Sunday, September 11, 2005

let me explain...again

*This is a damn long article, but I hope you read it. If lazy, then at least read the last paragraph*

Kenny wrote an article about supposed misunderstood patriotism. From that article :

Someone made an interesting comment on her blog saying Malaysia's biggest flaw is not teaching its citizens to accept it for its flaws.

Now, that 'someone' was me. So my friend, allow me to disagree....

I assure you, mine is not a case of misunderstood patriotism. Perhaps I was rash and wasn't clear in the comment I made. Certainly we should not just accept the flaws. So let me explain...I mostly get angry when people slag off the country, the government, and all those other things for 3 reasons.

Firstly, most people complain aimlessly. That's about as far as it goes. Since when has complaining been able to change anything? F, like many others, complained about the state that Malaysia was in, but chooses not to do anything about it. She, like many others, work overseas and complain that conditions back home are not suitable. So, do these people want the country to clean up its mess before they come home and enjoy the spoils? If you do not strive to make a difference, what good would your complaints be? I always thought that if you weren't happy with something, you should strive to change that situation, not sitting on your butt hoping that someone will change it for you.

We complain about corruption, but most people would not hessitate to bribe the next cop that comes along when we speed on the highway. If you are not one to bribe, fair play to you. But when was the last time you condemned someone who did? If someone mentions over the dinner table that they robbed a house, people would no doubt report that crime to the police. However, if you mention at a party that you bribed a cop on your way there, everybody would sympathise with you. Why? Is it not a crime as well? So why does everybody think it is alright to bribe a cop and yet grumble about corruption?

We complain about uncourteous people, but when was the last time you thanked your bus driver as you were getting off the bus? When was the last time you propped open a door for a stranger walking behind you? Courtesy spreads. If you do that, if enough people do that, slowly but surely, it will catch on.

We complain about dirty toilets, but everytime we see a dirty toilet seat, instead of wiping it clean, we choose to stand on it. The reasoning behind it? Because it's dirty. Does that not form a perfectly round vicious circle?

Next, I am dissapointed with the inability of the detractors to think, to understand the situation that we are in. We have all lived in this country enough to understand how things work. Our complaints are unjustified in many areas, simple because we fail to analyse the situation and understand why things are such. Trust me, if you learn to UNDERSTAND why things work the way they do, it doesn't look so bad after a while.

We cannot, we simply CANNOT compare ourselves with other developed countries. A lot of people say that we have to compare ourselves to other countries better than ourselves so that we can improve. What these people are forgetting is that we do not have the resources nor the mentality that those nations have.

Think about the social implications of a 'weak' economy. There are more poor/jobless people around. Having more poor/jobless people means that there are more people out there desperate for a quick fix, or desperate for more money. Human greed, no? Therefore, this leads to higher crime rates.

You see, we complain about the streets being unsafe compared to Singapore but we fail to understand why. Of course snatch theives are a bane that we can do without. But doesn't every poor country have such a bane? What can we do about it? Richer countries give out dole to the jobless and the homeless with a hope that that money would stop them from mugging someone on the streets. But does our country have such resources?

Of course, most people blame the police for not doing their job. It is easy to shift blame isn't it? Every year or so, we read in the papers that the police are severely understaffed. Apparently, there aren't enough Chinese who join the police force. Nobody wants to join the police force because of the apparent shitty pay. So whose fault is it for the high crime rate?

Then we complain about corruption. Of course corruption is bad. But again, it is the fundamental principle of human fallacy. Greed. How do you stop greed? In which country does greed not affect its people? When you do not pay someone enough, they tend to look for other sources of income. Singapore's government is well known for being a very clean government. But it is also well known that their politicians are among the most well paid in the world. Can we match that? Do we have enough resources to pay our people more?

We scream and shout for meritocracy in our universities but we never once thought of why meritocracy would be unfair. How can you possibly ask that you be judged based on your results when the students started out on an uneven playing field?

Consider a city boy rich who does his studying in front of a computer surfing the Internet for extra information. His parents pay for his tuition classes and when exam comes, his maid will surely boil some herbal soup so he can study longer hours. He's a hardworking little kid mind you, but compare him to an equally hardworking kid who does odd jobs to make some extra money for his family, and spends his nights helping his mother make kuihs which she will sell by the roadside the next day. The city kid gets 9As for SPM and the kampung boy gets only 8As. You tell me.....who should the government help to get to university? The current system might not work ideally, but neither does meritocracy system that you all crave for so much.

Then finally, those people defend themselves by saying that complaining about the government doesn't equate to not loving the country (which is weird because the government was voted into power by YOU). Supposedly, complaining helps us improve ourselves. Supposedly, we have to air out our bad points in the open to help our country grow.

But I ask you.....how does complaining help? We don't need to make a list of our faults. Surely EVERY Malaysian knows whats wrong with the country. Any idiot who has lived here long enough can list a list of flaws. The dirty toilets, the scum taxi drivers, the high crime rate...everybody knows about it. So why the need to continue saying it and state the obvious? Why the need to preach to the choir and pick a fight with the country that you love so much? If there is a flaw, you either fix it or you live with it. Complaining takes you no where.

People seem to say that they criticise the country because they love it. Funny, because I never knew that loving something means you should list down their flaws on a public domain for everybody to pick at and criticise it openly with you. So if that logic is true, and since I love my parents very much, I should now go and list out all their flaws and publish it on my blog tomorrow. And since I know that all of you love your parents and your spouses very much, I recommend that you all follow suit.

In short, if there is something wrong with the system anywhere :

1) Ask yourself if you are doing anything to change it.
2) Ask yourself WHY the problems are so. Try to understand the situation.

Oh, and don't slap your wife in public and claim that you still love her very much....


*criticise everyone who post comment here ;p*

Oh well , I have been said this before , we are a bunch of hypocrites , aren't we ?


i would like to hear your suggestions on how things can be improved in Malaysia, seeing that we both love our country.

Yeah, a lot of talk, but no one take action.

But asking for affirmitive action based on annual income of the family instead of race is ok right?

A lot of us cannot vote yet.

Actually, once in awhile, ppl get frustrated, then blog about it. I dont really see anything wrong. But they should also take a personal pledge to try to make things better.

Completely agree with you about ppl overseas complaining and then not coming back to try to change it.


Lemme pick a few bones (and play up my own image in the process).

Firstly, before I'm written off. I've nvr payed a single bribe in my entire life. But here are a few situations i've been thrown into.

1) In my schooling hols I used to work with bangladeshis. A few times, patrolling cops would come and highhandedly take away their passports (and my IC) etc etc. You know what they want. This is worse as we travel far sometimes and aside from our supervisor, we don't know the area.

2) To collect an accident report, a cop refuses to release it to you until you grease his palms.

What do you do? More importantly, what CAN you do?

Izzit really so hard to understand why people complain? If you are one day a helpless (emphasis on helpless) victim urself, perhaps you'll come to understand that complaining, while not always constructive, is a means of release. Criticising a system != slapping a wife in public.

You've got a very strong point in what you wrote, i identify with it and hope people take the gist of what you wrote for what it is, and recontemplate our style.

However, remember not everyboy is to your ideals. What you're on is called a moralistic high horse.

Good job on the post.


oh yeah. you messed up the 8As 9As part. in trying 2 push a point across it became VERY selectively lopsided.

we ALL know nobody will complain if the kampung boy (deserving) gets the aid. it's about how the "deserving" category is chosen that ppl cry.

and we ALL know the meritrocracy system is not what your article portrays it to be. names like "meritrocracy" is not a limiting clause to the selection criteria.

In properly implemented systems, merit-based is usually a balance between merit and economic status with a myriad other minor variables. As it rightly should be, and is usually so.

Not so here with govt schemes in Malaysia.

disclaimer: not intended to be accurate. read it for waht it is. dont read into it.


yungjie : Nope, not me.

totoro : Ideas? Loads. I'll save it for another day.

tilia : That is where the current system is flawed. It assumes all Bumiputras to be of low income, but at the same time, the meritocracy system doesn't consider the financial issues.

metalrage : I know those experiences with workers. I have faced it working before. Like I said, corruption is part and parcel of every poor society. What can we do? I honestly don't know. About the meritocracy system, it is exactly as I put it. It is ASSUMED that the kampung kids (who are usually Bumi) are poorer than the rich city kids (usually Chinese) and hence the need for those quotas.


Nevertheless, nice post. Better than reading those "blog for fame" blogs.

the world is full of hypocrites, what's new?

i share your sentiments absolutely unless of course when the complaints are made constructively and for genuine discussion. i turn to defensive mode too when ignorant msians throw out unjustified criticims (like membuka pekung di dada...wow~) but i at the same time strongly agree that flaws should be open for discussion.

i have no personal experience in either of these issues so im only taking it from a distant point. while i agree with you that it takes two parties to complete a bribery transaction, metalrage has a point too. sometimes you dont have a choice, save those speeding fine cases.
as to the issue of meritocracy, how it is defined and acted upon is still very much debated. in saying that rich city kids are usually chinese and kampong boy is usually a bumi i think you have probably overlooked the statistics and facts. the example that you have given, ie poor kampongboy and rich city kid is perhaps too rare in reality to begin with. and that is why people complain. i reckon you will agree if real meritocracy (as metalrage puts it) is in place, no one will complain :)

it is all about having overly high expectations but incapable of changing to the better that we human complain. complain but do with fairness.


i dunno if trying to convince people around me to vote for the right party is doing my part. but yeah i sure as hell love my country. when u coming back mister? makan on me

why bother explaining dude ? Remember, you blog for yourself... cheers.

i think it was necessary to explain man... whether or not he blogs for himself it is regardless... the point is, someone needed to explain why we did all that, and thank God for Vincent.

michael : I wrote the 'explaination' because I was pissed with a lot of things. I wanted to hopefully teach people a few things...

i might not agree with everything you wrote, but i like the fact that you argued everything really well. thankfully you backed your points with substance. thanks for bringing back real opinion posts!

I've seen this quote by ghandi on car bumper stickers and t-shirts. I don't know whether he really said it or not but anyways, its "be the change you want to see in the world/country/etc"

as if they're gonna listen...

anyway, nice point of view.


the best post i have read so far from your blog, keep it up. No too bad but there are a few points that i disagree with you, however,since this is your blog and the are definately no black n white answer for it so,no point fighting. NOT BAD AT ALL!

I agree with you.
rich educated donkeys are like pain in malaysias ass.


Certainly we have a difference in opinion when it comes to this issue.

It's like how some people got fed up with Microsoft Windows, migrated to Apple Macintosh then complains about Windows' flaws in public. It doesn't mean Microsoft engineers shouldn't be listening to them because they're no longer Microsoft users. Their opinion, if well substantiated, is just as valid as any other current Microsoft users.

Its not like these ex-Microsoft users can do a single thing about Microsoft's products either. They may rant, they may complain and they may talk about how great Apple is. I just don't think they should be told to stfu because no matter what, their ranting and complaining is still a form of discussion, and still provides a point of reference for Microsoft engineers who might not see the problems with their software if it weren't for them.

But hey, I respect your opinion and I guess we're just gonna have to agree to disagree. Regardless I hope no offence were taken on your side and I hope we don't take things like this too personally. :)

And that last paragraph is a jab at me isn't it? ISN'T IT? ^@%#%$^%%!


kenny : Of course. No hard feelings. I can go on and on about how I disagreed with the above statement, but let's just agree to disagree. They are your opinions and I respect it. I disagree ever so strongly, but I respect it.


(OK sounds wrong) hehe.


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