Throw the bad apples, but keep the good ones.

Youth, or the millennial that are born from the 1980s to the 2000s makes up about 7.2 million of the Malaysian population. In terms of voting rights, they would have made a growing political power with such numbers of people in the nation.

Unfortunately, despite of that, there are still over 4 million Malaysians that have yet to register as voters.

We could have blamed the political system that does not allow automatic registration of Malaysians as voters. But if we were to look at the numbers, it is quite obvious that many weren’t even interested in the voting process, let alone participating in the governance process. Registration of voters is not automatic in our nation yet, but it is not as difficult as we could imagine as well.

Of course, there are also a huge number of youth who are concerned and cared for our country, if we look at the number of people who participated in various demonstrations, and how people shared and commented on social media. There can be arguments on what was shared on social media is true or not; but the amount of discussion in the digital world shows that they care.

When I met up with youth from various backgrounds in these recent years, there are many that have extensive knowledge about politics and governance. But I also find a troubling trend in the general knowledge about the government in a certain group of youth.

I met with people who have a hard time differentiating between a local, state and federal government; let alone which aspects those each of the government controls.

I met with people who have a hard time differentiating between a State Assemblyman and a Member of Parliament; let alone their roles and responsibilities.

I met with people who have a hard time differentiating between one political party from another; let alone what ideologies that they advocate for.

It really makes me think of how sure they were in making decisions during the elections.

As the millennial voters mature, and some might have voted their third election as young adults, which is the age where young people would start their transition to become consistent voters; they must understand the different levels of governments, the roles of elected representatives and the ideologies that they stand for. And not voting merely because we dislike the other party for their weaknesses.

Only then, we can elect an effective government and also opposition, no matter who wins in the respective constituencies.

We, the young voters must learn how to be pragmatic for the sake of the nation’s betterment, and not be a political pawn.

We must not be fooled by the promises of stars and moon, which is usually not practical in achieving it.

Just look at how DAP has played politics all along. In the early 1990s, they were desperately going against PAS and their Islamist agenda as though they were sworn enemies.

Then in the 1998, DAP formed the Barisan Alternatif coalition which includes PAS but left the coalition after the September 11 attacks realising that they were losing supports to the fear of an Islamic state.

In 2008, they came back to join with PAS again to form the Pakatan Rakyat together with the PKR and subsequently they manage to create a setback to the BN during the elections.

Today, they drew a clear line with PAS again after the RUU 355 issue and formed another new coalition without PAS, the Pakatan Harapan.

If we look at the period of the DAP-PAS separation and cooperation; it is usually around the general elections. It is rather obvious that the actions were made for the sake of winning votes in the elections.

Remember how the DAP played the issue of probably using the PAS logo to contest in the 2013 elections?
And how they convinced the non-Muslim voters to vote for PAS?

Now the great Lim Kit Siang can hold Tun Dr Mahathir’s hand and formed a coalition after bashing each other for almost half a century.

Are we going to put more hopes in a political party that changes its stand from time to time and keeps focusing on their opponents’ weaknesses; all for the sake of winning elections?

They have governed the state of Penang for nine years now. We have seen double standard practices, promises unkept, and it seems that only a group of political elites and corporates are benefitting from the policies of Penang.

Barisan Nasional may not be perfect, and they have bad apples in it as well. But are we going to forsake good apples in the party? No matter which political party it may be, throw out the bad apples and keep the good apples. Then we shall not be afraid of whoever wins the election and forms the government.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 16th June 2017.

扔掉坏苹果,保留好苹果

从1980年代到2000年代出生的青年或千禧一代,占了马来西亚人口约720万人。在投票权方面,他们的政治力量不断增长。

不幸的是,仍有400多万名马来西亚人尚未登记成为选民。

我们可以指责缺乏让大马公民自动登记为选民的政治制度,但是这个数字显示,许多人对投票不感兴趣,更不用说参与施政了。选民登记在我国仍未自动化,但登记成为选民的程序,也不是想像中困难。

当然,如果我们总览参加各场示威的人数,以及人们如何在社交媒体分享和评论,就可看出仍有很多青年关心国家。尽管他们在社交媒体分享的内容是否真实仍有待证实,但在数码世界中大量的议题讨论,反映了他们对国家的关心。

近年来,我与来自不同背景的青年见面时,有很多人谈论政治和施政。但是,我也发现部分青年对政府的认知令人不安。

我曾遇见不会区分地方政府、州政府和中央政府的人,妄论每个政府所管治的范围。

我曾遇见不会分辨国会议员和州议员的人,妄论他们的角色和责任。

我曾遇见无法区分不同政党的人,更妄论各党的政治理念了。

我怀疑他们能否在选举中,做出他们所确定的决定。

随着千禧一代选民日趋成熟,他们当中可能有人已经投第三次票了,这是年轻人开始过渡到履行责任的选民的年龄;他们必须了解不同层次的政府、人民代议士的角色以及他们所代表的政治理念,而非因为我们不喜欢另一个政党而投选对方。

唯有这样,无论谁在哪一个选区胜出,我们都可以选出有效率的政府和反对党。

我们身为年轻的选民,必须学习如何务实地改善国家,而别成为政治棋子。

我们别被花言巧语愚弄,这些甜言蜜语通常是不切实际的。

看看民主行动党一路来如何玩弄政治吧。在1990年代初期,他们拼命反对伊斯兰党和他们的伊斯兰教议程,两党就像死对头。

然后在1998年,行动党组成了包括伊斯兰党在内的替代阵线,但在911恐袭后,他们意识到即将失去害怕伊斯兰国的支持者,而离开了替代阵线。

2008年,他们再次回头与伊斯兰党和公正党结盟,组成人民联盟,随后他们在选举中挫伤了国阵。

今天,他们再次因355法令修正案与伊斯兰党划清界限,并另组一个没有伊斯兰党的新联盟,即希望联盟。

审视行动党和伊斯兰党的分分合合;通常都落在大选将近的日期。很明显,这些都只是为了赢得选举而做出的动作。

还记得行动党如何在2013年选举中玩弄课题,表示可能在伊斯兰党的旗帜下竞选吗?以及他们如何说服非穆斯林投票给伊斯兰党吗?

现在,伟大的林吉祥更可以握住敦马的手,两人在成为近半个世纪的死对头后,决定组成政治联盟。

我们是否应该把希望投放在一个不断改变立场、不断关注对手的弱点、所作所为只为了赢得选举的政党?

他们执政槟州九年以来,我们看到了许多双重标准、不守承诺的做法,而且似乎只有一小撮的政治精英和企业受益于槟州政策。

国阵可能不完美,国阵当中也有坏苹果,但是我们需要因而放弃所有的好苹果吗?不管哪个政党,都应该抛掉坏苹果,保留好苹果。这么一来,我们就不必担心谁赢得选举并组成政府。

Sense of Purpose

In this world, I rarely hear of any person who has never graduated from a university making a commencement address to graduating students. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg could be the only two exceptions.

It was only last week when Mark Zuckerberg made his commencement address at Harvard and it gives me the inspiration and hope of doing what may seem a long journey.

The key points of his speech were the challenge of creating a purpose. The challenge for our generation is creating a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.

When we look at ourselves, our families, our friends and our community, doesn’t it look pretty much the same?

Many wakes up in the morning, rush to work, brash through the traffic hour, back from work, rest for a couple of hours, sleep, and the same thing runs all over again on the next day. Sometimes they spend some rest, family time or some hobbies in the weekends.

There is this story of when John F Kennedy visited the NASA space center, he saw a janitor carrying a broom and he walked over and asked what he was doing. The janitor responded, “Mr. President, I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”

The janitor could have grumbled about his job and low pay throughout his entire working life. But this janitor at the NASA space center decided to create a sense of purpose for himself. What if nobody cleans the space center, it becomes dirty and messes up the working environment? It could have influenced the health and working attitude of the engineers and astronauts. These small things could have made an impact to the mission of putting man on the moon.

This is what that has kept our society moving forward. It is our challenge, not only to create new jobs, but to create a renewed sense of purpose.

Pursuing meaningful projects together is one way to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.

Meaningful projects can come in different forms.

The driver who chauffeured our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman around could have been seen just as a driver to some. But many never thought that he was the one that drove Tunku to important meetings that makes our nation’s independence successful.

The janitor at the Malaysia’s badminton training facility could have been only a cleaner, but he plays an important role ensuring the hygiene of the place, so that the players would not get ill.

The industrial sector of Penang would has been developed not only because of Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu; there are also his team of advisors, the state EXCOs, their assistants, and moreover the people of Penang who have put their tears and sweat working in the factories.

Many jobs could have been seen as job for us to earn a living. But if we put the sense of purpose into it, we could do great things.

As Mark Zuckerberg has said to the millenials who have just graduated, we have to also tell ourselves that it’s our turn to do great things.

We do not have to be a highly educated or attain a high level of skills to do great things. Use what we know and turn into a sense of purpose; then we could do great things.

What about putting our time educating poor children who have lack of access to education?

What if we could educate drivers to have a better driving etiquette? We could have reduce traffic jams and accidents.

How about getting the employees of a factory to conduct environmental friendly practices? Pollutions may have been reduced.

What if we could spend time discussing ideas and solutions for the community’s problems; and submits it to the government? This is what we call citizen participation; and this could be a new political culture that we can cultivate.

I believe these aims are achievable. Let’s do them all in a way that gives everyone in our society a role to be better; in creating a better city and community. Let’s do big things, not only to create progress, but to create purpose.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 2nd June 2017.

使命感

在这个世界上,极少有辍学生向大学生发表毕业典礼演讲的机会,史蒂夫乔布斯(Steve Jobs)和马克扎克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg)可能是仅有的两个例外。

就在上个星期,马克扎克伯格在哈佛毕业典礼上演讲,其内容给我未来漫长的旅途带来许多灵感和希望。

他的演讲重点,是人生必须创造使命感。我们这一代的挑战,正是如何创造人人都有使命感的世界。

当我们看回自己、家人、朋友和整个社会,是不是看起来都几乎是一样的?

很多人早上醒来,就急着上班,匆匆忙忙,下班回来,休息几个小时,就睡觉了。同样的事情日复一日。有时候,他们在周末休憩、享受天伦之乐或自己的嗜好。

当约翰肯尼迪参观美国宇航局太空中心的时候,他看到一名拿着扫帚的清洁工人,就问他在做什么?清洁工人回答:“总统先生,我正在帮助一个人登陆月球。”

清洁工人大可在自己的一生中不断抱怨工作和工资,但美国宇航局太空中心的这名清洁工人,决定为自己创造一个使命感–如果没有人清理太空中心,环境变得脏兮兮该怎么办?这可能会影响工程师和宇航员的健康和工作情绪,这些小事情可能会影响到登陆月球的任务。

这正是我们社会不断进步的主因,我们的挑战不只是创造新的工作机会,而且要创造全新的使命感。

一起追求有意义的项目,是创造一个人人都有使命感的世界的一种方法。

有意义的项目,可以不同的形式存在。

我们的第一任首相东姑阿都拉曼的司机,可能只被一些人视为一名司机而已,但他们从未想过,就是他把国父载送到各大重要的会议,才让我们的国家成功争取独立。

马来西亚羽毛球训练场的清洁工人,也在确保场所卫生方面扮演重要的角色–避免球员生病。

槟州工业不是由敦林苍祐一个人开发的,还包括了他的顾问团队、行政议员、他们的助理,还有许多在工厂里奋斗的槟城人。

许多工作本来是我们的谋生手段,但是,如果我们有使命感,就可以干出一番伟大的事业。

正如马克扎克伯格向刚毕业的千禧世代所说的,我们也要告诉自己,现在是轮到我们做一番伟大事业的时候了。

要做大事,我们不必先接受高等教育或学会高水平的技能。把我们所懂得的一切转变成使命感,那么,我们就可以做一番伟大的事业了。

不如我们把时间献给那些没机会接受教育的穷孩子?

不如我们教授人们更好的驾驶礼仪?我们可从而减少交通阻塞和交通意外。

不如让工厂的员工学习环保?污染可能因而减少。

不如花一点时间讨论社会问题及解决方案,然后提交给政府?这就是我们所说的公民参与,这也可能是我们可培养的新政治文化。

我相信这些目标都是可以实现的。让我们一起努力,让社会中的每个人扮演更重要的角色,一起创造更美好的城市和社区。

一起来做大事吧!不仅要追求进步,而且要创造使命感。