation thereafter will continue to rob each of us of our dignities and respect.

It’s not about being “yellow” or red or blue or green or black or whatever rainbow color one is affiliated with. Fuck that! It’s about logic and how the rules and laws are bended to rationalize and accommodate evil.

In 1986, we overthrew a dictator. The Americans were part to blame for the exile of the Marcoses. Cory should have demanded their extradition. Captured. Jailed. Tried. After all, the loot they left behind and brought with them when they fled was enough evidence to have them face death by musketry. But we let them escape. It was the beginning of our ending. And we are now paying for their return to power.

That, to me, was the beginning of the decline in our justice system. The subsequent leaders just capitalized on the sham in the connivance of evil.

Today, it is obvious that the scales of justice tip to those in power. I have yet to see the politicians pay for their corrupt practices. It pays to be in power – who you know, is more important than being righteous.

The litmus rest of every decent government is in how corruption is addressed. How have we fared?

We have never risen as a nation that gains respect from the global community because we do what we do. Every election, that fight against corruption is simply lip service. Until they are voted into office. And we get tired of the same circus and clowns who don’t make good on their promises of change for the better. Sadly, we are all tired of fighting for what is right. Perseverance is not in our genetic make-up. We’ve been colonized too often to even make a stand for what is rightfully ours.

Binababoy na tayo, nakangiti at pumapalakpak pa kayo? Anong klaseng Pilipino tayo?

As a nation, when we lose our moral compass today, we deserve where we will be tomorrow – nowhere.

Age doesn’t matter…

When former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos was found guilty for graft on 7 counts last week, many people felt that despite half a century since committing the crime (three decades of the case in court), justice wasn’t blind.

Or isn’t it?

Police Chief Oscar Albayalde went on the record on the air to say that “considering her age” the Philippine National Police shall not handcuff nor arrest her hurriedly. Minority house speaker Danilo Suarez didn’t feel that the crime Imelda did was a “big deal” and we ought to just poopah and “forgive and move on.”

For these two to provide these statements, it meant that they acknowledged her guilt. BUT, insinuate that we need to show kindness and compassion because she is 89 years old.

No rational moral thinking human being would even have thought the way Albayalde or Suarez thought. Clearly, people like these have biases and it’s just hard to pick the right words to describe their vapid line of thinking.

The bottom line is – the Sandiganbayan finds the accused, Imelda Romualdez Marcos – guilty in the 7 counts of graft. For all the suffering of the Filipinos because of the crimes of this family, I don’t understand how some people get the temerity to brush aside the guilt? How easy is it to tilt the balance of justice just because the accused are political friends with benefits with the incumbent rulers?

When these elderlies are still eligible, willing and able to run for public office, by golly, they should also be answerable and accountable to the office they occupy. In short, if there is graft and corruption committed by them during their term in office, they must pay for that crime! It is unjust that we look the other way just because of age. You cannot be willing to do one thing but not be accountable to answer for the misgovernance or corruption you committed.

The Philippine judicial system is slow enough that these people would have died before they got convicted. There is no moving on as long as the suffering and crimes are not reconciled. There is no forgiveness unless there are apologies.

Let’s call a spade a spade.

Justice cannot be selective. Justice must be tantamount to the crime committed. Regardless of people, power or personality.

Majority of our countrymen have limited funds for a decent meal, clothes to wear, shoes or slippers to walk kilometers to go to school, or a decent roof over their heads. When politicians deprive our countrymen of basic needs or even the sheer decency to live and survive day to day because they engage in shenanigans for personal gains, it is enraging that they are treated with kids gloves when they are found guilty of criminal acts.

If we stand for nothing, we fall for anything.

Remember: For fools to fall for the folly of the elderly, we deserve the injustice we get.

You are wrong!

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 2.17.03 PM

When news like this circulates, it is mandatory that the medical community should react.

Whatever the president insists, he is totally wrong on this matter.

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid.

It is 100 times more potent than morphine as an analgesic. (Yes, Mr. President.  It is a painkiller.  A very very very strong pain killer.)

Its pharmacologic effects are – analgesia, sedation, nausea, vomiting, itching and respiratory depression. Compared to other opioids, fentanyl causes more muscle rigidity.

It’s approved medical uses (licit) are:

  • management of cancer pain in patients already receiving opioid medication for their underlying persistent pain  (for the sublingual tablet formulations)
  • management of chronic pain in patients who require continuous opioid analgesia (for the transdermal preparation)
  • analgesia and anaesthesia in surgery (as citrate for injections given intravenously, intramuscularly, spinally or epidurally)

It is abused (illicit) for the following effects:

  • euphoria
  • substitute for heroin in opioid dependent individuals

Whether it is used licitly or illicitly, fentanyl use is addicting. Drugs that cause dependence are classified as habit forming and categorised as dangerous drugs. Under the DEA (drug enforcement agency of the United States), Fentanyl is controlled under Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act.

A drug under Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act means that:

  • The drug has a high potential for abuse.
  • The drug has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the US or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.
  • Abuse of the drug may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

In the Philippines, the Dangerous Drug Board and Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency have rules on prescribing narcotics and regulated substances.  The schedule in the Philippines is similar to the United States. Fentanyl is classified under Level II (previously called Schedule II). While it carries the same classifying definition as the US DEA, in addition:

  • Only doctors with S2 licences can prescribe them.  (Not all doctors have a S2 license.)
  • There is a separate yellow prescription form (that can only be purchased through the selected hospitals by S2 licensed physicians) that needs to be accomplished.  Fentanyl falls under that category.

Fentanyl is a controlled substance. In any part of the world. And yes. Even in China and Russia.

It is not JUST a pain killer.

It is addicting. It is regulated. Controlled substances are classified as with medical evidence or without. Either ways, it has abuse potentials. Only schedule or level II drugs are “legally” allowed to be prescribed. But it does not mean that just because it is prescribed it is not addicting.

I really don’t care if you’re using this for the various pains you claim to have. I’m really not concerned whether you’re really sick or not, or how sick you are. I just don’t like the fact that you go around having to rationalize what medicines you use to the point of changing the science of medicine, pharmacology and regulatory science.

Just because you are president, you do not get to change the fact that fentanyl is an opiate.


Focusing on the red herring

Whenever I make teaching rounds with my medical students, I always tell them to look out for a “red herring”.

Red herrings are clues that are intended to be distracting or misleading. Let’s take the case of a 4 year-old patient with 14 days fever and macular rashes is seen at your clinic. He tests negative in routine dengue test kits except for IgG dengue. A complete blood count with platelet shows a white count of 3,000 (90% lymphocytes) and a platelet of 25,000. Many will be tempted to make a diagnosis of dengue. The red herring is the neutropenia and thrombocytopenia.

Many diseases will present with a low white count and low platelet. This patient was seen by two different doctors in the 2 weeks interval. The final diagnosis in this case was acute leukemia.

I talk about red herrings today to emphasize that there will always be misleading clues that will make one make the wrong conclusion.

The idiom “red herring” was thought to have emanated from using this fish’s smell to train dogs to track scents. The modern meaning of “red herring” as a false trail, was thought to be popularized by English journalist William Cobbett. Whatever the origins are, red herring is something that misleads or distracts us from a relevant or important issue.

Red herrings, while taught in medical science, are seen in contemporary society. Politics is an example of how to use distractions in order to bring to fore an agenda. The real situation of an economy or justice or national security of any country can be fended off through fake news and bad policies and decisions by creating background noise and news. This makes the masses confused with the real current pressing and potential issues surrounding a nation.

Red herrings sow confusion. Confusion results in a lack of focus on what the real problem is. In medical science, this ends up with health care providers working up patients with more unnecessary tests, increasing hospitalization days, instituting unnecessary treatments, placing them at higher risks of complications, and shifting the burden of cost to an insurmountable amount.

It is a fallacy that an argument is correct but does not address the subject being discussed. It is an attempt to change the subject.

In this highly digital age of technology, social media is used to sow confusion and distract us from what is true. It is like medical science where instead on focusing what is the real evidence, we are distracted with the diagnosis because there were too much tests that gave ambiguous results.


In any situation, focusing on Red Herrings is a deadly distraction.

He speaks his mind…

Self opinionated or being straight to the point? Saying the truth or being upright?

Many people don’t like people who are contemptuous in speech, particularly when you’re expected to say things “nicely” and with “modesty”.

But being direct to the point can actually be insulting for some.  Others expect that whenever we speak, it is done properly and with tact.

I remember I once told someone that whenever we speak, we must practice how to be “politically correct” because not a lot of people understand why we say what we say.  Saying what one needs to say without being hurtful is an art.  Not everyone is able to get away with what one wants to or needs to say with the reason of “having to speak one’s mind“.

Speaking one’s mind is a reflection of one’s upbringing. It’s a cultural thing as well.  There are people who don’t like being directly called out for being wrong.  They mistake being told off as a sign of being rude.  But being honest about situations makes a healthy relationship.  It’s also a cultural thing to shrug off  opinionated people and regard them as being offensive or having inconsiderate behaviour.  After all, there’s a thin line between speaking out for justice and truth, and speaking out of hate.

There are two reminders I will share…

When anger rises, think of the consequences.

– Confucius

During fits of emotional distress, it is best that we get out of the room or try to avoid your mobile phone or laptop, so you can avoid the impulse of letting go awful and mean things (no matter how accurate) to say to others.  You can’t get that back when you’ve let it go.

Before you say something, think how you’d feel if someone said it to you.

Then there’s the other situation where we need to have a voice.

Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you.

Never apologise for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time.

If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind.  Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.

– Gandhi

Calling and pointing out what is wrong, what is evil and what is not right should always be the right thing to do. But the circumstances on when to do it will require some degree of adroitness and sensitivity when dealing with difficult issues. Placing what is right in the right perspective is important for relationships in every sphere of life. Saying what is right without humiliating another is an art we all should try to learn.

There are situations where we just need to speak our mind.

The most important compass when we speak our mind is to “never worry about who will be offended if you speak the TRUTH.  Worry about who will be misled, deceived and destroyed if you don’t“.

Not. Your. Competence.

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

– John F. Kennedy

I’ve always liked talking about common sense.  It’s a rare commodity with many people who feel that they can open their mouth to make a comment on a topic they have very little knowledge about.  Common sense, is like a deodorant.  The people who need it most never use it.  And the buffoons who follow these walking mouthpiece of trash? Well, let’s keep it simple – no greater fool than the fool that was fooled by a fool.

It is most tempting to call out people who don’t even know what they’re talking about but have this feeling of entitlement as being experts.  The field of law and medicine, for example, require the most stringent of expertise in order to practice the field.  You cannot even be called an attorney or doctor (of medicine) without the necessary degree and passing the bar/board exam.  Even with these degrees, one cannot generally claim to be the overall expert in a subspecialty field.  In law, for example, the competence of your lawyers will vary depending on their expertise. Taxation, corporate, criminal family,  international law, labor law, etc.  That’s how cases are won.  You get the best.  It’s the same in medicine.  Not everyone can induct anaesthesia.  Not everyone can remove a mass from your breast.  Not everyone is an infectious diseases expert.  Not everyone can perform a heart transplant.  You need to get the best if you want to increase your chances of survival from diseases.

The similarity between the two is that getting the best may be costly. Regardless of our status in life, unfortunately there is a price to pay for getting the best. Unless there are those that are providing their services for free – like free legal aid or free consultation and expert opinions from those that are the best in their profession. The truth is, life’s not fair.

And being at the bottom of the totem pole has its price as well.

So when someone who knows little, or sadly, nothing about medical science totally depends on hysteria or political agenda from a populist standpoint and sows disinformation on issues that he/she does not understand, no one benefits from the cavalcade of bad information.

The incompetent who pretend to know everything don’t understand that their lack of knowledge is damaging and dangerous. It is, tantamount to literally attempting to get away with a crime.

It’s bad enough that the less fortunate citizens are getting the raw end of the deal when incompetent people propagate bad science or laws. Instead of educating the masses into understanding their health or their rights, there are opportunists who utilize the ignorance of the many in order to stir a crowd. All because of personal gains.

Real leaders will always work at educating its people with the right information. As they say, “give a man fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him a lifetime.”

He who looks for advantage out of the gullible, strips out all nobility.