My wife and I enjoy playing taxi driver, albeit unpaid ones, to our two grandsons in Melbourne. Apart from that, much of my time is immersed in Malaysia’s online press: The Star Online, Free Malaysia Today, Malaysiakini, The Malaysian Insider, and Malaysia-Chronicle. I used to read Malaysia, but have long lost respect of its principal, for his lack of credibility and made-up stories. I am simply hungry for news about Malaysia. What is going on there???
I feel sorry for many of my compatriots back home. Many are caught in the so-called middle-income trap. Life must be pretty hard for a mid-level executive who may be earning something like MYR10K a month. Really how much is left to feed one’s family after paying for your house and car, not to mention children’s school-going needs? Things aren’t cheap in the wet markets either; so are most of the goods in supermarkets and shopping malls. Many are priced even higher than those found in higher income countries!
Many will disagree with me. Look at the number of Mercedes Benzes, Porches, BMWs and even Jaguars and Bentleys in the Klang Valley, so these people will say. Sure, many of these are rewards for one’s achievements – in business or work. But many are a results of easy or free money falling on your laps – if you are a politician or in some branches of the executive and are happy to sell your soul. What do our men-in-the-street drive? Chances are a Proton or a Perodua! As for the rest – the rural and the urban poor – I suppose one just take a day at a time?
It is really quite easy to create a tyranny in our country; most of us are basically a subservient lot – either full of the zombie inertia or fear of arrest by police. We can criticize the western countries for their hypocrisy about human rights etc., but this fact remains: their systems will always have a decent check and balance mechanism to weed out any abuse of power.
Partly it is our own making; partly we are living in a system that many of our basic rights have been robbed from us. But again, this is a chicken-first-or-egg-first question. I suppose as long as race and religion are deemed more important than nationhood by the majority, we can only wobble forward!