May 7, 2015
Phnom Penh by The Mekong
Vision 2020 in the hands of Village Universities
by Scott Ng@www.freemalaysiatoday
The prevalence of backward thinking makes Mahathir’s project seem like an impossible dream.
I can think of a lot of things to do with RM9,000. Take a week-long vacation in Boracay or some other exotic island and live like some king of a long gone age. Perhaps donate half to charity and save the rest. Or even take the parents out for a first class feast, and maybe even spruce up my work area with memorabilia, as I’ve had my eye on the Hot Toys figurines released in conjunction with the new Avengers movie. Admit it, they are pretty, even if the price tag is daunting.
Perhaps you can think of some better uses for that kind of money, and I’m sure you’ll let me know.. But what you and I can agree on is that it will be silly to spend RM9,000 on a anti-hysteria kit composed of, among other things, chopsticks, salt, vinegar, pepper spray, and formic acid. I don’t know about you, but I can think of some excellent dishes I could make with the ingredients, though pepper spray is largely unproven as a condiment. Sure, you receive some sort of training to use the kit as part of the package, but all in all, the very idea appears to be ridiculous to most sane Malaysians.
Most of us know that hysteria is a medical condition that can be treated, and indeed, there are many accredited and established treatments out there that provide the treatment. Best of all, they won’t charge nearly as much as Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) is asking for its anti-hysteria kit. If nothing else, the kit and its ingredients seem deeply rooted in superstition, but we’ll leave the experts at UMP to regale us with tales of how their kit is rooted in solid medical practice and born of many, many experiments to find the best approach to treating hysteria.
Indeed, if it works, the researchers at UMP must be commended. Give them the full works. The ticker tape parade, national advertising on TV, interviews with the foreign press to prove that our Malaysian universities can indeed make an impact with their research. In fact, be sure to make them datuks, at the very least. All on their own, with easily obtained items, they have made a breakthrough in medical science.
If it works, that is.
Now, in the spirit of the utmost fairness, I will not condemn the kit as a failure. After all, I have not had the chance to sample the kit and the training that comes with it, being a reasonably sane human being who has never had a hysteria attack before. However, I am very much inclined to believe that it is a placebo to replace legitimate medical treatment and counselling. After all, human belief may be one of the most powerful forces in the world.
However, that a public university like UMP can come out and endorse a kit such as this and demand such a price for it makes me lose all hope in the bright and glorious future promised to us in Vision 2020. If anything, we are straying so far from it ideologically and spiritually that we may as well go back to the dark ages and live in hovels, looking to so-called spiritualists to treat ailments of the mind and body with so much snake oil.
Perhaps some people don’t want to have a First World mentality. Maybe they’re content to be scared of shadows, to imagine demons around every corner, playing with our minds and afflicting us with illness and disorder. Perhaps they may be right. There are, after all, more things in heaven and on earth than we can possibly imagine, but this is certainly not a right step in either direction.
It is this kind of thinking that we must cast off, that Mahathir rejected when he dreamt of Vision 2020, of a modern Malaysia where we live in prosperity and harmony. That dream seems so far away now, and as long as we allow the likes of this to poison our minds, perhaps we may never develop ourselves into First World citizens.