Are We Ready to Face the Brave New World?

We have a funny social system whereby about half the country is left to fend for itself while the country tries to depend on bringing up the other half to run the country by themselves. This means our labour force is very badly utilized and yet we have to depend on immigrant labour for the simplest things.

By batsman

Long ago, (and even today in some primitive societies) humans struggled to survive in a hostile world by some sort of division of labour. The men of the tribe went out to hunt and collect food while the women collected water, prepared food, made clothes, utensils and implements, built shelters, cared for the children, etc. There was little leisure and survival was difficult. 

When agriculture was discovered the situation was essentially the same. Life was difficult and the women helped in the fields whenever extra labour was needed. The difference between eating and starving was how well the crops grew and whether one had enough relatives to depend on when the crops failed. 

The big difference started when slavery became a social and economic institution. The slave owners now had leisure time and women were kept as chattel. Society grew rich through slave labour and beautiful women no longer had to work in the normal way. Of course the slaves were miserable, but the rich were very comfortable. 

What I am trying to say is that the world changes all the time in spite of our best efforts and attempts to make it better and more just all round. 

In many countries around the world, life is extremely difficult. Both men and women have to work and often need overtime work or second jobs to make ends meet. The old folks need to be healthy enough to look after the young children. But if the families work hard and make sacrifices, their country slowly becomes richer and their lives start to improve. But they still have to stay competitive all the time and cannot afford to relax even for a moment because other countries and businesses are just waiting to win their markets and overtake them in their industries. In the poorest countries even the children are pressed to work to help bring food home. 

In these countries men, women and children work. In our country, we are fortunate that at least most of the children are spared and in many families, the women folk do not need to work because the men earn enough to cater for all the families’ needs (sometimes it happens the other way round and the women are the proud breadwinners while the men are unemployed). 

But things are changing. We are slipping down the rankings in our competitiveness. And we have not paid attention to build strong foundations for the future especially in our education system and in skills improvement and creativity. We also have chronic corruption and sin which seem to become worse by the day most probably because some families have too much leisure and do not have constructive things to occupy their time and attention with. Instead they go for cheap thrills including the thrill of cheating and beating up people for no reason as well as any other obsession and addiction you can think of – pornography, gambling, shopperholism, alcoholism, drugs, womanizing, man-izing, deepaking, facebook and social networking addiction, skipping school, bohsia-ing, skipping work, writing boring articles, motorcycle racing addiction, disco dancing, forcing others to hear their lousy singing, etc. 

In addition we have a funny social system whereby about half the country is left to fend for itself while the country tries to depend on bringing up the other half to run the country by themselves. This means our labour force is very badly utilized and yet we have to depend on immigrant labour for the simplest things. We have chronic unemployment and are short of labour at the same time. All these funny and ridiculous things do not bode well for our competitiveness. Worse still we are incessantly quarrelling over goodies without wanting to work for them and we are forever jealous of each other, calling each other traitors, immigrants, prostitutes and beggars, self-strangulators, self-censoring hypocrites, etc. 

This means we are not united and a divided country is not a competitive country. Too much attention and resources are spent in the nit-picking quarrels and not enough is invested to build strong foundations for the future. 

We are told by our leaders that one small half of the country is too competitive and the other big half is too uncompetitive and that the uncompetitive big half must suppress the competitive small half so that the country will be at peace all the time shouting “Malaysia Boleh”. The difficult question of – if one big half cannot compete against the other small half, how can it compete against the rest of the world and become Malaysia Boleh, is never answered. Poison continues to spew from the mouths of old politicians (and from current politicians as well) who say they are retired but never really retire because the lucre is too good. 

Our highways are not the only “rivers of death” during big celebrations. All this poison is a river of death for our country and ensures that hatred and jealousy continues to poison and kill the country as one nation undivided. Are we self-strangulating? 

Are we properly prepared to face a future where rich countries have all the technology, machines and systems to compete effectively while others have large cheap labour forces comprising very hard working men, women and children? Where is our competitive advantage or are we merely to depend on the 1Malaysia advertising campaign and believe in flying trishaws while shouting “ET go home” against fellow citizens because the Jews are controlling propaganda in this country? 

The way I see it, we have a few competitive advantages, but we also have more competitive disadvantages than competitive advantages and if we want to prepare to face the future properly, we need to address these disadvantages now. 

And I mean seriously address these disadvantages, not merely mouthing it. In the past, we tried to address these issues by such slogans as Malaysia Boleh, Vision 2020, etc. But such sloganeering is not going to be of much use to us anymore. The devil is in the details and the implementation. We are good at sloganeering but not much good at implementation. 

So now we drop a notch and come up with more detail, but they all tend to be confusing such as KPI, NKRA, BDSM, etc. and they address only small parts of our population and not free up the whole country from self-doubt and self-hate. Essentially it is still a disguised form of sloganeering and pathetic attempts to avoid the real issues. 

The real issue is that the old ways and the old assumptions do not work anymore except by force and suppression and such vile methods have been proven to be useless and even destructive in the long term.  They only serve corrupt and abusive men hoping for short term gain and making a quick buck while they can. We have become too comfortable with the old paradigms and unless we are able to overcome this comfort trap and see things anew, we will be forced down a very undesirable and very unpleasant path by our own inabilities. 

The new world will not be a perfect place. To be sure, there will be plenty of headaches and heartaches. However if we sincerely try to adjust and adapt, we can at least make sure there is less headaches and less heartaches than if we go down the path of the old paradigms and the old assumptions because there is no future in the old paradigms and the old assumptions. They don’t work anymore and to try and force something that does not work anymore to work can only mean more violence, more force and more hatred. 

If we are proactive, we can plan and manage the journey now. If we are not proactive, we can wait until the circumstances force us to change. So it is up to you – you can do it voluntarily or you can wait. For me, waiting and relying on something that does not work anymore is an exercise in silliness and self delusion. On the other hand some people actually want us to be silly and self-delusional, but that is another story. 

In the meantime, Selamat Hari Raya and selamat balik kampong! Drive safely! Please forgive me if I have wronged you or hurt you in any way.