We are a nation obsessed with labels, preconceived discriminations, and socio-political muscle memories that hamper our progress as a people. Regardless of what many of us would like to tell ourselves, on how progressive the Malaysian people have grown to become, there are still much demagoguery among the masses. Of course, it must be mentioned that it is not the fault of the Malaysian people that have brought on this harsh reality; but the wielders of political powers that is answerable.
Here are some of such examples of such labels. This editor would like to stress that all Italicised writing are similes, metaphors and analogies of prevalent views in our nation and are not blanket allegations towards all Malaysians
Taxes are bad
Despite the fact that most people know that Taxes are what sustain institutionalised governance as we know it, the public discourse is still along the lines of ‘All Taxes are bad’, and the implementation of taxes is the work of evil. This widespread school of thought is not just among the general populace but is also the case, though not surprisingly, among politicians and policy makers.
This is the outcome of a neo-liberal and conservative driven governance agenda that has been relatively unchallenged; from which, in this Malaysian day in age is in urgent need of transition.
Public transport is vestigial to development and progress
Putting aside inconvenience and its relative weak provision in our country, Public transport is still seen as a transit mode for the poor. Private vehicle ownership as a status symbol is still very much so part of the national consciousness. Many policy makers and even urban planners in high places are still of the view that public transport can be phased out, as in their minds, the right of owning a car is more important than freedom of expression.
To the subscribers of such ideas, like the vestigial features of the human body such as the appendix and the coccyx (tail bone), public transport is a necessary evil but not an investment of diminishing value. One day, everyone will and must own a car.
Again, this is social muscle memory that has been tattooed and etched into Malaysian souls, resulted by an unfettered culture of consumerism, and commercial interest driven governance over three decades or more.
Only poor people need housing; for the rest its Real estate.
The bricks and mortar that we call a house, is a financial investment. Ownership of ‘real estate’, and it’s value appreciation is an inalienable right; anything that impinges on the value of one’s property is tantamount to an invasion of one’s fundamental rights.
The speculative rise in property value is wholeheartedly welcome; but the approval of columbaria, highways, waste disposal plant or anything that threatens property value will see the greatest of resistance. Shelter, home-making, family-building, place-to-settle are but by-products of the aforementioned investment; secondary to the property value that translates into the potential return of investment.
This mindset is the product of the absolutely unchallenged capitalistic approach and understanding of Housing, and years of indoctrination that this is the only, true and right path. Indeed, it is right; right winged no less.
Media is a tool ONLY to inform
The Media is a tool to inform, and its use to provoke and instigate unconventional views and thoughts only serve to detract delivery of the deliverer’s message and bring chaos, instability and confusion. Control is the only way to exercise power, even if it means controlling thought. If one can’t control thought, one can at least control the access to thought provoking materials.
The Media must, at all cost be restricted to be no more than a tool to inform facts and approved interpretations of facts; anything that would arouse thought, debate and challenges to the orthodoxy is defined as inciteful and seditious, therefore, must be curbed.
This is a manifestation of our insecurity as a people, due to a sustained ‘thought hegemony’ imposed by the ruling regime, whose interests are directly correlative with the enlightenment of the people. The less enlightened the people, the less challenge it is likely to face, the more freedom the ruling elite has to do as they please with the Nation’s riches.
This following piece seek to challenge the validity and even sanity of some of these labels that we, as a nation has grown to accept as gospel truth. We believe not in the existence of such a thing as Sedition, but it is definitely fully intended on inviting debate on these topics that are either unopposed or rarely challenged at any level.