LETTER | Malaysia has gained independence since 1957, a whopping 65 years. Our independence was based on power sharing among the three main races.
As with many other young nations, politicians play a crucial role in shaping the direction of a nation. Changes were inevitable as a young nation strived towards maturity and these were manifested by the many ideals and aspirations of the various ethnic groups.
Along the way, the political landscape has been engineered and changed to accommodate changing needs and times. So has changing lifestyles and economic pursuits – the masses have made varying degrees of adaptation in order to survive and live as conditions allowable as possible.
By and large, we recognise the fact that those who are poverty-trapped must be assisted. And various forms of assistance have been designed and dished out – scholarships, financial assistance in business, job offers, and even discounts in various forms such as purchasing houses and others.
Some may deny this but the fact remains that these “advantages” have bred the attitude of complacency and “as-a-matter-of-fact” privilege by default. It has created an attitude of not being “hungry” for wanting to achieve goals and economic success and self-reliance.
Except for natural incidents such as earthquakes and volcano eruptions and the like, nothing in this world happens by default. Success largely comes from hard work although some element of luck plays a part in some cases.
The greatest stumbling block to many poor people is their attitude and mindset, aided by a sense of complacency. Nobody owes us a living and we need to do our part in order to succeed.
Hence, no matter how good a programme or scheme is, if the attitude of subsidy reliance is not rectified, the result is not going to be long-term and long-lasting.
The poverty cycle can only be broken by changing the attitude and mindset.
Therefore, I would suggest a serious effort in re-educating people in changing their attitude and mindset towards self-reliance rather than endless handouts being given. Handouts are simply symptomatic cures, leaving the underlying causes unattended to.
Poverty is colour-blind
We must be mindful that poverty is colour-blind. There are poor Chinese as well as poor Indians and they are not beneficiaries of privileges and specific discounts and they survive.
Due to the fact that they are aware of their slightly disadvantaged positions, they strive hard to make ends meet and it is this relentless struggle that toughens them to be more hardy, robust and resilient.
They study hard to achieve good results. Good education is critical in getting oneself out of the poverty cycle. They work at more than one job and save as much as possible. New graduates are not choosy in their quest for jobs. A harsh life has taught them to survive.
It is time that the various ministries – Human Resources, Education, Youth, and others come up with a programme to re-educate our youths towards a more open attitude and mindset, as these two attributes are the biggest stumbling block towards self-reliance.
No one is robbing another of his rice bowl. No one succeeds without working and no one owes another a living. The natural default is hard work.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.