Monday, August 12, 2013

The grass is not greener on the other side, it's just that our grass is dead

A lot of Malaysians has been finding beef with Mr Lee Kuan Yew's recent book about how Malaysia has fallen behind Singapore because of its policies that seem to favour a certain race. Like him or hate him, you cannot deny the fact that Mr Lee has done almost the impossible to raise a small island state up to be one of the most successful one in Southeast Asia, way ahead of most of its neighbours, even Malaysia.

To be honest, one does not even have to quote hard facts to prove that Singapore is better than Malaysia in general, just the number of Malaysians who are crossing over the causeway everyday to work in Singapore or the number of Malaysians that actually converted their citizenship to become Singaporeans speaks louder than any GDP numbers or statistics. The truth is that Malaysians are flocking to Singapore en masse instead of the other way round and I'm sure if you ask every single of them why, the common theme is that they think that there's a better future here. There are many reasons that contribute to this type of thinking, a stronger dollar as compared to ringgit, better security, a top notch transport system and an equal chance to succeed (although this may be subjective), among others.


the book that sparked the age old debate between who's better again


Sadly, many of our top brass in Malaysia chose reject LKY's view bluntly without even considering how to put Malaysia back on a competitive edge against Singapore, basking as usual in their sea of self denial with excuses that even a thousand face palm is not enough. Just take this dude called Philip Golingai writing on why Singapore may not be so green after all for an editorial piece for The Star.

Now I know that The Star newspaper has gone down the drain along with other mainstream newspapers over the years, becoming the government mouthpiece instead of an objective source of information, but out of curiosity I decided to open the article just to see what the author has to offer on this whole Singapore vs Malaysia debate. And I must say, he certainly did not disappoint. 


Screenshot of the piece that appeared on http://www.thestar.com.my/Opinion/Columnists/One-Mans-Meat/Profile/Articles/2013/08/12/The-grass-is-greener-across-the-Causeway.aspx


In Philip's own words, among the various reasons why Singapore is not as good as everyone thinks is due to because the "hot chicks [that] you see in Orchard Road might not even be Singaporeans", that he found the "PRC Singaporeans irritating" and that it is hard to own a car and condo in Singapore due to the rising cost of living. He quoted some statements, one each actually, from an NUS researcher and the Singapore financial minister, but the majority of his arguments about how tough it is to own properties in Singapore and about the Singapore PRC problem came from his "original Singaporean" friend, who remained nameless for the entire article.

Has Malaysian journalism sunk to a new low where you have to depend on the quality of girls (and their nationality) and on nameless sources to support an argument? If that's the case, I could also write an article about how the brothel at XXX has the greenest grass because all the girls there are super hot, perhaps even the hottest you can find in Southeast Asia, and that my "original" friends told me that other girls outside the brothel cannot even compare to them? Philip Golingai, seriously? I don't know if you're working in Singapore or Malaysia right now, because either way you're a hypocrite.

If you're not working or living in Singapore, you obviously have no objective comparison to base your arguments on. All of your sources came from a secondary source, your "original Singaporean friends", who ironically may not have step foot in Malaysia before, so generally you're just making sweeping statements merely basing on only one experience in one country, instead of two. Secondly, if you're working in Singapore, that even makes you worse because you're just criticizing a country in which you're living off right now. Either way, the article that appeared on the Star stinks of vengeance, you know, the sort of things people will write or do just to get back at the opposing side out of anger or annoyance.

Something that a blog would put up for example, like what I'm doing now.


how i felt when i read the entire article


Trust me when I say that Singapore is far from perfect. But I have never seen the reason to write about it all these years because to be honest, when you really have to compare, Malaysia is actually worse off in a lot of areas. Going through the list would be freakishly long, but I'm just going to quote an example. In Singapore, a girl can jog at night wearing a sports bra without having to fear for her life or anything. Sure, the risk of a crime still exist but it is so minimal that the people feel safe enough to do what they want. In Malaysia, even in your car in broad daylight you're afraid that a motorcycle would pull up next to you, hit your windshield and rob you. I mean how is the grass not dying on our side when we have to fear for our safety every day? 

If the government cannot even do something simple such as guaranteeing our safety, do we really have time to concern ourselves on how our chicks really look like? Heck, if this crime spree keeps up, you can be pretty sure that there will be no chick left in Malaysia soon enough. And about the number of foreigners in Singaporean, have you even been to KL on public holidays where the Bangladeshi, Myanmar, Pakistani etc etc foreign workers hang out? At least in Singapore there's a balance between the white collar and blue collar foreign workers, whereas in Malaysia most foreign workers you're seeing are the ones who cook wanton mee for you. Yes, they now have a Bangladeshi worker cooking a Chinese dish for you now in hawker centers in KL. At least you still can find Singaporeans operating food stalls here.


translated: "foreign workers taking control of stalls around Putrajaya"


I am not trying to protect Singapore, but rather I am asking us to wake up and accept the hard truth, that Malaysia is slowly losing its ground as compared to its neighbours if we keep our antics up. I mean if we're constantly so concerned about fighting amongst ourselves, trying to secure our "rights" from our fellow Malaysians, where are we going to find the time to actually care about developing our country?

I am still pretty much a Malaysian, and for everything that I said, I still think that Malaysia still has its own redeeming qualities. The education system that I've been through in Malaysia is one of the best, that I could still say today, of how my dear principal, Mr Louis during that time strongly advocated the policy of no streaming, an issue that Singapore takes a lot of pride about, which I think gave us students all an equal fighting chance during those days.

I enjoyed the idyllic lifestyle of Ipoh where I grew up in, where we can cycle at night with friends and just talk cock until morning. The small of the kopitiam and the awesome food that I grew up eating, the lush greenery surrounding my town and our landed houses, the cute uniforms that all the girls wear, the opportunity to have friends of different races and to experience their culture during the different holidays (not forgetting the ultra long holidays) those are the things that I miss the most and I think defines Malaysia.

Sadly, all these things are taken away one by one by the people in power who are more concerned everything except our own country's development, choosing to sacrifice so many things for the sake of securing their power, and that before long, all of the things that we pride ourselves in, even the points raised by Philip Golingai, would one day be gone.

Chicks for example, the beautiful Miss Malaysia hopefuls who were barred from contesting merely because they're Muslims, do you think pretty girls would want to stay in Malaysia anymore? We don't have the PRCs but what are we ending up with? I believed I just mentioned that just now about foreigners taking over KL. And the price of cars and house? Don't we have a ridiculous tax system for non local cars? And the last time I was back, all my friends were complaining about the rising property prices, even in Ipoh, because some idiots just build and build without really planning on development, causing the whole city to be a terrace house madness. And I believe KL isn't any better off too. Just look at the amount of cars and pollution everyday. Do you call this better off?


welcome to kl


Before I end, I'm sure that there are those who will take issue on me as a outward bound Malaysian talking about Malaysia. Sure, you can call me a traitor or what for wanting to leave, or that I have no rights to criticize Malaysia when I'm not staying there now, but to be painfully honest, if you're given a chance to reach for something greater, a better shot at your future, would you not take it? If I were to let you choose between a place where you have to wake up everyday to people calling your race "Bodoh", asking you to go back to your homeland or where you have to fear for your life and a country in which there's a better chance of succeeding, what will you choose?

A long time ago Parameswara set sail from Indonesia in search of a better life. Was he a traitor to Indonesia? What happened to his descendants today? A few hundred years later, a group of people sharing the same dreams as Parameswara set sail from China and India for Malaysia. But how did they all end up so different when they shared the same dreams at the first place?

It's time to wake up and to accept the cold hard truth. Despite what the politicians may try to assure you, this is one downward spiral that we're going. Trying to convince ourselves using lame excuses like how hot our chicks are ain't gonna change the situation.


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