Where is the Malaysian Dream?


by Erna Mahyuni
The Malaysian Insider
MAY 29, 2013

“To boldly go where no man has gone before.” I still get the shivers when I hear that old Star Trek line.

Looking back, things we take for granted now like telepresence conferences, virtual reality and touch screens were mere fantasy, fancies of the imagination.

Dreams matter. But what has happened to our own abilities to dream? The problem, I think, with Malaysians and their leaders is that we set our sights too low.

An educationist told me our English syllabus is so infantile as we must “follow the standards of Malaysian students.”

We want our children to fly and yet assume that all they can do is crawl.

The only aspiration our leaders seem to tout for the most part is a “high-income nation.” What does that even mean? That everyone magically adds a few zeroes to their bank accounts? In that case we could probably call Indonesia a high-income nation.

It is also rather demeaning to limit our aspirations for the country to one where everyone has more money.

I guess for too long we have had our priorities all wrong. Over in West Malaysia, the “silo” thinking has yet to die. Preserving cultures, preserving languages, preserving identity, preserving rights… we might as well call ourselves the “jeruk” nation.

We have a home minister on an arrest rampage all in the name of preserving the peace.

Can we not dream a little bigger? Reach a little higher? Consider a future that could not exist until we let go of all the things that hold us back?

There is something fundamentally wrong with a society when we need an “Agency of Innovation” because clearly we can do nothing without government intervention.

We have a “Malaysian Book of Records” mostly dedicated to ridiculous achievements, which mostly involve wastage of food. Do we really need to know who made the largest roti canai ever?

My dreams are, perhaps, mundane. I dream of our kids being bolder, braver, willing to take risks. I dream of a society where no one falls through the cracks, where the wealth is not concentrated in the pockets of a few, very fat cats and politicians.

I also dream of being able to hold those dreams without being called a communist or socialist.

Until those dreams come close to reality, all I can do is fantasise about setting my phasers to stun and stalking Parliament.

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  1. #1 by lee tai king (previously dagen) on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 - 3:18 pm

    The malaysian dream?
    Oh umno outsourced the management of that dream to chengho.
    And errr… chengho … well he shoved it into some NY underground longkang.

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 - 3:57 pm

    The answer is simple: Mahathir and his followers smashed it and crap on it..

  3. #3 by daniel on Thursday, 30 May 2013 - 12:08 pm

    The “Malaysian Dream”, if ever there was one, died when Bapa Malaysia was ousted in a coup disguised as a racial riot. It has further morphed into a racial and religious bigotry nightmare with the government and civil service filled with a large number of them and their apologists.

    The developed world has passed us by while we as a nation still wallow in racist muck and a “shiok sendiri” attitude often comparing ourselves to failed regimes rather than benchmarking against the best in the world.

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