I met a few associates at a mamak joint a few weeks back. I expressed my bewilderment on what goes through the minds of politicians. Do they not lose sleep thinking about the poor? When they walk around and meet people, do they not realise how difficult life is for many others?
“You are assuming they have a conscience”, said the eldest among us. Apparently they don't. All politicians by nature are self-serving and think always about themselves before others. “People first, performance now”, what exactly those words mean I would never know I guess.
A friend once described to me how astonished he was when he met a person who lives in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur who earns only 350 ringgit per month. He was so astonished that he thought the person was only joking. That was until the man showed him his most recent payslip.
If you can't trust politicians, whom should you trust to make life better for yourself and others? Academicians? Some academicians are so enchanted by theories and models they don't even know what's happening in the real world.
I am an academician myself (or at least that's what I'm supposed to be), but I often get utterly disillusioned reading ‘scientific’ academic papers. I've never been impressed with numbers, and have never been really interested in conceptual models and theoretical framework. I do concede theorising is necessary but there must be a limit to how much one should pursue it.
Why exactly do we encourage people to pursue postgraduate studies? Often this is due to opportunities to earn a higher pay and to improve the prospect for promotion. But what exactly about postgraduate qualification that elevates a person's career prospects higher than others?
Obviously it's the level of expertise the person developed for the topic he worked on for his postgraduate research. Other than that, and more importantly in my humble opinion, is the supposed sophistication of thinking and ideas. Not to say that they should be embroiled always with ground-breaking ideas but enough to know that conclusions and understanding of any issues and problems are never that simple.
A cabinet minister with a PhD recently made a statement in parliament that the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia are not patriotic enough. That is why, according to him, they refuse to join the military. That statement, was it based on any scientific findings or merely an assumption? If the minister really does have a PhD, I'm sure he could have come up with a more analytical statement.
“The more you know, the more you know you don't know”. Maybe I have taken this advice far too seriously that the more I read the more I am confused and disillusioned with everything and anything. I wish life can be more simple or maybe it's just me who is making it difficult.
Related article: 'am I an academic?'