Tuesday, August 29, 2006


A Malaysiakini newsreader commented as follows:
We have perhaps lost the urge to strive for excellence. In the 60s and 70s, Malaysia was not only strong in football, but also in hockey and badminton. We also excelled in our studies. Malaysian students who studied overseas regularly topped their classes in universities and colleges. Even our local universities such as MU and USM had very high academic standings in the world. What has happened to us? We need to gain back the urge to do well, to strive for excellence in all our endeavours, not only in sports and in our studies, but also in our courts, our police force, our industries and our businesses.

I have a business in Malaysia and as I see it, the desire for excellence has been replaced by the desire to get rich and get rich quickly. The 80s and 90s were years of phenomenal growth for Malaysia and many of us in our mid 30s and 40s today benefited most from those years. There was much wealing and dealing and there were many who stood in the middle as “consultants” who merely collected a fee for referrals for projects. Basically people who had no value add but to collect a fee.

Furthermore, we as a people became fascinated with bigness, elegance and style not for any commercial or internal value but so that “they (the west) will respect us”. We build the tallest buildings, the first F1 in Asia, the longest, the widest, the fastest, the deepest whatever that could get us any form of world recognition at the expense of our identity, character and national coffers.

It is true what John Adams said ; “I cannot help suspecting that the more elegance, the less virtue in all times and all countries.” We were in such a hurry to be recognized, we failed to build and invest in our human capital. We lost our sense of identity as a hardworking and productive work force. We instead sought grandeur and mega-ness.

John Adams in advise to his grandson had this to say;
Have you considered the meaning of the word "worthy"? Weigh it well…I had rather you should be worthy possessors of one thousand pounds honestly acquired by your own labor and industry, than of ten millions by banks and tricks.”
Are all that we have achieved as a nation worthy?

Finally, in closing we should wish for our nation this 49th Birthday what John Adams advised his daughter in choosing a spouse:
Daughter! Get you an honest man for a husband, and keep him honest. No matter whether he is rich, provided he be independent. Regard the honor and moral character of the man more than all other circumstances. Think of no other greatness but that of the soul, no riches but that of the heart. An honest, sensible, humane man, above all littleness of vanity and extravagances of imagination, laboring to do good rather than to be rich, to be useful rather than make a show, living in modest simplicity clearly within his means and free from debts and obligations, is really the most respectable man in society, makes himself and all about him most happy.

God Bless Malaysia on this 49th Birthday!



This one becoming like Mah Jong. I'll open the session this time. Merdeka ! Merdeka ! Merdeka !

That's all I can say albeit being in a foreign land, I still feel very much attachment to homeland. It's no wonder why there are a lot of Malaysians unwilling to relinquish their citizenship even when there is supposedly greener pastures on the other side. Most of us have this little tinge of optimism called 'hope'.

Which is not a bad thing considering that as we write and speak, the nation may be going through some sort of metamorphosis which may or may not be positive. Nobody can tell really because much of this requires hindsight. So, we all wait. It could go either way. My forms of comparison is would it take on the path of Singapore or regress to the likes of Indonesia ? Only the nation can answer this.

Nonetheless, I should just keep quiet because I'm a malaysian having no participation in my own country at this stage. Merdeka to the people of Malaysia !!

Meng said...

In your ealier comments you were such a sceptic...now you speak of "hope"...are we getting somewhere?

Frankly, Indonesia has not regressed at all. It has been doing some serious cleanup and their President is now directly elected by the population. Not by a selected council like before. This makes Indonesia the largest muslim democracy.
Singapore...well Singapore will always be Singa(Lee)pore....oppps did I say that?


I'm still very much a sceptic and sometimes my comments also a bit septic like but you know-lah cannot be so one track mind right. Gotta give some hope where its due.

OK. Maybe I was wrong about Indonesia. I shouldn't be so judgemental. I'm sure there's hope there as well. We'll see how the countries go as years go by yah !! It'll be great to look at this post 20 years later and say 'Whoa, what happened there !!'

Anonymous said...

49 years of Merdeka but yet the attitude of drivers remain selfish, lawless, chaotic and inconsiderate. Each time I go back to KL for a visit, it never ceases to amaze me that drivers, from Protons to BMWs, drive like selfish "bastards" on the road. (Excuse the language). I often liken a drivers attitude to what is really embedded inside a persons spirit and soul. Needless to say, many Malaysian motorist reflect poorly in this regard.

A very morable incident which I must make mention was when a White Proton went through a red traffic light at Damansara Jaya. I managed to get beside the car at the next set of traffic lights to vent out my displeasure. To my surprise, it was an off duty Police man who apologised and said "sorry ahh, tak nampak lah". What the???

Yes, Malaysia...you either have to love it or leave it! Bottom line? Shameful!

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