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Are we Malaysians truly first world material?

Residents of KinraraMas in Puchong protesting against the constant stench and illegal dumping of waste

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A nation’s life and future is not all about economics, says JD Lovrenciear.

As we edge closely to being crowned as a “developed nation”, are we Malaysians qualified to receive that badge?

As far as the facades and trappings go, we know we have all the trappings of modernity in place. We are a nation with great highways, ultra-modern skyscrapers, modern technology and a host of resplendent forms to showcase our arrival at the doorstep of the world of developed nations.

But are we missing out on any crucial ingredient that is vital to be a sustainable developed nation?

The one crucial measurement that we are not talking about is our value system – one that is manifested in our attitudes and mindsets. Despite our determination and effort to benefit from developed nation status, we have not proven that has been real transformation in our behaviour.

We are detached from environmental care and concern. We rather leave it as someone else’s business. It is always a case of ‘not my business’ as we rather leave it to activists, environmental groups and local government to deal with pollution, ecological disasters, littering and vandalism.

We are so glued to making profits. We think that smokescreen corporate social responsibility projects will absolve us of the profiteering agendas infused into our business ventures. For many, making and maintaining profits is smart – or even a right. We do not subscribe to the first world philosophy of returning to society what rightfully belongs to humanity’.

Our education systems reeks of backwater nation standards. We still cannot decide if English is to be the medium of study for maths and science. We have kept slipping while the nation’s wealth was pumped into building mega structures and investing all over the world for quick returns.

Our healthcare system may be proclaimed as better than many other nations. But we need courage to admit that it is still a far cry from that of Nordic nations or even Japan.

Meanwhile, the indigenous people struggle for a place of honour and a proper livelihood in the on the fringes.

We still have proven time and time again that we cannot break free from racism and religious divisiveness.

Take an inventory of all our public behaviour – be it on the roads, in corporate corridors, in the political rings, in our respective neighbourhoods and at public and private places.

Are we truly first world material deep in our souls?

A nation’s life and future is not all about economics. Could we learn something from nations like Bhutan and the Nordic fraternity?

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