May 14 — Is change possible in our lifetimes?
Pardon the rhetoric, but surely in all our lives, we ponder this question as a starting point. To help us decide if we want to try pushing that change along or just remain indifferent.
Obviously, change means different things to people, and the effects discernibly so.
In Sepang today
Like today, when I was attending the licensing board meeting in Sepang town council. The issue was cleanliness. Three restaurants in Sungai Merab were closed down due to dangerous health conditions.
Everyone was sharing their disdain to dirty restaurants, foodcourts and general eateries.
It was fine to admonish these food outlets, but the larger question is, do we generally have dirty places to eat at because:
a) We are generally a poor nation, and poor hygiene comes with an emphasis for low cost
b) It is cultural, our culture
c) We’ve never had the impetus to make it happen
There are demonstrable number of eateries trying to keep themselves cheap enough, and there are serious question of whether they can be clean enough.
Then there are the larger number of F&B outlets which operate with a business model for a healthy profit margin. Why are they not clean? Cultural or indifference?
And whose culture are we talking about, and who is indifferent if there is apathy?
Cleanliness will not just occur because we keep closing down very dirty restaurants, because the average restaurant right now is unacceptable.
Change from us
Which lead to the opening line, do we believe in change in our lifetime?
Can we have places to eat in, where we eat without fear?
The truth is change happens only when enough people with a stake in the change show a want for it.
Sure, you will need key sponsors — local councils, district health office, courts, legislative assemblies etc — but the effort comes only to fruition when the people who go to these restaurants, work and live next them act.
By choosing to know about the cleanliness of their restaurants, to voice out to authorities and to follow up if action has been taken.
To take ownership of actions which contribute to the fulfilment of the larger intent — in this case cleanliness.
Malaysia is in a time of change.
However the changes are only happening in the places where the rakyat, substantial number of the rakyat are taking interest in.
The point I draw from it, and I will skip the national intrigue going about, is that when enough people care, change will be possible.
Which I will like to apply to my cleanliness initiative in Sepang.
That if more people actually took an active interest in the situation, and build a mass consciousness that by that interest they will improve cleanliness in Sepang, then life may imitate intent.
Pick a fight
Cleaner Sepang is just one part of it.
I speak of it, since it is one of those issues that affects more people than less.
But there are a multitude of issues, and they do not involve championing political parties or politicians, but they need sponsors.
Getting junk food out of schools, introducing energy conservation in our taman, starting a sports team for young people, manage events for senior citizens, teach a language for free and the list goes on.
Activism is not strong enough in Malaysia, and in its absence those who benefit from things not working out, have a free run.
There are two recycling collection bins in my area burnt down. Not sure why, and it must be someone immensely stupid to try to stop the work someone is doing on your behalf for free.
However I do look at it this way. If it forced someone to burn them down, then they must be doing something right. Maybe they have become the change they want to see.