Local plastic bag producers are worried that the new statewide ban on plastic bags may ruin their business and cause their revenue to drop from $150,000 per month to almost nothing eventually.
It’s ironic that they didn’t stop to think about who was expected to pay for the environmental damage their monthly handsome revenue caused in the first place. Isn’t it unfair that a few parties concerned with only their own profits harm the future of thousands and thousands of people who have bought into the convenience, ignorantly or otherwise?
There are a few parallels between Plastic Bag producers and tuition teacher. Both rely on the ignorance of the public to churn out useless, wasteful, unsustainable goods or service with the sole aim of increasing their own revenue without thought to social and environmental impact. Tuition teachers, like plastic bag producers, rationalize it as offering something for the consumer’s convenience but a true examination of their motives will lead to a discovery that they are pandering to a market that wants what is convenient without regard to whether their goods and services truly deliver the benefits without creating long-term liabilities and consequences.
When I say “tuition teacher” I don’t mean that nice man or lady who is a professional at helping your child acquire learning that the child is interested to acquire. I mean those operators of economies of scale input cramming and home tutors who grille children over more of the same from school. And when I say “plastic bag producer” I of course mean only those who produce the type that isn’t completely biodegradable.
Times have changed. We need not look so far at institutions that will start to crumble and fall one by one but look only at the ubiquitous plastic bag. Plastic bag manufacturers should have seen this coming as early as 20 years ago. They had a good 10 years to research and move on to a new business model, taking advantage of the networks they had already established in the business to distribute a new line of products that meets consumer needs.
“Tuition teachers” too should pack up and leave and re-learn a new skill or change their game. The days when college dropouts or career dropouts used the “tuition” term to earn a lucrative income while doing grave injustice to the teaching service is all well and over. If one is going to be called “Teacher” there are standards of intellectual capacities and ethical thinking to adhere to. It’s time to make way for the REAL college and career dropouts; those too smart for school and too good for the traditional employer.
There are really no winners in the plastic bag industry and there never were from the start. We did alright using banana leaves or newspapers, using tiffin carriers and woven baskets. We did fine using boxes to cart things in and out of our carriages and cars. We never really needed plastic bags in the first place just like we never needed tuition and endless exams telling us whether we were learn-able or not.
There are no winners in the Tuition Bubble either. It has become difficult to separate the rice from the husk. Out of those many “tuition teachers” out there a small number are truly deserving to be called teachers who are undervalued and under-appreciated no thanks to the saturation of the market by those much less qualified. Parents, as their clients, regard them just like they would any other employee or “tuition teacher”, not respecting the intellectual gifts and autonomy of these talented teachers. Parents lumped them in together with those others who are not teachers at heart.
You can see clearly there are no winners in this “tuition industry”. Truly gifted teachers are overlooked and undervalued, greedy instigators perpetuate the dislike for learning and people who should otherwise look for meaning in their lives wallow in a state of limbo being fed by the comforts of easy money teaching tuition.
While many of the expatriates interviewed were happy about the No Plastic Day campaign (Expats give thumbs-up) some locals felt that 20sen per plastic bag was too much to pay. Seriously, I think we should make the price so prohibitively expensive that people would stop “forgetting”. We are not paying 20 sen for the perceived value and function of a plastic bag, we are paying a 20sen penalty for your lack of engagement and participation in ecological efforts.
Similarly when the ban on TUITION services comes into effect parents will be forced to pay a very, very high but just price for personal tutors. Tutors will have to get licenses to run their business house to house and be limited to only subjects they are qualified to teach. It is so ridiculous to me that a person who can hardly speak Bahasa or English can teach those subjects on top of Math, Science, Chinese, etc. If a person were that intellectually gifted they wouldn’t be paid USD$3 per hour.
And no more of all this nonsense mass-scale TUITION CENTERS. When parents have to start paying the global rate of USD$30 per hour and above for a private tutor they would start complaining that it’s too much to pay because their child may require up to 20 hours per month. It’s the same argument being made about paying for the plastic bag : Parents are not paying for the Tutor’s perceived value and function (time or opportunity costs; ) Parents will be paying a penalty for their lack of engagement and participation in their child’s learning and development.
A parent should be willing to spend above RM$3,000 a month for a full-range private tutor. Let’s ask ourselves, how many of us are willing to give up our full-time careers, go back to school either part time or full time to learn how to learn and then completely engage ourselves in our children’s learning while participating fully in our community? But if people are willing to pay $5.00 for a reusable bag for long-term benefits to the world it’s likely that people will start realizing too that they need to invest premium amounts (time, costs, opportunities) now for our children’s future to create a community our children will grow up to be a part of long after we’re too old to fight these battles.
Given, some parents cannot afford that extra tuition nor are willing to give up their status quo. The latter is usually the problem. That is how we allow state-funded education to do their job. That is also how we neutralize the myth of additional input and “learning fortification” by making “tuition” so expensive that many will be forced to just give children back their childhood.
It sounds like a win-win to me. There comes a point where we have to ask ourselves whether that extra mortgage, that bigger house, that extra car, those narcissistic escapades, is worth more than our children and our community’s future. We have started asking ourselves where our plastic bags end up and whether it’s worth screwing up our ecological future over a myopic convenience and I betcha it’s only a matter of time before State helps us decide how to stop our mindless addiction to “tuition”.
A little bird told me that both sides of the political party are going to use this “tuition phenomena” as a sacrificial lamb to win popularity from the grassroots. What was initially a service to help supplement government teaching has now become a loose colossal capitalist ‘body’ for parents and teachers to continue with their trite complaints against the Education Department’s perceived ineptness and racism. What creates bad press for the Education Ministry creates ill-will for any ruling government. Save the Education Ministry, save the Parliamentary seats.
Sooner or later “tuition teachers” are going to face the same sudden, massive drop in income faced by plastic bag producers and eventually, polyfoam (styrofoam) producers. It will be a short drop towards an abrupt stop. Nature abhors a vacuum – something has to come in to fill the void this multibillion industry has left behind.