One of the leaders I enjoy reading, is APJ Abdul Kalam. Full name: Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam. He is a scientist by training. Still a bachelor I think, sporting long hair. He looked the typical absent minded professor.
I particularly liked the narrative that after delivering a speech on the role of technology on India’s development, a 10 year old girl came up to Mr Kalam for his autograph. Abdul Kalam asked her: what is your ambition? The girl answered: I would like to live in a developed
The answer given by the 10 year old girl resonates well throughout the world, especially with those living in less developed countries. A developed
The reason I began this article by mentioning APJ Abdul Kalam is I have been re-reading his India 2020- A Vision For The New Millennium and also because, last month he came to deliver a lecture in the Khazanah Global Lectures. Unfortunately the gangsters at Khazanah did not extend their invitations to kampong bloggers like me.
That aside, it is his observation about the role of the individual in relation to the government regarding economic prosperity that is of particular interest. It is a shared responsibility. Both the typical Malay and the Malay led government must be responsible.
It is the typical answer by the typical Malay that I find troublesome. The typical answer given by the typical Malay lies at the root of the problem about Malay economics. To the Malays, the government is everything. If the government manages its economy superbly and becomes rich, this paternalistic role of the government is all right. It can provide for the individual what in normal circumstances is the responsibility of the family. This to my mind, is a counterproductive role. Whatever the government does, it cannot replace the responsibility and role of the family. It is the family that holds the primary responsibility to nurture the individual member.
This behaviour by the Malays is atypical of an eastern society. That may surprised many including me. Because I would have thought that the Malay family is a microcosm of eastern values- which emphasised the primacy of the family. But the way the government performs it role and indeed profiting from such dependence as a form of pork barrel politics( you support us, we provide you wit everything), can be self-defeating. Because soon it is the government that is responsible and therefore blameable for the decline of the Malay family. That and with the unsolicited assistance from the bohemian middle class ensconced in the various watering holes in KL( ha ha- cant resist cattle prodding the Malay middle class).