The Great Youth Leader

46 for Umno and 33 for PKR.

This might be the first thing Umno might have over PKR for the longest time, and its not a good thing really. Those are the ages of the respective youth leaders for their parties. 46 for Hisham and 33 for Shamsul Iskandar. That is not youth, that’s middle management (middle management for a long time for Hisham if you look at the way he is running Ministry of Education), that’s a wife and two kids, that’s moving to your apartment in Kota Kamuning.

Can someone find me a 22 year old anywhere?

DAP don’t fare better with a 35 year old in David Nga Kor Ming. And MCA’s Liow Tiong Lai is in true MCA-Umno solidarity is Hisham’s age. Not sure if Hisham has more than the 3 children Liow has.

It seems like this nation is bent on not letting the young have a real go and being political about the nation’s future, and this is a loss to the country.

In scientific research and theory they say you are your mental prowess when below 30. Unfortunately we don’t believe that in Malaysia.

It is not only Akta Universiti dan Kolej Universiti are not the only thing blockading youth contribution to nation building, our own prejudices kick in and prevent it from happening.

People don’t get smarter as they get older, they get wiser. This is a roundabout way of saying that IQ is constant, but as you make mistakes in your life you develop better judgement.

So the ideas of student politicians might be lacking in context, branding and suaveness but they are no less ideas than the anything produced by the director general of any ministry.

In my days in Manila, local student leaders would ask me why whenever there is a young leaders conference in the ASEAN region while the Indonesians, Thais and the rest send 19 and 20 year olds, Malaysia would be represented by 36 year olds.

I did not have a plausible explanation then, and I sure do not have one now.

There is always going to be problems when there are student politicians. They probably would disagree with me on most things, but it is because they disagree with me and many others, they need to be involved in the nation’s body politic.

Bob Dylan laid out that every generation has to reject the previous one before they can find their place. This volatility will always exist, however when you do not engage you risk two things:

a) repression- as felt by DEMA (Malaysian Youth and Students Democratic Movement) and other student activists who often end up being expelled. What craziness! You have this person who would sit through police intimidation, threat of expulsion and tear gas to represent what they believe in, and you throw the boy or girl out of school. Belief and willingness to stay true to their belief like this cannot be replicated by any management trainee programme or MBA degree you purchase. So we let our brightest and most able to slip through the system and feel unacknowledged. A bitter life.

b) Complete apathy. This is what most of our students feel. While Indonesian students stood against tanks in 98 and all kinds of student activism shake the foundation of government in ASEAN our kids just sit there without a feel. They are numbed out.

You tell this kid from age 6 till final year in uni that he or she has to be grateful, listen to the ministers, don’t think about things, then you might get you wish for. As Bertrand Russell put in his liberal decalogue, ‘Never discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed’. Well 50 years of Umno has resulted in that. The party of orang besar always wanted to keep the commoners unthinking but yielding. Learn how to operate machineries so you can make us our electronics, but god forbid, don’t think why we need electronics.

Don’t think, just listen.

Well you have your wish. MNCs that claim so few of the Malaysians they hire are willing to push boundaries and challenge paradigms, they are just drones. My countrymen.

So the time for the crushing AUKU is at hand, however we need to crush a worse enemy, our prejudice and our thinking that only age gives strength

I suppose just like Whitney, we have to believe that the children are the future.

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