Last week a political attache – who has been in Malaysia for close to two years – quizzed me on why so many people are making a big deal about the oil hikes. She still sees so many people at the KLCC during the weekend and its accompanying traffic.
All the Malaysians were equal in challenging her view, since we could not find confidence in her analysis. We know what things are like at different ends of KL.
That made me think. Why would a person with significant experience in the foreign services and street smartness that comes from all her postings muse so naively?
It came to me that if you are of a particular pay-scale and only live and work in parts of KL, you would have a very exaggerated view of the country. Anyone could, even the most literate.
And those of my age and similar background would think as I did.
The point is, we are all victims of our own world-view which is largely shaped by what we empirically experience, and this is where we get to the key point of this article.
Are we victims of limited vision?
There are no bad people, just people who see things drastically different, and act upon the evidence they have acquired in their lives.
Which is why Malaysia is in such a mess right now.
For years, that world view has been highly plural based on the fixed compartment you fall into. There are absolutes abound.
This is one explanation for the poorer section of the tamil speaking community who despite the neglect from the federal government stood by BN without question. The outburst of the assemblywoman in perak, Hamidah Osman recently is only a reflection of the general poor perception of tamil workers in this country. Unlike most civilised governments in the world who engage the issue of minorities displaced, the Barisan just made fun of the situation.
The nagging conclusion is, if you limit a person’s world view the person is likely to have abnormal perspective, like defend and vote for the very party indifferent to their plight.
Prime minister too?
This got me thinking about the prime minister. Everyone is mocking him, including the latest infantile sms asking oxford to include the word Badawi into the dictionary.
The man might not be the brightest thinker in any particular coffee shop in Kepala Batas, let alone the country, but he I think does not actually mean harm.
Yes, yes, the tear gas do hurt and they have hurt so many of us repeatedly, and of course Badawi and family members won’t know the first thing about how it feels to be charged down by FRU trucks.
If you don’t know that feeling of your throat drying up and gas messing up your senses, licking salt and desperately seeking water, then you don’t really wont’ mull too long before sending your troops in.
The prime minister can only see from where he stands, and he and his people (all his special officers and Umno leaders) are victims of their predicament.
Since the 1970s we have wealthy ruling class has emerged. There always been a ruling class in Malaysia, but they have only become savagely rich only in the last few decades. And the life they have lived have sheltered from the reality most Malaysians live in.
Razak was in the armed resistance during WWII and played his hockey voraciously I am told. Najib was neither, and struggled to cope with a moderate education in Nottingham. He’s just a guy who puts on an army uniform occasionally and pretends to be a man who can climb obstacle walls.
Hussein Onn was training as an officer for a land amphibious assault of Malaya from India in WWII, Hisham has been in a few clubs in London that have tough bouncers.
The comparisons are ridiculous.
And so insulated and pampered rulers have a very skewed view of the nation they live in. They understand the word poverty, they just wouldn’t be able to live through it.
That is why like Macbeth they won’t comprehend that they are outflanked until it is too late. The move with a conviction they will never suffer, since they never have.
It is easy to order millions of young Malaysians way from their homes to broken down structures called camps and risk their lives. They would monopolise contracts without a second thought, thinking that we should be glad we can get the sub-contract, or the sub-sub-sub-sub contract eventually. They use schools to be centres of indoctrination and experimentation, since their kids are on their way to the UK. They price passports at 300RM and many other hidden costs at government contact points, because a) it is not expensive for them b) they don’t need to deal with the counter or pay anyway.
So they keep playing god, because it is a worldview their fathers have built for them in a cloistered haven.
But I tell them, the forests are starting to march against them, and if they fail to see the sea of change, they will then fall.