January 26, 2006

Anterograde Amnesia

Posted in Malaysia at 10:37 am by egalitaria

Anterograde Amnesia, or short-term memory loss, is a form of amnesia where new events are not transferred to long-term memory. After the onset of the disorder, the sufferer will not be able to remember anything that occurs after his attention is shifted away from one subject for more than a few seconds.Those who suffer from theoretically pure anterograde amnesia will still be able to remember memories laid down before the onset of anterograde amnesia, but will exist in a transient world where anything beyond their immediate attention-span disappears permanently from their consciousness. (Wikipedia)

We have seen examples on this in Memento (a brilliant movie), and sadly enough 50 First Dates (a movie for you to smile at and sing Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t it be nice” to).

Where else is this syndrome most prominent? I’d say amongst the Malaysian public. Time and again, controversial issues have emerged. A sneak peek is created amongst the GGC (grassroot gossip channel), and the following day bam slam wallakazzam all national newspapers pick up the issue and bare their headlines in thick bold font. Sprawled across these pages are revealed intricate stories of national scandals.

Revelations of corporate loss light up the pages with fiery statement after statement. Highways, national water and car and airplane and electric companies going bust (except miraculously redeemed by their “business partners-in-arms”), Approved Permits carelessly handled, preferential treatment evident, the police squad ridiculously taking law into their own hands, religious controversy rising and flailing, and the honourable polite assurance from the administration that “We will look into the matter”.

How many times have issues blown up, only to be forgotten in the next week or so by the general public? Do Malaysians really have that short a memory, or do they practise selective memory, as most women readily admit to do? Why is there no monitoring body or system? Sure, Commissions are set up to give wise advice to those in control. But are these commissions actually listened to? What is the point of setting up a Commission if their painstakingly prepared reports are going to be chucked under a pile of papers to be rudely ignored in any meeting anyway? (SUHAKAM, to cite an example) Are these so-called social ‘watchdogs’ merely put in place to assure the public that something is being done, in the very least? We must have a ridiculously low standard by which social responsibility is judged, then. And shame on us. Wag, wag, goes the finger.

The mentality of come and go cannot be the way forward for a society so eagerly yearning to be classified a developed country. Can we ever achieve this? Not when blacklisted issues are swept under the carpet, and it takes a whole lot to brave the dust and dirt to reintroduce them all over again. Please, society, document these things and start speaking up for your own sakes!

Have short-term memory loss on your personal grievances with humans because others are equally as forgiveable. But when it comes to forgotten national issues that can be a slow poison to the country as it seeps in, don’t be slippery – make a stand and collectively, perhaps the disease of this amnesia of sorts can be treated successfully.

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