Thursday, January 17, 2013

Forever Young in Malaysia

Living in Malaysia has its benefits. Besides having great weather and a decent standard of living (till the point where the Germans are sending their old folks to retire here), we can always rejoice that we, as Malaysians, can feel like a young kid in perpetuity.

Let's begin by dissecting the life cycle of a middle class Malaysian, i.e. drawing from my own experience.

We start off by attending "tadika" (kindergarten) where naturally we are treated as kids. And then we go to primary and secondary school where we are asked to obey the teachers and only the book smart ones get the glory and recognition by the teaching faculty (not all, but a majority). I guess it is expected that we are treated as kids at that point in time, as we are in fact kids anyway.

After that phase, some of us would be privileged to attend a private education institution for pre-university and tertiary education. For these Malaysians, they would stand a better chance at being encouraged to have independent thought and develop their own opinion. However, for the others who continue on to Form 6 and public university, the scenario is quite different.

Form 6, for me, was one of the best times - largely because the teachers were of a different breed. The kind that used to teach our parents - dedicated and committed to spurring their students to think for themselves and figure out how what we were learning had come to be, instead of implementing regimental memorising exercises. Results were secondary to establishing a good foundation. Well, at least the teachers in the school I transferred to were of this view. Can't speak for other schools though.

When entering university, we think that this is a place where intellectuals congregate and pass on knowledge. While undoubtedly there are some passionate brainiacs in public universities, but many have bowed down and allowed the politicising of education. One thing I remember clearly in my first year was being warned by the seniors to vote for the pro-government Aspirasi party in campus elections. Otherwise, we would not be guaranteed a room in the residential college for the coming year. The warden actually summoned everyone to a compulsory night meeting where he lectured us and indirectly hinted (or was it blatantly - I can't remember) for us to make the "right" choice. Rumours were spread around that the ballots were marked and one way or the other, the management would know who had voted for which party. What kind of false democracy is this? Blackmailing desperate young adults into giving into their agenda and curtailing any chance of freewill.

Upon entering the working world, we are again reminded of the importance of knowing the political climate to suit your business. Pander with the right party and you might get an extra favour in the future.On one hand we hear corporate Malaysia professing they want change but on the other hand we hear contradictory statements behind the board room doors, talk of monitoring and speculating who to support. In my previous company, colleagues were discussing the implications of attending the Bersih rally. There were concerns of the possible repercussions, being staff of a company with links to the government. At that point in time, I realised that so many of us were bound by fear, instated by the rulers. You feel like a kid being reprimanded by a bully.

And as elections draw nearer, you see all sorts of propaganda being advertised in the media - wall stickers on the commuter train, billboard messages with things like "don't bite the hand that feeds you" etc, long TV advertisements which seems to me like part of their political campaign. It is sickening to be constantly told to be grateful to the government for this and that. Isn't it our right to enjoy these benefits as tax payers? Why should we be talked down to as if we were a nation of idiots and the only intelligent one who could think straight was the government? It is not as if we are getting the benefits for free and in fact, we should be considered as the shareholders of the government i.e. their bosses. If the managers are doing a good job, due recognition by the shareholders would be given. I rest my case on this matter.

The inspiration for this post stemmed from the recent sensational Youtube video of a Sharifah, being the president of NGO Suara Wanita 1 Malaysia patronisingly belittling the attempt of a young Malaysian to speak out her views on the state of the country. I guess pretty much everyone has seen the video which has gone viral.

Sharifah spoke of the right to freedom of speech, but at the very same time she was trampling Bawani's same rights. So does this mean 'all these human rights mumbo jumbo' have double standards where it is only applicable for certain people of a certain status (or of a certain age group) or is it only dependent on what Sharifah feels is right? Her chauvinism brings irk to an entirely different level. She is so stuck in love with her status that she did not realise she was a walking contradiction. Walk the talk before preaching to others, lady! And respect is earned, not due just because you're old! Juvenile mentality.

And then somewhere along the lines came the talk of animal rights - in my mind, the word "TERPESONG" (which is translated as completely off topic) popped up in neon fluorescent light. That was a bit funny. Haha. Anyway, in a forum there should be two-way communication where questions get answered. Sharifah did not answer Bawani's questions, she merely turned it into another political speech and "tai-chi"-ed the issues at hand by raising emotions as a form of distraction. However, I feel the saddest part of it all was the applause given by the UUM undergrads in support of Sharifah's grossly skewed perspective. They were like "lalang" blown in the wind - cheering for whoever had the loudest voice, no matter what the content of the speech was about. This is the result of our young generation having had their thinking done for them (or forced unto them) for all their lives that they are unable to ascertain the truth from the lies. Is this the quality of our future leaders? If yes, then I am worried.

No comments:

Post a Comment