The new query: Am I Malaysian?


Racist, judgmental, politically divided on every issue with a vengeance, holier-than-thou people who would rather remain ignorant and argumentative than have an open mind for discourse.

Hafidz Baharom, The Heat Malaysia

If there is one thing wrong with Malaysia, it is our total lack of standards and maintaining them. From enforcing laws all the way down to just maintaining public restrooms, we as a nation are as random on everything as a game of Russian roulette.

Let us take, for example, the recent Umno General Assembly and the revelation by Sports and Youth Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. In a speech he gave, he was quoted as saying that the government should stop raising prices. In fact, he goes further and quipped “what does the government want the people to do? Walk?”

Putting aside the irony that these decisions – raising toll rates, public transport fares and even subsidies are discussed by the Cabinet – let us look at something simpler. Even if the Malaysian people had to walk, do we have five-foot walkways which live up to their names?

Are they even five feet wide? There is a basic reason why they are called “kaki lima”.

Speaking of simple, simple public amenities, how many of you remember an announcement of Kuala Lumpur City Hall spending an enormous amount of cash for fully automated public toilets? Remember this jewel of a project?

It was a RM1 coin operated toilet that washed itself after someone used it, thus not requiring any washer manning it. It’s gone now. No idea what happened to them.

But all these are symptomatic of our society – the lack of follow-through and maintenance which is typically Malaysian from the top down.

We couldn’t keep our own public toilets clean to the point that we had to have them automatically wash themselves and even then, we had local councils who just couldn’t maintain them and thus, leading to a totally new requirement of funds to start over.

And this can be seen even in Malaysian society and its current state.

Initially we had diverse communities which had vibrant interactions among their members. Their children went to the same schools, taught by experienced teachers with degrees and based in the community itself. At the same time, because communities had communal events, neighbours knew one another as well as their children.

Then it collapsed. Graduates no longer saw teaching as a worthy profession, thus leading parents to find alternatives to the lack of quality of education, such as moving out to better communities with better schools.

The community then breaks up and neighbours lose familiarity within the community. At the same time, because others choose to stay on while standards of education drop, the next generation finds itself in a gap, even though their parents were equal – same schools, same upbringing in the same neighbourhood.

But there is another aspect that we don’t wish to talk about. Communities then were better mixed and there were less inter-religious and inter-ethnic disagreements. There weren’t communities that had their Islamic faith threatened by a cross on the side of a shop lot.

There wasn’t a racial mob if a youth stole a handphone from a mall and definitely not a minister establishing a pro-racial segregation mall because of it.

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