Symptoms of a deeper ill

Yesterday, I wrote a simple post ” democracy is when I speak you listen”.  I also posted a remix of a video on the post.

The behaviour of the central figure of that video, nicknamed ‘Listen Listen Listen lady’, actually represents the symptoms of  a deeper ill that some of us in the civil society are trying to highlight and seek cure.

I wish to highlight a few points here:

1. In a forum or a dialogue, normally the organisers would invite a few designated speakers to speak on the topic for discussion. It will then be open for the audience to give their opinion or feedback. In this way, a 2 way communication can be established and different viewpoints can be heard and exchanged. New ideas often come out from such communication.

In such a dialogue, even if the audience gives very critical views and voices out something that is not to the likings of the organisers, the organisers should be big enough to allow such contrarian views to be heard.  Such views actually allow the policy makers/leaders  to really get access to what the ground has to say.  These policy makers are usually surrounded by aides and ladder-climbers who are all yes men trying to outdo each other by sugar-coating anything that the policy makers do. Only by listening to the ground, can policies be tuned and fine-tuned to benefit the people.

Even if there is no enough time, those speaking from the floor should be given time to windup their comments. To abruptly take away or turn off their mics is repression at its most blatant and against the principle of  freedom of speech .

2. Every country has its problems ( even animals have problems, agreed). There is no doubt about it. But do we want all the problems be swept under the carpets?

Only by listening to the people, can leaders or policy makers  learn about the problems. If there are problems in policies, then it is actually not wrong to look at what other countries do to tackle those problems.  Afterall, our ministers and top civil servants do conduct multi-million dollar study tours overseas to see how things are done overseas, and whether those things can be applied in our country.

So when someone highlighting a problem comparing our country to other countries, the leaders and policy makers should take heed and try to see whether such policies as adopted by other countries have any merits and whether we can learn anything from those countries. Only by doing so that we can improve ourselves.

Other wise, we would be like the proverbial  frog in the bottom of a well. We would be like some of the North Koreans thinking that their country is the best in the world.

3. It is also very wrong that whenever someone compares Malaysia with other countries, there would be insinuation that he/she should  leave the country and do not need to stay here.  It is precisely because we love Malaysia that we would like to help solve any problem that the country is facing, by bringing it to the attention of the authority. It is precisely that we want our country to be as successful as others that we point out the differences with others that we can emulate. It is precisely that we love and are loyal to our country that we highlight the problems.

All of us want our homes to be as confortable as possible and sometimes we emulate our neighbours to install air conditioners, buy washing machines and so on to make our lives easier. The same analogy applies: we want our country to be a better place so that all of us can live better.

4. The ‘I know best” mentality of many of our leaders. It is this sort of arrogance, by thinking that as leaders they know best, that BN has lost so much of ground in the last election.

5. Last but not least , I was disappointed with the audience. They are mainly university students. They will be future leaders in the government and the private sector. They clapped when Bawani was putting forward her points, seemingly supporting her stand. They clapped as loudly when Bawani was being berated, as if supporting the organiser Sharifah. What kind of audience was that? Don’t they have a stand? or were they just spectators watching a Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight? Does the inertness of this group reflect the state of our education? I shudder to think.

Overall, the behaviour of the organiser typifies that of some of our leaders– arrogant with a I-Know-Best attitude, repressive, not open to criticism, abusive and so on.

We really need to do away with this type of mentality if Malaysia is to go forward.

This article is also published in theMalaysianInsider.


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. klm
    Jan 17, 2013 @ 13:39:03

    Dr. Hsu. You are right to be disappointed with the students. They are just sheep. The education system here produces sheep. Not university student who can think. Just sheep that would baa.


  2. Dr Hsu
    Jan 17, 2013 @ 14:07:26

    Perhaps only with this type of education can they perpetuate their rule.


  3. No surprise
    Jan 17, 2013 @ 14:47:37

    I am not surprised with the attitude of these so called leaders. Your write-up has reminded me about the times when I was teaching. All throughout half my working years, we had “mesyuarat guru”. Then one principal decided to change that into a “taklimat guru” where he and the senior assistants did all. and I mean, all, the talking. After they had finished, it was “bersurai”. There was absolutely no 2-way communication, no suggestions, questions allowed. After this principal, the others just did the same. Am I glad I am retired.


  4. peteryew
    Jan 17, 2013 @ 20:16:59

    That is why our education system must be revamped and overhauled, quickly. We are churning out mindless, non-critical thinking and herd mindset graduates with little ability to think constructively. No wonder private sector employers shun such graduates and prefer those who display non-academic skills and talents that can be developed and groomed.

    My disappointment is with the Sharifah lady. She set a terrible example before the 2000+ undergraduates of how a responsible adult should behave. Worst, she happen to be one of the organizers and a panelist. I guess her public speaking career is as good as over.


  5. klm
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 10:40:52

    There is a big difference in the Malaysian and for the matter, any Asian school system with, say the US. My grand daughter had just completed pre-school, that is age 5. in US. At this age the kids are expected to understand what they read, not just reading. They are expected and encouraged to question what they read. In Asia, at this age it is just read and swallow what is read. I understand that Malaysia has just started similar approach in Std 1. I heard that teachers are lost as they do not know how to teach in this approach. This is the new experiment by the Govt. If this is successful, I wonder if the student sheep can be turned into thinking undergraduates a decade from now. .


  6. Li Li Fa
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 19:19:40

    This ‘Listen, Listen, Listen’ episode is a good example of how deep the tentacles of authoritative power of the BN regime, has penetrated into the education systemof this nation. We could see for ourselves how arrogance, ‘know-it-all’ attitude, intimidation, subjugation of the weak, had all been displayed in the full view of the virtual audience.

    A University is a place not only to pursue knowledge but to also to engage in healthy debates of important issues at hand. Differing views will enhance the quality of action to be taken. Not allowing different views to be voiced is tentatmount to an authocratic stand, reflective of nazism. Afterall this is a demoractic country which our leaders aim to be best in the world. What happened recently was most unfortunate and could be avoided if the BN do not produce educationists who are clones of arrogance.

    Is our university system producing students who just listen, and not to think, debate, discuss, and deliberate?

    If this incumbent regime is not able to deliver holistic educated, thinking students then I am afraid that role will be handled to another set of democratic, thinking and humble custodians of power.


  7. CYC
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 20:41:40

    Biro Tata Tenaga has damage the mind all students through series of indoctrination course or forum but the gutless KTK put the blame on little Napoleons. How stupid can this Permanent Head Damage back door minister be. No little Napoleon dare to be so open without the blessing from top. Similarly, listen day would not exists without backing from BN. I don’t blame the rest of the undergrads inside the hall as they were victims of circumstance whereby they were taught like that since day one in school. They even use distribution of RM100 education aid to all students through BN coalition members as a mean to propagate political ideology.


  8. Simple Sense
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 21:44:26

    This deeper ill has become a norm. In medical context, this characterizes the terminal phase of political societal culture.


  9. klm
    Jan 20, 2013 @ 10:05:02

    This is a bit of gossip that I picked up recently. This listen. listen, listen woman was a low grade psyop operative from Najib’s political operation. This Suara Wanita 1Malaysia was a pseudo NGO charged with this function. The incompetent amateurish operation just blew up in Najib’s face. This fiasco will be another black mark for Najib in the eyes of his opponents in his party.


  10. Phua Kai Lit
    Jan 21, 2013 @ 12:32:30

    Dear Dr Hsu

    I’m doing some research for which I need to contact you.
    Can you send me your e-mail address privately?

    Thank you


  11. Saw Lim Yeow
    Jan 22, 2013 @ 13:26:31

    Dr. Hsu, I hope you have recovered fully from the ” gastro” problem you had on that fateful saturday. I am proud to say that I was in the Stadium Merdeka that afternoon to show the support to the so many groups of people fighting for a better Malaysia. At least I can tell my future grandchildren that Kong kong did something for your wellbeing in 2013. Cheers


  12. Dr Hsu
    Jan 23, 2013 @ 08:11:29

    Dear lim yeow,
    I m better. If not for the gastric flu I would have gone to the rally. I was told tat it was more than Bersih3. I m very proud tat you my dear classmate was there. Cheers n hope for change.


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