Changing Malaysia: Fulfilling Our Full Potential
I’ve always believed that there is still plenty of potential for us as a nation to improve if we set our minds to it. Malaysia is full of natural resources and definitely not short on talented human capital.
If we’d only learnt to hone and utilize our resources more efficiently, there is no reason why we can’t achieve what Singapore, South Korea or Taiwan has achieved and much more!
EDUCATION & A MATURE ELECTORATE
I believe that the key to fulfilling our full potential lies in having a quality education system that produces a mature electorate that is able to analyze, think critically and make well-informed decisions.
Right now, up to half our population live in rural areas and do not have access to quality education and the resources needed to hone their critical thinking skills and access information to make well-informed decisions. Even our urban population might not be mature enough to critically analyze & understand issues if they were to be debated in a US-styled presidential debate at the moment.
I am sure there will be those of us who can, but is the number significant enough?
You might be surprised to find that according to a report by UNESCO in 2005, only 29.9% of Malaysians obtained higher education qualifications, compared with 41% in Thailand & 89% in South Korea.
I believe that a good education system would produce a matured & well-informed electorate, which would naturally elect & support a capable government, which would in turn implement policies that would best benefit our country and drive our nation forward.
THE ROLE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR
Just imagine if Warren Buffet or Bill Gates were Malaysian, their personal wealth alone of up to 40-80 billion USD could transform Malaysia tremendously.
You could build a center where rural kids could experience what it is like to have access to technology, to travel, to sit in a Ferrari, lounge in a private yacht, and most importantly, get inspired by a series of speakers something like those you have at TED Talks, so they know what exactly is happening in the world, and if they want to be part of it, they can!
Rural children staying in long houses, villages and the deep jungles could be invited to stay at these centers on a rotation basis for 3-4 month periods where they will be taught basic English to be able to understand the talks, experience what is it like to have access to the latest technology and comforts of life, be inspired to play a part in making a difference in the world, and be informed of he path they would need to take to achieve what they want to achieve.
PLANTING THE SEED
I believe that as long as these children get inspired, and once the seed of curiosity has been planted in them, they will naturally want to learn more about the world, to keep improving and would definitely share more about it with their friends back home.
In a way, it is like “inception”, and you can’t stop the idea and drive from growing.
THE RIPPLE EFFECT
Once they are back in the rural areas, centers for learning could also be set up where unwanted used computers from big corporations and offices could be sourced at a cheap price or for free, coupled with a diesel generator to power them, and educational content that could be installed on these computers for free (E-Class Asia could help with that), from which they could learn and have access to the knowledge and skills required to sit for major examinations and acquire the necessary skills to achieve their dreams.
All these are well within the means of Bill Gates or Warren Buffet alone.
However, since we do not have a Bill Gates or Warren Buffet of our own, the private sector could play this role, either through CSR projects, or someone who has made their fortune from the private sector but cares enough to contribute to this cause.
In due time, I hope to be one of those who cares enough and has the means to contribute to this cause.
PROVIDING EQUAL ACCESS TO OPPORTUNITY
I am not saying that everyone should have a dream, be educated or strive hard towards it. In fact, I personally would like to have a simple life, to just chill and enjoy life in a village or jungle every day.
That is actually my retirement plan.
So, I am perfectly supportive if people want to continue living in villages and jungles, it’s cool and perfectly awesome. It’s just that, I also believe that people should be informed of their options, and provided with the resources to take a different path if they wanted to.
I believe in equal opportunity and meritocracy, where one could choose the life they want to live and be able to pursue it if they want to, which I believe can be achieved through the abovementioned means.
That is why I am doing what I am doing.
“If not us, then who?”