Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Malaysia's diversity should be source of our strength, but half-past-six only !

DEBATES over rights, race, religion, language, education and government handouts or spending do not appear to cease anytime soon.

We often wonder whether those championing these issues are for the rakyat, or to serve their vested interest, such as boosting their own popularity.

As the disagreements are mostly over the means to an end, the ultimate aim remains largely unknown. Many issues are in stalemate with no outcome.

It would be more fruitful to arrive to a consensus on common goals first and then allow various approaches to attain them.

Our diversity should be harnessed as a source of strength. For example, multi-racial Malaysia has succeeded in being among the top three outsourcing nations globally, behind India and China.

Indeed, Malaysians can stand tall in the global arena if all its citizens are given the opportunity and support to work for anything they so desire.

We should adopt the motto “Work for it”.

Rent seeking, corruption, stealing and cheating should be equally loathed as all these activities rake in money without putting in an honest day’s work.

Likewise, our children should work for any electronic gadget they fancy, through either getting good grades or doing chores in the house. They would also treasure what they have earned.

Similarly, fighting for rights to enjoy freebies, discounts and prolonged use of crutches further weakens the recipients when they should be strengthened to compete, at home and abroad.

The only way to compete successfully is investing in quality education.

Malaysians may take pride that many of us can speak in several languages or dialects. Unfortunately, most of us are master of none.

As language is the key to learning, we need to master at least one language to speak, read, write and think deeply and clearly, in order to excel.

We have been trying to get more non-Malays enrolled in national schools but have overlooked the fact that most of the students in national schools have not mastered the Malay language.

This becomes evident after they graduate from universities and start working. They are not able to think or write a report well.

Sadly, the scourge has affected even some top disciplines. Already, senior lawyers and doctors are ringing the alarm bells on recent graduates.

The all round deterioration of education can be attributed to the students not putting in sufficient genuine work.

This endemic culture is continued in the workplace where people look for shortcuts to acquire wealth or success instead of working for them.

Those who are prepared to work for the things they truly need deserve the support of all parties and should be given every opportunity to do so.

We should stop spoiling our children and citizens.

“Work for it” should become the clarion call for all responsible parents and leaders.

Kuala Lumpur.

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