Monday, December 19, 2011

Democracy.. again

I can't sleep. So I might as well update, since I don't have the mood to do anything at the moment. And as always, I do not organise thoughts well, so this post will as usual not be well articulated.

This festive season, I ponder upon the meaning of democracy.

You see, in the most ideal sense, democracy is the best policy out there. A collective society, harnessing the wisdom of the society as a whole (note, where the majority of the people have enough sense that the 'noise', i.e. the deviants and the clueless do not hold enough sway) point to the direction it wishes to go. In the past, conquest was probably of the greatest interest (I am no historian btw, this is a speculation).

Today, I sincerely believe we do not understand democracy (neither do I, for that matter).

Point one. (This is a pretty far fetched argument, but I think there is an underlying link somewhere.) We live in the information age. There is simply too much to think about, to pay attention to. You have the current advances in technology, oh that's iPhone 79, Android, Star Wars, epidemic, homosexuals, that new game in store, that hot chick right there, your work, boycotting bread, politics. So how many people do actually pay attention to politics (and policies for that matter). I have written before that politics in Malaysia is all about idolatry. Its about the leaders of both the government and the opposition. Its NOT about the policies they bring, and its NOT about the direction they want to go, which is missing the point completely.

What do I think democracy is? Well, it is easy to say 'a collective sense of direction for the country' or even 'people power to decide what's best for the country'. Put it in simpler terms, I think its all about us as a society trying to solve our problems. Which is why I believe there are different parties in the first place. The religious party might think the prominent problems are that the people are not God fearing enough. The Green thinks more about sustainability etc. (That was a general analogy btw, I don't think its accurate).

And when we look at Malaysia, we see only one problem. Read the comments in RPK's post, read the comments in TMI. In fact just read the comments anywhere on the Internet that mentions vaguely about our government/politics. The generic answer will be 'Whatever the problem is, remove the current government first. They are responsible for yada yada'.

It appears that a point has reached where people simply stop paying attention to anything any longer. They have implanted firmly the anti-establishment message in their head. And they won't listen to anything else.

Point two, directly following point one. How many people actually think of progress? We throw the words around, yet they hold no meaning. And as always, we like to say 'remove the government first. They are corrupt. They impede progress'. So what exactly is this progress that we are always talking about?

Good pay, good looking prime ministers, holy men acting holy, sustainability, everyone hand in hand dancing and singing and happy? That so does not sound like reality to me.

What happened to working more towards mutual understanding and accepting each other? Do we have that?  Unfortunately I think no. At this stage, in my honest opinion progress for our country is to forge greater ties with ourselves. Despite all the problems revolving around economy, diseases, food etc. that threatens our very life, our greatest hurdle is still social living. In collective living, different view points are guaranteed. How we deal with it reflects the level of maturity of a society, which I believe ties in strongly with 'progress'. Progress to me is not as simple as building skyscrapers and eliminating poverty. It is how we think of each other and how we resolve differences, and how we solve problems together. We might not work well together today, but say in a month we worked together slightly better. Now that's progress to me. Everything else comes naturally after that. I firmly believe so.

So to summarise what I think: We have a distorted view on 'progress' (point two), we do not understand 'governance' (point one).

Note: I know I made a mistake in thoughts somewhere, but I think the points are supported to some extent. I am half asleep now


chelseaorange said...

How is this festive, Leslie? How?!

But i love it nonetheless. As always.

infinity said...

mutual understanding, like you pointed out, is very important for progress of the nation as a whole. there should be symbiosis between different strata of society.

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sinless said...

Look at the ancient greeks what was then the true meaning of democracy.
totally different point of view if you compare them to today's government mentality.