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What will make a difference? Education or a Riot?

Selamat Pagi Malaysia.

We talk often about the good old days when we all seem to agree that we had leaders of substance with much grace and sensibility. Those days when our education system, so we tell each other, taught many of us that we were each other’s keepers.

That Malaysia was for every and anyone who wants to call it home. Many of you lament that the education system that taught us all to respect each other and live in harmony and in peace are long gone. And yet if you say that those days when English was the medium of instruction and gentlemen and ladies were the product of that era, why then have we regress to where we are now?

How was it that the good and decent education that we had then had not enabled those of my generation to structure society and people that reflected the “good old days” when respect, grace, and self-awareness were second nature to all of us? Why are things so wrong today when people that had the responsibility for what Malaysia has today become, were educated in the right way? Obviously, education is not the panacea to all of our current evils! Education is merely one of the building blocks for change to happen. So what is?

In truth, the problem lies in what you and I had become post-May 13th 1969. Despite the “English” education that we had, we were content to witness every value we had held dear and everything we once held in high regard in life and in society to deteriorate and be subverted to serve the interests of a few.

The rot started with the abuse of the NEP and we of that generation must take responsibility for the ills and evils that the abuse of the NEP had left on generations of Malaysians since. We allowed meritocracy to be pushed aside and ignored in favor of expediency and greed.

Maybe not our greed, but the greed of others who are our leaders. And no matter the rationale, whenever meritocracy is no longer the guiding light of everything that we and our leaders do, the rots start. We, of that generation, allowed it to happen.

Why then do we think that the present generation will make right what we did not? So really guys, education is not the answer to everything now that the rot has advanced to gangrene!

So advanced that even our youth cannot do anything about it for there are the hundreds and thousands of them who cannot even speak English and are not suitable for purpose – and that is to be able to think as we did and to enter the Job market and contribute towards nation-building. And this has been the reality for the past ten to twenty years – generations of Malaysians abused, generations of Malaysians used, and generations of Malaysians unable to even fend for themselves.

All this was part and parcel of the rot that the NEP perpetrated upon us so that those in Umno and other politicians of their ilk could reap their version of utopia for themselves. And what was that utopia? Theirs was a promise of a false utopia of an inclusive exclusive society where the concentration of wealth and toxic inequality is celebrated, and the abusive, oppressive, and ridiculous religious institutions were allowed to ferment and have their way over so many for the advantage of those few.

You must not forget that Mahathir and Anwar, among others, directly or indirectly endorsed these silly religious institutions and the growing Islamization in National Schools. Today, many teachers cannot express themselves in English to teach concepts while religion overruns and extends their oppressive tentacles over all things Malaysians.

What we require is a system change, not just quality education. Quality education is a long term investment that will ensure that we will be able to raise the quality of our people, but before that kicks in, there must be system change…or maybe another riot ala May 13, 1969, when everything changed for the worse…only this time we must ensure that the change will be for the better. For starters, if we are ever to compete on the world stage, we need an English Medium University System!

Now here is the reality. We of the older generation are not the aggrieved party to what is happening in Malaysia today. The aggrieved party is mostly the Chinese, the Indians, and the people of Sarawak and Sabah. I and many others of our ilk are in the fight for change because we are fair people.

And here again, is another reality. Most of the aggrieved people who could do most to fight for their grievances are too afraid to fight for change and prefer to flee with their capital and their brains to other parts of the world. And those who are left cannot do as much without the help of those who have left.

So are we condemned to have another May 13 albeit in a “better” way because riots seem to be the “legitimate” way to force and engineer a change. And if we do have that “riot” would not the cost be unbearable? And if that be the costs, will there then be no change?

I do not know about you guys…but I can feel the riot already happening in my bones! Something has got to give or explode. We are at the tipping point because the rational among many Malaysians are filled with indignation and anger as we see our nation falling apart.

Or will matters of bread and butter occupies the likes of too many Malaysians for them to join the “riot?”. Certainly, a much improved central education system will make a difference, but surely, first, we must stop the rot! Think!

Be good. Do good, and be nice to one another.



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