My House Stinks. What Do I Do?

I came across this letter to Malaysiakini:


Dear Sir/Madam,

I read Ryan Davidson’s letter a few days ago, and immediately told my

wife that it felt like I was looking into a mirror. You see, my family

and I have, like Ryan and his family, decided to leave.

We were never party to the social contract that we are told our

forefathers had entered into, almost 47 years ago. In any event, we

do not like being at the receiving end of liberal interpretation of

the contract and the unjust and unconscionable enforcement of the

liberally construed terms, on so many of us. Certainly, it is my

belief that if I do not take my family out of this country, I will

continue to subject my child, and her children after her, to the

continuing injustice of the contract. I often thought the new

administration under our new Prime Minister presents new hopes for

fairer treatment. Alas, just as the previous PM was an exciting breath

of fresh air some 24 years ago but proved so putrid much later on, I

feel I cannot subject my child and her children after her, to the same

risk that this PM too, may abandon fresh hopes for justice, in

exchange for immediate gains to himself, his family, his supporters

and his race.

I feel especially compelled to write this, after what happened

recently. I had the chance of a quick brush with a young man, who

represents the future of the ruling party. This young man has also

been under the media spotlight recently, albeit more voluntarily this

time around. He was trying to explain what went wrong in respect of

the many who could not be given places to study medicine in local

universities, despite scoring top marks. He thought it had something

to do with the fact that the assessment procedures were totally

academic, and as academic capabilities of students reached a plateau

where many scored top marks, another dimension needs to be introduced,

to further differentiate these talents. This was necessary as there

were simply not enough places for medicine in local universities as

more and more scored top marks. I kept very quiet as he did his quick

discourse. I thought it was a pained argument, as it ignored the

proverbial 600-pound gorilla in the corner. I thought it was painfully

obvious the shortage of places came about principally because there

was a backdoor through which many entered and took up seats. While

many more scored top marks in STPM than before, many continue to gain

entry without having to. Of course, no one asked this bright young man

whether this other dimension for differentiation will apply across the

board. It would have been impolite to point out this very large animal

in the corner and ask, “what about him?”

If a bright, very well educated, articulate young man espoused

thoughts which totally ignored the fundamental injustice of our

system, what future does our country hold? If this is future prime

minister material, then I really feel people like Ryan Davidson and I

are doing the right thing by taking our children out. Bright people

may not be just people. No matter how bright and well educated our

future leaders are, if they choose to continue to hold on to an

obviously unjust system, we cannot subject our children’s future to

these leaders.

My father did not have the opportunity to leave. I now have to pay the

price of starting anew, abandoning secured and well-paid job, so that

my child escapes the injustice. Am I enjoying life here in KL? You

bet. Like Ryan, my wife and I draw incomes for lifestyles too painful

to sacrifice. Yet, if we choose to be concerned only with our own

job-security and comfortable lifestyles, our child may one day be

faced with the decision I now face. What is to say she will also have

the same opportunity to leave for another country? I feel I must leave

now, while the window remains open. Am I running away? You bet.

Cant Keep The Faith Now

“So, I commend the enjoyment of life.” (From the Bible – really. Eccl 8:15)


Talk is Cheap

Talk is cheap, so they say. I guess that is why we spend so much time yakking away all through the day. Around the water fountain in the gym, in the coffee shop, that 10 minutes while waiting for everyone in that morning meeting, those 5 minute phone calls with colleagues during which anything but work was discussed, those snatches of 2 minute exchanges around the photocopying machine…you get the picture. We spend so much time talking, that after a while, we lose sensitivity as to the importance of the subject matter talked about.

Take yesterday. During the day, I chatted with the CEO. Not about work. Politics. He thought the next 1-2 years will be extremely interesting for Malay politics. Said Pak Lah would not, cannot, last as a PM. The old regime still has a strong overhang and will not go away so easily. They are just waiting for him to trip up, and there is an ever ready replacement in Najib who will take care of business as ususal, ie., Doc M days style. He thinks if Pak Lah is smart (and he is), he’d strategise to bolster his own position. The obvious tool would be Anwar Ibrahim. Now I know this angle is so prevalent the makcik who sells nasi lemak outside my office can regale mulitple versions, but that doesnt make it less plausible.

Take also, last night. I had dinner with some ex-colleagues who suggested to me Khairy Jamaluddin once eyed Anwar’s daughter, when Anwar was still the DPM. That changed when Pak Lah became the DPM…Now THAT talk is cheap. Cheap in more sense than just sen.

“So, I commend the enjoyment of life.” (From the Bible – really. Eccl 8:15)