BEFORE I start this piece off, I think I have the right to talk about Cambridge University because you see I actually graduated from Cambridge.
I mean I have a certificate from the university. You know, for my A-levels. That counts too right.
Does this matter to the reader? I don’t think so. Would it change your life? I don’t see how.
Why am I saying all this? Because It’s great how Malaysians in general, be it an opposition supporter, Star Wars or Star Trek fan, someone who just jumps on any bandwagon of fame, or just a random Joe who thinks education is important and everything else isn’t, intensifies any petty issue.
But what about issues like child rape, starvation, being homeless, being jobless, or even global warming? We don’t seem to have that same intensity to highlight these!
Oh wait, before anyone says that they saw someone helping the homeless by distributing RM3,000 worth of sportswear, please take a moment to facepalm yourself. But as the new hashtag goes, #maluapabossku.
This is how Malaysia has turned out to be.
I think I speak for many readers here when I say that the majority of us don’t care if you didn’t go to school, or if you’re a dropout. Maybe not all of us are like political activist Muhsin Abdul Latheef who has made Datuk Marzuki Yahya’s alleged fake Cambridge degree his crusade.
Let’s hope he makes educating unfortunate and poor children one more item on his bucket list.
But first let’s focus on the issue here, which is the allegedly fake Cambridge degree.
For me, whether Marzuki has a fake certificate or not is irrelevant. The man is successful, but what about the others who are less fortunate.
I am talking about those who want to continue their studies but can’t afford to.
You see, having a degree is so common now, that if you don’t have one it will put a stigma on you.
Some corporations don’t want to hire you if you don’t have a degree. Some families won’t introduce you to anyone if you don’t have a degree. Some even scorn on a prospective son or daughter-in-law without a degree!
But all that being said, we also have to remember that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were dropouts. As were Michael Dell, Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson.
Alan Johnson, former British Home Secretary, left school when he was 15. So did Paul Keating, former Australian Prime Minister.
John Major, former UK Prime Minister, stopped school at 16.
Not having a degree didn’t stop them becoming who they are now.
Tertiary education and the honours and certifications that come after that is a globally-aligned standard that measures one’s IQ and knowledge garnered through conformed learning.
In my opinion, having them is useful, but it isn’t definitive.
What’s definitive is the way some Malaysians ignore things around them. From the RM90 million that Umno allegedly paid to PAS, to child marriage, to our currency rate, to starvation and homelessness, to global warming.
I understand that part of living now is to be competitive, considering there are over seven billion people on earth.
But doing so at the expense of others is something unnecessary.
Let’s face it. Those harping on these degree issues are doing so for certain “beneficial” reasons. Beneficial to them, I suspect.
Last week we also saw the land clearing of Bukit Kledang, which was illegally encroached into for an oil palm plantation. That too comes on the heels of all the global warming effects which, according to scientists, will get worse if we do not do something about it.
Hey, wait. I don’t see anyone jumping and giving importance to this issue.
Why? Is it because it is not religious, political, or a racial issue? And sharing those won’t garner you enough likes on your social media?
Global warming is a serious threat, even more, serious than not having a degree.
Having common sense is something you cannot buy, or study four years at Cambridge and obtain it.
What I am trying to say it, I guess it is time for us Malaysians to start paying attention to more important issues.
It is time we grow as a nation, and as human beings.