One undesirable attitude that is so much ingrained in the Malaysian community is that they like to make a fuss on trivial matters. It seems that there is almost no issue which has not been the subject of a lengthly and thorough debate. Take for example of the many ’ intellectual issues’ discussed (or tweeted?) on social media. What’s the purpose of launching a series of polemics on the issue of ‘removing race/religion on identity card’ or ‘legalising marijuana in Malaysia’? Obviously nothing can be gained except escalating the animosity between the conservative and the liberal.
The habit of entering into polemics has become so much a part of the Malaysians that there are some who write books for the purpose of launching a series of polemics. This person wants us to revisit on some of the non-issues. Most of their polemics have been about ‘what if’ this and that. What if we don’t get independence from the British? What if we follow Indonesia’s step in assimilating its citizen? What if NEP never took place 45 years ago? And the list goes on.
The notion is that, these polemics will help sharpen the mind and is an intellectual exercise. Must we spend our time on intellectual exercises? Is it not more important that we act to overcome the thousand and one problems confronting us?
Sadly, when the real idea or solution is proposed, the same people will continue to subject the idea to a lengthly debate. In the debate that take place, not only is the idea/solution found unacceptable after its shortcomings are exposed by those who oppose it, but the opinions of all critics are also debated and their weakness laid bare. The outcome of every series of polemics is that neither the original idea, nor the opinions put forward in the debate is acceptable.
Since no idea can be accepted, none can be followed. Thus the status quo is perpetuated, although it is clearly imperfect and ought to be changed. Worse, the conflicting opinions expressed during the debate only add to the confusion of society. When the criticism and polemics are studied they found not only to be unproductive, but also to add to the difficulty of overcoming challenges faced by the country.
In the history of the Malays, many constructive ideas have met this fate. Every time an idea is mooted, all energies and thoughts are utilized not for its implementation, but rather in subjecting it to a protracted debate.
Another undesirable attitude among Malaysians is that they wait for the other party to take the first step. In this case, the government is the ‘other party’. Admittedly, some of the pertinent issues require the government to make the first step. But the citizen is equally to be blamed if the government fails to react.
This is clearly illustrated in the case of ‘illegal racing’ or rempit and the LGBT movement. Often we heard statements like ‘what is rempit among the young compared with the politicians who take bribes?’ or ‘the sin of corruption is greater than being gay’. This kind of statement implies that until politicians stop taking bribes, youths should be allowed to be a repeat or even to practice LGBT. Indirectly it means, since there is no likehood of all politicians giving up bribes, illegal racing and LGBT would continue. Is this what they wish to see?
It is this kind of thinking that encourages moral decadence. Do we not remember a time when many politicians were corrupted, but the young did not indulge in LGBT movement?
If each party waited for another to act, no party would take the first step. Thus, all problems would continue to exist.
God will not change the fate of a nation unless that nation itself strives for improvement. To improve, the important thing is not to exhibit polemical skills, but to put things into practice. If there are any ideas worth implementing, just do it. The rest can be set aside.
The critic, if he so desires, can write his own articles or books in order to influence society with his intellectual argument. As the saying goes; ‘Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach (or criticise’.