The ONLY MerdekakanMalaysia Run (1st): Things That Matter To Us Malaysians (and it’s not teh tarik.)

As promised on Twitter @LoyarBurok. Starting today for 3 days, 6 runners, 6 LoyarBurokkers – 5 Malaysians (& 1 of unknown pedigree), 4 making their historic debut runs – present 6 reflections on what we all need to do to liberate Malaysia.

Our first runner Lisa Ng is an ex-copywriter and mother who has decided – when not chasing after her 18 month old – that writing for larger causes is a lot more rewarding. She hopes that by writing, more consciousness will be awakened. And more Malaysians will come out of the comforts of their lives to defend, from all forms of injustices, the lifestyles they have worked hard to gain.

Special of the Day. Nuts. Corruption. Impact on right-thinking Malaysians.

Special of the Day. Nuts. Corruption. Impact on right-thinking Malaysians.

From time to time, I check into The Malaysian Insider and LoyarBurok (yyeeaahh!) to catch up on what’s happening on the forefront of governance.

Then I read articles on Perkasa, MCA and Malay unity/disunity, PKR defections and internal revolts, etc.

This is quickly followed by me leaving my seat, going out to the balcony, and seething over what I’ve just read.

My husband tells me I’m in too deep. I’m paranoid. Life is still good and we should look at the positive side of things sometimes.

My answer to that is, that’s how things go from “ok” to “bad”. We live in this bubble thinking things will continue to be good without realising that it takes all of us to work at maintaining what’s good.

But no, human beings never think it is their responsibility to govern the country because “… that’s what we’re paying the government to do, ma”.

We never realise that we’re paying them to do a good job, because we never look at ourselves as the Boss. And by this token, we never realise it’s part of our responsibility to HELP the government govern.

Anyway, after reading about the state of affairs, I always find myself wracking my brains, thinking about what I can write, to share with those who harbour the same indignance about where this country is going, and also with those who aren’t fully aware.

There’s usually the frequent temptation to jump off that same balcony against this backdrop of dark hopelessness. But then, things happen that make me question whether all of this matters. And whether I’d just be wasting my life diving into an Aedes-infested drain.

Things like, well, a friend getting dengue fever twice in a few short months.

Like another friend’s 2 year old getting a pretty severe bout of H1N1 a week after yet another friend had recovered from the illness.

Like the security guards at our apartment who are paid peanuts, who get the nuts late and in their embarrassment – yet need for survival – come up borrowing a bit of cash for lunch.

Things that I decide, yes, matters.

Nuts and Malay rights

Sure, it’s ethically wrong for the guards to ask the residents for money. But I sure am not going to report them. These people are trying to make a living by putting their own safety on the line for a bunch of middle-class people living in high-rises. I don’t understand how they can be paid peanuts and the nuts cannot be delivered on time.

If my nuts arrived late and I’m supposed to defend the lives of others, I would probably fall asleep on the job from malnutrition. Or I’d just shoot off my gun and then say that the robbers were too fast for my food-deprived body. I supposed this might explain why our police force doesn’t seem very motivated to do their jobs properly either although they may try.

Does it matter that the police – just like security guards – are paid adequately so that should I get robbed, I would get a proper investigation and commitment to catch the culprit? I think it matters. Our safety is at stake here. So is our children’s safety.

My husband’s uncle is a dance lecturer at ASWARA. He tells us that his students – MALAYS (for the benefit of some quarters who get hypertension just opening their mouth to defend Malay rights) – can’t even afford to pay some of their tuition fees. Their parents are farmers or small traders who barely earn a household income of RM450-500 per month.

Does it matter that there’s so much clamouring for Malay rights when it looks like no amount of clamouring will help those who really need it?

It jolly well matters.

It also matters that some people can say the NEP was a success. If it helped just 50% of the 60% who form the majority of the population, is it still considered a success?

However, the popular opinion is that much less has benefited from it. Sabah and Sarawak alone are evidence that not many Bumiputera received Bumiputera aid. Unless of course, they’re not considered “real” Bumiputera by the same quarters.

(Let’s hope the NEM does a better job. But seeing as it segues into the 10MP, some oppositional forces in the two different plans might lead us back to square one.)

Pest control

Everywhere around me, I see corruption manifested in some threatening way. Ways that threaten the livelihood and lives of hard-working, regular, Malaysians. I used to be a bit blind to this, thinking that, well, it’s the same in every country – just a matter of degree. But those countries are not my country so why should I compare? In fact, I used to not even consider using such strong words as “threatening”. But it’s the correct word. Let me put it this way for clarity.

Suppose corruption is such a bad but encouraged habit that it even happens where you live.

Someone in your condo management committee elected by the residents decides that he or she can get a cheaper pest control company to gas out those pesky mosquitoes twice a month. Same person does not tell you however that he/she’ll get a cut from hiring those gasbags. Company arrives with impressive looking equipment. You stand at your balcony, excited at the prospect of seeing some heavy-duty action against the squillions of mosquitoes that enjoy attacking kids and parents who want to enjoy the outdoors of their RM250-service-charges-per-month apartment.

What happens?

The staff of the company, a grand total of two people, turn on their machine for 10 seconds during which they would manage to only point the pipe at a few bushes.

Does it matter that my service charges are going into a few farts of highly diluted repellant and my risks of contracting dengue fever remains high?

YES. IT. DOES.

I may be speaking from a middle-class point of view, hence the apartment/condo context. But things like cost of living, crime rate, controllable diseases cut across race and class.

So back to the whole thing about politics and governance, all the so-called sandiwara and drama.

Who cares if Chua Junior’s got his future in RM2 billion sorted?

Who cares if Mr. Ali thinks everyone is against him and our Malay brethren?

Who cares if P.I. Bala has fresh dirt on whoever paid him to make a mockery of the statutory declaration?

Who cares if the Number 12 bus never arrives on time and sometimes doesn’t turn up at all?

Or whether I’m learning my sine and cosine in English or BM?

We do.

This is our country. And everything that touches on our lives matters.

Because the federal and state governments’ responsibilities are to manage the rakyat‘s funds and welfare, it matters what the politicians and ministers and leaders are doing and saying, whether they are from the ruling coalition or the opposition.

It matters that our poorer brethren, Chinese, Malay or Indian, get the financial aid they need.

It matters that justice prevails, that nobody is above the law.

That corruption is dealt with. Fairness is upheld.

And that we have a say in the whole affair because all of this affects us.

Right down to that last mosquito.


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Lisa Ng is a human being. She used to be a copywriter in the advertising industry. But now she just writes. For whatever helps us regain the lost art of "giving a toss" about the things that matter to the human race.

Posted on 14 September 2010. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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16 Responses to The ONLY MerdekakanMalaysia Run (1st): Things That Matter To Us Malaysians (and it’s not teh tarik.)

  1. Wai

    Brilliant piece, Lisa. You've expressed exactly what I've felt.

    I'm sharing this article with my usual gang of monkeys…

    Fight the power!

  2. You're a very good writer Lisa. Enjoyed your piece (and the ones before this)

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  6. LN

    Zewt, what you say has truth to it.

    But here's the irony. The "level of English" here is not my own doing. My dad and mum are Chinese educated. I am a product of the education system of the early 80's. I had dedicated, good English teachers who, if they did well in their 1119 or their STPM English or whatever English they had to be examined on for their teaching degree, did so on a fair margin, not a "special margin".

    This points to an error in our education system. You don't shift the goal post to get more goals. You train the players to improve their strike rate.

    This problem concerns me as a Malaysian who needs to enrol her child into school one day.

    As a Malaysian, I should be able to write/sepak fluently in BM. During my schooling years, there was no enforcement of the national language as a daily must for pupils. We had Bahasa Malaysia day which was always a Wednesday. But everybody spoke English as if it were their lingua franca. I did BM as an elective in college and while I got an A, I know it means jack shit because I don't put the language into practice on a daily basis. This is a regret of mine.

    My standard or BM is therefore still of the high-school variety. If I speak, I sound like a Chinese speaking Malay.I may have a decent-sized vocabulary but hell, I sound like I'm trying. That is why, if this article touches your nerve/heart and you can translate, do sebarkan your version to those you feel needs a little awakening. That would be so great :)

  7. "Amidst all the cries and clamours for justice, who will realistically be able to save our sinking vessel? We’re voyaging through a political and racial maelstrom, rudderless with a moral compass that has long been kaput."

    Delinquency are you a citizen who has no right to run for election? What do you mean who? YOU and anybody that cares and can shell out that 15K and run in your constituency on the basis below :

    Amidst all the cries and clamours for justice indeed!!! HAH!

    (1)WARNING to Voters :

    People who are too powerful or wealthy or too well networked will cause conflict of interest and control YOU the VOTER, not you control them to ensure more liberal laws or lower taxes or TRANSPARENCY. So NEVER vote the rich, powerful or well networked (even those controlling 2 billion dollar political party treasuries), or those intent on reserving seats for relatives or claiming seats for themselves knowing full well that is conflict of interest being perpetrated.

    They will destroy YOU the ORDINARY Voter because, Reserved seat Nepotism leads to Oligarchy, Oligarchy leads to Dictatorship, Dictatorship leads to End of Free Elections (222 reserved seats) . . . vote wisely.

    Voters can easily find someone independent within their communities who fits into none of the above descriptions. Any person with common sense would prefer an independent ORDINARY PERSON representing over your constituency and stepping down after 2 terms for another such person.

    (2) Promise to Voters

    Power belongs to everyone, so as MP you and the 3rd Force will promise to lower those election deposits from RM15000 to RM15 so that EVERYONE can stand for election too !

    Helpless attitude #%**!!! Delinquency is a pro-gov propagandist propagating this helpless attitude. Ignore the Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) being spewed here and run for election. Who who who? EVERYONE NOT EXTREME OR CONFLICT OF INTEREST WHO CAN AFFORD THE DEPOSIT LAH! That's who! And the people WILL be clear minded enough to see that fact!

    Conflict of Interest = No extreme wealth MPs! No networked industry MPs! No politically powerful dominating MPs! No Nepotistic MPs (i.e relatives, immediate families)! No Racist Apartheid MPs! No fundamentalist MPs!

    That's who! I'd vote anyone from any party but only if they fit the criteria above. So who NEEDS political parties and their unthinking rubberstamp follower MPs?

    If a similar choice between a party-yes-man or independent-unknown presents itself, an INDEPENDENT will cause less conflict of interest – so choose independent MPs over party men if unsure ! Never mind if they have no experience, they could at least *REMOVE* – (1) ISA, (2) APARTHEID, (3) FORCED MILITARY CONSCRIPTIONS, (4) TOLL CONCESSIONAIRES, (5) UNCONSTITUTIONAL VEHICULAR APS, (6) ABUSIVE BY-LAWS, (7) Implement IPCMC, where the experienced party based MP toeing party lines would be unable to act. HE DOES NOT SERVE YOU THE RAKYAT, HE SERVES THE PARTY! No votes for people like this!

    (1) and (2) we know exactly what to do . . . . now the people must be informed, plenty of time for would be independents to send this message as a flyer. No helplessness no apathy!

    That's who! The independent Candidate! The unknown multitudes of right minded NON-PARTY citizens! This *IS* Malay-sia2 *AJE*!!!

  8. Deliquency

    Well eloquently said. I enjoyed this highly articulated prognosis, cuts thru the core. Succint. But what then? Amidst all the cries and clamours for justice, who will realistically be able to save our sinking vessel? We're voyaging through a political and racial maelstrom, rudderless with a moral compass that has long been kaput. Many SOS flares have been fired but who will be D one who listens & takes pragmatic action without fear or favour? Who will pick up the gauntlet, sound the battle horn, rally the public and fight for the rights of the rakyat with real guts, willing to put his/her life at stake for the rakyat's belief? We all wait for each other. The result? More noises. More action – naturally invoking further reaction. A cycle that eats on itself. Pragmatically speaking, those SOS flares have always been doused by ________ (you fill in the blank) and the malaise we're experiencing is tantamount to a final stage cancer on our political nerve & backbone. Hmmm, but then again, this is Malay-sia2 aje.

  9. CM Lim

    "My husband tells me I’m in too deep. I’m paranoid. Life is still good and we should look at the positive side of things sometimes.

    My answer to that is, that’s how things go from “ok” to “bad”. We live in this bubble thinking things will continue to be good without realising that it takes all of us to work at maintaining what’s good."

    =========

    Hi there! Well said and I don't think it could be written any better. Based on your comments quoted above, I am glad you are also "awake" unlike most other Malaysians who are either still "asleep" or in denial.

    The situation in Malaysia is comparable to the story of the frog in the boiling pot — what happens when you drop a frog into a pot with boiling water? What happens when you drop the drop in a pot of water then slowly turn on the fire to bring it to boil?

    Yes, granted that the lifestyle & socio-economic conditions in Malaysia is still desirable (compared to 3rd world countries, that is); but we Malaysians need to call a time-out and take stock to reflect on the real situation and gauge against the true potential that we all should have already reaped and now enjoying. And where's all these potentials? They are literally stolen from us the Rakyats and taken by the select few in the circle of cronyism.

    As a result, most working Malaysians are still slaving away to make ends meet. Moreover, what about the rising number of Malaysians living below the poverty line??? This should not be happening here in Malaysia! We are a wealthy nation blessed with vast natural and human resources!

    The so-called subsidies that used to help offset the cost of cronyism & corruption that the Rakyat is bearing have been removed and thus burdening the Rakyat even more. I understand that subsidies are not entitlements, but do not impose the higher inflated costs of living (through TNB, MAS, highway concessionaires, Petronas, etc.) to us the Rakyats! As I said, the subsidies only help offset the cost of corruption, cronyism & nepotism in Malaysia.

    So here's my wake up call to all Malaysians — WAKE UP!! Please get rid of the "tidak apa" attitude. You can make a difference!

  10. TooMuch

    Wah-lau-wei Lisa, You absolutely hit the nail on the eye lah..

    What have been used to thinking all along?? We elect the MPs that we choose to represent us in Parliment or State Assembly and they are paid for this job. Their pay comes from our income taxes and all the other "revenue" that are supposed to be generated by good governence /good management of Malaysian resources. The issue now is that the tax payers are appointing the politcians and are paid to do a "good" job so that the tax payers in return get a better condition of life in our home – Malaysia tanah air kita. Now these politician distract the whole issue with these rights and those privilages but what it should be is to make a decent effort to do a good job and deliver back to the tax payers a better condition of life that is fair to all irrespective of race and religion as all these tax payers are MALAYSIANS…. not only Melayu, Cina apek, Mamak kutti, India mari etc.etc… Thank you Lisa for highlighting what we should have remembered all along.

  11. Bionicleacker

    Thank you lIsa, I care so I am going to share your article on FB

  12. Whenever I read intellectually written pieces like this one, I always wonder how many regular Malaysians are able to comprehend the well articulated points. Mostly urban folks?

    Further, how many regular Malaysians can appreciate and comprehend this level of English.

  13. Gary Gan

    The conclusion, "They don't really care about us"-by Michael Jackson, so why matter, be it Loyarburok or Royal Burok, like the Orang Utan in the Zoo. managed my NGO, received not only Nuts but Bananas by the visitors !!!

  14. Brilliant!God Bless you,Lisa…profuse thanks for expressing our collective pain.

  15. exception

    It's what you make out of it that matters…

    Good to know that we are progressing ;

    intellectually vibrant – we are able to set/ break our minds free from the typical mentality/ mental block. Like u and others me alike.

    I believe is the time now each and everyone of us has to and continuously do our part.

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