Sunday, 18 November 2007

Progress of a Nation - the flip-side.

We are a great people who have built the tallest towers, biggest, longest, flashiest this & that, sent a man to everest, the north pole, space and what not (never mind that it was all by proxy), but cannot seem to live without making asses of ourselves in the eyes of the world. We seem to be obsessed with keeping up appearances of affluence, while wallowing in muck.

We are a unique kind of people - yes I include myself in this special category of mankind ..... mea culpa.

The economy is in tatters, crime at epidemic proportions, health in the pits, security forces apparently feuding, judiciary - disgraced, criminals - awarded, politicians incapable of debate, media - the powerful politician's footstool, education - substandard, and a leadership that wouldn't welcome challenges. All these, while we have catchy phrased campaigns of a Glokal, cemerlang, gemilang, terbilang and "spaced-out" (angkasakan bangsa) race - all C4-ed into oblivion, when one looks beneath the shiny surface. And yet we promote personality cults, for politicians.

As if to illustrate this state of denial, some, have made bold statements in the international media that amounted to - “we need to improve, but don't need to change the system” - that was indeed quite amusing, to say the least. Will Durant once said, "Education is the progressive discovery of our ignorance" - no, not for these guys - they are our elite!

Gone are the days when we embraced values deemed "western" – free debate, free media, free enterprise, competition, accountability, economic sustainability and succession planning- that would've actually made this nation an economic powerhouse that it should have been; if nothing else, simply by virtue of its strategic location on the world map.

People tend to seek simplistic solutions to complex problems when they are devoid of ideas , intellect and reason. It is through the suppression of critical thought that dictators perpetuate their rule. The lack of intellectual philosophical insight into social maladies that plague our nation, render us vulnerable to exploitation and would lead to our fall.

It happens when a people indulge themselves in the delusion of grandeur, that all is well. It happens when a leadership is so consumed by its own "greatness", that it boasts and gloats even of its shortcomings. Any attempt towards reason is perceived as anti-establishment. Faults and ills are “glossed over” in the interest of "maintaining social order".

Such is the extent of philosophical and intellectual bankruptcy that we are faced with. Most, if not all leaders that we have, would sell-out their convictions with the blink of an eye, should it justify the desire to "make a living". As TDM once quoted - “Every man has his price”. Gone are the ideals of the nation's forefathers, that shaped the nation. Greed has become the sin that most of us indulge in today - a sin that is actually perpetuated by the leaders of today. This is "our way", today.

Greed and selfishness have always been used by the powerful, as a weapon to control others. Today, it is used on the ignorant rakyat and those entrusted by the people to preserve our independence and freedom. We as a people have sacrificed our freedom at the altar of economic gains, which doesn't necessarily translate into progress. We often readily sell our souls for material gain due to greed, which is today part of our culture. We have become sitting ducks to the political elite, who strive to increase their control over our daily lives.

These sins of greed and covetousness have become part of all of us - some have embraced it more than others. Malaysians would sell their souls for freebies and "favours". It is a deadly disease that has been inflicted upon certain "leaders" and people alike, via policies that actually cater to the powerful elite in society. The masses swallow the political spins in a drunken stupor, oblivious to their enslavement in the hustle and bustle of “modern lifestyle”.

So easily appeased is the average Malaysian, that they prefer to be blind to the truth, for the sake of “saving face”, comforts, pride, allegiance to authority, social order, "making a living" and maybe for a plate of "nasi goreng" or KFC. Incidently, all these things are apparently essential components to the much touted "Asian Values" ....

That is how cheap we have become.

We are a nation full of people who are sick to the bone, due to the addiction to instant gratification and symptomatic solutions. We are therefore a nation of appeasers, and not fighters. We are a nation enslaved by delusions of grandeur and persecution.

We are not just socio-politically ill, morally decadent, spiritually lost and philosophically bankrupt - we even have among the highest rates of physical illnesses, as a result of lifestyles encouraged by the "leaders".

We are today, a people so disillusioned by our lives, that we just seek short cuts to escape from it. We scramble for anything that provides that elusive "peace of mind", so that we get those moments of refuge- to escape from the problems that plague us. Religion, vice, luxury, drugs or any of the seven deadly sins become “fair game”. We are a people clamoring for hope and direction, in a nation with a new culture devoid of reason. Having lost control of our lives we beg to be controlled, by the luxuries and pleasures we deem necessary. We gawk in fascination at the shine of the cage built around us, unaware of our emasculation and imprisonment.

It remains to be seen if our leadership has the will to snap out of this “syndrome of denial”. Or else, in due time, by 2057, as a result of the NEP, sooner or later, natural selection will play its role. A sick nation cannot preserve its independence, and identity.