Cultural gaps in our society

I am in a cultural analysis mood today.

One other cultural phenomenon often cited is the moral degradation of our youngsters. The topic that brought me to think about this was a facebook discussion thread titled “Lelaki Melayu Bermasaalah” by a girl called Akmal Fairuz who complained that young malay boys are uncouth and describes them as “tidak bertamadun”.

whilst the misbehaviours described by akmal fairuz is not confined to one race, i think the root causes are similar.

personally, i think there is a huge cultural / mindset gap between the “elders” and the “youngsters” today.

forgive me for generalising, but i believe that elder malays (and malaysians) tend to be very conservative, and constantly espouse “traditional values” etc.

youngsters, on the other hand are far more open to the global influences (internet or not).

elders constantly talk about censorship of movies, websites, music etc. whilst to me this seems impossible and is a regressive step backwards in denying the changes that is happening in the world today.

because of this, there is a sense of rebellion… an anti-establishment attitude, “i’ll do my own thing, i don’t care” type of feeling amongst youngsters.

i remember my days as a teenager… the teachers, the rule makers are those people who you would dare and defy. why? because we no longer liked being told what to do (like primary school kids & babies).

i think this is a natural reaction when we are growing up and trying to break away from being a baby/kid to being a grown up. at that point we think that because grown ups set the rules, so if we were to be grown up, then we would have to break existing rules and set rules of our own.

for a conservative society in a global village – these current norms are topics that will be seriously challenged & tested. but being conservatives, the elders feel that youngsters have no right to challenge their authority. thus creating this huge cultural / mindset gap.

as elders, do we listen, engage, and properly advocate our views with the youngsters?

i think not. we live in a society where the elders tell the youngsters what to do. the gap is quickly growing to become a gulf. the sooner we have open and honest debates about this issue, the better.

The problems in present day society

The recent tragedy of Nurin Jazlin Jazimin, 8 years old (al-fatihah) gave me cause to think about the society we are becoming today.

Being a self-analyst deep down, i pondered long about the tragedy: how can somebody commit such a heinous crime on such innocent children? what motivates them? what are the external factors? has the police profiled such crimesters? why do they become the monsters today?

I would like to live in a place where my children are safe to go play in the playground or ride their bicycles around our neighbourhood. but cases such as these would only cause the undesired reaction of more people locking themselves out in the home and minimise exposures outside… which only leads to a more insular and silo society: it is a vicious cycle which needs to be broken. getting people to fight a common cause is going to be more difficult which the ever increasing “every man for themselves” attitude of our society.

So why do these crimes happen? seriously i do not know, nor pretend to be an expert. but being a self analyst, i believe that we all have to look deep down within ourselves. no, i do not blame nurin’s parents… i would like all of us to see the faults we have and how it manifests itself in our society.

Why do people want to inflict pain on others? i believe that every person fundamentally is compelled to do this. We scold others, because we have been scolded. We put pressure on others, because we are being pressured ourselves. And we hurt others, because we are hurt. The difference between us is the level of pain.

Make no mistake, i hope and desire to see nurin’s murderer and others like them to be severely punished and with pain here in the hereafter. Yes, i want them to suffer, because i share some fraction of the pain felt by nurin’s parents… as i am a parent myself.

It is a vicious cycle. But sometimes i feel that we have ourselves to blame. The first thing we should do is to stop hurting others. Except for very few circumstances, it (hurting others) is not warranted.

Malaysian management. Road to wealth?


Where are our heroes today? Or more importantly, WHO are our heroes today?

I am asking you – the ordinary Malaysian wannabe success story. Sorry? Did you say Steve Jobs? Was that Bill Gates? Ooopss I am getting geeky… but in reality I heard nothing of that sort. I heard some whispers of some people wanting to be some well connected politician.

And why not? Hey, if you want to be rich quick in this country… let’s go into politics. Let’s play some golf, rub shoulders with some well oiled and well connected people and voila! bob’s your uncle!

In fact I am seriously thinking of getting into politics. Why? I’ll tell you why… I’ve worked my butt off for years – those late working hours, those expresso nights, those hard work trying to convince people to innovate, to driver operational excellence and to deliver value for the paying customer…. and where am I today? Well, slightly better off from where I started no doubt. But no where near that slick dude (let’s call him Kamal Johari, to protect the innocent) who started the same time I did and is now a business owner, government contractor, a huge loan borrower… but more importantly driving a flash new Merc S-class.

At least he doesn’t have everything… what dork would want to be seen alive (or dead, for that matter) in a Merc? LOL.

Although money doesn’t buy you good taste… it does help people who have good tastes to buy the right things. And I want my BMW M5.

So that does it. My hero from today onwards is that politician / or politically well connected slick dude called Kamal Johari. I am fed up of slogging. I want to get rich quick. I am gonna sell my soul to the devil for this.

Forget about innovating – it’s not important for your employees to think of good ideas – they just have to be great (government) liaisons. Forget about doing some REAL business. Forget about spending years of perfecting a single process and achieving the nirvana of operational efficiency. Forget about everything else.

But always remember the grease: never leave home without it.

So I shall now grease my way to richness. But somehow the Malaysian football team’s second humiliation in the Asian Cup is giving me some hesitation. No, not because I am a great fan of the national team… I have long given up on them. Not because my hero is a footballer (as I said, my new hero is Kamal Johari).

For your information, Malaysia has conceded 5 goals in each of the two matches it has played since the 2007 Asian Cup started. For those who play basketball and don’t understand the fuss on double digit scores let me put this into perspective: Malaysia conceded a total of 10 goals in two matchs, but only scored 1 goal. For the mathematical genius amongst us, this is certainly a bit of a bad news.

But I digress. The reason I am giving second thoughts to my grand plan of selling my soul for quick richness is this:


We no longer have REAL heroes. I used to admire the football players of old (no, i won’t mention the 70s and inadvertently reveal my age). I grew up wanting to play football. Then I grew up wanting to be a racing driver. Then I grew up wanting to be like Steve Jobs.

That is the problem. We have as a nation lost what is the true path to greatness. We have started to take shortcuts. We ditch real ingenuity, hard-work and good leadership, in favour of a path filled with shady deals, favours and…. grease.

And grease is a slippery thing. It is so easy to misuse and then starts the slippery slope downwards. The predicament FAM is in today is just that… we’ve missed out on the basic fundamentals of what makes a great footballing environment.

And today we are in danger of missing out on what makes a great economic environment. We need a few heroes to step up. Let’s hope that these people inspire others to do more good.