As a nation, we have failed to develop a culture of humility, appreciation of the value of the long struggle, and the merit of solidarity over individual achievements.
These failings rest solely on the heads of our leaders.
They have plundered the three most vital elements that are needed for any society to thrive; they have robbed ordinary Malaysians of a decent and fulfilling life of integrity and security. In our nation, education, accountable governance and respect for the environment have been ruined.
Most societies reward those who hold university degrees. In Malaysia, things are slightly warped. We also reward degree holders who are persistently illogical and woolly in thought. Many of our politicians are degree holders and fit this exact description.
In our universities, it is common to pass students and grant them their degrees, just so the ‘GoT’ (graduate on time) category is fulfilled for lecturers’ annual assessments or KPIs (key performance indicators). Granted, the big divide in the world is between those who hold university degrees and those who do not.
It is a universal practice for employers to pay a university graduate more than a candidate without a degree. In Malaysia, we produce graduates by the container load, and this includes PhDs. The more the merrier, regardless of quality.
Bluffing your way through
Many of these graduates attain leadership positions in the government and civil service. The quality of their education is now open to full public viewing. We are able to observe how many of these leaders and public servants are incapable of even pretending to live up to what their degrees represent.
Donald Trump was probably the first US leader in a very long time who failed miserably in such pretence. His irrationality was so ‘in your face’ and very unsophisticated. Actually, it seemed he made no effort whatsoever to pretend otherwise. Having said that, Trump was definitely an exception to the rule in the American context.
In Malaysia, it is completely different. For proof, we only have to look at statements made by muftis, ministers, party leaders and many more religious preachers.
They have their degrees, and go so out of their way to pretend to be knowledgeable. They bluff their way through their various justifications and explanations for their transgressions. They find ingenious ways to ‘delete’ facts that are otherwise so blatantly available. The best part is that they actually believe they know best, because they have that coveted university degree, their big houses and expensive cars and their top administrative positions. They are beyond Machiavellian.
The least we, the public, could do is to reward them for their effort to dupe us. The latest flood disaster is an example.
Science of timber tsunami
There is overwhelming evidence of the correlation between logging and deforestation activities and flooding. Yet, some state leaders invent new theories of causation to distract from the existing science. The latter is clear on the relationship between deforestation, eco-destruction, climate change and natural disasters.
More than sophisticated science, the human eye is good enough to prove that piles of abandoned logs from logging activities, debris and wood waste carried by floodwaters caused the most damage to human lives.
On top of this, our clogged drainage system due to littering is a perpetual curse in Malaysian society. Our leaders do not attend to this, so the public continues with their litter culture. Singapore solved this problem decades ago. Why can’t our leaders follow suit? But at least they have their university degrees, right? So the pretence continues.
They apply earth rainfall climatology (ie “unusual rainfall” caused unprecedented water accumulation), maths (ie “not enough felled trees to impede water flow”) and law (logging activities were done within the law and international protocols)! Do these leaders with university degrees really think the public are morons?
Shameless imbeciles keeping a straight face
On the other hand, we must credit them for their bravery, showmanship and overwhelming confidence. It is not easy to be a shameless public imbecile while keeping a straight face. Kudos!
Market value is not the same as the social value of a person’s contribution. A timber magnate may earn many times more than a professor or a doctor, but his or her contribution to society is less important than that of a doctor or a professor. Yet, our university curriculums give value to the market value of our courses.
For the sake of a better Malaysia, a masters in arts in philosophy or sociology should be just as valuable, if not more so, than a masters in engineering. And this is considering the precarious state of our nation today. This sentence needs no further explanation, but let us see if our readers or any of our leaders, with their fancy university degrees, understand what social value really means.
There is growing public anger. The country is slipping further behind, overcome with endemic corruption. Our crop of leaders are not only more corrupt, irrational, and self-centred but even wealthier and more pompous than any of our past leaders of the 1960s and 70s.
We should stop boasting about the number of graduates our universities produce, or the hundreds of PhD degrees the country generates every academic year. It is an embarrassing statistic because the country has very little to show for it today. – Free Malaysia Today
- Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
- Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
- Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
- Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
- Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.