Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Vying for dubious achievements?


MUSINGS By MARINA MAHATHIR

We are great at railing against idiotic politicians at mamak stalls and on social websites, but when it actually comes to doing something, we make excuses; and with that, we disempower ourselves.

IN 2000, Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called The Tipping Point, defining it as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point”.Cover of "The Tipping Point: How Little T...

It’s that pivotal moment when people decide that enough is enough and actually do something to make a change.

In 2011, we’ve seen lots of tipping points.

It happened at the end of December in Tunisia when fruitseller Mohamad Bouazizi set himself on fire in protest against the confiscation of his stall.

That act of defiance against in­­justice became the tipping point for Tunisians fed up with the sys­­-tem and their rebellion led to the downfall of their president and set off a chain of events in neighbouring countries known as the Arab Spring.

Sooner or later, people reach a tipping point where they will no longer tolerate repression and corruption, pushing them to do something about it, even if it means that lives had to be sacrificed.

I really have to wonder when we Malaysians will reach our tipping point.

Every day, we read so much blatant nonsense from our leaders that the newspapers have truly stopped being readable.

News reports treat us all as people of low intelligence because only imbeciles would believe some of the outrageous claims made by our leaders.

When elections are in the offing, there is no doubt that our politicians immediately start jockeying for positions by trying to outdo one another.



It would be wonderful if they were racing to think up the best policies to manage the country, the economy, social issues, etc.

Instead, they are racing to find the silliest ways to strike fear into our souls and find more ways to oppress people.

I mean, solar-powered talking Bibles, really?

There is a foreign magazine that gives out Dubious Achievements Awards every year.

These are a bit like the Ig Noble awards, the opposite of the Nobel prizes, where people are cited for doing the silliest things.

Malaysia, especially our politicians, seems to be in the running for a lot of dubious achievements this year.
Maybe we should just accept that those are the only achievements we will ever have.

Meanwhile, we the people have to live with these shenanigans.

We find out every year from the Auditor-General’s Report that millions have been wasted on ridi­­-culous items which any fool would know should not cost that much.

The report highlights a “mess” in a government-related company and an unexplained stupendously expensive apartment purchase.

There are also ministers who claim that none of it has anything to do with the Government.

Gee, the Auditor-General must have so little to do that he needs to audit private companies as well.
And wow, they must really think we are dumb.

And while the world is facing an economic recession that will be more severe than anything ever seen, fodder for revolutions everywhere, what do our politicians care about?

Whether people of different sexual orientation should be allowed any space at all to talk about their problems?

Like natural disasters, the last thing economic catastrophes care about is whom you’re attracted to.

And given that most people are heterosexual, the chances are that the people who will be most affected by a recession are the heterosexual and poor.

Shouldn’t politicians vying for votes be concentrating on them?

Perhaps our politicians, unlike voters, don’t read.

They seem not to have noticed that there are protests going all round the world against inequality, especially the ever-increasing gap between the rich and the poor.

Even some business people are saying that things must change or else there will be a global revolution, particularly against exploitative and uncaring corporations.

But as always, our politicians are one step behind the rest of the world.

They’re still dreaming of joining the fat cat 1% and forgetting that the 99% have a lot more votes.

Why do we put up with all this?

Are our tolerance levels for stupidity that high?

Is it because we don’t know any better?

Or are we just lazy and complacent?

We are great about railing against idiotic politicians at mamak stalls and on social websites, but when it actually comes to doing something, we make excuses.

We shrug our shoulders and say we can’t make a difference, only some people can.

And with that, we disempower ourselves, much to the delight of our leaders.

But every now and then, we do rise to the occasion.

I think last July we reached a tipping point of sorts, where lots of ordinary people simply got fed up and decided to make it known, albeit peacefully.

But have our leaders learnt anything from it?

Not much, going by the constant demonising ever since.

So how long will we put up with imbeciles leading us?

How long will we tolerate unbridled greed and hate?

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