DEC 17 — My column in The Malaysian Insider talked about ideas and I’ll like to provide an appendix to that discussion.
In my second year in uni I took up a course in critical and creative thinking under former dean Prof Dr Ahmad Bajunid. There were just the three of us and classes were after Friday prayers, which are the slots everyone on campus works hard to not have.
But I liked the class.
Prof Bajunid was just this fun guy, and he did more in the way of encouraging than any previous lecturers I had and would have to the completion of my first degree.
We had to be creative to come up with ideas, without prejudice. Generate them without the critical disposition of the average person kicks in. The idea is paramount, not its limitation. The overemphasis to prove it wrong is self-defeating.
Then the ideas have to be realised in terms of the world we live in, a tangible thing possible — this is the critical part.
Once the idea is real, then we have to ask ourselves the commercial potential of an idea.
This probably explains why most inventors in history were never the richest. The guy with the eye on the selling of an idea tends to make the money, rather than the dude with the idea.
I’m trying to underline that ideas, need process to mean something meaningful. From their conception to end execution and appraisal. But the key component is consistency in the process, and more paramount than that, respect for the process.
Which is where things go all so wrong in Malaysia most often. Process is important only as far as it serves the interest of the ruling class, and therefore everything else follows from the will of those in power.
Ideas always suffer when the preference of the powerful is the only thing that matters.
And that is what we have here often.
If you want to build a mall in any part of the Klang Valley, questions like “why a mall, why there?”, “Who will benefit, and how about the other malls, other businesses”, “Will this mall create unfair repercussions to other businesses? How about the smaller business park a kilometre from it, will it compete unfairly?”, “Will the public transportation be overburdened?” and the questions go on.
They must be addressed in order for the idea to have value to all in the community, not just some.
But here in Malaysia 2010, it is just about who is the tan sri/datuk behind the project and which minister backs it.
That is why we keep getting horrible outcomes, and the fallout paid for by the people.