Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Changes in Life

Yesterday marked the 100th day from the general election which showed the greatest political tsunami ever in Malaysia’s history. Since then, we experience many changes, be it done by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR)-led states or the government that caused by various reasons, internally and globally. We see that both government and oppositions being strongly criticized, even the humble rakyat now know their roles and voice out their rights. The parliament had never been very important and full of excitement, as there is almost equal strength from the ruled government as well as the oppositions. People can’t wait to get the hansard of the latest parliament debate, to know who says what, and who behaves such. Also, we can see programmes for rakyat and ceramah being held openly and actively, as what previously only some political parties would do, which I thought obviously resulted from the sea-changing previous election.

Besides the judiciary system are seen as being more vocal than ever, revealing one dirty secrets after another. Those dated as long as 20 years ago, as can be read here. I guess the judges now feel more secured than before, starting from the ex-gratia paid to Tun Salleh Abas as a token of apology by the government and the controversial V.K Lingam clip. Nowadays the current and political issues are the most talked issues by everybody, from coffee shop to education institutions. Overall, I see this as a positive change as clearly explained by Wong Chin Huat in his article in yesterday’s the Sun newspaper, entitled `Malaysia’s Journey To Political Adulthood’. I am very much interested with the `Mental de-Mahathirisation’ concept that he introduced, which described most Malaysian’s mentality nowadays.

The latest hit in town is none other than the fuel price hikes. People blamed Petronas just because it is the nation’s oil company and make tough demands i.e to deserve full disclosure of its annual report, to approve the bonus paid to its employees and etc because their lives are at stake. May I correct the statement; the fuel crisis is not involving everyone’s life, just the lowly income ones. The pembesar and the rich ones are barely affected. And the para Menteri dare to claim they also sacrifice, as much as the others, by allowing ten percent cut of their elaun keraian, which the math is done by my friend here. For me, the real sacrifice would be only when they allow 50% cut of their overall earnings that are ultimately paid by the taxpayers. The simple calculation behind my not-so-ridiculous suggestion is just like this : Can an approximately RM30 000 per month worth of income (half the amount of a Menteri’s earning per month) afford a living of a family? Of course, that is more than enough.At least for laymen like you and me.

However being a positive Malaysian, I always look at the bright side. I admit, I was among the furious ones when the government announced the 40% fuel price that was enforced immediately on midnight, which caused massive traffic jams and extra long queues at petrol stations nationwide. But after a week, I started to absorb the impact and tried to adjust to the situation. Our lifestyle changed, slowly but surely. We are more aware to use the money to avoid unnecessary spending. A lot had started to use public transport instead of driving to work, including the managers and big bosses. Carpool becoming popular again. I see this is a good start to make a good impact, not only to our pockets but also to the environment. Less vehicles on the road, less traffic jams, less pollutions, and perhaps less road accidents. Although some economic experts predicted that this change of life will only occur for a while, before the people get adjusted thus resume their old habits of excessive spending, wasting money and resources.

I always hope that we, Malaysians will adopt the good habits of the other people of other countries, which are to conserve energy, reuse and recycle whenever possible and avoid pollutions. I love to imagine us using paper bags and card boxes to carry our groceries, and eat nasi bungkus that is wrapped with paper instead of polystyrene. And we might organize car boot sales in order to reuse things that we no longer want. They even start to use hybrid and electric cars to reduce dependency to natural resources and opt to alternative energy instead. These are among the good practice of the Westerners that are yet to adopt by us. Maybe, with the global economic crisis would open our eyes so that we will appreciate our life and our world better.

If all these changes make us become better human beings, well I don’t really mind.

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