Give Change a Chance”

(A New Year Message)

Secretary R.A. Salalima, DICT

Delivered on January 9, 2017


How do we measure the wealth of a nation?


There is Bhutan, a country far north of the Philippines and somewhere near India and China.

There in Bhutan the country measures its wealth not by its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but by its people’s Gross National Happiness (GNP). There, the wealth of the country is measured not by its material wealth but by the qualitative happiness of its people. There, happiness is measured by addressing the “needs”, not “wants” of its people. And “needs” are the basic necessities of life like food, clothing, shelter and, of course, education. Outside of these basic necessities and every man’s basic liberties are “wants” – man’s objects of desire.

Incidentally, in Brunei all and every family, to include the “poorest” comparatively speaking, has each a car, in the least. In the current Internet Era, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, access to telecommunication services, as a basic human right, is a “necessity” – – something which every man cannot do without.


Is happiness measured by addressing simply the “needs”, not “wants”, of our people?

Not necessarily so.

Happiness is a state of the mind, a “sense of values”.

When a person has that right sense of values in relation to his needs, more often he is happy. But one who has a wrong sense of values will misappreciate his wants as his needs. And this, more often, is the source of (his) unhappiness. Because “wants” are unlimited and cannot be satisfied. A “want” is never enough.

Thus, a man who is rich but who wants more because he feels he does not have enough is poor. He is thus unhappy. But a man who is poor but who feels that he has enough is rich. He is happy with his lot and, more important, his self.

Happiness is not measured simply by satisfying the material or biological needs of man. The “quantifiables”! Beyond the physical, another reality exists in the soul or conscience of every man as reflected in the intrinsic merit of his personality or character and in the action he takes.

An honest man is always happy with his daily wage hand-earned through honest labor. A corrupt is never happy. He is insatiable. He wants more.

Happiness then is of the mind. It relates to and find resonance in every man’s right sense of values. It is qualitative, it is of the metaphysical soul.


A season of change.

2017, the new year, is a season of change and for change. Not for us to make resolve only for us to break our promises in the course of time.

Let us resolve to change for the better. Change is in us because change is Us.

If you are a simple government worker, work because you love work. And you must love your work because it brings food on your family’s table, among others. It is in loving your work that you will be happy. Otherwise, work becomes burdensome and a bore because you won’t find any challenge, accomplishment or satisfaction in such work.

W.C. King wrote:

“Occasionally you may worry unduly about where your job is going to get you – whether it is sufficiently strategic or significant. Of course these are pertinent considerations and you would do well to take some stock of them. But by and large, it is fundamentally true that if you take care of your present job well, the future will take care of itself. This is particularly so within large corporations, which constantly search for competent people to move into more responsible positions. Success depends so largely upon personality, native ability, and vigorous, intelligent prosecution of any job that it is no exaggeration to say that your ultimate chances are much better if you do a good job on some minor detail than if you do a mediocre job as a project leader. Furthermore, it is also true that if you do not first make a good showing on your present job you are not likely to be given the opportunity to try something else more to your liking.”

He added:

“However, menial and trivial your early assignments may appear, give them your best efforts. xxx The spirit and effectiveness with which you tackle your first humble tasks will very likely be carefully watched and may affect your entire career.”

Be honest with your work and in your work. To receive your daily wage when you do not or least deserve it because you did not honestly work for it is GRAFT. There is CORRUPTION too when you sell favors in the exercise of your office.

Be honest. Be content and happy with what you deserve or receive in terms of wage because you worked for it. For our new year, let us change our sense of values.




On leadership

More than a privilege, leadership is all about responsibility in and accountability for an assigned tasks.

To the officers in government, our task is to lead, not to follow, to initiate, devise thru ingenuity and be persistent or tenacious with fresh ideas and actions, not simply to echo old ones, and to initiate and bring about change for the better for our country and people.

In the end and at the bottom, leadership in government or in private life is not about form. It is all about content, not hollow media sound and fury signifying nothing. What matters beyond the glitter is the substance within. Not everything that glitters is gold.

Leadership is all about moving forward, about improving lives of others, and making a difference.

Fulfillment and happiness?

Are you fulfilled? Are you happy?

Christopher Plummer, in the movie “Man in the Chair”, wisely counseled a restless young man in search of his “self”. Remember, he said to as he challenged the young man, “There is a difference between activity and achievement.”

To all of us: Change. Do not simply act. Achieve, no matter the challenges and the odds. Fly high no matter the dizzying heights.

This much we owe unto ourselves, to DICT, to our country and people, and, if you may, to our personal God.

Happy New Year!

Thank you and good day!