March 1, 2006
Not the Jaded Path
Today marks the end of my second month working at the Centre for Public Policy Studies. It has been an incredible journey so far. Making my entrance into the organisation at a stage when important discussions were taking place, the immediate rush to churn out reports and write-ups, the lack of manpower that drilled me to get on my toes immediately and so on. I truly enjoy what I’m doing.
One of the reasons I joined something which seems so alien to some is because, like many other relatively young people, I still hold onto the concept of idealism. Despite being painfully aware of the situation our country is going through in terms of its management (or lack thereof), national governance (ditto) and so on, I hold strong to the need for those within my generation to stand up and take the call to work towards something. This something should not be something vague, not clouds up in the air but solid workable and feasible goals to be reached.
At the recent elections in 2004, the queues for voters ran spiralling long across the school corridors. I walked confidently to the room allocated for those in my age group category. I strolled breezily through the door with not a single soul in my path. What is this telling of? A generational apathy that is sweeping through our country.
Do I still believe that I, in my meagre work, albeit through networking with others, am able to change anything?
If I am able to actuate any semblance of paradigm shift, perhaps I would have gone a long way. But this is taking a long shot.
In my first month of work I met someone who told me that “it’s refreshing to see that idealism still exists!” The same person recently wondered aloud whether this idealism would last out. In fact, the bet is going on so far as to calculate the length of time before I eventually get jaded like all other fighters for a good cause.
The way I look at it is this: It is a given, an assumption, that we are truly faced with opposition all round to the good and the noble. This is a concept I have personally come up with from a long time ago. (Again, an unfortunate reason I am ashamed of but here it is: That every other Christian one meets at church ought to be assumed to be a Sunday-Christian and hypocritical in nature but when one chances upon a genuine follower one can then be pleased at this singular anomaly!)
Hence, my argument is that despite the knowledge of negativity constantly outweighing any optimistic prospects, does it make the cause any less worthy? No. Indeed it makes it even more crucial.
I do however acknowledge that there lies a yawning gap between intention and action. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. If no action is actuated, what then of my high flying ideals? Will they be washed away as any other’s? When will I really get jaded and just sit back, gather what I can around me, and earn my keep?
My answer lies in the very word Idealism. This speaks of an unachievable high. The sun high up in the skies, so to speak. And to imagine that anyone can ever reach those heights is plain foolishness. What we do is to follow the sunlight of the path that leads that direction, and see how far we can go. The extent to which we can walk the sunlit path is in itself a measure. The ideal is the end in mind. To move one step towards it is to claim success in some respect.
Will I give up my ideals even when things will never work out the way I dream they will?
I sincerely hope not. After all, where would we be if only cynics and skeptics remained in the world?
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