October 15, 2006
It’s taken me some time to come to terms with the reality of the situation. I’ve had to mull over the issue for many long hours before coming to where I’m at now.
My evaluation of the situation is twofold.
First, I’m honestly really happy that people are now engaging in public debate over the ASLI report issue. The news item needs no introduction, suffice to say that the ASLI figures of Bumiputera equity ownership contradicted the government figures, and BOOM went the explosion in political circles. Needless to say, political power reigned supreme yet again and Mirzan Mahathir, President of ASLI, was pressured into issuing a public statement that tantamounted to apology and retractment of the report.
Now, the demands from various officials to retract a research paper sounds ridiculous because – how do you RETRACT a research finding? You can certainly retract a personal public opinion and statement. But a finding is either true or false. Especially a quantitative one. I’m not saying the figure was accurate, nor am I defending the CPPS (the real authors of the report, not ASLI as a whole). But if the government disagrees with something, the professional thing to do is to say “Your figures are wrong. I’ll prove to you why.”
Instead, they devalue the intelligence of their citizens and give some childish kindergarten-logic answer like “It’s wrong because the government says so”. Yes, perhaps you can please some of the masses that way, (the over-adoring ones lah) but you cannot fool your urban intellectuals… YES MALAYSIANS ACTUALLY DO THINK!!! Surprise, surprise!!
My second response is utmost disappointment with Pak Lah, who in all his innocence convinced his public to “work with me, not for me”, and for us to tell him the truth. I’m so ashamed of this country. This is Malaysia my homeland that I in all sincerity want to Love deeply. If only I am given the chance to. This is the level debates have been reduced to. Is there no pride for truth? No dismay at the rot that eats into the country?
Finally, I have a choice in how I should respond. It can either dampen my spirit and contribute to further disillusionment; OR it can strengthen me in desiring to shine brighter in such dark times. The calling is to be bright when all else looks dim. But I can only do it with other little lights. I plead with my fellow Malaysians (especially my peers) to journey together with me. It is only when collectively, people start caring for the world outside themselves, that I can consider this worth my while.
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