Just Average Malaysia

Posted on January 22, 2008

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Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has designated Thaipusam as a public holiday in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, a move we suspect has less to do with goodwill than a politically-motivated panacea to the recent headache caused by disgruntled Indian protesters. Although we welcome the move, we are somewhat frustrated by the Prime Minister’s preference for feel-good initiatives over more serious matters such as the increasing crime rate, a sluggish economy and Malaysia’s diminishing role and influence in the world stage (which was never that great to begin with).

Our initially enthusiastic reception to Abdullah Badawi’s rise to the premiership has turned into a desperate longing for the good old days of the Mahathir era. For us to reconsider what would otherwise be an autocratic administration plagued by institutionalized cronyism and contemptuous disregard for free speech speaks volumes of our desperation. Yes, things may not be that bad in our country, but we’re not exactly a shining beacon to the world, either. We are instead, stuck in a disinterested state of mediocrity, where being pretty average is considered totally acceptable. It is not.

Our public education system is disorganized and languishing, thanks to a Minister who prefers to come up with cheap shots rather than concrete solutions. Malaysian universities continue their strident march towards global oblivion. After 50 years of Independence, our controlled media is still spewing out propaganda instead of sharpening its journalistic integrity, to the point where Malaysians are left to depend on each other’s blogs for their fix of intelligent opinion and critical debate on the state of the nation. A Thaipusam holiday for Hindus may be a welcome relief for some, but what we as a nation really need is a break from this putrefying state of mediocrity.

Posted in: Society