I seem to always have an opinion on everything and today I do too but then I received this story from my aunt and feel strongly about sharing it with the world.
For those of you who do not know P.Ramlee – he is a truly, truly talented man. He has been honored post-humously with a road named after him and his house is now a museum of sorts. The place is just a stone’s throw away from where I live. (well, perhaps you might need a slingshot).
One of the questions in the email my aunt forwarded was whether the Malaysian diaspora should return. Under the Malaysian Economic Transformation Program the government is luring the hundreds of thousands of talented professional Malaysian diaspora to return. But I have a feeling Michelle Yeoh and Jimmy Choo may find Hollywood and New York too good to them to return. For other Malaysians who are considering returning the email cautions : Caveat Emptor. – But then again, here’s another way of seeing it : Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.
The 21st Century is a different time. We have technologies and abilities that were not possible for P.Ramlee. My horrible practice rendition of R.Ramlee’s Di Mana Kan Ku Cari Ganti (Where in the world can I find another like you) on YOUTUBE has now over 6,500 views (when combining practise 1+ edit 2). Trust me, it is a very horrible piece of playing which is why you are not getting a link to it. If you insist then search it out at your own peril – you have been warned. My point is that if P.Ramlee had lived in this decade being the same age he was the outcome would’ve been different. So different.
The theme of the letter I am about to post states, that in Malaysia, it is about “Who You Know” not “What You Know”. I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily untrue but I will not surrender to that. And I think it’s really important that people realize this distinction : There is the status quo but change can only happen if you do not subscribe to that status quo.
All my life I have never been impressed with the “Who-s” of Malaysia and I’m even less impressed by people who bother telling me which Ministers they just had dinner and drinks with. I’m not even a member of the MELTA or PELTA (Malaysian English Language Teachers’ Association) nor do I bother doing a PhD for the sake of esteem.* I’d rather work associatively with people who are Real; genuine humans with passion and integrity. I’d rather affect change 1 person at a time than wait for handouts or approval from any self-perpetuating party. Some people wait and wait and wait for 1 Big Shot to pull them up; I’d rather spend that same amount of time and mental expansion connecting with The Salvation Army of the Little People.
I know that I have come of age in a different time, a time when students Sergey Brin and Larry Page can eclipse then giant, AOL, a time when a Harvard dropout gives a commencement speech at a Harvard graduation and a time when America elects her first Black President. We, as parents and educators, must not let this age and our prime pass us by without seizing the opportunities that Social Media and Technologies have created for us, opportunities that were never possible in P.Ramlee’s time. We have to become Enlightened Warriors, both for our children and for those who never stood a chance.