Wipe out culture of entitlement

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Cartoon: Zunar

The people rose up to make a bold change, but the culture of entitlement is still embedded. Dominic Damian says it is time for reforms to remove glaring inequalities.

The culture of entitlement is very much alive.

The evidence lay in the illogical and idiotic protests we witnessed over the last year over the irrelevant merry-go-round of issues. The individuals who protested were like hardcore addicts – addicted in this case to a discredited philosophical ideology. They were frothing over the smallest trivialities and most frivolous of issues.


The question posed in an exam paper last year about “the religious method to beat one’s wife” was appalling. It revealed how substantive concerns were discarded. Those with very little credentials are suffocating the people’s morality. Dubious parties were setting questions for exams.

Using religion

The infusion of religion has sometimes deviated from its authentic intentions out of political expediency. The enslavement of conscience has been comprehensive. In the past, faith was sensitive and personal, displaying goodwill.

But then it grew contradictory and contentious. Body snatching, snooping and illegal conversions created unease. Intimidation – hollering, ranting and raging – effectively cut off meaningful dialogue and communication. Those protesting wore a cloak of religious piety, yet they insulted others. It was faith without meaning.

Look into the funding of the religious departments and inquire if it was spent gainfully. What is the percentage spent on empowering lives? Surveillance, monitoring and nabbing offenders have become an obsession. Moral policing seems to be the main agenda. This would eat up a substantial part of the budget – and how does that compare to the budget for improving lives?

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Powerful interests

Some, among the business community, the well heeled, wealthy and powerful are complicit in these manouevres. Politics and business have cemented a very effective partnership.

Groups marched and complained that the royalty was under threat. One would have expected a response from the powers that be if there had really been a threat. The thuggish behaviour they displayed in protecting royalty was suspicious. It went against every convention of honourable conduct.

They seemed to enjoy a charmed existence. Their fearless improprieties seemed to be beyond rebuke or reprimand.

Greed

In various forms, greed was promoted under the cover of the three Rs.

  • Greed was accepted as a necessary by-product for advancement
  • Accessibility to greed could be found in the corridors of power.
  • Greed exploited religion

The problems hit the roof as the rice bowls of the common citizens and their families were affected. Hunger and deprivation have no race, religion or royalty. The greed turned into outright financial theft, the loot grabbed by the beholders. The straw that broke the camel’s back is well known. Greed – manifested and flaunted insensitively.

The blatant disregard and a shameless disposition despite the suffering of ordinary people were dreadful. The powerful were drugged by opulence. They flaunted their “entitlement” in the faces of the deprived masses. No contrition or apology for such contemptuous conduct at all.

The mood of the citizens before the last general election was one of make or break. If the votes had failed, the streets were an attractive proposition, the only available option.

Discontent and doubt towards powerful political elites still simmers. The incompatibility between what is preached and lived provides a dissonance. It is tough to bridge the gap, even now.

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For others, the brainwashing had instilled the seeds of fear – fear of invisible powerful enemies in the shadows.

Thankfully, there are strong individuals like Siti Kassim and Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, who are not appreciated enough. The new Malaysia is still unprepared for their conscientious voices. Instead they are perceived by some as a threat.

It is time to institute reforms to protect citizens.. When we protect authentic dissent, we erase a little bit of the shame and stigma of the past.

In the current scenario, we find hope in a few of our MPs. They are cutting through the three Rs. But they are too few.

What about the others? Are our elected representatives in Parliament and the state assemblies prepared to heal the nation? Are political ideology and differences going to be a wall? Are these representatives going to sit in a cocoon of political safety while others flog the three Rs?

The previous administration treated citizens as no more that serfs. The citizens showed courage and composure despite all the provocations, insults and disadvantages. They overcame discrimination, disparities and lopsided representation to make a bold change.

But the entitlement culture is still strongly embedded, preventing authentic relationships.

So please eradicate all manner of inequalities.

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Kanes Alkone
Kanes Alkone

So, we made the impossible happen in May 2018. Now, what’s holding us up? Unless it’s the same fear of losing the entitlements by the current batch of people, or the support of the entitled, who still seem to hold the clout. Same old, same old.