11 February 2009

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 February 4, 2009
Stop the World, I want to end the woes
Musings by Marina Mahathir

Instead of giving us solutions to our many problems, our leaders “treat” us to a ridiculous show. Now, if everyone, took up our own causes, then we’d probably make more progress towards solving things. And we could learn from the children.

IN the 1960s, there was a musical play called “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off” which is about a man called Littlechap who, not appreciating the loving wife he had, sought the attention of other women until he finally realised his folly.

Although my reasons are different, these days I too feel like saying “Stop the world, I want to get off!” Everywhere you turn these days, there is yet another war, another crisis and another disaster.

The truce in Gaza is tenuous; in Sri Lanka, 250,000 civilians are trapped between the government and rebel forces and are facing starvation and death.

There are bombings in a number of countries in conflict and even in a relatively peaceful Thailand, a schoolboy threw a grenade into a temple, killing seven people and injuring a hundred.

Fortunately, we have nothing to equal the crises in other parts of the world back home, nevertheless we are not immune to the world’s problems, particularly economic ones.

Yet instead of giving us solutions to such problems, our leaders “treat” us to a ridiculous show comprising various minor politicians who can’t seem to make up their minds who they want to align with.

Perhaps a new requisite for politicians we elect, to add to the already extensive list of desirable qualities, should be “decisiveness”?

What’s interesting about all these crises is how people respond to them. Some will take one or two causes and do what they can for them. Others will simply turn their minds off such issues and deal only with what affects them personally. Still others will take up certain issues and then demand that someone else does something about them.

This last trait seems to be a common one among our people. We have become used to expecting others to take care of things that we don’t realise any more how we disempower ourselves.

One example is the support for testing people for HIV mandatorily, rather than voluntarily. Generally this is based on the assumption that firstly, it is only other people who are bad; secondly, the Government must do something about those people and thirdly, we ourselves have no responsibility in ensuring that we are educated enough about the issue to prevent ourselves from getting infected.

Similarly, I find that when it comes to global causes, we often expect others to do something and assume that we ourselves have no power to do anything. And yet when someone does something, we complain about their choice of causes. Why this one, and not the other?

Not once does it occur to us that if everyone, including ourselves, took up our own causes, rather than expecting the few to take care of everything, then we’d probably make more progress towards solving them.

For instance, if someone decided to raise funds for people overseas, there is bound to be someone who will complain about them not doing the same for our own people. The assumption must be that there is not only a finite amount of money anyone can raise but also a limited amount of energy that anyone can expand on such works.

The former is false and the latter is partly true because we expect the same people to take care of every single issue. Rarely do we think that instead of spending our energy complaining, we could use it to do something ourselves about any cause we espouse.

I came across a book my daughter bought about young girls who have done inspiring things. One girl, having spent some boring weeks in hospital, had the idea to collect children’s videos for hospitals to keep other children entertained while they are warded.

Another girl decided to volunteer her dog at a hospital because pets can help in the rehabilitation of patients. And yet another girl, who had received a kidney transplant from a young fireman who subsequently lost his life in the World Trade Centre in New York, started a memorial fund to educate people about transplants.

Needless to say, none of these real-life stories were from our country. Perhaps in countries where people are encouraged to be self-reliant, children are not stopped from implementing ideas that they get. They then learn about independence and the benefits of helping others without waiting for an adult to initiate it. Children who learn to take initiatives like these grow up to be adults who are innovative as well.

Perhaps that is our problem. Initiative especially by ordinary people in dealing with problems and issues is neither encouraged nor rewarded.

We have been brainwashed into thinking that nothing can be done unless we have “power”. No doubt our leaders would prefer we believe in that too, even when they are ineffective. Maybe that’s why we’re in the mess we’re in.