Be a proud Malaysian and a critical thinker

  • Letters
  • Friday, 18 Oct 2019

IT seems to be embedded in our Malaysian psyche – whether at school with our teachers, at work with our bosses or as a citizen with our leaders – that the viewpoints of our superiors (regardless whether they are right or wrong) are rarely questioned. This sheep mentality is ingrained in us from very young by teachers, preachers, leaders, and even parents and peers. That’s why time and again we read about corrupt dealings in boardrooms and the government where superiors giving their approval makes it OK for everyone else to obey instructions to the letter.

That’s why it’s accepted by the majority in Malaysia that titled individuals (whether they are deserving of the title or not – a uniquely Malaysian phenomenon) are seated in the front and given preferential treatment. That’s why civil servants in their dealings with the public sometimes show no compassion because they are merely following their standard operating procedures. That’s why our leaders think it’s unacceptable in Malaysia for a student to protest (against teachers) even if it’s a peaceful protest and within their rights.

While we all want Malaysia to be equal to First World nations, we seem to be reluctant to do away with this behaviour, which probably had its beginnings in our ancestors having to say “Yes, sir” to colonial masters, “Ya, tuan!” to their tin miner and rubber estate bosses.

If we truly want future generations to be on an equal footing with developed nations, we need to do some serious soul searching and do a bit of social engineering (similar to what Lee Kuan Yew did with Singaporeans in the 1960s) with our youth. We need to foster an environment in which it’s acceptable to be a proud Malaysian who is a critical thinker, ethical, passionate about beliefs, civic conscious, tolerant of others’ religion and culture, and lastly, always a patriot.


Kuala Lumpur
Article type: free
User access status: 3

letters , critical thinker


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