COMMENT | If you are poor, does it automatically make you lazy? If you do not have a good education, which doesn’t allow you to hold a good job, does it mean you deserve to be labelled as lazy?
If you work fewer hours and rest more, does that categorise you as lazy? How do we decide who is lazy and who isn’t? I’ll tell you what lazy means to me – it simply means inefficient.
I believe lazy people are not intrinsically lazy but are lazy because they have not found what they are looking for. And in some cases, people become lazy when their effort does not give them a good return.
A paralysed individual who sees no development despite his daily physiotherapy sessions, could eventually give up and become lazy.
A farmer or a fisherman who isn’t able to provide a good living for his family despite juggling jobs and working hard could eventually become lazy.
A student who fails in every examination and who never receives proper support or guidance, could eventually become lazy and give up on education altogether.
A jobless fresh graduate who ends up a nasi lemak seller could eventually become lazy in finding a suitable employment matching his university qualification.
People are not born lazy. However, when they are not inspired, motivated, supported or in worse cases when they are mocked, criticised and often reminded of their inability to succeed – people can eventually lose their self-confidence and become comfortably lazy.
Laziness is how people sabotage themselves in order to deal with fear and hopelessness.
A couple of days ago, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad called Malaysians lazy, saying that countries like Vietnam would soon overtake Malaysia in economic rankings because its people were more hardworking than Malaysians.
He claimed lazy Malaysians were very selective of jobs and dependent on financial handouts than working hard. This is not the first time our 93-year-old Prime Mminister has slammed Malaysians as lazy.
Part of the problem
Back in 2002, he said it is the Malay culture to be lazy, blaming them for not working as hard as others, not taking responsibilities seriously, handing over their jobs to others and lacking the knowledge to make good decisions.
In 2014, he said they were not capable of feeling ashamed of their failures. And earlier this year he condemned the Malays once again – calling them less committed to work, not hardworking and not trustworthy.
I believe this certainly will not be the last time he mocks Malaysians for being lazy.However, while Mahathir continues to condemn Malaysians as lazy, I do wonder why has he not put any effort into getting Malaysians out of their lazy habits?
Complaining throughout the years and calling Malays lazy isn’t going to change anything if Mahathir himself continues to fight for their special privileges. It only makes him look like a hypocrite.
On second thoughts, perhaps the PM and the other leaders of Malaysia are part of the problem which makes Malaysians lazy?
Should it not be the prime minister’s responsibility to come up with plans and strategies to produce superior Malays who will become professionals, academicians, entrepreneurs and successful individuals?
Instead of doing that, why does the new government continue to spoonfeed the Malays with quotas, aid and subsidies which have all been proven to fail over the past six decades insofar as turning them into champions is concerned?
You can also look at Mahathir’s own inefficient cabinet. Look at how inefficient the ministers are in improving our education system and look at how easy the ministers wash their hands of important matters such as child marriage.
Look at the lazy folks in Pakatan Harapan who made up their manifesto from a bunch of wild stuff without carefully putting in the hard work to draft a viable manifesto for the sake of the people whose trust they were trying to win.
With such lazy people in the government, no wonder there are no solid attempts made to come up with a strategy to assist Malaysians out of their lazy ways.
Look at Mahathir’s own work – his own protégé turned out to be the biggest crook our country has ever seen. While we are at it, if Mahathir believed Malaysians should work harder to build a nation of diligent people, why did he keep his lips sealed over the years when foreign labour flooded our country?
What Malaysians need
Truth be told, poverty, the lack of education and a lack of willpower to achieve greater things in life do not make us lazy. In fact, it makes us survivors.Not being born into a privileged family, to be sent to study abroad with good career prospects waiting upon returning to Malaysia only makes us unfortunate, not lazy.
What Malaysians need today is not a lecture about how lazy and unworthy we are; what we need are leaders who will inspire us to be better and support us along the way.
We need leaders who can introduce policies and strategies to push Malaysians out of their comfort zones even if those policies and strategies are resisted by those who are not capable of understanding the objectives.
We need leaders to change the lazy mentality and culture of Malaysians by not being lazy themselves in fulfilling their own responsibilities towards the people of this country.
If you ask me, I think it is the responsibility of a government to do whatever it is in the best interest of the people, even if the people themselves do not agree with it in the short term.
Pussyfooting about and mocking them without putting in any solid effort to turn Malaysians into a hardworking nation only makes seasonal politicians lazy leaders.
FA ABDUL is a passionate storyteller, a growing media trainer, an aspiring playwright, a regular director, a struggling producer, a self-acclaimed photographer, an expert Facebooker, a lazy blogger, a part-time queen and a full-time vainpot.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily. represent the views of Malaysiakini.