Friday, June 23, 2006

Then, But Now ...?

When DPM Najib objected to Malaysians winning the world's bronze medal for rudeness, a Malaysiakini reader with the pen name of Meng commented:

"Don’t be in denial, Najib. Our education centres (universities) used to be one of the best in Asia. Our police force was one of the most disciplined 20 years ago. Our crime rate one of the lowest in Southeast Asia. Our people one of the most courteous."

Though I would argue against the methodology or even the scope of the Reader Digest magazine's survey which arrived at the abysmal finding (for us) that Malaysians are the world's 3rd rudest people, thus other than this, I have been struck by Meng's truth in reminding us of:

(1) UM being one of Asia's top university. Now ...?

Our only evidence had been to put up billboards and banners to try to convince ourselves we are still there as we were once upon a time.

(2) Our police being one of the most disciplined. Now ...?

Is this the normal Friday ha-ha we normally receive in our mailboxes?

(3) Our crime rates one of the lowest. Now ...?

Still that but only if we don't count snatchings, rapes, incests, murders, burglaries, acts of gangsterism like those perpetrated by loan sharks and some political parties, extortions by civilian and uniformed criminals ...

and may I add to Meng's list:

(4) Our ringgit one of the strongest. Now ...?

Compared to our natural-resource-less neighbour ........

(5) Penang was SE Asia's education centre. Now ...?

We have just started to wake up and bleat about Chinese student numbers falling and hope to form the region's educational hub.

I could take this train of thoughts even further by examining, for example, Penang's cleanliness, rivers and streams, beaches, gardens, security and safety, quality of hawkers' fare, standard of politicians, etc - note I rate hawkers' fare above politicians.

But now ...?

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