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THINK TALK: Incompleteness

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MATALAM, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 21 October) — I always tell my students in graduate school: “It’s not pleasant to see a grade of INC (incomplete) in your Transcript of Records (TOR). This may not matter much to those of you who are gainfully employed, but it should be a serious concern for those who are not yet employed. No employer will be impressed by an INC mark in your TOR. An INC mark gives the impression that you are lazy, carefree, or have no sense of urgency.”

Back in college, I knew too well the implications of an incomplete grade. I tried to avoid getting one, but there was this professor of ours in “Elements of Machine Design,” a sadist one, who would love to see all of his students fail. Indeed, the majority of the class failed except for four or five of us who got an “INC” mark in our class cards. We were made to complete the “INC” by drawing a four-cylinder gasoline engine and identifying at least 100 parts. In a school where professors equate “standards” by the number of students with failing grades, a grade of 5.0 seems to be normal. I hate that system though.

Schools, as well as professors, vary in their requirements or conditions by which students may complete their INCs. Some would make students take “removal exams”; others would require projects to be passed; still, a few others would require donations of some sort though this is quite rare.

“Incompleteness” could be equated to inadequacy, defectiveness, flaw, defect, or shortcoming. A “state of incompleteness” also means lacking in everything that is basically needed. The more the elements are lacking, the more severe is the state of incompleteness.

In real life (outside the classroom), the impact of “incompleteness” is more profound and could be oftentimes frustrating. When “incompleteness” has something to do with not having three full meals everyday, this could be a serious concern. Our decision-makers in the Department of Agriculture should look at inadequacies in food supply in terms of the number of families or households not having three full meals everyday.

In the health sector, “incompleteness” should be viewed as not having the means to avail of medical services from competent health workers. This could mean members of the family watching the sick member suffer in pain and probably die slowly as a consequence of “incompleteness”. This could be inadequacy in knowledge about proper health care and practices. The cause could range from improper disposal of waste matters, lack of sanitary toilets, lack of correct health practices, etc. Despite the “Universal Health Care Law” and the enrollment of indigents in the PhilHealth system, there are still an appreciable number of people, especially in the far flung areas, who are not adequately served under our health care system.

We do not put all the blame on personnel of the Department of Health or the system itself. The other valid reason for this “incompleteness” or inadequacy could be attributed to poor road conditions, or sometimes its absence, as well as the consequences of the unpredictable climate change. With more reasons, the services of such government agencies as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, Department of Public Works and Highways, and others, should converge. This should start from holistic and convergence planning involving as many agencies of the government as possible.

Unfortunately, we have yet to see the realization of this strategic approach to addressing our “incompleteness”. Still, one of the worst consequences of “incompleteness” is the so-called “moral degradation.” Moral degradation is the process of society’s progressive loss or weakening of our moral fiber and ethical structures that have traditionally prevailed for quite so long. Some would blame the youth sector for their exposure to all forms of the prevailing ills of the society such as drug addiction, lewd shows, profane languages, rampant crimes, and deteriorating faith in God.

The erosion of moral values in our society has already become a disturbing phenomenon such that our judgment between right and wrong is greatly affected. There is now an urgent need to address all of these. These values can come from the self, family, school, community, the Church, and other institutions that influence the thoughts of an individual.

Some of the very disturbing manifestations of moral degradation are: mass shootings, terrorism, racial hatred, social injustice, incivility, fraud, and white supremacy mentality.

God hates “incompleteness”. God wants everything he started in us to be completed. He leaves the remaining tasks for us to do something about. If He made us different from one another in terms of color, nationality, social and economic status, it is because God wants us to get interested in those differences and tests our adaptability, tolerance and compassion.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Maugan P. Mosaid holds a doctorate degree in rural development. He is a planning consultant and teaches Statistics and Methods of Research in the graduate school. He can be contacted at mauganmosaid6@gmail.com).

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