In this modern age young people are prone to become independent of their families earlier, especially with the job opportunities and significant compensation that call centers provide. Striking on their own, they barely keep in touch with their parents, forgetting the years of caring and concern and mindful only of their present “barkada” (close friends). To them the connections that count are those that exist today, which give them the highs and help push their career and life experiences. While they are right in realizing that one cannot live alone and therefore they must establish linkages, they are incomplete because they have not connected the stream of their lifelines so that a tapestry of connections past, present and future enrich their lifes’ journey. In time it is hoped they learn that life is built on stepping stones of connections and they need to keep those steps solid and continually utilized.
Filipino families are traditionally extended ones, unlike Western families which are nuclear. However, modernization has resulted in Filipino families becoming nuclear with the bonds growing weaker. This has resulted in quite a number of urban Filipino families or families abroad losing the connections that strengthen the values of convergence and collaboration. In times of crisis, these families lose the support system so essential to weather through and may result in the disintegration of the nuclear family. Those who maintain the extended relationships taking advantage of social media do not only benefit from the assistance of the extended family during times of need but also benefit from the opportunities provided by their access to more information. From these kinds of families emerge the global community that makes every member of the family, well informed, well prepared and well equipped to face the challenges of globalization. Connections count but it must be nourished and maintained to be effective.
Philippine business and of course entrepreneurs know the importance of connections. From spotting business opportunities to marshalling resources, connections matter. In dealing with regulatory agencies at the national and local levels, connections allow a business to breeze through the bureaucratic maze. Yet many businessmen may have a limited view of connections, in the sense that they only look at their companies and their circle of clients, suppliers, workers, distributors, etc. They forget that an important connection is one that links them with other companies in the industry, even if they are considered competitors. With the increasing competitive environment brought about by the ASEAN regionalization on one hand and the myriad of opportunities emerging, businesses on their own may not be able to survive and prosper. Collaboration among companies in the same field could result in lower overhead charges and product unit cost allowing the group to penetrate other ASEAN countries and fend off foreign competitors entering the Philippine market. In lobbying to get the Philippine bureaucracy to adjust policies and programs to become facilitative, more companies are better heard than just one company pushing the advocacy. Connecting the industry players produces a potent force for change.
What is true in business is very true in government. When government departments decide and act in isolation from what the rest of the government is doing, the result is chaos for their clients. When infrastructure is being built without the proponents connecting with the rest of government units, either local or national, traffic could be congested; usual pathways blocked; water supply lost, etc. When one is focused on regional development and provinces decide to go on their own, the result are waste of resources as each province ends up with its own international airport or seaport and the train and road networks are not synchronized. The flow of goods and services becomes costlier as each province comes up with regulations benefitting itself without regard to the effect on others. Connections count and if used properly will result in an environment that engenders peace, prosperity and progress.
One wonders why we do not pay enough attention to the connections that count.