10 December 2008

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at
http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please.
Wednesday December 3, 2008
Bogged down by negativity

We need to change our culture from a disabling one to an enabling one. But, first, we need to change those in charge of reform.

When you have children growing up, part of the challenges of parenthood is to ensure that they make their way safely in the world without being so protected that they can never be independent.

While we warn them of the many dangers out there, we also want them to be curious and creative so that they may learn to be innovative.

Incurious people or those unwilling to take risks never made great scientific discoveries or found solutions to the world’s problems.

To do that, they must have the freedom to think and to explore the world around them. They must live in an environment that nurtures that curiosity rather than suppresses it, that allows expressions of ideas rather than beats them down.

When I look around our current environment, I wonder how we are ever going to produce that kind of citizen. Every day, we are told about the great many things we cannot do, rather than what we can do.

Our emphasis is to take the same old course in life, to keep our heads down and ask no question. We think of those who see things differently, who ask awkward questions and will not take no for an answer, as aberrations, rebels or sometimes even apostates.

When Barack Obama made his victory speech, his simple message of “Yes We Can” struck a chord even with non-Americans. It was a message that was positive and full of hope. Yet some leaders are not trying to fill us with that optimism, that while times are hard we can still overcome it if we work together.

Instead, we see petty issues being made gargantuan and a constant negativism being touted. The good and the upright are the ones who sit obediently and demand nothing while the evil and the lost are those who demand answers to life’s problems and reject simplistic ones. Everything is a big no-no; life feels like a giant minefield we have to navigate, lest one wrong move results in us being blown to pieces.

How do we innovate if we constantly have to think of whether our souls can survive? What new things can we discover if we’re constantly told to take no risk?

How do we solve the big problems of the world when we are constantly being distracted by minutiae?

The polio vaccine would never have been found if Dr Jonas Salk had not discovered that injecting someone with dead poliomyelitis viruses would cause the body to produce antibodies against it.

The result of this discovery is that thousands of people all over the world were saved from this crippling disease. A few years later Dr Albert Sabin discovered the non-invasive form of immunisation by giving children polio drops.

These types of discoveries would not have happened if these two people had not used their brains to find creative solutions. But imagine if someone had told them that they needed to get dispensation from some religious authority first or they lived in an environment where thinking of new ways to solve a problem was discouraged?

Despite 50 years of efficacy, as late as 2003, some Nigerian Muslim authorities saw it fit to make unfounded claims about the polio drops, resulting in this easily eradicable disease spreading to 12 new countries within 18 months.

How do we expect our children to find the next big thing, perhaps a cure for AIDS, when they live in such an un-nurturing environment? When the mainstays of policy are not sound and rational research but personal whims and fancies which brook no dissent from anyone else?

Perhaps that is the real reason behind our inertia regarding reforming our education system. Why should we change it to one that makes our children think, because then they will ask even more awkward questions.

Perhaps we realise that in order to reform our education system, we have to first reform those of us who are in charge of that reformation.

And those people are notoriously unwilling to do so because once that is done, it will be like opening Pandora’s Box.

Imagine, suddenly lots and lots of young people will be asking endless questions! And we might not be able to answer them, or worse, tell them they should not be asking such questions at all.

Yet, among a thousand annoying questions, there might be one really brilliant one that lets us think in a new way. By not allowing the many, we may never find that one that can change our lives for the better. What a loss that would be!

We need to change our culture from a disabling one to an enabling one. But it won’t happen if we allow the negativists to rule.