• Cherry-picking: Choosing the best

    Reylito A.H. Elbo

    Reylito A.H. Elbo

    IT’S election circus time. Candidates are presenting themselves in their best light as they try to defeat negative publicity. They hire the most powerful and influential public relations agency, and only their good-looking, magnanimous façade is shown in the media. The unappealing angles and images are thrown in the dustbins, if not swept under the rug.

    Then you ask: Why are these politicians—newbies and veterans alike—cram the preparations for their image-perfection and projection near election time, when they could have done so without last-minute overspending if only they had the political will to do their job well many years prior?

    The simple answer to our question is this—you and I have short memories.

    This statement has become watertight that we need a black swan film like Heneral Luna to jolt us from time to time with the message that the enemy is within and among us and yet we don’t recognize it until another election comes near.

    For centuries, we know how politicians cherry-pick, if not suppress evidence of their wrongdoing.

    So, why do we have to talk about cherry-picking in this space? Why do we have to talk about what is, anyway, already known to the general public?

    If you read this piece, would it make you smarter if you got confirmation of what you’ve known all along, or feel dumber for having misunderstood the message of those political ads? The answer to this question is relative. It depends on where you’re coming from. It depends on where you’re seated in our economic hierarchy.

    Cherry-picking in the American context means choosing and picking the best cherry fruit in terms of its size, shape, ripeness and healthiest form. We simply let rotten pieces go to waste than bring them out in the market.

    In our case here in the Philippines, farmers don’t cherry-pick their produce. They haul them all to the market for whatever they’re worth to consumers. That’s why you and I often see bundles of okra, big or small, mature or young ones, with or without tiny earthworms—packed in one plastic bag, like what you can imagine in Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates—“you never know what you’re gonna get.” Is this a form of cheating? Why don’t they pack the okras according to size, maturity, and color and price them accordingly? I like young okra than mature ones with grainy fibers. The trouble is that I get only about two pieces from a bunch of seven. For the farmers, I think selling young okras would be beneficial to them as they can readily harvest young ones early and collect payment right away.

    The trouble is that this article is not read by farmers, and much less by the bobotante (dumb voters) who do reverse cherry-picking of candidates based on what they’ve done or not done in a noontime show.

    Now, why is cherry-picking important? As absurd as it may sound to some people, it’s because we want to elect the best possible candidates without them fooling us. We need qualified people who can be trusted.

    And more importantly, we want to unmask those candidates who hide behind cherry-picking, which, in some way is another form of deceit. But somehow, in some positive ways, people want to be entertained by the politicians’ antics, regardless of where the advertising money comes from.

    Last time, I was surprised to receive a check payment from a friend who appears grateful for what I’ve done to improve his business operations. In particular, I was able to help him discover and eliminate one source of the company’s killer expenses that saved him P1 million a month or 12 million a year.

    Before that, I offered to help his dying small business. There was no contract. And I didn’t expect to be paid for my services. It’s part of my CSR (corporate social responsibility) to those who are in need. When I asked him why he’s paying me that much, his answer was:

    “I want to appreciate your effort in helping us.” Now, how can you argue with a friend like that?

    That’s what I’ve been telling you. Never leave home without thanking God and someone who made it happen on earth. Appreciating someone is a basic strategy that greases the wheels of our personal interaction with people. Let’s use it to a fault.

    Rey Elbo is a business consultant specializing in human resources and total quality management as a fused interest. Send feedback to elbonomics@gmail.com or follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter for his random thoughts.


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