Two years ago, I made a trip to Geneva and stayed in a hotel near its famous lake.
As I came down from my room for dinner, I observed quite a number of Swiss and European people smoking in front of the hotel.
I was curious whether they would throw the cigarette butts into the rubbish bin.
To my amazement, for about a half an hour, not one of them threw their cigarette butts on the pavement. They threw the cigarette butts into bins that were provided.
The Swiss citizens showed discipline by following the rules of disposal. Their behavioural praxis indicates a great harmony with the aesthetic aspects of Geneva, which made it a significant destination for tourism.
In a similar vein, I went for a walk at a recreation park in Ipoh recently.
I was impressed by the efforts taken by local authorities to keep the park clean with a pleasant-looking bin for rubbish. The bins were placed in several areas for those who use the park to dispose of rubbish.
As I walked through the whole park, I noticed litter all around, even though efforts have been made to ensure the park is clean.
The attitude of littering is something not just confined to recreation parks in Ipoh but a perennial problem facing the nation; certain Malaysians seem to have a careless attitude in exercising responsibility for the present.
The education philosophy of the country is as follows: education in Malaysia is an ongoing effort towards further developing the potential of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced and harmonious, based on a firm belief in and devotion to God.
While the philosophy seems to be lofty, the modus operandi has failed to create a consciousness of the present among its stakeholder citizens, especially on what it means practically to produce such individuals.
The philosophy itself has no meaning if it loses focus to create consciousness of present responsibilities among citizens in their immediate context, in how to see, discern, and act immediately in a situation like abstaining from littering or keeping authorities on their toes to ensure their cities are clean, where citizens and foreigners feel at home.
Our education focuses too much on memory and nostalgia, but it has failed to create citizens conscious of the present who are vital in creating an effective, preventive, efficient ecosystem and mechanism in solving problems, simple or complex.
Since the firm belief in God is entrenched in our philosophy of our education, we should learn from mystical traditions of religions on what it means to live in the present.
The broader education praxis of the country should move in a direction of creating consciousness of the present in the hearts and minds of the young and the old on what it means to see, discern and act immediately with consciousness of the present so that Malaysia will be a country that gets its basics right.
Let’s work on creating this consciousness of the present among Malaysian citizens and support the education philosophy to mould holistic and integrated individuals. – The Malaysian Insight