The system is flaw and we’re all part of it

The system is flaw and we’re all part of it. 

And the sad truth is this. If you want to change them, you must join them. And when you’re part of them, it’s likely that you can’t change them. The cycle continues. 

For those of you who are wondering what I’m talking about, it’s about the economy, social settings, politics and the “world order” that we see today. You might think that you have a choice in your life but these choices have excluded so many others so that you and I could have this choice. 

A younger Kian Hin would tell me that it’s possible to change the world by staying true to the values we hold dearly. A more experienced Kian Hin would know that the only way to change it is to be successful in the system, and to do that, you have to join them. 

Malaysian politics a race game

Take Malaysian politics for example. A lovely and blessed country it is, but one that has been ruined by “leaders” with agendas of their own…mainly to be powerful and rich. Can we change the political landscape by accepting equality? A naïve man would believe so but the truth is this…it’s not equal. The poor always start at a far more challenging and difficult platform. No doubt we see certain success stories now and then, but at the “cost” of so many others. 

In Malaysia, the “race” card has always been one of the key area to go for…the next is religion, and it has work to the advantage of the “elites”. If you think you can change it by accepting that race is not an issue, just look at how many of your friends and family members believe that different race has a different set of characteristics, or even intelligence for that matter. 

A Chinese is so often viewed by the Malays as a “cunning businessman” that only look at profitability or a “die hard gambler”. The Malays are so often viewed as a “chill, lazy and perhaps less intelligent” by most of the Chinese. An Indian, either a drunkard or the successful lawyers or doctors. 

While stereotype is not a big issue (after all, it’s true that when we spend more time with a certain group of people, we become more like them, so naturally, Malays who are “tak apa” that mix with “tak apa” friends become more “tak apa” while the cunning Chinese businessman become even more cunning), the problem remains when we take the racial card and politicize it. 

That’s the problem with the country, and so many of the citizens unfortunately accepted it as well. We have not even talk about religion at this point, which could be worse. And can you make a change if you’re not part of it. 

Onn Jaafar, the visionary who lost UMNO

I like to bring up Dato’ Onn Jaafar as an example, founder of UMNO. If I remember history correctly, the founder of UMNO left the party because of what he viewed as a race-based communalist policies, and called for party membership to be opened to all Malayans. He left and formed the Independent of Malaya Party (IMP) and then the Parti Negara.

A visionary he is, for he sees the racial tension that would eventually crept up to the surface in the image of “May 13”. You may disagree with me on this part of the history but perhaps you would realize that the racial tension that exists today has to do with how the British has managed to separate the three main races in the country, and yes, after independence, a continuation of that policy in the form of Barisan Nasional (UMNO, MCA and MIC). If you don’t find it strange why majority of the races today remains separate, just attend all three of these parties’ meetings…it’s about Malays, Chinese and Indian in each of them, without looking at Malaysian as a whole. 

Can you change the system if you are outside of it?

If Dato’ Onn Jaafar, the pioneer for the struggles of our independence failed to change the hearts of the people at that time, what are your chances? 

My view is simple: It has to be done by someone within the system that truly wants to make the change, but that person must first join the system, in this case, the party. I am not downplaying the impact of the opposition, but anyone who thinks that the opposition has a good chance of winning the upcoming general election must be an idealist, and I hope he is correct, but then again, is the opposition truly for the Malaysian or a different race based or elite based segregation? I honestly don’t have a clue…time will tell. 

Not just the political system…look at the business world

It’s not just the political system that is so wrong in the country. The way of doing business in the country is also rooted on the foundation that supports the “elites”. If you disagree with me, just look at how having the right connections and people on board gives the dominance to companies that run casinos, railways, toll roads, etc. 

Well, in every level of the hierarchy, there will always be the “insiders”. Move further from doing business into the investing community and you see how the “elites” tend to have more information than some others. How analysts refused to talk about some of the “information” obtained by talking to management because it’s not the right time to do so, but they have already gotten the information. Fair? You judge it for yourself. 

It’s not just in Malaysia

And the scary part is that it’s not just in Malaysia. You can either be thankful for that or feel even more worse knowing this. 

The famous example: Credit rating agencies and the subprime crisis

I’m not going to dwell on the subject because if you don’t know about the crisis, then you really should start take note of things around you because not knowing could also be one of the reasons why the elites continue to take advantage of the flaw without much sweat. 

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) findings said this: agencies' credit ratings were influenced by "flawed computer models, the pressure from financial firms that paid for the ratings, the relentless drive for market share, the lack of resources to do the job despite record profits, and the absence of meaningful public oversight."

I put it bluntly, they make a great deal of money out of a flawed system that eventually led to the subprime crisis. 

North Korea

Another clear example is the citizens of North Korea, a country separated from the rest of the world because of the leadership of the country. Do you think someone without any control born in that country could make a change? Does he/she has a choice? Maybe for some, yes, but mostly not. 

And North Korea is not the only one. The people born in the warzone area. 

Left with choices at the expense of some others

We are left with choices, at the expense of the others…this is how the system has been designed to work. So, make that choice today…grab that opportunity today to reach to the top, because when you are somebody, then you can make the change in a meaningful way. 

"In Time", a movie that best encapsulates the concept of money to life

I remember the movie “In Time”, where Justin Timberlake stars in it. It’s a future where people stop aging at 25 but engineered to live only one additional year, and people have the opportunity to live an immortal youth if they could buy their way. Basically, your life is the currency used in the world in the movie.

Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), a poor man at that time, who’s living on a day to day basis, earning enough to give himself another day to live, bumped into a rich but depressed man, Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) who explained that he’s 100 years old and has another century in the bank, and that he’s tired of his life. Both of them fallen asleep after a long conversation and Will awoke with an extra century on his clock. He saw that Will jumped and committed suicide and was the suspect in the man’s death as he was caught on a security camera. 

I think it encapsulate the meaning of money in the most meaningful way, because most of the time, people without money (poor people or extremely poor people) simply exists to keep those elites comfortable. (in the movie, the poor keep the rich young and give them an immortal youth).

Of course, the ending of the movie shows how Will and his girlfriend that steal time and distributed it to the poor, thus “making a change”. And yes, it was a great movie, but more important, it tells us one thing…if you want to make a change, you need to first be in that position to do so. (In this system, it means power and money). 

This is a reminder to self: If you can't change them, join them.