Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Why no fire in the belly..?

The comments so far received from previous postings were “yes, we know there is injustice”. “yes we know there is blatant corruption and the lack of democracy”. The question is so what? What can be done? There is general political apathy and I am not sure why. As HM aptly pointed out…. (sorry to have to highlight again your comment, but it is so relevant…)

……Certainly for many of the well educated and sophisticated and well-to-do, the world is their oyster and the simple option is to vote with their feet... How many people have the fire in the belly to change the world ??

What we have in SEA is a well educated citizenry who value freedom of expression and who think about the future of their next generation. They have one of two choices. Stay and fight the system or run and seek greener pastures. The general consensus is that my vote or participation does not matter.

It is a trend all over the world with studies done in UK and the US showing greater political apathy in these countries. Why is it that affluence and education causes greater political apathy or is this too simple a deduction?

I have a few ideas, in short, the reasons for the lack of “fire in the belly”:

1) Individualism and consumerism causes people to be more disenfranchised with his/her community. “Whatever does not affect me is ok.”
2) There was a study sighting Television ( I will try to find and post)
3) “Food in the belly” replaces “fire in the belly”. As long as there are basic needs met, people will not stand up for social issues.
4) A general degradation of integrity and issues of morality worldwide. Our tolerance for wrong doing and questions of integrity is numbed.

Any truth? Which one?

18 comments:

CHEAH WENG SUN said...

Leslie,

People just read and stare at the blog not knowing what to do is it ? Cannot be among 40+ on the mailing list, not even one (bar Han Meng and Me) care to comment. Something wrong with class of 85 you think ? I sometimes feel sad. We have no guts to even speak up.

Meng said...

The fire in the belly!! Its missing...then when a shopping mall comes up in front of our house or a ridiculous ruling arises barring us from drinking after 12 mn, we complaint and mumur.

HM said...

I feel obliged to comment every time I am quoted...

Weng Sun's comment - I think everyone else very busy la - only people like me who are bumming around got time to do this kind of thing...

I suspect the answer to apathy is a combination of a lot of factors - certainly all of Leslie's suggestions probably have a part to play. Moreover, the weighting of factors surely differs according to the individual.

Personally, I am a fan of (1) and (3). As a die-hard capitalist, I always suspect that economics beats pilitical activism and social conscience hands down. I am not sure if there is a degradation of integrity and morality gloablly; it's just that people can't be bothered to get off their bums to do anything about it...

HM

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