Myint Win Thein
Praising the praiseworthy is advisable, according to Buddhist philosophy. However sometimes praising an individual can mean judging others who are going about the same thing differently, or sweeping the real problem under the carpet.
A story emerged recently on social media about a young high-school headmaster who has been praised by authorities, for his ongoing efforts to improve conditions at his school in Mandalay. This man is considered very hardworking and he never complains about the lack of funds (which seems to be one of the reasons authorities like him very much). He asks for parents to donate money to improve the contents of the library and laboratories and he waters the plants that he has planted in the compound. The place looks like an oasis in the dry and dusty city of Mandalay! Since the headmaster was assigned to the school, virtually everything there looks better — even the toilets. The school has even won a few environmental prizes from the international community.
There is nothing wrong with praising this hardworking headmaster. But does it mean that we should blame all the other school headmasters and headmistresses for not following suit? And is praising him misguided, in that it allows authorities to continue to underfund schools? This is a situation where praising one person can prop up a system that needs to be fixed.